Facebook Drama – Seriously?

"No, I don't watch soap operas. I have Facebook"Have you experienced prolonged or repeated episodes of drama on Facebook? Do you find yourself complaining about the drama on Facebook?  Or worse, have you taken a “break” from Facebook because of all the drama? *Caution: I sense a rant coming*

My guess – and it’s only a guess – is that those persons who seem to get repeatedly embroiled in Facebook drama possibly do so in real life as well and may contribute as much to the drama as anyone else.  The curious thing is that they seem to think it is always someone else causing the drama and maybe it is, but maybe, just maybe, it isn’t all someone else’s fault.

If there is too much drama in your Facebook life then take a look in the mirror, re-evaluate your online relationships, and online behaviors.  Ask yourself if the online dramas reflect your real life dramas? And, if Facebook dramas don’t mirror real life dramas, then maybe it’s simply time to re-evaluate how you use social media rather than whether you use it.

After all, Facebook – like isn’t inherently good or bad – it’s what you do with it that matters.  Kind of like most things in life.

Why do I write this? Is it because of drama in my Facebook life? Hell, no … my Facebook life is entertaining but relatively pedestrian.  Sure, I occasionally make a stupid remark and have been called on it, but we all do that at times – in real life and in cyberspace. Big deal. Apologize, learn from it, and move on.

I write this because I hate to see friends – even acquaintances – in distress.  I write this because of the few times I’ve seen friends suddenly and needlessly disappear from Facebook or other social media due to the drama.  Guess what? If you flee rather than deal with the issues then not only are you deprived of the benefits of social networking but your friends are deprived of you and left to worry if something is really wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a person needs to take a break from Facebook and other social media as well as e-mail and the Internet generally. A healthy break that helps clear your head and re-set is good, but a break that doesn’t lead to resolution of a situation or positive changes that will prevent recurrences is something of a meaningless act. In those cases you’ve let the drama push you away rather than dealing with the underlying issues.

With all that said, some may wonder if I’m being hypocritical by complaining about drama. I’m not complaining about drama on Facebook, but I am concerned about those who repeatedly complain about drama and then don’t do anything positive to eliminate the drama in a healthy way. There’s a difference. And if you need help dealing with the drama – just ask.

Before I call it a night there is one disclaimer that I must make for fear of generating drama on my own and I’ll take a cue from TV and film to say:

“This is almost a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living, dead or undead, is entirely coincidental.”

Children and Medications for Mental Health Issues – A Last Resort

Children hiking through the woods
Medicating children for mental health conditions, ADD/ADHD, and other learning disabilities should be an absolute last resort. IMO parents should go to the ends of the earth before taking a chance on medication.

Of course, I’m not a parent so by some people’s reasoning I don’t have a vote in the ongoing debate about children and medication for mental health issues, ADD/ADHD, and other conditions.

Now are children being over-medicated? I haven’t studied the studies, but anecdotally I would bet children are because I believe adults are over medicated. It seems to me that if doctors of all stripes are too quick to prescribe meditations for adults then they are likely – albeit less – to do the same for children.

The reason I am so concerned about possible over-prescribing is that we don’t know enough about the medications and how they impact the brain of an adult. It’s not difficult to find articles discussing hypothesis for why a medication may work and even the documentation that come with many medications indicates that scientists aren’t quite sure why a medication does or doesn’t work on adults.

If we truly understood how they worked, then don’t you think we would have better medications so many years after the Prozac era? So why would we give unproven, less-than-understood medications to developing children unless it was as an absolutely last resort?

Assuming I’m correct, what do we do about it?  Let’s see, the government could spend millions of dollars on another public education campaign or maybe the medical profession should do its job and set strict criteria – albeit voluntary – for the prescription of certain medications.

Among my recommendations:

  • Pediatricians and general practitioners would be restricted in their prescribing habits – perhaps even barred from prescribing mental health medications for children.
  • Psychological examination and testing would be a mandatory pre-requisite for the receipt of such medications. Oh, and screening by school staff is not sufficient, neither is screening by a social worker. I would require it be conducted by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
  • Counseling, again by a psychiatrist or psychologist, would be required before a child could be prescribed. At a minimum I would suggest three 1-hour sessions and preferably six sessions.

There is an obvious downside to the above restrictions that I will readily admit: it will almost certainly prevent some children who truly need the medications from getting them due to a lack of parental resources such as time and money.  Furthermore, I have no doubt some specialists would become “pill mills” for getting prescriptions without going through the necessary steps.

So the recommendations aren’t a perfect solution. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the above recommendations should reduce the amount of over-prescribing (protecting many children) as well as combat any suggestion that we really know the long-term impact of such prescribing on a child’s health.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below – but be respectful as hot-button issues often bring out the worst in people.

Image Credit: vastateparksstaff via the Creative Commons, inclusion of their photo should not be considered an endorsement of this post or this site’s content.

Laughing at Ourselves and Our Conditions with the Peanuts Gang

Life with chronic anxiety is tough.  Always living on that edge can be exhausting so its great when we can reach out and enjoy a moment of disaction or joy.  That includes laughing at ourselves and our condition.

Linus complicating life for Lucy who just wants to color

<click to enlarge>

Is the Peanuts cartoon familiar? Much like attorneys, those of us with chronic anxiety often complicate life to a ridiculous degree and rob ourselves of simple pleasures in the process or make a bad situation worse. It’s a fact of life, but when given the chance it’s okay to enjoy a moment of mirth by laughing at our condition.