Think

Following on from Wednesday’s ‘it’s not them, it’s you’ discussion, yesterday’s Twitter flashpoint became frustrating beyond belief, finally resulting in me having to sit on my hands for most of the afternoon. The details, of course, are irrelevant to everybody but the person who, ultimately, decided to make everything about them whilst completely missing the point of the discussion.

We really, REALLY need to have some rules about what is acceptable behaviour when people are critical of something you are involved in. Individual interpretation is unique. It does not represent ‘all experiences’ and when someone is trying to make a larger, more important point, assuming they’ve had a dig at you along the way when that absolutely didn’t happen isn’t just churlish, it’s potentially dangerous.

You’re not brave any more, but ignorant.

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Spending an entire month trying to encourage discussion on mental health has pulled up some very interesting debate: the most important part of which, undoubtedly, being how to react when other people opine. Overcoming shortcomings in your head will end up colouring EVERYTHING that you hear and see: trust me on this. However capable you might feel, it’s incredibly easy to be derailed.

That’s happened two nights in a row for me at Blaze class: on both occasions, there’s been a board of entirely red heart rate monitors, except mine. Being different is okay when nobody can see that difference close up, but once it ends up being splashed across multiple TV screens for an entire room to see? It is really hard to ignore the truth. Then it isn’t about other people being nice to you. It’s you, reality that need to be addressed.

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I know why those red numbers don’t happen. All the really sound, based in science, nothing I can actually fix right now issues sit in my head, clearly defined. I also grasp what needs to take place to make them happen. That’s a task that’s being chipped away at, day at a time. Doing it in public has a useful, constructive consequence. Maybe people will be able to identify with the issue and feel affinity.

The last thing I’d ever do in these situations is engage with people who I feel don’t understand or grasp what I’m going through. It’s really, really easy to make the assumption that people will attack you for being different, and in the modern world it’s almost become a badge of honour. I was brave enough to speak out and then nasty people trolled me. Except, more and more, that’s really not the case.

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Having different ethical ideas to someone else is not an attack. Pointing out your experience will rarely be unique is not abusive either. Using you as an example in a wider issue does not mean that person is trolling you: this is a public platform. I see that Twitter this week will be rolling out tools to allow you to decide who gets to reply to your tweets: soon, if all that matters is saying stuff without being challenged, there’ll be a setting for that.

Of course it’s meant for people who just want to post their news without a bazillion troll accounts hanging onto the tweet for traction. It’ll undoubtedly be used by people who just want to be seen, and never challenged, and this is the bigger problem. Discussion means people are allowed to have an opinion and say it, even if you don’t like it. If you choose to interpret a civil discussion as a personal attack on the state or existence of your backbone?

That’s still your problem to solve and not anyone else’s to care about.

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There are too many fragile egos on Social media… far, FAR too many people who don’t get that to survive long term, you will require mental strength. If you sign up to be famous, it comes now with responsibilities and caveats, and those in turn have important mental health implications. There’s a lot of people doing great work on these, across the wider spheres of the internet. Seek these people out, they will educate you.

I keep seeing other people interpreting ‘speaking out’ over mental health issues as bravery. It isn’t, simply an essential part of the process to help yourself get better. Admitting you have the issue in public means it won’t go away. It also means, inevitably, you will be criticised. There will be backlash. Ignorant people will not understand, but others will want to have a discussion.

The LAST THING you want to do is then decide that nobody gets to talk about your issues. If you are prepared to go public, that means you’re also prepared to deal with the consequences. This is how life works. If there’s not a willingness to stand by the courage of your convictions, then why bother saying it in the first place? If you won’t use these experiences to fuel your own evolution, what really is the point?

These are the consequences of your own actions.