The hardest thing about mental illness is the isolation, the feeling that you are on your own despite being surrounded by other people. It’s a horrific feeling and one that only serves to pull you into the abyss.
Yet, you go on with daily life, smiling, laughing and being yourself, getting through each day as best you can. Others around you mostly haven’t a clue of what’s going on in your head and in the days of instant contact in this digital world, we are increasingly living in our own bubbles of reality.
I’ve heard from a few bloggers this week about their experience of dealing with people who seem to act with no humanity or compassion at all. One lady was trolled publicly and by personal messages threatening actual body harm to her for her views on a Celeb Big Brother thread. Have a look at Rachel’s story here in full as it is shocking.
Another lady I’m getting to know, Mandy, writes a life blog and has done for several years. She has mental health issues, which she talks about in her blog. In the link, she tells of being brought to tears just by people venturing their opinion but in the most demeaning way. You can see the impact in her post here and it is powerful writing about her own experience.
A couple of single mothers I know hear criticism about their lives, yet no-one knows the issues they face, especially with depression and anxiety knocking on the door. Mothers doing their best in the hardest of circumstances, winning but wounded.
As bloggers, we do tend to put ourselves out there, our lives laid bare for all to see, that much is true. Why do people then feel it necessary to be unkind, especially to someone they know has health issues? Would you walk up to someone in the street recovering from a life threatening illness or operation and push them around?
So why is it that people feel it is acceptable to bully others via cyber space?
We never know what others are going through, why they behave in the way they do or if that smile is fake or not.
Cases in point:
A friend, a police officer with PTSD that I was speaking with yesterday is going through the most difficult time, personally and professionally. Strong with incredible wit online, the last person you would suspect of issues, but near in tears with me talking about the experience which has left scars.
Another friend, incredibly robust and funny online presence, again a police officer, has the most vicious attacks every day by social media. They too suffer from PTSD and have good days, bad days.
The person I talked about stacking logs up to get to the tree branch to commit suicide, is the most wonderfully strong, funny and capable person I know. Life chucked a few lemons in the past few years, so now there is limoncello and lemon meringue pie aplenty, such is the tremendous attitude they have. Yet, others attack on line, voicing opinions and then launching missiles when their views are challenged. Sometimes very personal in nature and I know it hurts very deeply.
Fact is that we don’t know what people are going through daily, struggling through personal battles unseen to everyone else. It’s human to react, get riled with people or even sometimes to pick a fight because that’s how we feel. Don’t forget to have empathy and state your opinion without anger or insult. It is a reflection of you, after all.
Be kind. Always. Even to yourself.