I didn't know much about Charlotte Dawson before today, apart from her well-publicized battle with depression and issues with people on Twitter that wrote some of the most vitriolic things about her and toward her. As a person who has had his mental health issues, I just want to send Charlotte's family and friends my condolensces. 47yo is too young. I will be 47 this year and these things hit home. Seeing these articles and news posts today made me sad.
If there is one thing that I remember about depression is a great little quote from Bandiana boy and later LA rock God, Rick Springfield who in his cracking biography 'Late, Late At Night' said about his lifelong battle with depression, 'It always lurks'. You can live a normal life, but it can appear in the most unexpected places and times. Thankfully, my psychologist, who I saw for four years gave me some really good tools to recognize when it is lurking and to keep it at bay.
Charlotte had a long battle with this illness and we could argue that her history of being bullied and trolled on social media might have excaserbated her downward spiral, but it also might not have made any difference to the end result. We will never know. She fought very hard for people to be aware of looking after each other on those social media platforms. If there is a legacy that she has left, then this is it.
As many of you are aware, I love social media. It is my one stop shop for sharing ideas, being supportive of causes, news items, seeing what people are doing, making new friends and getting inspired. It doesn't always work, as it can get nasty and vicious. I've experienced it on a couple of occasions when people can jump into a conversation and spill their hatred on people they don't even know. I'll admit when it happened the first time, I completely misread the situation and lost a friend over it, but kept the troller. When it happened the second time, I was not so forgiving. Big lesson learnt. When things get personal, it is awful. I recently got called a 'fat, fucking muppet' on a public forum. I have three words for this person. Pot. Kettle. Black.
Great forums are those with people that have wonderful ideas and debates and most importantly, respectful of each other and their views. It's not that hard. So when people unleash their racist, misogynistic, childish and evil views on your post or your friends' post, get them off. Report them. Delete them. Fuck them off.
If there is one thing I've learnt on social media, people that are arseholes on posts and forums are arseholes in person as well.
Take care out there, kids..