A recent blog by Anne Cooper – here https://anniecoops.com/2016/05/22/sharing-no-more/ – has made me think about my own “sharing” on social media.
In Feb 2015 I decided to blog about my experience of depression and share it for the Time to Change campaign. I felt sufficiently well and resourceful to be brave enough to let people know what my experience had been and how the shame and stigma of mental health can impact on many areas of life.
I shared my blog posting on twitter and back then my tweets were then posted on Facebook… well that’s when things started to get nasty. An anonymous complaint came into the organisation about a conversation on FaceBook and that led to serial unkindness. Unable or unwilling to address the issues I believe it was decided to use my “frailties” to shame me, undermine me and lie about my competence. Another anonymous complaint was then made to the CQC about my ability and cited my blog and previous depression. The complaint indicated that I had been “emotional” at work and had shown signs of distress and instability. There was also a comment about my blog and tweeting that was directly lifted from the original complaint about the FaceBook conversation which I now realise indicates a great deal of premeditation on behalf of whomever rang the CQC. As soon as I was faced with the complaint I resigned from my position. I knew that I was up against forces greater than myself and if I wanted to remain sane and not become unwell then I needed to leave the organisation. I was not prepared to carry on and that “failing” was better than stubbornly pushing against inertia and deep seated behaviours that served selfish purposes and ingrained dysfunction.
For many months I have repeatedly asked the question about why I became the target and what it was about me that resulted in me being the scapegoat and being shamed, misrepresented and silenced. It has been an awful experience but I now ask the question – how bloody dare they?
Being at the receiving end of unrelenting unkindness is deeply damaging – contrary to external appearances I am not equipped with huge amounts of confidence and self belief – I believe in causes and will “perform” to ensure I represent those causes well and competently but I have no reservoir of arrogance or egotism to draw upon.
My experience last year has taught me about what it is like to be at the receiving end of narcissistic self interest and trying to work with people who do not want to change anything about their current situation, even when they are deeply unhappy and moaning all the time. The more I have thought about the experience and what it feels like for people to be unkind to you the more I am committed to being both kind to folk but also to show folk that if unkindness exists in their lived experience then it has to be stopped.
Like Anne Cooper I use social media much more carefully and I also compartmentalise my activity – Twitter for professional knowledge and connection and Facebook for creativity and personal nourishment – LinkedIn remains an unknown quantity…. I share professional information but as a newbie to the freelance world and as I am still unsure of what I will end up doing as a “job” – then I reserve judgement on whether interactions and connections there can lead to opportunities.