Sunday, 14 February 2010

On Falling Apart

This blog post has had many titles: On Hardening My Heart, On Refusing To Quit, On Defriending And Blocking, etc etc etc. Eventually, however, I have given it the above title, because that is how I feel at the moment.

First of all, please allow me to say a huge thank you to everyone who read my last blog post, and for all the lovely comments and messages I’ve received here, on facebook and on twitter. Thank you also to everyone who is continuing to support me throughout this rather peculiar phase in my internet life (I have become more guarded than usual, and taken actions that I thought I never would in the last few days). I can only say that my real life at the moment is also equally, if not more, peculiar, and I really hope that things get sorted out soon.

I have stayed away from twitter for much longer than I intended, and have not, as I said in my last post that I would, responded to the lady who made the initial tweet. Last Saturday night, I seriously considered giving up my internet life completely, and returning to spending more time staring at the TV instead.

I wrote the above two paragraphs several days ago. I am still struggling desperately with twitter, and with facebook, and particularly with blipfoto. I shall now try to explain why. Forgive me if I don’t do a very good job. I’m not really up to it at the moment, and this blog post will probably be unedited. I owe you all some sort of explanation though.

After I wrote the previous blog post I received a message on facebook from somebody, which, in essence, said the following: my expectations of the twitterverse as a safe place are unrealistic, I have problems, I have blamed her friend (the lady who sent the first tweet/DM) for all my problems, I have referred to myself as the aggrieved party in the incident with the lady who sent the tweet when in fact that lady is mortified, she says she has sympathy with that tweet in that she likes to follow people who make her laugh or are interesting, my “friends” are not doing their best for me by providing sympathy and should instead tell me that I’m being over-demanding and that the world does not revolve around me, real friends would tell me I’m being an idiot, I would provide support for other people too if I were any kind of a friend to anyone (with the implication that I don’t – sorry friends, I apologise for being so crap and useless), being around people who are miserable is no fun and I shouldn’t be surprised if people have run out of patience with me, my blipfoto post for 4th February was “horribly nihilistic” and blipfoto was not an appropriate place to share such things because it is a site about photography, have I ever heard of CBT (something which I find horribly patronizing, given previous blog posts), she suggests I share less on the internet because I wouldn’t expect group therapy in the real world and shouldn’t expect the internet to provide me with any such help, and finally tells me “I hope you get help” and that I shouldn’t blame other people for my distress.

I immediately unfriended and blocked this lady on facebook. I also had to unfriend the original lady – not because I didn’t want to forgive her and become friends again, but because I am afraid that the lady who sent me the above message will get to me through her. I also abandoned my twitter account, set up a new, locked, account to try to keep in touch with a few friends (I’m sorry if I haven’t yet managed to contact you – I’m trying, but so short of energy), and changed my name on blipfoto.

However, none of this has helped. Things are still getting worse. I also fear that in my search for solace from all this I have done irreparable damage to a very precious and treasured friendship with a real life friend who is also very ill and unable to cope with me at the moment.

I cannot answer all the points the lady made in her message to me – I simply don’t have the energy or enough tissues to mop up the tears that writing this post is generating. I would have linked to a blog post by someone else that was made in response to an incident that occurred last week and referred to the support that the internet can be when people are in mental distress, but the person who wrote that post has had to take it down because she has had an overwhelming response to it and simply doesn’t have the time to deal with what it has generated. I try very very hard, when I have the strength, to support anyone who needs it in any way that I can. Sometimes, however, I need people to cut me a bit of slack.

First, of COURSE I have heard of CBT. For goodness sake. I am an intelligent informed woman who has read dozens of books and articles on my condition. I point you towards “On Being Bonkers” from July 2009. It is only by employing CBT techniques that I am able to get out of bed most mornings, that I am able to force breakfast into me although I feel sick, that I am able to steer the car towards work rather than back home, that I am able to keep going at all on a lot of occasions. You wouldn’t suggest to someone with a broken leg that they might like to get it set in plaster – why assume that people with depressive illness are too stupid to have researched their condition? And, for information, CBT is not available on the NHS to me, and my psychiatrist considers that I am already well-enough versed in its techniques that it wouldn’t necessarily be helpful to have more. I can’t afford to pay for it in any case.

As to the real world. Would I go into a pub and have a meltdown? Well, yes, and I have done on many many occasions. I have ended up out in public many times in a terrible state. I have left numerous restaurants and sat on the pavement outside shaking because I struggle to eat out in public when I feel scared. I have broken down in the middle of a big party of several hundred people, halting a barn dance and causing my distressed father and best friend to have to pick me up and take me out and comfort me. I have sat on the floor in Sainsbury’s crying by the Frosties. I have collapsed on the floor of a train, been violently sick, and then screamed and pulled at the (fortunately electric, rather than the old fashioned handle type) doors to try to get off. I have been lost out on the street, unable to see because the lights are too strong and the noises are too loud. I have stood and sobbed in front of a class of 11 year olds because I played a chord wrong on the piano.

On every single one of these occasions, people have been helpful and sympathetic. Even people I didn’t know. The man on the train, who helped a vile and messy me to get off at Greenwich station and made sure I was OK before he continued his day, the woman in Sainsbury’s who wanted to know if I was alright, even the class of year 7s who coped with their Head of Music disintegrating before their eyes.

As to blipfoto. At the moment I cannot even look at the site, because it makes me feel sick. I tried, when I got home from a trip away on Friday night. I looked at one friend’s blip from the day, and the top comment was from the woman who sent me that message. I logged off straight away and closed the tab on the browser. I’m sorry blip. As for my “horribly nihilistic” post, I was going to say that I was terribly sorry to have spoilt this woman’s fun, to have disturbed her comfy life and ruined her internet experience, but I’m not. What I am sorry about is the two friends who read that post and were seriously worried about me to the extent that they both e-mailed me and left numerous text messages and missed calls on my phone because they were so worried about me. I’m sorry to have put you through that. I’m sorry for my father and stepmother who read the post through my facebook wall (they are both friends of mine on there) and were extremely worried, knowing that I have tried to take my own life in the past and fearing that I’d do it again. I’m also sorry for my poor husband, who was having to cope with all this in the middle of organizing his gig.

What I have finally realised this morning though, is why that message has done me so much damage. It is agreeing with everything the illness is telling me. I have a loud voice in my head telling me that I am a bad friend, a miserable person, an idiot, a plonker, a worthless and wretched apology for a human being. I think often how much better place the world would be if I had never been born. I know that I am a failure, that I am nearly 40 years old and unable to support myself financially, unable to produce any children, unable to hold down anything other than a part-time clerical job (and even that with difficulty, and only with the extreme patience of my colleagues). These views I have of myself are, of course, only partially true and are mainly caused by the illness that pervades my mind. Ironically, these are the very feelings that I have to use CBT techniques to fight against – the “Automatic Negative Thoughts” that follow me everywhere. This woman, who is so keen that I “seriously consider CBT” has reinforced those negative thoughts a hundredfold. I am now fighting them, and trying hard to think of all the lovely things my real friends and supporters have said to me, in order to try and re-establish some sense of self-worth.

So, I have shared even more on the internet. Partly because I owe everyone an explanation, but also because I want people to UNDERSTAND. I don’t crave sympathy, but understanding. I have defriended and blocked for the first time ever, to protect myself. I do refuse to quit in my quest to talk about mental illness and the issues it raises, even if it means exposing myself to criticism. I cannot harden my heart – it’s like a jam without enough pectin, or a custard that hasn’t been heated enough – it will never harden, it just isn’t that sort of heart.

For all the strife that this whole episode has caused me, I am particularly glad of one thing. I received a message on facebook from a person who said how much my Feb 4th blip had helped her, how comforting it was to know that there was someone else who knew what it felt like to feel like that. I was also very touched by a comment I received from someone who said that even though we just looked like little tiny pictures on twitter, behind each one was a person, and those people really care. These things have stuck in my head.

The other thing I’m amazingly grateful for is the Wonderspouse. The week that all this broke he was speaking at a conference on mental illness at the Royal College of Psychiatrists – alongside Alastair Campbell, who was saying how mental health issues should not be brushed under the carpet. He had a massive audit at work. He organized a book reading / gig in London. All this while working full-time, attending my psychiatrists appointments with me, keeping up his own writing and internet work, cooking all our meals, looking after the cats, and getting up in the middle of the night to make me tea and mop up my tears. I really don’t know how he’s still standing – the man is a marvel.

As to the woman who wrote the message, I don’t know whether she will ever read this post. If she does, then I would beg her NEVER to send a message like that to anyone again. If I was giving her the benefit of the doubt, then I might, just, be able to say that she was being “well-meaning”, although the tone of her message suggests otherwise. Yes, the patronizing tone made me angry, but whatever bitterness made her write it could have cost someone who didn’t have a Wonderspouse on hand a lot more than it cost me. I wondered why the lady who sent the original tweet/DM felt the need to say that my tweets were “getting on her tits” and didn’t just unfollow me quietly. I wonder even more why this second woman felt the need to harangue me as she did. She doesn’t have to look at my blips or read my blogs. If you really want to stick to “nice pictures” and “fun” on the internet, then so be it. I cannot, and will not, brush my true self under the carpet and put on an act to entertain people online – it would be untrue to myself and my beliefs.

Furthermore, I do believe that the internet is, like real life, a place full of lovely supportive people who are generous, loving and helpful. I don’t think it’s unrealistic of me to hope that people who I do regard as friends will bear with me through the rough patches. I gladly do the same for them, helping wherever I can.

I said in “On Being a bit Bonkers” last July that I didn’t wish to make this blog about mental health issues. I still don’t, but have had to write this post by way of explanation, and maybe to work through issues that are still outstanding from the whole incident. I’m also going to take some time off the internet. Feel free to comment on this blog post if you like, although the Wonderspouse is insisting on monitoring comments before I read them. He cannot take the risk that the work being done by my GP, psychologist, psychiatrist, and himself can be further undone by anything that might hurt me. I am simply too fragile at the moment. I shall probably take at least a week off twitter and facebook, although, by the time you read this I shall have left details of how I can be contacted in both places for people who do want to get in touch and don’t have any other means. The “Ears” blog is on hold for now, although I shall continue to keep a record of what I’m listening to (not very much at the moment – I’m having to sleep a lot, and am staring at the TV quite a bit too). I’m not even thinking about blipfoto for now. It’s simply too painful.

My mind feels rather like it needs renovating at the moment, a bit like this:

I’ll be back when it’s sorted and strong enough to cope with whatever gets thrown at me and when I’ve got the rest of my life together. I just need some time and I hope that you’ll understand, and forgive me this rather frank blog post. If I had any choice in the matter I most certainly wouldn’t elect to be miserable, to feel sorry for myself, or to have such a black day as inspired my February 4th blip. To choose such a life really would be madness!


  1. Really sorry to hear all that. Twitter is supposed to be fun/useful/entertaining etc - not stressful/upsetting.

    I can understand your need to switch off though, hope that taking the time out helps you. I'll look forward to the time when you feel that you can come back. Your tweets about the Wonderspouse always make me smile.

    Very best wishes,

    Lois (aka @MoreThanMaths - but currently logged in to Google as my other self!)

  2. Thank you - gosh, *blushes*. I promise not to use the fact I've been given free rein to respond here as an excuse to promote my absolutely exceptional novel, available online and in shops. Oh dear, there I go.

    Thank you, Lois - it's lovely to meet some wonderful people. I do hope you don't mind if I follow you on twitter later on :)

  3. So terribly sorry for the stress and pain this whole business has caused. I, too, don't understand why the parties involved did not just go away from your life quietly and be done with it.

    I am going to miss you. I enjoyed and appreciated ALL your tweets and pictures.

    Yes, take all the time you need to sort it all out. We have a silly expression in the States that goes something like, don't let a few bad apples ruin the bunch!

    And from what you've said, your spouse IS a wonder. You are both very lucky to have each other.

    See you soon. Take care.

    Marisa (@marisabirns)

  4. I'm too much of a child to have an opinion that's worth anything but I agree so much with the lady who sent you the message on facebook, that I'm wondering if it was a more patient version of me except I never sent that message.

    I totally agree that the purpose of friends is to tell you when you're being an idiot, when your fly is open, when you need a spritz of deodorant, to tease you, but also tell you when you're looking lovely, that they love you and to apologise when they sense they've hurt your feelings. I know mine do and I love them. If they tell me I'm being an idiot, it may initially sting, but that doesn't last more than a few seconds before being replaced by an 'ohmygod I'm being an idiot!' and a change to a less idiotic form of behaviour.

    The have you heard of CBT may just be an honest question. Perhaps you are more psychoanalytically inclined. if you are then for the love of god DO NOT LISTEN TO FREUD.

    And try not to think so much. Heck I'd be depressed if I sat and analysed everything in my life that was fucked up which is why I don't. Depression is dead easy to fall into, and the only thing that can make it go away is you. if you really want to, that is. I don't know if you do, but I know too many people who use it as a crutch, implying 'I'm depressed therefore you have to be gentle with me because my feelings are more sensitive than yours' - WHAT? Who are YOU to judge the intesity of MY emotions, maybe I've been through rubbish as well you don't know you have no idea. Couple of my ex-depressive friends - I love them, but I don't love them as much as I'd like to because they care less about me and more about themselves and no one likes that. It's not something that anyone can fix but the depressive him/herself. If you want to be loved, you have to love.

    You can unfollow/de-friend me or anyone all you want, but that's just a lack of trust then, innit? And if there's no trust, there was no friendship in the first place.

  5. Eh, I ramble on too much, what do I know. But this is how I feel and I've even tried not to hurt your feelings. but see, that's what's terrible. I don't WANT to have to change my behaviour to accommodate some else's mood and no one should have to. If talking to you is like walking on eggshells then people are going to be more wary about doing it. Unless all they've got to say are lovely, supportive comments, and for me sympathy means a lot more when it's used sparingly. Too much unadulterated saccharine makes me suspicious, I'm not THAT nice, really, and I know it. A bit of piss-taking is always welcome - that's how I recognise love :)

  6. I'm so sorry about all this, Ann. I do hope that things get better for you. You seem to be able to cope so well. I know that with your experience in coping, you'll be able to grow from strength to strength.
    Some people use the cover of the Internet to abuse and insult others. They're cowards. Don't take them to heart.

  7. Firstly, you don't need to censor yourself on the internet or anywhere else. Your openness is admirable and inspiring. It's by being open about mental health that things will improve and understanding built. If someone doesn't like it, then they just need to click the little x at the top right of the screen ;)

    I do feel that you are taking the unkind comments to heart more than is healthy for you. But I also know that it's nigh on impossible to do otherwise when you're in a bad place. Please hold it close to your heart that others opinions aren't fact, they are just opinions, and they don't take anything away from you.

    I'm thinking of you xx

  8. @marisa @anne thank you

    @R - good heavens, not Freud :)
    Joking aside, I really think leaving a comment anonymously on a post like this is in bad taste - I know you're not trying to offend, but if the comment is well-intentioned then please, leaving it in your name would be a sensitive thing to do.

    "Depression is dead easy to fall into, and the only thing that can make it go away is you. if you really want to, that is" - that, I'm afraid, is both unhelpful and just not true, and I'm not sure quite where the opinion comes from, but wherever it is could do with reading some basic medical textbooks.

    "If you want to be loved, you have to love." - one of the things have discovered about people with depression is that they often are amongst the most loving, kind people you could meet - and when they are not in a low phase often give effusively to their friends who are (and violamaths does so frequently and generously). In fact the depressive community often works at its strongest by those who are in well phases supporting those who are not. There are times when people give and times when they need to be given to. And as a way for a group to fuction that actually works rather well.

    "Who are YOU to judge the intesity of MY emotions, maybe I've been through rubbish as well you don't know you have no idea." - Well yes, of course one doesn't judge another's emotional landscape without any knowledge of it - but when one DOES have knowledge of it, sometimes sensitivity is required. And - forgive me, I don't know where you are geographically, so this may come across as utter gobbledigook - "you have to be gentle with me because my feelings are more sensitive than yours" - of course that's not intended as a value judgment on other people's feelings, or somehow denying the worth or validity of the feelings of those who do not have depression but the Disability Discrimination Act actually does enshrine that principle, in a way, in the workplace at least - not because of the lesser value of the emotions of those not suffering from depression or other mental health difficulties, but because of the impact that some remarks are likely to have on those WITH such a difficulty in terms of their long term day to day functioning.

    Which, I'm afraid, relates back to your earlier point. Glenn Hoddle rightly, in my opinion, got the sack when he in some way aligned himself with a person who maintained that people physically disabled from birth somehow brought the disability upon themselves - saying "Depression is dead easy to fall into, and the only thing that can make it go away is you. if you really want to, that is" is actually pretty much the same thing, and yes, there are many things that we who suffer fom mental health difficulties can do to try and live with our conditions, but that remark, well, I'll just reiterate - it's not true and it's not acceptable.

    "You can unfollow/de-friend me or anyone all you want" - but by not leaving your name she can't, but instead will always be wondering whether you're one of her friends/followings and never knowing when she'll stumble upon a remark that wil knock her sideways.

  9. @Mim - thank you :) we're working hard together on the listening to the good things! - like you say, though, it's so much easier to listen to the bad sometimes.

  10. My first ever comment on FaceBook, so I wonder if it will work.

    So, someone like ViolaMaths bares her sole, and a twerp like "R", hiding behind a screen of anonymity, decides have a go him (?her) self. The words written are on the top surface seemingly bland and relatively pleasant, but they conceal an unpleasant hostility. Of course, dear R, you will realise that your "being honest" in this way greatly exacerbates an already damaging situation. One of the marks of civilised persons is their ability to give some consideration to the effects of their words on their intended audience.

    Yes, walking on eggshells, and treating the ill person gently are perfectly reasonable behaviour. I once had a serious operation that involved splitting me open. Sewn up again, and out of hospital, I noticed how careless people were about bumping into each other, me included. But no-one (as far as I know) minded in the slightest when they were asked to be careful with me, because they could understand PHYSICAL damage, and see what they had to do to avoid breaking me open again. R's reply displays no awwareness that the same might apply to MENTAL illness.

    Thank goodness that ViolMaths has the Wonderspouse there to support her, and speak on her behalf. Luckily, he is a most intelligent, and in these circumstances, articulate person, and he is fiercely loyal to VM.

    This is a comment from @scharwenka (if FaceBook understands the @ business). It may seem anonymous to some, but will not be to thse who count.

  11. ... and another thing. I wrote this morning to and about the Principal in all this discussion:

    "... I could readily write pages about your outstanding and excellent qualities of mind, spirit, intellect, intuition, creativity, etc, etc. You are a person who has brought joy to many, from your parents and grandparents, to your many friends, to the cats, all of whose lives you have enriched in one way or another: ways that are unique to you as a unique living person."

    I know VM personally, and pretty well, which many of those reading the blog will not. I mean every word that I said. It's obvious to the responses to Twit and Blip and this Blog that many readers have picked up these same qualities in VM. Let those who are blind, or are too engrossed in themselves to see, not obscure the truth that is appreciated by most readers.

  12. Hello - this is 'R' - it is my wordpress handle, but I don't think Blogger and Wordpress like each other very much because I can't post as 'R' on here, instead I have to use my Wordpress blog's name.

    Anyway, I am not a twerp, that's not a very nice thing to say. Way to defend someone by attempting to bring someone else down - muchos hypocritical. What if I'm a depressive and just wasn't brave enough to bare my soul on the internet?

    As for medical textbooks, I have a little degree in psychology (by 'little' I mean undergrad, so not a 'big' degree which would be a doctorate) and the 'the only person who can make you feel better is you' bit comes from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - Beck and Ellis - I love them, I think they make perfect sense and just learning about them and what they had to say helped me live my life a little more easily with a lot more living.

    Now stop calling me names, that's not a nice thing to do. It is also false, I'm afraid. I'm not the loveliest person on the planet but that is still completely uncalled for. I just gave an opinion and I tried to be polite about it and justify it and I warned you I was young and naive and inexperienced etc. but THAT'S NO REASON TO GO CALLING ME NAMES. Manners!

    And, for the love of all that is holy, I reiterate STAY AWAY FROM FREUD he is a dweeb.

    Oh and there is no passive aggression or hostility intended. If it is perceived as such there is not much I can do now, is there? I wuz just trying to help, sometimes I fail, but I always try. You are allowed to dislike me if you want, that was one of the things I learned in CBT theory as well - people don't HAVE to like you. Just be the best you can be and let everyone else decide what they want to make of you. So if that makes me a twerp in the eyes of some... well, I guess so be it. No Wonderspouse for me, but I'll manage on my own :)

  13. What did I write about FaceBook just then? Going mad from all the serious stuff. Meant Blog, not Face.

    Better get back to Twitter: I understand that better (but not much).

    PS The "words" presented for "word verification" are pretty inventive, I have to say!

  14. I do not blame you for wanting to leave all of this behind - you don't deserve to have anyone - stranger or best friend - try to tell you who you are, how to deal with things or read about someone else's issues that they are projecting onto you. I feel sorry for anyone so personally distressed that they need to do that. Whoever that person was - she's clearly taking her own issues out on you and has no right to.

    I hope you take all the time you need to sort yourself however you can. I do know a bit of what it means to be shattered and all the well-wishing, etc, while lovely at times, isn't particularly helpful. No one can tell you what you're going through, they are not you and you deserve your space.

    I wish both you and Dan the very best and will keep good thoughts for you for better days.

  15. Thanks, DJ :)

    @R - thank you for the link - hugely appreciated and relieved much anxiety :) I DO see what you're saying about the fact that only the person concerned can take steps to get their head in the right place - I think I read you as saying that "if you try hard enough anyone can sort themselves out", which isn't the case at all - it's a matter of set and subset, as it were.

    My caveat/cavils would be 1. that sometimes things get so bad we need medical intervention - there comes a point on the clinical spectrum where CBT just won't work because you need meds to get well enough to have the strength/energy to work at it.

    2. and related, in order to get oneself to a place where one can use CBT techniques one has to get oneself on some kind of equilibrium first - that's kind of like the meds point above, but in terms of environment - there's a point in one's illness where things get so bad that you have to take the step to say "for now, I'm going to cut myself off from things taht upset me so I can get myself together then start rebuilding" - which means that one has to be quite strict in saying you'll only communicate with x,y & z until you're better. It is actually the very first step in taking back control which, as you rightly point out, is basically what CBT is about.

  16. I had to read your previous entry and play a bit of catchup--I'm following WAY too many blogs and I need to thin it out so I can keep up with the people who really matter (as opposed to celeb bloggers and random things)! :-)

    I am so sorry that you had to block/defriend someone for the first time. I'm not saying that I know exactly what you're going through, but I do understand a lot of the feelings you've described. I, too, am dealing with emotional/behavioral issues (maybe it's a violist thing, hehe) and have been for years. It actually did me some good to hear what you're doing to cope. It also makes me very happy that you have such a supportive community around you, ESPECIALLY Wonderspouse! :-D

    I wish I could be a more active part of that supportive community because I think we could help each other (or, at the very least, be there for each other). But as you've mentioned, it's sometimes hard to be there for others who are suffering when you yourself are suffering. On that note, I pray that your real-life friend has forgiven you.

    Take all the time you need to recuperate, and I'll be among those here to greet you with love and a smile when you return.

  17. Is a blog like this meant to turn into a discussion forum between third parties?

    It isn't clear if 'R' is responding to me or to the person I called our 'principal'. Anyway, R, it's me, Scharwenka, that called you a "twerp". I am sorry that you think that is not a very nice thing to be called. In my vocabulary, the word is about the mildest and friendliest I could come up with to mark my disapprobation of your remarks. A bit PG Wodehouse. Anyway, please let's not get hung up on what [b]I[/b] call [b]you[/b], or [i]vice versa[/i] for that matter. It's the content that counts, but I apologise unreservedly about "twerp" if you want me to. What should I say instead to express my continuing opinion that you were precipitate, thoughtless, and unkind, perhaps without realising it?

    I, and I am sure those of us who are directly involved, are deeply impressed by your possession of a degree in the subject apparently most relevant to our interests. None of us has a degree in psychology or the like, although we do have degrees — and very good ones from very good universities — in other subjects. But it has not been my experience that academic learning is necessarily a good preparation for "doing" things, such as treating patients, making automobiles, baking cakes. Not necessarily bad either, and you can pick up the language. However, to my certain knowlege both ViolaMaths and her Wonderspouse have read very deeply on many aspects of psychology, and are highly knowledgeable. I should add that I am NOT deeply read or knowledgeable in these areas. But I am not a Freudian, and I hope you will understand if I construe any future reference to Freud as displeasing.

    With my greatest respects for your own learning.


  18. Violamaths
    I know more than a little about psychology and psychiatry than "R" and I have a few things to say. My heart goes out to you. It has taken courage to open up about your life on the Internet. You have every right to be proud of yourself. I think R is likely quite damaged, as evidenced by her need to bring someone else down. In that case, I would say, "consider the source", knowing that what she is saying reflects her own "illness". (ie personality problems). It is a person like you, violamaths, who brings dignity to all others who struggle with mental illness.
    The world has many wonderful people of all shape, color, sizes, languages, etc.
    There are also people out there who can do damage. It's important to protect yourself from them. Take the time you need. Then come back to us. We'll be waiting. Aprils----.

  19. I'm so sorry that you've had to go through this. I am mystified by this person who seems to think that the internet (and presumably the world) is made up of kittens and fairy floss and that nothing that might be unpleasant is allowed to intrude upon this fantasy. I think you did the best thing you could have done under the circumstances (ie, to delete and block them) but unfortunately by that stage the damage to you had already been done.

    Just know that there are people out there, even as far away as the other side of the world, who care about you and hope that you come through this to brighten our lives with your insights once more. And your WonderSpouse deserves a medal for going above and beyond!

    Take care, many *hugs*

  20. Oh poop, I'm having this problem again. That last comment was me!

  21. @horngirl - thank you - blogger seems to be havinga problematic phase! Persnally I've never worked out that cool thing you and R and DJ have with the swish - crashes the screen as soon as look at it!

    @Robyn - thank you - and I'm very sorry to hear you're going through bad times - on the off chance it's NOT a violist thing, feel free to get in touch with me if you ever need an ear :)

    @April - thank you

  22. Thank you for understanding whoever understood - I really don't mean any harm, I only have my own experience to base things on. And I'm little, so not much experience. Anyhoo, I was thinking about it this morning and it might be for the best to unfollow/block @levis517 on twitter. However allow me to leave you with a fragment of the shell I like to slip into when things get a bit overwhelming. I like music as do you. [I also like maths but maths doesn't like me very much :( ] Anyway, we probably like different sorts of music but I'll offer you a piece of mine because I like spilling tracks everywhere like breadcrumbs for people to pick up if they like. I married music you see :) (also a tram, but that's a different story)

    for you:

  23. I went back through the tweets to see who it was that caused these problems. Went to the website of the worst offender and its a lot of trash talk. Lots of putting down of others who are not like her. She even says, "If my swearing bothers you, read someone else's blog." Wow, what a hypocrite. If she followed her own advice, she would just live and let live on the internet. But she has to interfere and comment harshly about those who are not like her. She has lots of personality problems. ViolaMaths, whatever she said to you, I will apologize for her, because an apology is due. I hope you are doing healing things for yourself. Take care.

  24. Hey VM,

    I'm sorry to hear you're going through such a hard time. When I'm in the hole, I take other people's opinions much more to heart than I would when I'm not in a bad space. What has helped me is to right-size things, thinking 'well if I wasn't already depressed, would the thing this person said hurt me this much?' and then I find I can let go much quicker. We can't control what other people say or do, but we can choose our reaction to it. You're a feisty woman, and I know you have it in you to say to yourself 'I know my truth, and this person's opinion is not a fact - I won't let this undermine how I feel about myself'.

    In my experience, the only thing that can get me out of it is myself. Of course the help and support of others is wonderful - but try not to forget how much strength and power YOU have, and that will ultimately get you out the other side.

    Thinking of you. Love awoollyhat xxx

  25. I'm so sorry. You shouldn't have to be sorry for anything. You are an amazing and strong person. I understand what you mean when you say that there is a loud voice in your head telling you negative things. I've got one as well, I think of it as the Evil Brain.. its like the cartoon devil and angel on my shoulders, one saying nice things, the other saying bad. I always refer to it as having and EB or Evil Brain moment when it gets so loud I can't drown it out.

    It's so easy for someone who has never waged war with that horrible little voice to sit there and say 'oh come on pull your socks up, stop bitching about things.' or any other comment they care to make about just getting on with things. No one knows how hard it is to ignore and not give in to that voice except someone who has been there, who also hears that voice.

    You will make it through this though, you'll win the battle with your EB and I hope someday you win the war aginst it and drown it out completely. Actually I hope we both do.

    Remember, some day someone in need of understanding, someone who is fighting their own battle and war against themselves will find your blog and realize that they aren't alone. Just as you aren't alone now.

    I miss our tweets, but come back when you are ready. Your real friends will always be waiting to welcome you back.

    Thinking of you lots. xxxx

  26. There are wankers in all walks of life including the Internet. You are clearly not one of them. I have personally been so inspired by your courage and sensitivity that I've now begun to write about my own battles (which you know about)on Wordpress. I'm just saddened that some Tweeters and blog commentators indicate that there is still a long, long way to go before mental illness is treated with the same understanding as physical. And hoorah for partners like Wonderspouse and my Spousette. Will be glad when you're back on Twitter. Big hugs to you both.

  27. @Fiona_WordsBird said...

    Isn't it funny how people a) criticise people for not being like them b) return to blogs and forums where they don't feel welcome or in tune, and keep picking the scabs, rather than just going away?

    I blame TV soaps, I really do. The rubbish behaviour that was originally written for 'entertainment' has become the way many otherwise smart people lead their real lives.

    Whatever happened to the random kind and friendly gesture? benefit of the doubt? letting the other person have the last word?

    The act of unfriending or blocking feels negative, like any other form of decluttering. But afterwards the negative energy from those people isn't missed, any more than a broken basket or odd sock thrown in the bin.

    I found this blog via @andybodders, whom I know as a good pal and a generous online friend. When you're ready to rejoin Twitter, look me up. I fiercely support a friend whose bipolar disorder has just been rediagnosed as borderline personality disorder (yet more research for me, though the scarier label turned out to have a more hopeful prognosis) and am also trying to be a twitterpal to @bulliedbyboss. I don't 'collect' mental illness sufferers but I am around them a lot and I'm learning all the time.

    You'll get back in touch with your inner resources, because they're still there. You didn't imagine them when you had them before - they're real, and when you feel ready you will find them again.

    Have a big gentle hug, and let me pass you another box of tissues. Once I've taken one out myself!

    Fiona Cowan

  28. Hello. I found you via your Wonderspouse. I think you have a wonderful blog, and you have a beautiful way with words. I can see your courage and determination, underneath the depression. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Depression is hard enough to deal with on its own, to have other nastiness thrown in as well makes it ten times worse. I understand a bit of what you're going through, my life went topsy turvy before Christmas when life nastiness was thrown in on top of depression.

    I hope you can climb back out of this hole really soon.

  29. Firstly Twitter is absolutely a place to share and get support. I've been on it a year and when I started on there I was recovering from a bad depressive episode and the after effects of being badly bullied. You were one of many people who said hello and I would have been lost at times without my online presence. Living in a new city and only knowing my sister and her husband was very isolating. Twitter made me part of the wider world and helped me make friends in my local area too.

    As far as I'm concerned Twitter is an opt in community. If someone says something you don't like, agree with or isn't within the reasons you joined then unfollow them. There is no excuse for people to send you messages in the way they have.

    However having been through the ups and downs of depression for the past 15 years myself I know that people can find it difficult to understand. One of my best friends once told me to stop "wallowing in self pity". A month or so later she took back what she'd said, apologised profusely and since then our friendship has gone from strength to strength.

    I've found the best way to get through is to find people who do understand and lean on them when times are tough. For me I realised after my last breakdown that some people just can't get their head round the idea and impact of depression and steering clear of them is the only way to deal with it. Keep sharing and telling people what's going on. If we keep writing about depression maybe more people will understand.

    I really hope you find a way to start feeling better soon. I have no doubt in your own time and your own way you'll get through this, because most of us do.

    Thank you for sharing x x x

  30. I haven't been on twitter much lately and so I'm really sorry I missed this. I only found out because I thought it was odd I hadn't seen any tweets from you so went to look at your profile.

    I am so sorry all this has happened and that I didn't know about it and wasn't able to send you a message of support sooner. You are so strong for writing about this so honestly and for dealing with the problems and the people involved in such a fair way.

    I've not been feeling too great myself at the moment and the other week had my own twitter doubts after a rather nasty exchange. Luckily it was someone I didn't count as a friend and was happy to unfollow. I then went through and culled my follow list of anyone who I didn't enjoy following. Seems harsh but the disagreement caused me a lot of upset.

    I hope you are able to get back to enjoying the internet. There are so many people out there who want to help and support each other. I know how hard it is to ignore the few people who don't understand mental health if only it was as simple as fixing a broken leg, which some people seem to think it is.

    If you ever need to chat please get in touch. I'll dm you my email address and you can contact me through blogger too.

    Sending you much love and hugs

    Take care of yourself


  31. Just want to let you know that I'm passing the Beautiful Blogger Award to you, which I received from Lyn at Two Ghosts. Please pick up at my blog
    Have fun!