Had a bad nightmare last night – much more intense and awful than just my usual “people won’t get out of my personal space one” (which affects me worse than you’d think from what they actually are) though it involved a bit of that too. When I woke up I was convinced my clock was two hours ahead instead of one, and when I finally pulled myself out of bed I was quite trembly still so I took some lorazepam with my morning medication as well. It leaves me tired and a bit groggy, but calmer, at least. Then I put my Social Policy book in my bag and we headed off to Te Awa o Te Ora, because while there’s lots of people there, it’s weirdly calming, and I wanted to play with flax and prep some more whenu and have kai with the other weavers.
Hadn’t bothered to check my email or Twitter or anything in the morning, but at one point I pulled my phone out to see if I could figure a way to get a smaller file size when I take photos and checked on my mail and twitter mentions, since before bed I’d posted a picture of my muffins and wanted to see if anyone else had said anything. There was some of that and also a couple of tweets that seemed to link to some kind of trash talking.
Now, normally, I find trash talking hilarious, so when we got home I went to find the whole conversation, and most of it was just as ridiculously pathetic as I’d expected. Apparently having four whole paragraphs on a page designed to tell people who I am indicates that I find myself altogether too interesting. Four paragraphs, people! How did no one ever diagnose my obvious narcissistic personality disorder?
The last two or three tweets is where it went to shit though. Quoting the line from my About section about how I’ve been depressed my whole life (a medical fact that can be backed up by numerous doctors, psychiatrists and psychiatric emergency staff), one of the two in the discussion added “go. kill. yourself.” The next tweet was something nonsensical about living under a bridge with a stolen iphone, then the last one was addressed to me by name, but not twitter handle, asking if I’ve ever “saved child cancer patients” like the other person in the conversation. Well, I don’t know. Maybe. I did help an awful lot of people get funding to keep their power on last winter, quite a few of whom needed it for medical reasons, so it’s possible, I’m not really sure why it’s relevant though. Maybe I was supposed to feel shamed out or something? Coz I don’t. Mostly I feel shitty because despite all the progress I have made in getting and holding a really fucking satisfying and meaningful job last year that led me to come back to school this year and manage so far to maintain pretty good grades for the first time in ten years, this is just another person reminding me that society don’t give a shit about the mentally ill no matter what we do, and on a day when I’m already off-balance and feeling kind of vulnerable.
As a note, I very deliberately am not naming the people involved in this conversation. I blocked the one that was saying the worst things but looking at Twitter support that’s about all I can do unless I get outright credible threats, which isn’t the tone the conversation had at all. If anyone figures out who they are, you can confirm it with me privately, but please don’t mention it publicly. I don’t start flame wars and I won’t appreciate someone starting one on my behalf either. I’m posting this because it’s always been a blog about disability on some level, even if it’s also about a lot of other things. Your average “go kill yourself” attack on the internet I don’t care about, but when it’s so inextricably linked to “oh, you’re mentally ill” it suddenly has a lot of different weight behind it that I think deserves to be considered because it’s a button that affects a lot of people with mental illness very badly, and people know that. That’s why they jump to it.
Is it on a level with using targeted slurs against other minorities? I don’t know, really. I think it probably affects me more than homophobic slurs and about the same as transphobic slurs, but that doesn’t mean it’s in the same “hate speech” category. (Also I’m counting attacks like “you’re a freak of nature” and “gay marriage will lead to paedophilia” or whatever as slurs, not just demeaning words.) I think you’d be hard pressed to argue it legally, but then the mentally ill are often still considered fair game in a lot of ways. Just look at how stories are reported sometime, it’s very telling.