Long-time readers of my blog are probably more than aware how much Twitter saved my life a couple years ago. So I’m not gonna repeat that story other than to point out I came together with some of the best people you will ever know through advocacy and talking openly about our mental health online.
Sometimes though things are far from all peaches and cream when it comes to advocacy and online community. I feel lately that’s coming more into fruition in the past year. Not just for mental health awareness but for everything. You have probably read plenty of far-right Trump supporters in the past few years say that “everyone wants to be a victim now”. Is that an untrue and offensive statement? Well in the context of why they say it, damn right it is. People invalidating someone else who experienced trauma and feel it to this day by stating they’re “playing the victim” or “seeking attention” is also extremely toxic.
BUT, that doesn’t mean generally speaking there are no cases where people do just that. Not for change. But to make themselves look good. You know how bullies take pride in putting someone down? And it isn’t even over a real issue that affects people? It’s just for self satisfaction? That’s a completely different story. I often see it coming from people who make up stories of things they went through or they take a real personal story and shove a bunch of steroids down it’s throat. Not because that’s how they really feel inside, but because they’re jealous of the person with the microphone at the given time experiencing real pain and think they got it made. Experiencing any form of pain is NOTHING to romanticize or think being in the shoes of the person publicly expressing it doesn’t feel horrible and triggered everyday, especially when it’s not just good “attention” they receive, but hateful attention too. And I guarantee the whole AllLivesMatter or WhiteLivesMatter counter movements fit that description to a tee. While all this is my opinion, it’s really difficult to not believe that in the days of social media where anyone can be anyone or portray others as being anyone they’re not because (I loath this phrase but in this case it DOES apply) “they simply don’t like them”.
Which brings me to things I’ve witnessed even more recently. It’s nothing new to criticize others online and get satisfaction out of it just to hear your own self do it, but what really is annoying and toxic is when it’s toward someone doing something GOOD. If there are celebrities who are attending the current protests against racism and police brutality, people are quick to accuse them of doing it for clout and promotion of their brand. If you ask me, even if that is the personal motive from a celebrity, they are still participating, not to mention putting their countless amount money where their mouth is by donating to #BlackLivesMatter funds and/or protester bailouts or even starting college funds for George Floyd’s daughter and other families of victims (yes, Kanye West did that. I am pleasantly surprised too). But it’s still not good enough for you.
The point I’m trying to make with that example is that there is a difference between caring about the bigger picture as a whole and pretending to care (in an obvious way) for clout, all while claiming people who are actually doing something are doing it for clout. And aside from racism, this is happening so much in the mental health twitter community now too that it’s very hard for me to go into my timeline. We shouldn’t have to get to the point where we gotta make selfie videos to prove we are who we say we are. But we are at that point. For now anyway. And it’s currently necessary honestly. Because people suffering inside and/or out need that genuine support that only the real, unmasked (not physically of course) people can provide on this platform. And this applies to every cause being fought and brought to attention as well.
Some who don’t know me that well may claim I’m no different. (And contradicting myself by criticizing certain types of people in this very post)
Well, you are entitled to say whatever you want, and part of that is correct. But not in the way you think. One of the things I struggle with from acquired mental illness is seeing myself as a positive, good person. I still put myself down a lot. I’m crazy self conscience to this day. I’m afraid of compliments about me being a good person or role model because if I don’t react modestly, it will automatically be interpreted as cockiness. Or I simply don’t believe the compliments at all. So sometimes even if I do wholeheartedly care about an important issue/world crisis, I do push myself to do more than I should to prove to myself I care because I don’t believe it that I do. If that makes any sense.