Anxiety and online bullying

Tuesday was a funny old day really. I got a little bit trolled on Twitter by some men with nothing better to do than pick on someone for being not very feminine. They suggested a number of things about my lifestyle and life choices, but were unnecessarily nasty about it and then patronising when I failed to respond. I’ve encountered these types before, they were doing it to provoke a reaction, so I gave them none, but it just made me feel very sad and cast a gloomy cloud over my day.

I’m not perfect, but I try where I can to be nice to almost everyone. Online I’m friendly and supportive, occasionally forthright in my opinions, but more often than not I am very happy to see both sides and as a result I rarely get any stick. I’m not used to it, I’m not a fence sitter, but I’m not naturally argumentative. I hate conflict, so when it happens, when people turn on me for no other reason than for their own entertainment, it shocks me and gives me an unwanted shake up.

Of course the right thing to do was to block them and try to give no further thought to it. It’s something or nothing in the grand scheme of things and I doubt they’ll go to bed with anxiety about it twisting in the pit of their stomach.

I’m not even going to attempt to figure out why randomers are mean to people on the Internet. If I was putting myself out there with maybe a slightly outlandish political opinion, or I was inviting heated debate into my Twitter timeline, then I would almost expect some stick or some online bullying, but I’m not. I’m a normal girl who writes occasionally amusing tweets, chats online to friends and Tweets pictures of her breakfast (a lot. Sorry about that).

There are plenty of women, ballsy women, who take this unwanted attention in their stride. I am not one of them. I had thought of a rather good retort, but I felt a response would give them some satisfaction that they had got to me in some way, which of course they had.

My anxiety is always there, sometimes it is a big voice, a grinding in my stomach, a pounding in my heart and I can hardly catch my breath. Sometimes it just whispers that I should be fearful, but when it whispers I can usually ignore it. Today it’s been the big voice anxiety. I’ve seen Twitter pile ups happen and I had a dread that my notifications would be swarming with hate. Thankfully (touch wood) just a couple of nasties said their piece, got bored when I wouldn’t bite and then I quietly blocked them.

Quite simply. Why do some people need to be so mean?

I’ve been watching The Island with Bear Grylls (which has been brilliant). He has a saying which I’m quite taken with, “with courage and kindness you can conquer the world”. And do you know, I think he’s right. I need a bit more courage and mean people need a bit more kindness. Wouldn’t the world be a better place for us all if kindness, compassion and courage were at the heart of everything we did? Nannight xx

Online bullying

3 responses to “Anxiety and online bullying

  1. There are so many keyboard warriors around. They would never speak to someone in real life the way they do online. I hate people who hide behind their screens. It’s cowardice, nothing more. You’re a lovely, helpful person online. Ignore the idiots.

  2. I am glad you are being strong. I too suffer from mental health problems and self-harming – just like you have in the past. I have also been a victim of online bullying and trolling which literally pushed me over the edge but i clung on and I was strong because I found the strength to do so and only because I am a mother. Ignore the trolls and believe in yourself – that is what keeps me going. The trolls hide behind a keyboard but you are strong enough to ignore them and carry on expressing the way you feel. I admire you for writing your blog and being honest as I know letting things off your chest helps you to dea with underlying problems and move forwards. Good luck and thank you for just being you.

  3. Oh I love Bear Grylls even more now! This is the second post I’ve read tonight about online mean-ness. Bullies who hide behind their keyboards but no doubt wouldn’t say anything in real life.. they’re not worth it. You’ve totally done the right thing by ignoring, and by doing so you are definitely one-up on them, but I totally get how you would keep turning it over in your mind. The thing is, I think anybody ‘nice’ and kind would. We just don’t understand what anybody else gets out of being mean! But it takes a lot to sigh, move on, and never think about it again. Thankfully, there are more of us than there are of them, so sending you virtual hugs and wishing you a good night’s sleep. Enjoy the sun tomorrow! x

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