Well hello! Its been a wee while since I sat here typing a blog.
I have spent two years using YouTube to say my piece, but like so many people before me, I have found the trolling and negativity very damaging to my mental health. In one way I loved it, and in another I knew that there was always anxiety in the pit of my stomach waiting for the backlash to every vlog I posted. At the beginning I was very naïve and assumed that if someone tuned in that meant they felt some warmth towards you and wanted to support your channel however I quickly learned that there are idiots out there that trawl the internet just to find people to troll, abuse and spit nastiness at. Shame on you, how small your lives must be if you need to hurt people you've never met. I'd take a wild guess you wouldn't have abused me or my daughter if stood in my presence as your backbone would be too flimsy, so instead you hide behind your phones or keyboards shooting out vile abuse at people. You are cowards or very damaged souls for sure.
Today as I shed tears for Caroline Flack I'd like to say I feel her pain but I cannot possibly know how poisoned and damaged she was by the horrendous press vilification. What has our society become when we relish 'news' no 'gossip' about innocent people in the full knowledge it will damage their careers, their souls and ultimately take their lives? Why do we read and watch this unbalanced flawed rubbish? Caroline was a beautiful and talented woman with a tumultuous love life, yes, but she was innocent until proven guilty, that's supposedly how our society works, no? Her boyfriend did not want a prosecution at all. Yet the press and online 'stoning' she received made her out to be a she devil, an evil dangerous man beater? Yes she was already a fragile butterfly but what the hell are we all becoming if we are driving people to give the ultimate sacrifice for our satisfaction, that we as a society know better, that we are somehow untouchable and sin free? I never met her but her infectious laugh and beautiful personality shone through my television screen, I am heartbroken she never got to see the outpouring of love for her. I only got a mere fraction of the online abuse she suffered but boy I know how damaging it is, it matters not that you can't see these people, it matters not that you'll probably never meet these people, somehow every online piece of verbal diarrhoea aimed your way wounds you, it might as well be a stone chipping away at whatever mental strength you can muster. Caroline lost a job she loved, a programme she shaped and steered to popularity. That must have stung, and wounded her badly. Then the press and online idiots started on her pummelling her to the floor ultimately fatally wounding her. We are all up in arms when we see other cultures literally stoning people for misdemeanours yet we are perfectly happy to do the same thing with words and insults striping people back to the point they see no other alternative than death?
Will they be held accountable? Will they heck, they'll be writing kind obituaries to Caroline and pretending they too are heartbroken. How warped is our society to let this happen? When will we wake up to the damage the cyber trolls are having on our collective mental health?
I have only ever contemplated suicide once and I'll never forget the desperate feeling in the pit of my stomach, the dragging weight that I imagined was tied to my ankle taking me down into a one way abyss. I guess you feel like your riding that plastic rodeo bull at the fair, knowing full well you'll fall off but you're clinging on for dear life as it bucks and tosses you back and forth. I planned how, I even considered making it look like an accident so my daughter didn't have to live with the knowledge I'd taken my own life. But I dragged myself to safety, I asked for help. The most difficult thing to admit to and do.
Admitting you mental health is fragile, does not mean you are weak, quite the contrary but society and the press would have you believe differently. A lot of words of support are spoken these days for mental health but somehow they're still hollow, merely politically correct banners. We need to accept that our society has changed and people need more mental health support than ever before.
My 14 year old daughter is struggling with a mixture of being a teenage girl and anxiety. School phobia seems the cause. At home she's still my bubbly, polite, considerate daughter. Yet at school she has become unstable, prone to crying and shaking. Truanting lessons and self harming herself. Mostly the school are punishing her for not complying with the rules. Yes, she has been verbally rude to staff when in a heightened state of agitation but the school seem incapable of any form of pastoral care. The local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service saw us once. They concluded the session warning me to lock away the household drugs and knives as they could see my daughter had considered suicide. The worker told us she needed to discuss our case with the team and then she would be in touch to discuss a way forward. The phone call I received the week after blew my mind let alone my daughters! Apparently she didn't fit their criteria and they wouldn't be working with her???
At least three of my daughters friends have already attempted suicide? What the hell is happening?
Social media has to accept some of the blame for this outbreak of mental health problems amongst our society. These girls and boys are forever attached to their phones, they slag each other off from the comfort of their bedrooms, they say such cruel heartless things to each other like a game of tennis back and forth, the dramas are constant and feel so real to these poor souls. These girls and boys who have yet to reach maturity or to have experienced much real life cannot put these mini dramas into any context within the real world. The next generation are mentally flawed before reaching adulthood and what happens next is anyone's guess. No generation has ever grown up with these pressures. They experience low self worth regularly either from each others keyboard warfare or from the constant images of false perfection from their idols on social media, What will become of them?
I am watching someone I love more than my own life struggle with all of this. Take away her phone away, I hear you cry. Lock her in the house! Keep her off school? How in this day and age do I keep her away from social media? Without her phone she uses someone else's, this is an addiction of huge proportions which in my humble opinion is headed for disaster.
Part of me feels I should return to YouTube and face down the idiots otherwise they win and I hate that. Show my daughter how it's done. But I'm too selfish, I'm protecting myself. If in any doubt about the vicious nature of the comments to which I refer have a look on Tattle Life for 'That Wilkes Woman' read the hatred, see the poison for yourselves.
Caroline fell foul of mean spirited, money driven media madness, trolls who sense weakness and pounce upon anyone that they feel they can hound. Our society has an epidemic far more serious than the corona virus in my humble opinion. We collectively need to face this problem.
Society needs better far more accessible mental health services, open to all. No hoops to jump through, no need to prove how weak you're feeling to be able to seek help. It's going to get worse, far worse. We'll see far more treasured celebrities commit suicide, yet more average people too.
When will we wake up to the damage the media and trolls are doing to us? Prince Harry and Meghan walked away from royal life for this very reason. I just wish I could wave a magic wand and silence the idiots, bring decency back to the media and ensure mutual respect existed throughout our society.
Caroline Flack allegedly had been self harming, something apparently known to the Crown prosecution service yet they still forged ahead with the case regardless of the victim not wishing it to be so. I am devastated that she felt so alone and so lost that she had no option but to take her own life. Obviously these cases are not so simple as to blame one specific thing but our society is headed down a path not trodden before and I cannot help but wonder how many more lives will be lost.
Social media and such easy access to any form of media these days is in some ways a blessing BUT and it is a big but we do not have the safety measures in place to look after people, most especially our young people. The epidemic of social media amongst our children is way out of control and something needs to change. Any nasty evil comments should be accountable. I cannot remove the Tattle Life comments about me and my family so I have to know it is out there day in and day out colouring peoples opinions of me. If someone actually verbally said these things I could slap them with a defamation of character suit, but attempting to tackle the social media vomit is almost impossible. The anonymity allows these evil idiots to hide like the Wizard of Oz behind their curtains. Somehow we need to make it so that people have to give their names, addresses etc so that their is accountability on social media. Remove the veil of anonymity. If people knew they'd get a knock on the door they wouldn't abuse people online.
Mental Health problems are on the up, our whole way of life seems warped. We need to take a long hard look at our online lives. We have become so ready to 'stone' people that in our opinions have annoyed us, or upset a friend, or worn the wrong top, or gotten a disabled badge even! We consider ourselves a civilised society! Pffttt!! I disagree.
Please love one another, think before you type. It may feel like a virtual world but trust me the people you're attacking are flesh and blood and just as vulnerable as you. I say the offenders must be vulnerable because balanced sane people don't need to send covert poison darts at strangers do they?!
Peace and love my friends