*Bad language, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and a personal rant but with real cause for concern*
Part of me feels I shouldn’t be writing this, because me having a voice pisses everyone off. I break their belief that they’re perfect, and that I’m a worthless piece of shit. I know nobody wants me standing up for myself, they never have, but it’s about time people take responsibility for their shitty behaviour. So here goes…
Yesterday I posted an opinion on Twitter, about this £10,000 pay out to 25 year olds, and how it won’t heal a generational rift, it will cause one… that old people worked hard all their lives, paying into the system… they weren’t handed everything on a plate… people strived and struggled to have the things they own. My humble opinion is that people should work hard… it makes them stronger. Getting the old to bail out the young isn’t right. That’s all I know. I know people disagree, and that’s fine. I accept that. I hope my views will be accepted too, as mine. Anyway, someone called Tara then pounced on it, arguing it. I admit my reaction may have seemed like an ‘overreaction’, but given that just a day earlier I had the same problem with a friend, and both instances tapped into some traumatic shit from my past, going all the way back to childhood, the feeling of being ‘publicly humiliated‘ is a big fucking trigger for me.
After she argued my views, I asked her to stop, said it was just my opinion, and my mental health couldn’t take it atm. I told her I’d removed the tweet she disagreed with. I muted her. But I saw she’d said it was just starting a discussion (I wasn’t inviting that to happen), wasn’t a personal attack on me, and she was sorry I felt it was…. a false apology.
I wrote out an explanation for why I seemed to overreact earlier. And I wanted to tell people about the trigger, and that I sometimes need to release my feelings about things, but don’t want to debate – my nerves won’t take it.
She then retweeted it on her timeline, and said it was aimed at her (which nobody would’ve known, as I didn’t mention her name before & deleted evidence), it was uncalled for, saying she’s not responsible for how I respond to a ‘reasonable tweet’. And see below for my reply. I then blocked her. It’s not up to her to decide was is ‘called for’ or ‘uncalled for’ on my own Twitter feed. Given that it was not solely about HER, I think it was extremely called for – to warn people of where I’m at, and how delicate I feel at the moment. Surely a therapist / counsellor would agree that communicating my needs is a positive step, no? Does she believe that I should suffer in silence, put up with people crossing my boundaries, and continue hurting myself? I would hope not in her profession. She has no right to dictate what is right for me to do, to cope with a traumatic experience for me… she may not understand my trauma, but that does not diminish its existence for me personally. If I had called her out, used her name and pointedly attacked her, and only her, then maybe… but as it was a general thread about my feelings and needs, it is wrong of her to tell her followers that I shouldn’t have posted it. Although if you think about it, she was telling her followers, many of whom suffer mental illness, or work in that field, that she thinks someone going through an intense episode of mental illness and reliving trauma, should not talk about it… should be quiet and take it out on her own flesh. She’s basically adding to the stigma. So… if that’s her choice….
Something that needs saying, particularly with Mental Health Awareness Week coming up, is that Tara is apparently a ‘trauma therapist’, and psychology undergraduate. Good fucking luck to anyone who has the misfortune of being treated by her! She showed a total lack of awareness of TRAUMA and how it affects people!!! She’s meant to be an expert in it, and having explained my trigger being ‘public humiliation’, she went on to tell all her followers my name by retweeting me, and totally humiliating me, opening me up to potential abuse from those who follow her. It is shocking that someone who apparently knows about trauma, and specialises in trauma therapy, has no clue about ‘triggers’.
I have to admit that I did ‘overreact’ to her challenging my opinion. But I explained why that was. I wrote something along the lines of:
“From time to time I will express an opinion that some of you may not agree with. And you have a right to not agree with it. You have a right to express your views on your own page. I also have a right to voice my feelings about subjects, without fear of being shouted down by the opposition. I do not post to debate anything. I post to express my worries, my frustrations and my emotions. I post to connect with people who feel the same. I post to not feel as isolated as I am atm. So when I have people jump on my tweets, arguing them and trying to show me up, whilst making themselves look/feel better, it makes me shut down and feel even more isolated. Many people would think ‘If you can’t take criticism don’t share your thoughts online’. But I have a right to an opinion just as much as anyone else. And I don’t understand why so many people nowadays seem to think they HAVE TO argue with opinions they disagree with. Why not scroll past? Or balance it out with your own view on your own page, without involving mine? I have been experiencing isolation that nobody could ever understand recently. I have also had my opinions attacked by other people very recently. My nerves cannot take this anymore, with the depth of my mental illness right now. So please have some consideration – especially if you are supposed to understand mental health, either as someone with mental illness, or as someone working with those who have it… think about how your need for winning arguments, and scoring political points could impact on the mental health of someone else. I just turned my hands black and blue and shouted the house down, in tears because of this – I’d hate to think the neighbours heard what I said. Anyone who thinks it’s okay to make someone feel like this will be blocked. I have a right to speak and be heard. Sometimes I might be up for discussing things, and I do understand freedom of speech includes the freedom to disagree, but I’m not mentally up to it atm. Consequently I removed the tweet that started it… to avoid any further upset. People say to ignore the haters – sometimes I can do that… sometimes I’m more sensitive, and they just hurt me too much. I try not to join in hashtags, so that I don’t invite people to attack my views. So if you’re a follower of mine, particularly one who’s in the know about mental health, please show me the respect right now, of allowing me to express myself. Because the alternative is I shutdown and internalise everything. My outburst before was because of a feeing of public humiliation, which is one of my biggest, if not THE biggest trigger for me. And given the state of mind I’m in currently, I can’t take any more of it. If you follow me and don’t like my opinions, please just unfollow me – I’d rather that than be made to feel like shit for using what little voice I have left. People have been systematically shutting down my voice in the past couple of weeks, and I now don’t feel safe airing my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or on my own blog. I can’t talk to friends either as they’ve abandoned me at the worst time of my life. So I have nowhere to speak and release my feelings. I’m not looking for pity. I’m looking for understanding and a bit of kindness. I will try and keep my opinions to myself. But if by chance you happen to see one, and you don’t agree with it, please do what I do to your opinions, and just ignore them and go about your day. Disagreements don’t always need to be aired. And I would appreciate it if for the time being at least, people refrain from debating with me. Some people are made for debates. I am not. And I’m fragile right now. But I’ll try my best to keep my feelings to myself. It’s safer that way.”
I was trying to explain how I felt, rather than harming myself again. I’d already punched the living daylights out of my hands as a result, but I thought if I calmly explained what was going through my head, and what I needed from people, they might actually respect that, and respect me. But no, just as with everyone else, she decided to take it personally, make it about her, and tell all her followers what a crazy, bad, out-of-line person I am. She decided to tell everyone that it’s MY fault. That she did nothing wrong. Now, fair enough she probably didn’t actually do anything wrong. I admit that. I admit that it was a trigger for me, so it made me relive a lot of traumatic experiences, which any legitimate trauma therapist SHOULD understand for God’s sake – so my reaction appeared out of the blue to her. Now, I used the word ‘attacked’ because that’s how it feels to me. Whether it was meant as an attack is irrelevant. In my mind it felt like it, not because it was, but because she’s not the only one who has done that to me recently. Anytime I’ve built up the confidence to say something I’ve had somebody argue against it. To somebody mentally healthy they’d probably just shrug it off, but I’m the most ill I’ve been in fifteen years. I’m isolated. I have no support system. I’m having to cope with everything alone, and I’m in so much pain. I feel so worthless. And I’ve been shut down by people. It triggered me. It knocked my confidence. It made me feel worthless and like I don’t have a right to speak. I felt as if the only words everyone wants to hear me say are these below:
She said it wasn’t a personal attack, and she said she’s not responsible for how I respond to a reasonable tweet. No. But she is responsible for retweeting my explanation of my trigger, and further triggering me in that way… to ‘get back at me’. But you know what, she did worse to me, than I did to her. Because in my explanation I made no reference to who she was. It was a general message to my followers so that they understood what I needed, and what my boundary was. She took it personally – that’s her reaction to it, which to quote her ‘I am not responsible for‘. But she chose to post about me on her twitter feed, quoting me, so that I was not some anonymous person. And if she even read it, she was fully aware of my trigger being ‘public humiliation’ and she CHOSE to do it. She IS responsible for that.
She is supposed to be a professional. She should be aware of the consequences of her actions… this includes online. I immediately cut my arm, slashed at my leg multiple times and injured my hands even more. Now, people would argue – ‘You’re responsible for self-harming… you made that choice’. But let me tell you, very often I can make that choice. When my emotions are heightened to that degree, and someone is deliberately triggering me, it’s like seeing red. It was a BPD episode, mixed with an anxiety attack, as I was shaking, felt sick and my heart was all over the place. In those moments I do not have control over myself. In those moments there is no choice. In those moments I am not responsible – the person who upset me to that degree that I have no power over myself, is responsible for what I do. Ultimately I am responsible, because I am the one who has power to learn better coping methods. In my calmer times I can replace self-harm with less destructive behaviours. I can try and stop self-harming. But I’m in a place at the moment, where I am not recovered. I am not even recovering. I’ve been steadily going backwards in my recovery. I admit I am not even trying to stop self-harming at the moment. I have no psychological support. I have no close friends. I’m trying to cope with this shit of a life on my own. I know she would attack me and say I made the choice to cut myself, it’s not her fault. But that is so unprofessional, and she shouldn’t be working with vulnerable people, if she can’t understand trauma, BPD and self-harm.
I know in a logical mind that I should not be blaming anyone for ‘making me self-harm’. Nobody can make you do anything. But given that I don’t have any other way to cope right now, this was going to be my go-to action. And she must have known the effect it would have on me to publicly humiliate me by posting about me. As a mental health professional she should not have done that, and I am going to report her, advising people that she needs more training in trauma… the very thing she specialises in. A mental health professional needs to be compassionate, tactful and considerate… and display empathy. She showed none of these things.
It terrifies me, the sorts of people they allow to train to be mental health professionals nowadays. One of the other people who hurt me last year in this same sort of way, is training to become a counsellor. She was vile to me. These people don’t tolerate a different opinion. Tara claimed that she was just expressing a different opinion – trying to paint herself as the victim. But actually by arguing MY opinion she was showing she couldn’t tolerate that different opinion. An opinion is just that, and it should be accepted. It should be allowed to stand there unchallenged. If someone argues it they’re showing they are intolerant of that person’s belief and ‘have to set them straight’. If you don’t agree just carry on with your life. I don’t understand this need on the left to argue with people you disagree with, it’s crazy. She also said it was starting a discussion… no it was starting a debate, as it was a different opinion. She also implied that I’m naïve – now that is a personal attack. She was trying to backtrack and appear like a victim. I wish people could see something they don’t like, and either just move on and let someone feel how they feel, without feeling the need to challenge it… or that they could say ‘Well, I disagree but fair enough’.
Okay, she didn’t know when she commented on my tweet, that it would trigger me. She clearly doesn’t read my tweets or my blog… otherwise she would have known. She did a false apology, in the sense of ‘I’m sorry you thought it was a personal attack’. That could’ve been it. That could’ve been the end. That could have been forgiven. I would’ve calmed down and seen it more rationally, and realised I overreacted. In fact I had calmed down. I thought it was over. But clearly my explanation triggered her. I thought I was doing the right thing by explaining why I overreacted and what I require from followers. I thought it was a good thing. She decided to open the wound up again. She had ‘apologised’, I had explained. She went into victim mode, and attacked me, properly this time. She deliberately chose to do that. If by some miracle she’s the same as me, and doesn’t have control of her reactions when emotional, then should she really be working with people who experience trauma? Honestly?
This may seem like I am now attacking her. But I am furious that a so-called ‘mental health professional’ would treat me so badly that I harmed myself as much as I did yesterday. I had a breakdown. Thankfully my mum was with me, otherwise I probably would’ve done something permanent. But I wanted to die. I wanted to hurt other people (never actually would, but the thoughts scared me). I wanted to check out of reality. I wanted to be sectioned. I felt it would be the only way to keep me safe. I’ve never felt like that before. I didn’t know what I was saying. I didn’t know what I was going to do. And it was terrifying. Anyone with BPD will know what I’m talking about. They will know how scary it is experiencing one of these episodes. And nobody should be pushed to that point – not by a professional. This post would also be deemed ‘uncalled for’ by her, but I assure you it would not have happened, had she not crossed a major boundary and deliberately triggered me that second time. My initial response may have been blown out of all proportion – that’s trauma for you. But I feel totally justified in discussing this issue on my own blog, after actions intended to upset me, and which caused me a lot of injuries.
As she had the knowledge it would upset me and I’m a self-harmer, it was the equivalent of me standing on the edge of a cliff, wanting to jump, and instead of talking me down and pulling me back, she gave me a little nudge and boasted to her friends as I plummeted to my death. That’s how it feels.
A mental health professional should know where to draw the line. The fact is, I deleted my tweets…. so nobody would have known I was referring to her. Nobody would have known. I didn’t specify in my explanation who it was… it was a general comment. Hers was targeted. I feel like it was an abuse of ‘power’. In that she is a professional and I am a ‘patient’ (though thankfully not hers). And she didn’t like that I wasn’t ‘in my place’ -below her. So she wanted to make herself feel more powerful by tweeting about me and hurting me. Again, that’s how it feels. It’s the ‘I know better than you’ manner…. but if she did know better than me, which she should as a professional, she wouldn’t have deliberately triggered me again. She would have understood that I’m experiencing trauma and a perceived ‘threat’. And she would have respected my feelings and my wishes.
Some people think of trauma as sexual abuse, rape, war, crime, natural disaster etc. But trauma can come from a range of different experiences. I was publicly humiliated routinely at school. I was bullied in front of the whole class with nobody intervening. I had a teacher grab my arm after I accidentally burnt my hand, shouting that I was a stupid girl, upsetting me instead of letting me treat it. I had friends a few years ago who hurt me badly by dragging other friends into disagreements. I’ve had trouble with this trigger last year, and also this year… a week ago. And so many more examples, which I talked about on a post recently, explaining the trauma I went through that left me with this mental illness, BPD. Every time I experience the same feeling of public humiliation, I relive ALL of these experiences. That my friend is what TRAUMA is. It’s flashbacks. It’s a build-up of experiences that mirror each other. That’s why it seems like an ‘overreaction’ because it’s not just about that one incident, it’s all of them. Any well-trained trauma therapist should know this. And if they don’t they should not be in the job – they are damaging to already ‘damaged’ people. Sorry, I’m very angry about this. Mental health professionals should want to help people to get better…. they should not be allowed to make people feel worse. She has only added to my pile of traumatic experiences, and to the number of my scars, and now someone else will have to fix what she’s broken in me.
She might not think that I really have a mental illness – try telling that to my mum who sat with me through it all yesterday. She was validating me and telling me it was right that I was cross about it, and upset. That the things I shouted when I was breaking down were okay. She knew I didn’t mean them. She knows all about the shit I’ve been surviving through in the last couple of months, alone. She was telling me it’s not right, the way people are treating me. She kept me safe. After my second bout of self-harming she encouraged me to use my fidget cube and spinner, and tried to make things better for me. And whilst Tara may think my response was an overreaction, and silly… and ‘wrong’, my family know exactly why HER reaction was wrong, and the damage she’d just inflicted on me. They understand about triggers, and why it wasn’t a kind thing to do to deliberately trigger me. I think they understand better than this ‘professional’. Or perhaps it’s more that they understand me, and my illness, and my past. This girl didn’t – which I think is all the more reason to be kind to people and try not to hurt them. I guess I have to forgive her, as she doesn’t know the shit I’ve been through in my life and how close to ending it all I am currently. All I can hope is when I report this she’ll learn from the experience and not traumatise vulnerable people anymore.
Yesterday was one of the worst days of my life, and I’m in a lot of pain today. But I feel calmer. I feel safer, as I’ve protected my tweets now, so only my followers can see them… not that it would’ve helped in this case as she was one of my followers! But if anyone ever makes me feel that way again they’ll get an instant block. I only want people who respect my right to be heard, my wishes, my feelings and understand mental illness and wouldn’t wish to hurt me.
The good thing about yesterday were the people on Twitter who supported me, and understood that I was upset. I’m grateful to those people more than they could know. They gave me a glimmer of hope, and a determination to not give up on life entirely, not yet. I won’t give unkind people the power to destroy me completely. It’s going to take a long time to recover, but I will rise from this and use it to educate mental health professionals about mental illness, and things they should bear in mind when speaking to people who experienced trauma, and who self-harm. This was just one of life’s cruel lessons, but so far I have survived it, and I will put it to good use and won’t allow this person to ruin my life. She’s not worth it.
Even writing this blog I feel hyper-alert to potential threat. I feel I’m going to be criticised for this. I’m scared she’s going to search me out and attack me. I can’t afford to lose control and harm myself again. I’m worried other people will have a go at me for speaking out about this. But this was a highly upsetting encounter for me, and having no safe place to express myself, I choose to listen to followers of this blog, who say this is my space and I’m free to voice my feelings. I am terrified to do so though. Everything I’ve done lately seems to have been ‘wrong’. But I’d like to see how anyone else would handle what I’m going through right now. I’m not doing it to be a bitch. I’m doing it in order to discuss the concept of trauma and triggers – and highlighting the understanding that it seems even mental health professionals lack, around the behaviours of those with a painful past. I hope people will have the compassion and understanding I need. I’m not coping at all with life right now, and I don’t want to do it. And incidents like this, especially coming from people who should be compassionate and understanding, don’t exactly inspire me to stay alive. But I’ll try for now. If things get any worse I’ll have to re-evaluate.
My next blog will hopefully be about validation and the necessity for it with BPD – this person was incredibly invalidating, but I received much-needed validation from other sources, and that’s what brought the intensity of the crisis down. I want to start blogging about helpful things again, but sometimes life gets too much and I need to vent. I hope people will be forgiving.
Thank you to all those who continue to support me, and defend my voice. It means a lot. And I owe a lot to my family. They gave me a beautiful plant and chocolate today, to cheer me up, and I feel so much love for them. I wouldn’t still be here without them.