All alone in a digital world

The following post is not meant to make anyone feel guilty or wonder if they should have leaned on me for support over the past few months. Everything I’ve done to support others has been of my own volition and if I needed to step back, please know I did so. It’s because of what i do that I’m writing to you today.

It’s been a helluva summer over here in my world.

I’ve not talked publicly about the details and will not do so now but I am now divorced. So when I say it’s been a helluva summer, I mean it. Over the course of this past summer, I’ve had a lot of emotional upheaval come my way. There have been things in addition to my divorce, which, I also will not divulge the details of, but these things have shaken me to my very core. I’ve gone to bed in tears. I’ve screamed. I’ve cried. I’ve wailed. I’ve wondered why I have to wake up. If I wanted to wake up. And yet… here I am.

In Nashville, I arose at 530a CT, made my bed, got dressed, drove to a nearby park and hiked 1.5-3 mi, showered, ate breakfast, made coffee, then onto the job hunt. I didn’t find a job. So at the beginning of July, I moved back home with my parents. Which, hello, humbling.

I lost my drive. My routine. I’ve been job hunting but I’ve also felt frozen. Frustrated. Scared. Rejected. Dejected. Alone.

Me? Alone?

But you’re a well-known blogger. The founder of #ppdchat. Giving. Compassionate. Funny. Awesome. One of the best friends I could ever imagine. Always there when people need you.

Surely you have people.

I have people. But I type to them on the computer. On my phone. They’re electricity, phantoms at best. In person?

I have my parents. People with whom I have been close with from a distance for the better part of the past 11 years. And let’s face it – you really don’t want to sit down and share everything with your parents.

Here, in person? I have no friends. I’ve lost touch with them all and really, at this point, don’t want to reconnect. I haven’t had an in-person best friend (other than my former husband) in nearly 11 years.


Trey Pennington.

Well known. Over 100k followers on Twitter. Committed suicide.


Trey’s death scared the shit out of me.


Because there have been thoughts. A lot of thoughts.

Oh look. That tree is sturdy. I bet it’d destroy me and my car if I hit it going 70mph. Or… A steep hill… a ravine…. And trees. Surely I wouldn’t survive that.

But the one that scared me into really reaching out to someone?

Standing in front of my bedroom’s second story window wondering if I had what it took to fling myself out of it – at what angle would I have to do this in order to hit the cement wall? How long after I hit the ground would I survive for? Would I feel anything? Surely that pain had to be better than living in constant anxiety and frustration.

As I reached out to push the screen, I recoiled and rushed downstairs. Too close. Too.FUCKING.CLOSE.

A friend had reached out and told me if I ever felt Not OK, to text. So I did. We talked. He searched for some local agencies and found one for me. Today was my second therapy appointment. It rocked me. Hard. I drove for nearly an hour just to be okay enough to come home.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for almost a month now. I’ve been lying to myself. To you. To people who love me. I’m not okay. On my good days, I’m okay. But most days? Most days I’m a shell wrapped around shattered porcelain supports threatening to break any second. I rock, I pace, I can’t get my leg or my hands to stay still. I’ve been telling myself I’m okay, that I can do this, that I’m strong, that I have to make it through this because there’s no other choice but through. I can’t get out of this. It is my life. But – I’m alone in my life right now and I’m not so okay with that even though really, I have to be. There I go again.

Why now? Why today?

Because over the past week or so, I’ve had a couple of friends who have been in the same place come to me for support. I’ve watched myself type things to them I should be heeding but haven’t been. Words I need to live by but haven’t been.

It’s so very easy in this day and age to isolate ourselves. To live in an ivory tower connected to the world only with Wi-Fi. There are walls we put up, a lack of contact, a lack of true connection even if we try to impress upon others how much we care, they are, ultimately, still alone in their private hell. Our words are not three dimensional. They’re not hugs. They’re not “real” no matter how real they may seem or feel to those sending them. You can’t hug an email, a tweet, or a comment on a status update. Well, you can.  But it’s awkward. And you’re still alone in the dark. It hurts, y’all. Like hell.

Trey’s death especially hit home because again, here was someone who was not only connected online but in person and yet he felt so profoundly alone and lost that the only way out he could locate was death.What’s really scary is that from initial suicidal thought to completion, time lapse is typically only 10 minutes. 10 MINUTES, people! Which, in the Social Media Realm seems like forever but in the real world? It’s only 10 minutes. That’s not a lot of time to do anything. No amount of Klout in the world is powerful enough to prevent someone from going through with suicide if they’re truly determined.

I don’t want that to be my way out. I don’t want to be a statistic. I can’t let myself be a statistic. I’m fighting as hard as I can but it’s exhausting. Some days, I may be quiet. I may not be able to handle supporting you. I need you to be okay with that. I need to be okay with that. I need to be okay with not being okay right now and admitting that I’m tired. It’s a work in progress and I suspect will be such for quite some time to come.

I’m not posting this for pity. I’m not posting this for attention. I’m posting this because the more honest we all are about how we feel and the more truthful we are with facing the hard, the easier it is for us to make strides in healing the hard. The easier it becomes for the NEXT person to talk about the hard, especially when that hard is suicide or a mental health issue.

I’m refusing, once again, to remain silent. I hope my refusal to stay silent about this will help someone somewhere.

Know I’m on my way to my new okay. I don’t have a plan right now and I am seeking help. In the meantime though, and especially right after I post this, I’m going to need some time to myself because wow has this been hard to write. I imagine deciding to hit Publish will be even harder. Because once I hit that button there’s no more hiding this from anyone.  And also? I’m supposed to be strong. I’m supposed to be the support. Once I hit publish, that flips. Being on the opposite side of the equation is a bit scary… it’s territory I’ve not been in for quite some time. At least not publicly. Or ever, really, because I didn’t go through my PPD in real-time through my blog or on Twitter. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and click. Like Pin the Tail on the Donkey except this is Bare your heart and soul to the entire fucking Internet and never take it back. It’s a pebble which, once dropped, will create uncontainable ripples.

Also? Make those connections. Online and off. Lean on them. BE HONEST when you’re not okay. Lying about your well-being only hurts yourself. I am SO sorry for not being honest but it’s hard to be honest with others when you’re not even capable of being honest with yourself. Now that I’m somewhat heading toward self-honesty, I will do my best to be honest with you too. I pray you’ll forgive my dishonesty and understand my struggles. I know most of you will. But I do worry some of you will worry unnecessarily about me as well or even wonder if you’ve done anything to add to my issues. Rest assured you have not, I promise.

I love all of you to pieces and hope you’ll continue to support me as I go through this new and not so stable time in my life. I know you’re going to want to help but a lot of this involves things I need to work through on my own. Just knowing you’re out there to support me as I’m moving forward will be more than enough.

I’m working to find my happy again. I promise.

0 thoughts on “All alone in a digital world

  1. Robin @ Farewell, Stranger

    Lauren, where do I start? I knew you weren’t okay. That’s the reason behind a few of my tweets and expressions of love. But I didn’t want to push you. I knew you had to work through it and write it when you were ready but, holy crap, lady, I’m SO glad you wrote about this.

    One of the hardest things about being an online friend is not really knowing what to do about it when someone is struggling. Do I reach out? Do I leave her alone? What kind of support can I offer, really?

    You don’t have to be strong, at least not enough for all of us. You have a place in our community and you won’t lose that, but right now you only have to be strong enough for yourself. Never, ever feel that you have to do something you just can’t do. Never feel you can’t reach out. And never feel you have to be around when what you really want is to be alone working through this.

    In writing your most honest post yet, you’ve also written your best. Because you are being true to yourself and showing those who need to see it that they’re not alone.

    Neither of you. I’m always here. Sending so much love.

  2. Cristi Comes

    Dang it, I really wish you could have made it to Seattle. I could have given you a real 3 dimensional hug and a roof. Im sad you’re feeling this way. But an so damn proud of you for speaking up (better late than never seriously). You deserve the kind of support and love that you give each and every day, but you’re right. We must also keep and nurture ourselves and our relationships/friendships offline. I hope you can find what you need Lauren. I hope you continue to reach out when you feel lost & alone. I know you don’t want to be a statistic. I don’t want you to be one either. But I KNOW how tiring it can be to look at the darkness and not see a clear way out but keep looking, moment by moment. You are loved. You really are. And you are most certainly not alone even on days when you feel you are. Hugs & love.

  3. SarahBee (@SarahBeeC)

    Dear Lauren,
    Thank you. Thank you for everything. For being there and encouraging me, for helping others, for all your work to protect our community and help us out of the darkness.
    It’s okay to not be okay. It’s hard to not have actual warm arms squeezing you hugs and I wish with all my heart I could be there for you in that way. Thank you for your honesty.

  4. Margaret (mammacockatoo)

    I’m so sorry, this is a long one – and I understand if you don’t have the energy or time to do anything with it, and I imagine you will receive many of these. I don’t expect a personal reply, but I just wanted to say *something*. There’s so much I want to say, because a lot of your words hit close to home – but this is my attempt at a shorter version.

    I’ve actually been wondering how “OK” you have been, but I’m the kind of person who has trouble asking, feeling like I’m just being nosy – and honestly, I barely know you, so it feels like I’m just being weird and intrusive. I’m sorry, because I promote the idea that we *should* ask without waiting for somebody to reach out for help (because so often, those really in need of help, don’t reach out on their own). In Australia, we just had “R U OK?” day, fercryinoutloud.

    I do understand what you’re saying, but please don’t apologise for not being “honest”. You *have* been honest about needing space and time, about needing to step back sometimes. You always tell those you support that they don’t have to share things with everybody unless/until they are ready. You always say that those who stay quiet are still loved and welcome. Just because you are the public face of a wonderful support network, it doesn’t mean your entire life has to be public. As you said, there is only so much we can do from the other end of an internet connection.

    I know my story is different, but I also see how you can support others while keeping your own needs quiet (or even denying them). I do the same thing: sometimes feeling useful to somebody else is the only thing that gets me through my own dark moments; the only thing that makes me feel connected to something outside my own head.

    I’m so sorry that you are going through this. You *are* strong. You *are* getting real-life help. I’m so very glad that you are. And we’re all still right here for the online support, just as you have been here for all of us.

  5. learnedhappiness

    Dear Lauren,

    I’m so glad you hit post. I know it was hard to do.

    Please don’t for one second apologize for not being honest with us. Depression is the dishonest one, not you – it’s a symptom of the disorder. We all know how hard it can be to see what’s really going on inside ourselves, let alone let others in.

    The thing about this beautiful army you founded is that we get that sometimes you can be leaned on and sometimes you need to do the leaning. And that’s okay. So lean away. We’ll support you.

    With so much love.

  6. Andrea

    Oh, Lauren – I am so so sorry. I know you don’t want pity and that is not what this is. I am so sorry you have kept this wound up inside yourself and found yourself unable to share before now. You are no martyr, woman. And need not ever be. I, too, felt that you were not okay, but did not know to what extent. And to what extent I – a woman miles and miles away – could help any more than just offering an ear. I’m not a founder of anything or a well known advocate, but you know I know you enough to know how you are an incredible and amazing woman, and one who deserves as much support as she gives to others. I don’t want to have failed you in any way, because you are always there for all of us. I want to let you know you are loved and you are adored in so many ways – ways beyond words – and I agree. It sucks to feel a loss without friends you can physically lean on. But just the same, the loss we feel there, we need to permit our hearts and minds, our souls and selves to lean on anyone who offers. Digital or not, we are here for YOU. This outpouring must have burned through you as you typed every word. I’m so proud of you for hitting publish. And I am here, now, always, to listen if you need me. I thank you for your incredible strength and support, and for being brave enough to put this out there. Much love to you, mama. Now and always.

  7. story3girl

    I have so much I want to say and I feel so unable to say it. I hope you know how much we all love you, really three dimensionally love you. And I hope to some day be able to give you a real three dimensional hug.

    Whatever you need from me, I would be more than glad to offer it. If you want me to DM you and check in every day I will. If you want me to keep having coffee and joking with you in the morning as if nothing happened, I will do that too.

    We are all here for you. And I understand that you need more than that. Real life friends are SO HARD to find. I think you told me once that even though it’s terrifying to talk to new people, sometimes you have to do it anyway to survive. You held my hand online when I went to my first Mom’s Club meeting. And meeting people in real life has completely changed my life

    If I can ever return that favor, it would be my supremest pleasure.

  8. AddyB

    Thank you Lauren for being so honest with yourself and us. Thank you for reaching out when you did. You are and always will be one of the strongest women I know. It takes strength to reveal and recognize a weakness in yourself and even more so to share it with others. Please continue to take care of yourself in the manner that suits you best. I’m here for you, praying and thinking of you.

  9. Liz

    Lauren, thank you for being brave enough to write this. You have an army behind you and while we aren’t there to physically give hugs, we’re all sending them from afar. Stay strong and keep being yourself. You can DO this. And we’re all behind you. <3

  10. Frelle

    I love you. Especially for sharing so vulnerably and completely, leaving out little and “going there” describing intrusive thoughts you’ve had and urges you’ve supressed. I needed to read this today. You are brave and strong. And I’m so grateful for the community you’ve created.

  11. erica

    Oh sweetie, I feel awful because I knew something was different & didn’t push hard enough. Please know that although I cannot hug you in person, I’m sending the most love vibes I could possibly muster. I love you friend. You are truly an amazing woman with SO much knowledge that I KNOW you will pull through this. We are ALL here, united, standing around you. If you need help with #ppdchat, ask. If you need to talk, you have my #. I’m here friend. I’m here. Big hugs, lots of shared tears WITH you. Xoxo.

  12. John

    We will always be here – I know that I’ve those same thoughts about sturdy trees and a straight road . . . and those are my “good days.”

    You’ve been one of the absolute best people to turn to, but you have to make sure you’re ok first. If that means you need to disappear for awhile, then so be it (just, um, some of us might check in every now & then, but that’s just what we do).

    I’m hugging my laptop right now – in the hopes that, when you hug yours, it transmits.

  13. Chibi Jeebs

    “I’m posting this because the more honest we all are about how we feel and the more truthful we are with facing the hard, the easier it is for us to make strides in healing the hard. The easier it becomes for the NEXT person to talk about the hard, especially when that hard is suicide or a mental health issue.

    I’m refusing, once again, to remain silent. I hope my refusal to stay silent about this will help someone somewhere.”

    That is precisely why I allow myself to emo-word-vomit all over my blog – along with being my screwed up way of asking for help when I’m too proud to otherwise, I know based on comments, emails, and DMs I’ve received that it’s helped others to know that they’re not alone and that it’s okay to talk about.

    Sending you so much love and prayers and strength. <3

  14. Amy (@The_BMG)

    I love you. There have been so many times you have propped me and told me the hard advice that I knew I needed, but didn’t want to hear. Now? Take care of you. Do what you need to do. We will all be behind you holding you up. Helping you be the new you.

    And know that I’m still looking forward to that day when we meet and can have margaritas with silly straws.

  15. Rach B. (@DonutsMama)

    I am so sorry. So sorry. I know that it can still be lonely, no matter how many people you tweet or blog with. I get that. I wish I could come over to your house right now and just sit with you. I would do it too. You’ve been such an inspiration to us. Please let us be there for you. Always.

  16. molly

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I know how you feel. I’m sure that doesn’t help. But believe me. Oh, believe me. I was wanting to end it just two months ago. It can and does get better.

  17. ChiMomWriter

    It can be so scary to write because it also forces us to move forward even on the many days when we’d prefer to curl up and not face the hard. Good for you for stepping away from the window screen and hitting publish on the computer screen instead. As strong as your online community is, I hope you are able to find some”live” faces and hugs as well. I know that imbalance well. Hugs to you.

  18. Deborah the Closet Monster

    My heart aches at the thought of this sense of aloneness.

    A few years ago, it took my foot creeping off the brake pedal as a semi-truck approached for me to realize what was wrong. Realizing what was wrong helped me take steps to fix it, the first of which was reaching out to two of my dearest friends and allowing myself the benefit of their comfort . . . no matter how hard it was to speak the words I first had to for them to understand how vast was this difference between who I was and I was then pretending to be.

    I wrote a short post about this a few months ago. In response to that, my sister (one of the two) and I got to talking about everything I would’ve missed out on. I was building this whole huge list when she boiled it down in a single bullet: “You never would’ve met Li’l D.” That’s a thought I held onto a couple months ago, when I was faced with that same void. I would’ve missed so much.

    Ganbatte, as they always said when I was teaching in Japan. Figh-to.

  19. Jenn@Fox in the City

    Okay, I so want to kick your butt for thinking that you should be asking for forgiveness and that you were dishonest! Nothing could be further from the truth and you have nothing to be forgive for.

    I am so sorry that you feel alone. That is one of the worst feelings in the world. As my first marriage was coming to an end I admit that I began to wonder what would it matter if I just drove the car off that bridge or turned into the path of that truck. Obviously I didn’t but it scared me that I felt so alone, so disconnected from everyone, that that even became a thought.

    You have been such a source of strength for so many of us. I sincerely hope that you allow me to return that kindness and I can be a source of strength for you. You are an amazing person and the world is truly a better place because you are in it.

  20. Sandy

    Is it actually possible to read about you feeling alone and somehow feel less alone myself? I wrote about feeling forgotten couple weeks ago and fear kept me from hitting the publish button. Thank you. Your strength shines even when you let us in on your darkest thoughts. Amazing as always. I wish you well in this painful journey

  21. Jenny @jenrenpody on Twitter

    Lauren, the only reason I joined Twitter was to participate in the #ppdchat. I had read your posts, and I wanted to be a part of the chat as well. I am struggling with this, but I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You have provided me with so much support, and I am so grateful. I have taken the scary step and opened up to some of my friends IRL. Your courage and honesty inspires me on a daily basis. Sending you love and support. Keep working to find your happy.

  22. Penelpe

    I’m so sorry to read this. Four of my close friends divorced this summer (married between 10-23 years)…it was a heck of a year. I don’t know if something is in the water, but I do know that we all need someone to talk to, and even if it’s online, you should be afraid to talk to others who may be able to share their own experiences. It’s what you offer to others, so you would understand the value of it. I hope everything works out.

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  24. Katherine @ Postpartum Progress

    I’m glad you published this Lauren. Because you are being honest with yourself. You are admitting that you need help, and you are getting help, and that is wonderful. I worry for you. I know you must miss your children and I know you must feel so strange in your parents’ home and I know you must be so frustrated with the job hunt (as are almost all the people searching for jobs these days, it seems) and with just about absolutely everything. It must feel like such a heavy weight. But people believe in you. We believe in you. And you know — you have the experience to know — that you can and will get better. You will have the time to heal, and you will have (I hope) really good help from the therapist, and you will circle back around, away from all this messiness and upheaval, to the Lauren you know and everyone else knows. Please be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time to get there.

  25. Jaime

    I can’t imagine what it feels like to go through so much change at once. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, you’re rocking it. You’re getting the help you need and practicing self-care–the things you lead so many of us to do! I can’t speak for the whole Army, but I’m proud of you and proud to know you.

  26. slbelote

    It is always easier to help someone else then to help yourself. You have not only helped others with your post but you were able to help yourself also. Always take time for yourself. You are an amazing and passionate woman. Never forget that.

  27. Danielle Lefebvre

    I am currently going through PPD/PPP, I have my first doctors appointment to find out whats wrong with me tomorrow. I have been googling for days and today I landed here, on your blog and who’s name do I see? Trey Pennington. A friend to my mother and her friend, Marshall. This shows what a small world we really live in at times. I am going through something horrible at this time in my life, my family and friends have abandoned me. Its hard to cope but I am trying to find the courage to stay strong in my fight.

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