Friday, September 25, 2020

Like This

Last week I started to see tweets with the simple text "Like this tweet and I’ll write something about you." The replies, all by the author of the tweet, were fascinating: numbers apparently representing a person followed by praise, reminiscence, and gratitude. Elisabeth Hendrickson's thread is a particularly uplifting example. 

I was intrigued, so I liked a couple of them. Shortly afterwards I got a direct message which explained that the tweet was part of a project for suicide prevention month with the aim of celebrating people while they are alive. If I wanted to join in I should provide a number to represent myself so that the author could write something about me, and I was invited to do the same for others.

I'm naturally cautious of these chain letter-like activities and I'd heard of Suicide Prevention Day and Week, but not month. However, I found that September does appear to be promoted as suicide prevention awareness month by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Despite my concerns, the idea of helping to populate Twitter with positive messages appealed, so I joined in and ended up writing around 10 responses for people who liked my tweet.

I hope that someone who needs it right now found something valuable by seeing what me or others wrote. If not that, then I hope that some people who happened across these threads simply felt a rise in their mood and passed that on to others they interacted with.

Unexpectedly, I found the process of capturing only positive thoughts about the people who liked my tweet edifying. It was challenging at first because, perhaps by nature or perhaps by the nature of my job, I'm typically looking for a balanced perspective, seeing multiple sides, and avoiding blanket statements and absolutes. But it was tremendously pleasurable and enlightening to deliberately take the time to shed that skin and craft a couple of sentences that reflect the appreciation I have for someone I know or have found for someone I didn't know before. I like this. 

Disclaimer: I am no expert on suicide or its prevention. These links may be useful for those who want more:

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