I have for the past few weeks been quite despondent about things going on around me. I have had the wind knocked out of my sails by various events and situations that I thought I had no real control over. I found I was wrong.
Let me start at the beginning. When I was a kid I used to have a bad habit of being nosey, well maybe not nosey more very interested in what others were saying. I used to try and get involved in conversations to hear others points of view. I used this skill to keep track of all kinds of things. Family life, what was going on on my favourite TV shows that aired after I went to bed and various other titbits that I could glean. I was just a very curious kid. As I grew up in to teenhood I was included more and found I didn’t have to try and force my way into conversations. So that habit was broken and I just got to soak up information naturally.
Fast forward to the age of the Internet and 24 hour news services and I started to get my fill of news, views and gossip when ever I wanted and all from different sources. I covered all bases and revelled in it all. I knew where my favourite bands were playing as soon as they announced them, no need to wait for Kerrang to come out on Thursday morning. I knew when a new interesting Horror film was coming out… more to the point I could find out how they made the film and see the great special effect used to make the films. It was all there and I could find it all in relatively little time (well as fast as Dial Up would let me.. Broadband has changed my life completely LOL) I got to actually speak to people from all over the world and see what their point of view was and we were all equal. It never mattered if you were fat, thin. Wore glasses or had a wonderfully toned body. It never mattered.
That was over 10 years ago. The internet was coming into it’s own and it was good.
Fast forward 12 years and I find myself in the frame of mind I am in now. I now see how the whole system and the way it works has degraded. How it’s all coming down around it’s own ears. I am seeing how a little power can corrupt so quickly and so very easily. I look at the net now and wonder: Where did it go wrong?
On a daily basis I have a few website I check on a regular basis. Not as many as I used to have as site close or change remits. They can change writers and the new style doesn’t gel well with me and I take them off my reader or out of my bookmarks list.. i think employers would call it natural wastage. Some site would stick to what they did best and I stuck around. When I started blogging a whole new avenue of websites opened up to me. I had millions to chose from and I delved into various genres. I wasn’t that fussy about what I read, I wasn’t a blog snob who stuck to just Entertainment blogs or Mental Health blogs. If I saw a link to a blog on another blog and the name was different, I checked it out. Some stuck, some didn’t.
Back then blogging wasn’t exactly niche but it wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. I guess you could call it the middle ground. People were tolerant of what the writers had written and if they didn’t agree they would constructively say so in the comments section of the page and conversation was built up like that. Blogs found that with good constructive comments readerships grew and it was good.
Let me just say here before I go much further, I know it wasn’t all roses and ice cream back then. There were and always have been people who take great delight in messing with people heads and starting a fight in the comments section. But it wasn’t the norm.
Things have started to change (in my eyes) over the past 18-24 months. I have seen that slowly the Internet has become less tolerant. It has turned into a battlefield. Who can say the most outrageous things and seem to get away with it without being called on it and when they are called on it.. they reply with some kind of abuse that those who complain are infringing on their rights to say what they feel. It shouldn’t work like that. People who hide behind a keyboard and find fault and spill derision over everything that they read isn’t about having freedom of expression, it’s called being an internet troll. I would go further and say it’s called being an Asshole. If you go out there to comment on an entertainment site with the sole reason to piss on every story about a celebrity just because you don’t like them, then I am talking about you.
As an example.. go to Digital Spy and look for an article about Lindsey Lohan or Kerry Katona. Then go and read the comments. If there are ten comments then I can pretty much guarantee that 8 of them will be abusive. Not disparaging, not being constructive but abusive. Now we all have read that both Lohan and Katona have made mistakes in their lives. I won’t disagree with that, but they haven’t led “normal” lives like the average DS reader has. They have lived extraordinary lives in the spotlight. They have had their lives scrutinised at every turn. Every mistake they made, every song they sang, every movie they made, they have had to deal with people judging them. I defy anyone to be in that situation and NOT make a mistake or turn the wrong way at some point. Mental illness has taught me that the brain handles all situations to every different person in a totally different way. Some mistakes are bigger than others, and yes, some choices are made and they are quite obviously stupid to any mind sane or not but I stand by my position that pressure affects everyone differently.
Back to the point I am trying to make. Just because you are anonymous online and that you think that just because you can write whatever you like whenever you like doesn’t make it right to do so. I am not saying that you shouldn’t comment.. I am no censor, all I am saying is think about what you are posting. How would you feel if it was your sister/mother/brother/wife etc. being spoken about in that way? Would you have the balls to say these things to the person face to face? Are you secure enough to be able to stand behind your comments and give a good explanation of yourself when someone calls bullshit on your attitude? Well?
It’s not just the slating I see of famous people. I see other areas of online life that really do make me think twice.
Let me offer Twitter as an example. I don’t know how long I have followed Twitter.. maybe 3 years. I haven’t been active for three years. I have only amassed a little over a thousand tweets in all that time. Twitter feed into my wanting to observe other peoples points of view. I have a close circle of people that I talk to regularly and those people are all great people and I have seen these people go through some horrendous times and I have seen them go through joyous times. Never once have I judged them on what they have posted. I know these people are posting their thoughts and what they are doing and more to the point, How they are doing. I would stand behind these people if they needed anything and I would offer help if they ever needed it. I can accept that people use Twitter as a quick and easy way to post what’s going on, it’s a damn sight easier than sitting down and writing this blog post has been. One tweet and I could have cut out so much bullshit from this little rant. But in 140 characters you can’t express what you’re REALLY feeling and the situation you are in. I have tweeted before that I am having a hard time and things aren’t going to well, only to have a private message appear a while later asking if I am OK and do I need help from anyone. Looking back over that tweet that I had sent I can see why that person got concerned.
Since January I have had almost half of my medication removed from my daily cocktail. It was damn hard to get through and withdrawal from having taken those drugs for so long has had some pretty adverse reactions on my mental health. It has been an experience. Over the last three to four weeks things have noticeably gotten better and my family have noticed too. My cognitive responses have speeded up and I am showing signs of getting back to the way I was before I got sick. I finally start to feel like the statement on my old Case Note that I was in remission is finally coming true. I am getting better. But getting off the drugs and having them fully out of my system has awoken things that have made me realise that things aren’t always good for a healthy mind. That is where this post has come from. I am no longer so sedated that I don’t care what you write. I am no longer ambivalent to the fact that what people put out there is not going to have an adverse reaction to me. I have made a deliberate choice to start going through my online life and cut out some of the stuff that does me no good. I have already started. Some people won’t see the announcements for this post. I’m sorry for that, I really am, but I needed to make my online life more conducive to keeping me healthy. Maybe I am the asshole for thinking that I matter so much, that people are actually going to miss little old me. I doubt they will, I doubt they will even notice I am gone… remember Mr Cellophane?
I have to say that maybe this will be misinterpreted by some as a whiny, pissy rant that you have just wasted god knows how long reading and that you need to be spared from my egotistical ravings and delete me from your RSS feed reader. I hope that’s not the case as I really dig all of my readers and all those that I follow. You are the ones when I couldn’t think of my own name at times are the one who said “It’s OK it will pass.. just stick in there.” I have gotten so much from my time online, but as with all things, I have changed, and for me..for the better.
If you got this far, thanks. I hope that things keep improving.
Until Next Time…