I seriously wonder sometimes what goes through people’s heads when they decide to taunt or be rude to someone? Even worse, what goes through their minds when they do it anonymously online because they don’t have the guts to say it out loud. I honestly don’t understand it.
This week in Australia, we lost a media personality and former model. Charlotte Dawson had been a host of Australia’s top model and many other media roles. She battled depression and had attempted suicide after a very public online battle with internet trolls. On the first occasion, she got found in time. This time she didn’t.
Now, don’t get me wrong, while I wasn’t a huge Charlotte Dawson fan, I didn’t mind her either though I think she often did and said things without thinking about the ramifications. I was really saddened by her death though. A sad and unnecessary loss of human life. Those who criticised her (anonymously) in life will still be criticising her (still anonymously) in death. They are cowards who obviously have no conviction in what they say or they would say it out loud and in public rather than hiding behind a computer screen.
I have encountered this so many times in my many years online in all sorts of forums, chat rooms and nowadays on Facebook. I’ve experience it personally numerous times as well as seen it happen to other people. I never cease to be amazed at how low a few of the human race can sink to at times.. however in saying that, I am always so pleased to see the way the rest of we humans rise to the occasion and give solace and support in these situations.
I was on my old home town’s Facebook page the other day and saw someone had posted a car accident on the page. Suddenly the idiots came out, assuming that this one or the other was in the wrong.. They were speeding, they were an idiot driver, they were on the wrong side of the road etc. None of these people had a clue what had really happened but obviously their motto is “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.
Then the jokes started. At this time, there was still no word about how one of the drivers was. There were children in one of the cars, yet these morons still found the whole situation joke worthy. I said what I thought about this sort of disgusting behaviour and that I hoped that people were kinder to them if they ever found themselves in such a distressing situation. They kept going.. There is no getting through to some people.
I wrote a blog over a year ago now in support of White Ribbon Day. It told the story of the terror and torment we went through after I got divorced and the events leading up to my daughter’s death. It was very open and honest and extremely sad. Another internet blog wanted to reblog it and of course I said yes as I think it’s important to put the stories out there so people can understand the effect domestic violence actually has on the community as a whole. I’m happy to put my story out there to get the message across.
After the story appeared on the website, most of the messages that were written on the story were supportive and caring. One woman however, who obviously didnt know I was going to be reading the remarks on this particular website, spoke scathingly about what a pathetic parent I was and how much I deserved what I got as I had handed my children over on an access visit. I was stunned. I read her vitriole again and again and still sat with my mouth agape, trying to make sense of what she was saying. A few years ago, that would have tipped me over the edge.
Thankfully I’m in a happier place now and after processing my thoughts, I wrote a well thought out and unemotional reply to her. She never answered. She obviously thought that she could make that sort of horrible statement and noone would pull her up on it. When she was put back in her place with the truth, she didn’t have a reply. Why she felt the need to say such a cruel and nasty thing in the first place, I’ll never know. Did she know when I wrote that story where I was in my life? Could she be sure that her ill thought out, judgemental and just plain shitty disgusting piece of vitriole wasn’t going to tip me over the edge? No.. and she didn’t care, because I’m not a person… I’m a name on a screen.
As a result of a lot of the things I’ve been through in my life, I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I know people equate this with ex servicemen and the like, but it happens to all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. I don’t hide the fact that I have been diagnosed with a mental illness. I speak openly and honestly about it hoping to nurture a greater understanding of it in the community. I cope very well with life most of the time but have worked hard to get to this place in my life.
I avoid situations that trigger the anxiety, depression and memories wherever possible but sometimes there is no avoiding them. Yesterday in the course of business, I attended a rather tense meeting. I was also accused in the meeting of a few things which really hurt as I felt they were completely untrue and unfair. I stewed on it all day.. Yes I made a few jokes with friends trying to lighten it up a bit but I couldn’t shake it off. By the time I got home, I was quite distressed and the whole situation had triggered the symptoms of my PTSD.
I try where possible to not put negative statuses up on Facebook but last night, i was feeling fragile and very depressed. I knew I would be better after a good night’s sleep but right at that moment, my mood was horribly low and I was starting to drift into a black place. So I wrote this on Facebook to vent a little bit.. I have to keep telling myself that I only have 4 months to go.. Just keep your head down, stay out of the firing line and do only what you have to do..
I didn’t think it was saying a huge amount about what was going on. It certainly didn’t begin to touch on the inner turmoil that was happening. Thankfully, I have amazing people in my life who offered support, let me know they cared and lightened the mood where possible. That should have been that.
Then this morning, someone pointed out a nasty status from someone on my list who is well known to me, except I had been restricted from seeing it, as had most of the people who were with me. It spoke about a woe is me attitude and how people are so pathetic, seeking pats on the back from friends. As I say, nearly all my posts are positive (except for whinges about early mornings lol) so to start with I honestly didn’t think this person meant me.. till I realised I had been restricted from seeing it.
This person knows me personally, knows I have PTSD and knows what has happened in my life yet felt it necessary to mock me behind my back. If someone honestly felt like that, why not just say it so I could see it… and name me so I could respond. I’m not frightened of giving an opinion, so just say it out loud and be done with it, instead of the bullying tactics and the need for playing people against each other. The worst thing was, it was the under hand tactics of this person, that I believe had caused a lot of the problems through the day.
I guess reading this, many would think this was the work of a young, immature person but in reality is someone older than me, so someone who should know better than to play these passive aggressive games with people. This person was privvy to how I was feeling, yet still went on the attack. What makes a person do that? Is their life so sad and devoid of love that they feel the need to push another person to what could be their breaking point? I don’t understand it.. and honestly, I don’t want to.
It’s childish, stupid behaviour and one I refuse to have any part of. This person has been deleted from my life. If I need to see them on a professional level which may be the case, I will deal with it as I deal with most situations in my life. With my head held high, secure in the knowledge that when I walk away from the situation, I will have friends and family who love me and will support me. I guess it’s very sad that this person doesn’t have that same knowledge. I have to let the situation go and just pity them. I can’t imagine what it’s like not to have that love surrounding me.
We often see jokes going around social media making light of people in the spotlight and their circumstances. Next time you get one and consider sharing it, just stop and think how you’d feel if it was you or your daughter or son that everyone was having a laugh about. It wouldn’t feel nice. We need to spread love and understanding instead of so called humour at another person’s expense. Then and only then, we might teach our children the golden rule. To do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Not as they do unto you … which is often misquoted… but as YOU WOULD HAVE THEM do unto you.. Big difference.. If you would like to be treated nice.. treat others nice. If you want to be loved.. have an open heart to others.. If you want to be understood and accepted despite your faults and differences.. accept others for theirs.. This world is too wonderful a place not to teach the next generation the story of love..
Happy spreading the joy… Livvy