Saturday, October 29, 2005

Where I learned that the blogosphere can bring both approval AND derision

Oh boy...I got my first anonymous hate mail today! Well, semi-anonymous since she gave a name, but nowhere I could reply.

I deleted it because:

A. I can.

B. I thought that there was no reasoning with anyone who wants to debate that suicide is a reasonable solution for some.

You know Lissa, my first impulse was to go off on you (and you were sorely mistaken to have called me "uneducated" me, you do not want to get into a battle of wits with me). I could give you a point-by-point rebuttal to your post, and I could defend myself, my opinions and my own history with the topic.

But then I re-read what you had to say.

You seem to be in trouble. And you quite obviously feel very strongly about everything you mentioned. I was initially more bothered that you stated "one such as yourself might have a little more compassion than that", but when I was able to step away from my own ego-bruising, it occurred to me that you are the one who is in need of this compassion.

Now, the fact that I linked to other "boring" blogs, IS my prerogative. I am entitled to be as snarky as I like in this arena. If you have a blog, you are welcome to do the same. If people don't like it, they don't have to read it.

But, I AM worried about you. And if you knew me, you would know that I do care very deeply and empathically about others' feelings.

I don't know you, but I have figured out that you're British (or at least I'm fairly certain). I've been in those cold, dreary surroundings at this time of year, and know that could get anyone down. It gets dark at 2:00 in the afternoon for crissakes.

But I am going to be very adamant when I tell you this: You CAN stand up and fight like hell. And it is NOT arrogant for me to say so. This has nothing to do with my own arrogance. To the contrary, it has to do with my belief in the strength you have yet to uncover.

And I can say this, because I have SEEN it, over and over again. I have had friends in the hospital that were so severely anorexic they weren't even allowed to walk anywhere. As I pushed their wheelchair, we talked about what would happen when we got out of here, and could we really get out of this horrible, all-encompassing abyss.

I would never be so naive as to say that everybody made it. But a lot of us did. I'm living proof. It took far too long, and I had to KEEP AT IT, but I'm here. On the other side.

I don't even care if you think I'm being too optimistic. You were right when you said that life is a hurdle. In fact, I can't agree strongly enough. But what you can't see and I can is IS possible to get over.

So instead of being offended or hurt, as I am wont to do, I will look at the comments as YOUR small step forward. You reached out, whether you realize it or not. By telling others how you feel, even cloaked in anonymity, you're actually looking for someone to care.

I said that suicide was a coward's way out because I think it is FAR more difficult, and takes far more guts to fight. But there are medical professionals with meds and therapy out there who will be the ones to truly help you with that. LOOK THEM UP.

In the meantime, Lissa, at least you can be assured that I heard you. If you click on the envelope at the end of the post, you can send me an email. Or you can just post your comments in the usual way.

But be confident that even if you rant and rave at me, I'll take that as a good sign. At least you're still fighting.


Blogger emily said...

You are far nicer than I. I was able to read her "comment" in it's entirety and I can say that I distinctly have some choice words for it.

More importantly, and I'm sure we agree the root of the issue is, suicide is not an acceptable answer! It is all too true that it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You and I both know that I've also suffered depression and it's many counterparts, and it took a LONG TIME and SERIOUS SUPPORT to get to where I am today. I, and many people I know, have been to that edge where you can't see anything else, but believe me, there are ALWAYS options. Something I wish I had accepted when I was going through it is that there are so many people with no choice in the matter yet still fighting to survive, how can I be selfish enough to think that in my life there's no other options?

Now I'm not proud of anything I've done, or any of the solutions I found, but I know that I don't regret them either. I wouldn't be half the person I am today if it wasn't for that part of my life which lead to those decision, and if it wasn't for the fact that I'm too damn stubborn to give in to anyone, even myself.

Have some pride, get through if only to be able to say later that you did.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you for who you are, not just because you're my daughter. I'd haul off verbally on anyone who gave you a bad time but I got your point and agree with you.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous M-I-L said...

Dearest Brooke, how like you to answer in the way you did! I so admire you! You are a wonderful, caring, big-hearted woman :*-)

However, you say you believe Lissa is from England. I am assuming this is because she was posting from a UK address? Can I just say that it does depend on exactly where you live in the UK as to whether appropriate help is available, or not?

Sadly, if Lissa has the misfortune to live in Wales, for example, she will probably NOT be able to get appropriate Mental Health care!

MB's brother, who as you know suffers from ADHD (and a related eating disorder) much more severely than MB, has been unable to get any help because he lives in Wales and there is no recognition of the problem there. His wife - who works for the local Health Authority - is currently struggling to set up a support organisation in Wales.

Also, a very dear young friend recently had the misfortune to discover that the Rape Crisis Councelling Service in South Wales has been closed down due to lack of funding! The Police and I struggled to find an organisation that could offer help and counselling - a whole week after the awful event! And then they can only help the victim, not her husband, who is also traumatised, (the rapist was a 'friend' of his) because there is a 'waiting list'!

Sadly, not everywhere in the UK has even these most basic Mental Health services! Poor Lissa may well be struggling alone, with an unsympathetic GP and a crumbling NHS. Thank you for answering her with such warmth and sympathy. I hope it is helpful to her.

BTW, I had a friend who committed suicide. I was very upset and angry with her for a while, and her mother wrote to me at great length supporting her right to take that way out.

Eventually I came to understand, and to support her decision, even though I strongly disagreed with her. I still think she was wrong, but I reluctantly had to accept that for her it was the only way out. And she wasn't a coward.

It's just not the way I would ever choose, and it's very hard for me to understand, but at the end of the day, only the person involved really knows what's right for them.

3:47 AM  
Anonymous kg said...

brookie... you are an AMAZING woman with a huge heart and an understanding of human nature that is both admirable and wonderful for all those that are lucky enought to come into contact with you.....

love and kisses

8:14 AM  

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