I talked to a young woman about a week ago. She was severely depressed. I was worried about her. In situations like this, I usually give some contact resources to help. It would be ethically wrong to get involved with a potential suicide so far away. She needed someone close that could get help to her in a hurry if needed.
She didn’t want to let go of me for some reason. She said, “How could I be so lonely? I have almost 2000 Facebook friends. ” It was time for a little reality therapy. Hell no. She really needed a full blown intervention. I told her that those were not friends. Then I asked how many of those profiles she’d had any kind of human contact with and would she recognize them if they passed on the street. She paused like she might be doing the numbers in her head. She told me the answer was probably 15. Then I asked of those 15, how many did she socialise with. I felt like a lightbulb was going on over her head so I said, “Sounds like to me you have 5 friends and that, believe it or not, was a good start.” I told her to get off Facebook and call those 5 people and suggest they go out to a movie, out to eat, or just get together and plan at least one weekly activity.
Don’t worry. I also gave her some contact people to call if she felt herself sinking. At the end of our conversation I couldn’t help but wonder how many other people were laboring under the same delusion. People, this little screen will never take the place of real live friends. The American Psychological Association has recently labeled some forms of computer use as an addiction. I can see how a 12 step program would be perfect for this problem.