As I sit sipping my morning cup of tea I appear every bit “normal” and relaxed. Nobody would know the turmoil I felt yesterday and to be honest I’m always so quick with a joke that most people wouldn’t have known how upset I was at the time. But unfortunately I had a Charlotte Dawson moment, nowhere near as thrilling as my Oprah moment I can tell you. So today I’m going to ramble about cyber trolls and why it is so hard for those of us with depression to move on. I don’t want people to get upset and complain about me “troll shaming” because I’m not. I love Good Luck Trolls, I understand the value of them guarding forbidden bridges and I agree that goat can be quite delicious. And I’m sure cyber trolls are actually really upset about humans being called trolls as they probably actually guard super secret electronic highways. So perhaps I shouldn’t further defame the noble troll and actually refer to these people as what they are… nasty pasties? Bitches? Shrivelled up bitter souls with nothing better to do than tear others down? Dickheads? Whatever the name, I’m blogging about them.
After Charlotte Dawson committed suicide there was a huge outcry from, “stupid bitch should have ignored them,” to, “those bullies have blood on their hands.” It of course can’t be that simple. At least in my expert (Note: I am an expert of nothing at all) opinion it can’t be that simple. My own experiences over the last few days have really helped open my eyes. Sure I’ve been cyber spanked previously but I wasn’t confident enough in myself to be able to step back and think about it. Thankfully after my time in the Mothers and Babies Unit I am now able to be much more reflective and deal with these circumstances.
I like many modern mothers am part of an online parenting group. Generally we share cute stories and pics and ask for advice. As is true of all social interactions you click with some and you clash with others. As always I naturally find myself migrating towards the misfits, the clowns, the geeks, the beautifully flawed. We recognise a kindred weirdo and we wave and play happily. There really are few greater joys than finding a fellow bizarro. Freaks and geeks unite. Us dorks tend to band together and don’t really like to be told what to do or stand for other people being put down. We’ve been shunned our whole life and know how it feels to be on the outside. But being that we are a bit different our defence of other vulnerable people is also different. When people start getting tense and telling people what products they MUST use or how they MUST use products or what they MUST feed their children or any other MUST I tend to crack a joke to lighten the mood. For most people it works. My fellow clowns are attracted to the humour like a moth to a flame and soon we’re all having a good giggle the crisis is averted. Unfortunately that doesn’t always work. Sure the merry band of misfits let out a collective sigh of relief and most other people think, thank goodness for the distraction, but unfortunately this levity only serves to highlight the darkness in some people’s soul. They want control, they crave control, I am chaos, I can’t be controlled. So what do they do, they lash out, they twist the joke, they pretend it is a personal attack, they raise an army of followers and have them make specific, directed, attacks. So random joke about random things gets met with specific, personal attack. Not exactly a fair reaction. Unfortunately when you’re depressed any attack, no matter how unfounded, turns your stomach. Anxiety starts to get out of control and your urge to smooth things over becomes overwhelming. So what do I do, try to make more jokes, try to make people smile. Further illuminating the gaping chasm these angry people have in their soul, which results in more nasty, personal attacks. I continue to make random jokes about things, not people (unless said people are my fellow misfits and they love it) yet they continue to escalate with vitriol. With Charlotte Dawson her tactic seemed to be to try to build awareness and educate. Her attempts similarly only reflected the darkness within the attackers. It didn’t change them, it made the people angrier because they had it in their mind that they must have power and they must have control. Charlotte and I have wasted our time. I can see that now. Some people are so hell bent on proving their self worth to themselves that they have no time for anything different. They will lash out and tear down those who are silly enough to attempt to use any coping methods like humour or education. They need to fuel their own needs by destroying all others. Yes, they’re tragic, yes they need help. But only they can do that, only they can change themselves. Trying to smooth things over, trying to enlighten them just gives them fodder. They need help but it is their responsibility to seek it, not ours.
So what have I learned from this? That I am no more capable of not trying to make people smile with humour then Charlotte Dawson was of trying not to educate others. That I am still vulnerable and the attacks make me feel sick. That it doesn’t matter that I know that I’m a good person and that my friends do, I’m still able to be shaken.
So what have I done? I’ve blocked that group of people. I got what I needed from them, this lesson about the Charlotte Dawson effect, and I have moved on. I know I can’t stop trying to make people happy by making jokes and I know that joy pains them because it means that they start losing that control that they are white knuckling, so the solution is simple, no contact.
Has it worked? Pretty much. Sure the people involved are still “naming and shaming” me publicly. I apparently have a whole post dedicated to my clownish ways, what an honour, but I don’t have to see it. I also don’t have to see them attack others but more importantly it gives me the freedom to be me. I can joke and have fun, I can comment freely and be myself and not have to censor myself because the people who will try to twist it can’t see it and I can’t see them hurting me by trying to turn me bringing laughter and joy to others into a hideous sin. It has quite simply given me the freedom to be me.
My hot tip: I say construct your reality in a way that strengthens you. Keep those who feed you positive energy close. Remove those who try to make your soul as black as their’s. Don’t change who you are. You are the best you that you can be. Don’t give your energy away to bad situations. Be you! Be you in all your glory. Let people love you for who you are and don’t lessen yourself for fear of others. As the old saying goes, you could be the juiciest peach in the world but there will still be people out there who hate peaches. The peach is fine, the peach is perfect, there is nothing wrong with the peach, the peach doesn’t have to change and the peach doesn’t have to change people’s minds to think it is delicious.
Be the peach.
I’m still journeying through depression and I will keep you posted with more Confessions of a Mad Mooer.
Any women who suffer from any form of depression or anxiety are welcome to join my own FB group which is pro mystical troll but doesn’t allow any nasty trolling.