Sometimes social media can be a vessel for useless chatter and negativity. And sometimes it can create a situation so unexpectedly profound that it might actually help lift people out of depression.
That's what happened this week, and it unfolded like a scene from a romantic comedy.
Depressed young woman tweets at celebrity she admires. Celebrity gives her life-altering advice as the public looks on stunned, then everyone feels all the feels together.
The Twitter user @chojuroh tweeted at Los Angeles based writer Dan Harmon that she was depressed. Harmon, one of the creators of "Rick and Morty," an adult animated science-fiction sitcom, took her seriously.
"@danharmon do you have advice for dealing with depression," she tweeted on Thursday.
Here's his response in four tweets:
For One: Admit and accept that it’s happening. Awareness is everything. We put ourselves under so much pressure to feel good. It’s okay to feel bad. It might be something you’re good at! Communicate it. DO NOT KEEP IT SECRET. Own it. Like a hat or jacket. Your feelings are real.— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) November 28, 2017
Two: try to remind yourself, over and over, that feelings are real but they aren’t reality. Example: you can feel like life means nothing. True feeling. Important feeling. TRUE that you feel it, BUT...whether life has meaning? Not up to us. Facts and feelings: equal but different— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) November 28, 2017
Dark thoughts will echo off the walls of your skull, they will distort and magnify. When you open your mouth (or an anonymous journal or blog or sketchpad), these thoughts go out. They’ll be back but you gotta get em OUT. Vent them. Tap them. I know you don’t want to but try it.— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) November 28, 2017
The most important thing I can say to you is please don’t deal with it alone. There is an incredible, miraculous magic to pushing your feelings out. Even writing “I want to die” on a piece of paper and burning it will feel better than thinking about it alone. Output is magical.— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) November 28, 2017
She can barely believe what's happening. Her reply:
"sorry I'm kinda star struck rn so I'm having a hard time articulating anything other than thank you so goddamn much for all of this. Probably better than my therapist could've said it. (And my boyfriend: "TELL HIM THANK YOU AND THAT WE SUBSCRIBE TO HARMONTOWN")"
Harmon's advice was shared and retweeted thousands of times. People responded with gratitude, tweeting:
"Feelings are real but they aren't reality" you have no idea how much you just helped me. In an instant that statement put so much anxiety to peace. Thank you"
And from another: "Thank you for this. You did more for anxiety/depression sufferers than any pill or therapist. Own our feelings, quit hiding behind the fake smile. You're an amazing guy for taking the question so seriously"
Once enough people responded that they were crying, @chojuroh weighed in again: "I've seen how many people this has reached and I'm the one crying!"
Harmon seems like a pretty introspective guy, and also funny. His Twitter bio says, in part:
"I take four deep four-second breaths four times a day and it makes me better than you so eat it."