Saturday 19 August 2017

When The Internet Turns Nasty

When you share your life online, you have to prepare for people to pick and prod at everything single thing you do. If you have an opinion, you have to be ready for a backlash. People online don't like opinions. Especially, if your opinion doesn't match the majority. 

I am a human. We are all humans. Humans aren't perfect. They make mistakes. If you make a mistake online, it will be blown out of proportion. People won't listen. People won't accept your apology. It will be shared and spread to individuals who don't understand, who don't know you. You will be made to feel like the worst person on earth.

When I started blogging, I never wanted to put as much as a toe out of place. I never shared my opinions. I never spoke up about the things I cared about or the things that mattered. I just went along with everyone else. After a few years of personal character development, I became very outspoken about the things that mattered to me. I enjoy debates and discussions on current affairs, without feeling like I need to resort to name-calling or abuse. Unfortunately, not everyone can do the same.

What once was a hobby I enjoyed and looked forward to spending time on became a chore. I became paranoid. My self-worth was based on the people who followed me. Not only the number but the people who followed me. Every tweet, I thought was indirect about me. I found myself checking to make sure people still followed me, who I called my friends. Every time, someone who was seen as a 'pillar of the community' unfollowed, I felt less validated as a human. 

I am who I am. I can't change that. I like topical conversations but if Twitter is not the place for that, then Twitter isn't the place for me. 

It can be easy to get caught up in drama online. To say things you don't mean. To join in when you don't always know the full story. It can be easy to wack an indirect tweet out about someone. It can be easy to reply to a tweet, talking about someone, thinking they will never read it. But they do. Because your tweet is the 100th or so on their timeline, about them, that they have to read attacking them for something taken out of hand. Your one message may seem insignificant to you but it could be the one to push them over the edge.

You never really know what someone is feeling or what is happening in their life. You don't know everything about their past or what they are going through right now. So please be considerate and mindful of what you say online especially if it's a personal attack or comment. It's not easy to convey things how you want in 140 characters.

I value the friends I made online more than most people. They make up for the gaping hole, of friends I don't have in real life. I don't have many friends, I never have. I have always struggled with loneliness. Which is why I put such a high importance on online friendships. I now realize that I went too far. My mental health suffered as a result of blogging. 

I feel like a fraud. I portray myself as being strong and able. But I'm not. I can't remember a time when I felt well or normal. They call it mental illness. But when you don't even know who you are anyone, you begin to question everything. 

I'm not mentally strong enough to deal with it anymore. My mental health is fragile. Very fragile. When you have major depression, a glass of spilled milk or a bit of Twitter drama seems like the end of the world. I know that is hard for most people to understand, without thinking that I'm looking for attention. I wish I was doing this for the clicks and views but the reality is I'm very unwell. Something which a large percent of the population find so hard to understand. 

Like I always preached on my blog, you need to put your mental health and well-being before anything else, after so long of ignoring my own advice- that's what I'm going to do.

My blog will always be here. Three years of my life; helping, sharing and documenting my stories, experiences, and advice. If you ever need to come back to a post, it will be there. 

The only thing that keeps me coming backs to blogging was the friendships I have made through blogging. The laughs, the hugs, and the banter. Memories that I'll treasure forever. People who were really always there, when I needed them. It's unfortunately, only in the times of pure desperation that we find out who are our real friends are. 

I'm still carrying on with everything including Beautiful Minds magazine because of the hard work and effort everyone has put into it. Without the writers, artists or advertisers, the magazine wouldn't exist and it wouldn't help people the way it does. Beautiful Minds is something I'm proud of creating. Something which is separate from me.

You are not who are online.

Thank you for reading, as always X 

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