Instagram Perfection. Mental Illness. & Losing A Friend.
This isn’t a post to tell you my friend and colleague was murdered or the details of the situation. Please read that in the linked articles below. This isn’t a post to tell you what an incredible person Chris Edwards was. I want you to know that and I encourage you to watch this video. However, that is not the point. I want to express that mental health is REAL and yes, it can even effect those in your circle.
I have read every AJC, USA Today, CNN and NBC article written to try to understand how this could happen. I’ve watched the news. I’ve scrolled through the families Instagram platforms. Over the past month, I have tried to grasp it, understand it and process it. I finally came to the determination that there are certain things that on this side of Heaven we will never understand.
On the contrary, it made me sick to read articles and watch news segment pointing to the “perfect Instagram life” which surely couldn’t lead to something like this.
Last week, The Dr. Oz show produced a segment (which you can watch here) about the murder of Chris, his sister, Erin and the suicide of his mother who shot both of her children. In the segment titled, “What Made This Insta-Perfect Mom Snap?” Dr. Oz opens saying “On social media she was the picture perfect mother…”
Nancy Grace, frequently seen on TV as a legal commentator, opens with “it is different from every other mother murdering her children.”…. Why? She states because Dr. Marsha Edwards was “highly educated, filthy rich, had an unfortunate divorce from someone who was also a doctor but she wasn’t hurting because she had a beautiful car, home, clothes, education and living the high life.”
Dr. Oz’s response to this “Well, let’s take a look at her Instagram post.” Of course, this makes perfect sense. Haven’t we learned that our Instagram posts are our highlight reel? Tell me the last time there were warning signs of a murder/suicide on someone’s Instagram.
This story has broken my heart, the hearts of my friends and the country. The best way I can honor Chris is to speak truth. Chris was one of the most opinionated people I knew and I guarantee you would also speak his thoughts. The problem with our society is that many believe that 1) perfect people can’t have mental illness and the people that do have mental illness must not have perfect lives. Is Nancy Grace saying education, money and beautiful children could never lead to mental illness? That is simply not true.
2) Instagram is not the indicator for wellness. For example, this story is one I have barely shared with my friends much less social media? You never know what someone is going through. STOP comparing yourself to Instagram highlight reels. STOP assuming everything is okay because it seems okay on a post. Check in with people. Pay attention. Love harder. Talk more. Scroll less.
Thank you to the producers of Elon Phoenix Weekly, Manny Tobe and Peter Fortunato,
for honoring Chris’ legacy. I hope you remember Chris for his zeal for life, constant enthusiasm and passion for everything he did.