How Do I Deal With Social Media?

Title: How Do I Deal With Social Media?
Format: Open Speaker Talk
Date: 11.02.2021
©2021 Bob Cristello, Founder, Coping With Suicide LLC

Good morning Faithful Reader

As promised, I will be sharing some of my posts in this group to my public social media timelines as a way to bring about awareness of parents who have lost a child by suicide. This is one such post and no link to this group or mention of anyone here will be made.

How do I deal with the friends of my children who use my child’s suicide as a way to get likes and shares on social media?

As most of you know, my name is Bob Cristello and I am the father of Anthony Cristello who killed himself a little over four years ago at the age of 35. I say this to claim my seat here and show my connection with a club that no one wishes to be a member of.

The first thing I usually say when I hear someone ask this question is “I am so proud of you for seeing beyond yourself”. When I first came to this group I could not even think straight and I actually did not find this group until I was two years into the process. Looking back to those first few days, weeks and months; I noticed that new questions started popping into my head. The questions were no longer only focused on me, my guilt, my pain, my devastation, my responsibility – they started to be about others. What do I say, how do I say it, who do I share with, how dare someone else say this to me and so on. I equate this with an early awakening in the process where we start to see beyond ourselves and start to see others.

Inwardly, I have come to the point in my grieving process that I realize there is a much larger problem at hand than my personal grief. There is, first and foremost, the grief of those who struggle with this type of death and how it impacts them. Secondly, there is some sort of responsibility to the human community as a whole that grabs hold of you deep inside once you open yourself up to the realm of the spiritual. The latter of course, is something that some of our members find optional while others swear that a spiritual component is required in order to find even a momentary peace from the pain that we share.

If that is true, I have to remember that I was born in 1959 and I have seen entire generations grow up where every single facet of their life is documented for everyone to see. I cannot begin to fathom the intense pressure our children must feel under this type of scrutiny. Where peer pressure is measured in likes and the bullies are no longer waiting on the street corner or outside of school, they are in the very lives, computers and portables phones in the possession of our children. So yes, the bigger problem is that our children are killing themselves at an alarmingly faster rate than ever in history. I don’t know how to solve that problem, but you can bet that I am going to try to wrap my head around it.

But on a local level, I care about the parents who come to this group with no hope, no idea of what to do or how to even get up for another day. I love each and every one of you, even those of you I do not know yet because I know your pain. I am six weeks into an exercise designed to get me on my feet, back into the lives of my wife and my 8 year old daughter and I am doing it as best I can. Tomorrow, I may be in here crying and venting. But for today, I can tell you that there is hope. There is a wealth of love and support in this group and I pray that you find the courage to use it.

Until next time, remember to call someone and tell them that you love them.

My name is Bob and thank you for letting me share.