Three things I scroll past in my Facebook feed:
1. First responder horror stories
2. Anything describing, or showing, an animal in distress
3. Nut-shot videos
There’s probably more, but these are the big ones, the ones I consciously choose not to look at. That last one not because I find these offensive, but because I’m a guy and holy crap ouch.
I don’t tell horror stories anymore. When someone asks me what’s the worst thing I’ve seen as a paramedic, I’ve learned to just smile and shake my head. Sometimes I’ll tell one of the good stories instead, one of those that I recall with a flush of pride, or were really rewarding and inspire a smile on their own. Maybe I’ll share one of those here later. As a lover of things furry (read into that what you may), animals in distress trigger me enormously, mostly, I think, because they cannot understand what’s happening to them, and I feel such pain and empathy.
Last year I lost a friend I had known for awhile, and it still makes me sad. I’d been sharing a ton of very negative posts regarding first responder suicides and how horrible life with this injury the world calls a disorder is, and because of that he sent me a PM saying he couldn’t be my FB friend anymore. I had just begun climbing my way of a very dark pit, and I responded harshly. Only one sentence, actually, that used both an F-Bomb and the “C” word. I’d felt betrayed, misunderstood (again), and left alone by someone whose children had been the only bits of joy I’d had for a very long time. Though I regret that immediate, visceral reaction, I still believe all of those things I felt were real.
So, I lost him as a friend on Facebook and in the real world. (What’s that you say? Facebook isn’t real??!!11!?)
Nobody on my friends list posts these things for a chuckle, and if anyone did they’d be gone from my house pretty quickly. Rather, it’s always to share something deeply personal, raise awareness of something they feel people should be witness to, or to promote a very good cause. These are all very valid things that I support whole-heartedly, so I will not unfriend or stop following them because of it. As I said at the top, I’ll just scroll past. The time may come when I don’t, but right now I need to, for me.
Don’t feel badly if you need to as well, and if the friend posting it has their heart in the right place they’ll understand.