Thursday, 11 October 2018

Your attacks won’t stop me speaking the truth but they have made me change my privacy settings

This sweary quote sadly sums up my eventual reaction to all the online abuse I've been getting recently from strangers on Twitter and FB groups. Terrible isn't it, speaking up for yourself?  Having an opinion!  Whatever next?

Am really sick of receiving nasty remarks, but not only that, it does trigger me.  I may be a heck of a lot stronger than I used to be but I'm still fully human and not even partly machine.  I know a lot of coaches, mentors, healers get this kind of shit directed at them – and those who speak up about mental health.

Yesterday someone set up an anonymous account just for the purpose of arguing with me. Now don't get me wrong, differences of opinion cause no problemo - I'm a lecturer for goodness sake, I teach people how to present their arguments in writing!  When I called him / her out on the behaviour, he/she eventually deleted the tweet - so it kinda now looks like I've been arguing with myself as my replies are still there!

And then today after a spectacular session of being on the receiving end of a stranger's anger in a Facebook group, I ended up shaking. I'd had enough. She tried connecting with me on messenger to give me more!  Err no thanks.

Enough was enough. I respect others’ opinions but when I state my opinions, I find others will not afford me the same grace or respect, going as far as to lash out with accusations.  There are so many people who need healing – and that starts with looking inside ourselves not attacking others we know nothing about online.  Projecting a tonne of inner issues on others.  Well actually no, it's time to have it back, fuckers.

In choosing to speak out about abuse, dissect it, reveal it, shine a light on it, understand it, the darkness appears in the form of others who cannot or will not heal themselves, choosing to attack instead.

I won't stop speaking out and I won't stop telling the truth, nor will I keep quiet when there is something that needs saying, even if I stand alone I will do it - because quite simply I did not go through all this just so I can say “I'm alright - you're all on your own”.  There's already too much of that from a silent fearful blinkered majority.

Apart from all the folk attacking others (and there seem to be a lot lately) there are also a huge amount of wonderful people around who can help others with the calming down, holistic therapies and mindfulness stuff too.

But what happens to those of us whose route is healing in a different way?  Some of us have paths that involve speaking up for what is both difficult and dangerous, even to our own detriment – but we do it anyway for the sake of truth.  My background was entirely different from activism in any form, what you see comes directly from me and my pain.

There were many times when I was at lower stages of healing when I thought recovery wasn’t even possible.  I didn't know what I was getting up for.  In fact if I hadn't have had my children I maybe wouldn't have got up.  Now I know that healing IS possible and I intend to use what I’ve learnt through my experiences to help others who cannot help themselves right now.

But for now, I have to be sensible and take care of myself and once again take steps to protect my mental health from those who can't resist lashing out whether in person or online, when the only route that will truly help is to look within.

It’s the same for us all – we don’t get to dip out of doing the work on our own souls.  Life just doesn’t work that way.

Result is I've made my personal Instagram and Twitter accounts private for the time being. Those who are already in the fold, will be staying! But there will be some vetting to do. I've had a prune of Facebook friends too.  I went through and asked myself honestly on a deep gut level, who do I genuinely feel I can trust?  If there was a shred of doubt, those people have gone from my connections list.  If there wasn't enough information to be sure, they've gone too.

Sadly I've removed myself from an online group in which I was helping to support others. I felt unsafe - and that is my choice - that's me knowing exactly where my boundaries lie.  My boundaries may look different to those of others and that doesn't matter one iota.  I feel very sad at how that worked out, because it's a group in which I've willingly volunteered my personal time to help support group members.  But I do feel it's the right choice.  Nothing is worth your personal safety.

I'm sad because making my accounts private flies in the face of everything I stand for about free speech and about public platforms.  But if it helps to keep me away from people publicly attacking and shaming me for holding an opinion then so be it.  Cos that ain't anybody's idea of having a fun life.