At no point did I expect to find so much support, warmth, approval and love from people miles away during my fight with online harassment.
I am a very normal 21-year-old – and for me, to receive all these messages of solidarity and appreciation has been very overwhelming and humbling.
I thank everybody who spoke out in favour of, and against, me. I have been open to syncretic dialogue and have read all that was said and – some criticism was very viable about me not posting things on positivity. I will make it a point to keep this in mind.
I’ve been away for some time, because I believe that while the real and virtual worlds effectively intersect and shape each other, the two do not (and should not) merge.
A lot of people encounter lots of hate online everyday, and not everybody is mentally strong enough to cope with it. While some may choose to ignore, people with a history of massive social anxiety (like me) do find that the online world and all its unwelcome shades do drip off on to our everyday reality.
Having dealt with anxiety attacks firsthand, I can vouch for the fact that we tend to think, re-think and think again over issues. For us, there is no ‘letting it pass’. This is where systematic targetting becomes an issue as it induces panic attacks and a leads one to completely break away from socialising. One tends to doubt themselves more – and in the process, lose their self confidence and esteem.
I’d like to reiterate that different people deal with allegations and hate differently – and the fact that somebody zones out does not mean they are weak. Being at the receiving end of so much anger, hatred and malice does make you question your worth as an individual. I’ve made it through the turmoil only because I had a support system in place and because of what I can say.
Whenever we talk of ‘online harassment’, the issue tips off to threats and legality and Freedom of Expression. However, let us not ignore its psychological undercurrents.
Anybody who has been through the same, I am sending you love and healing. If you need someone to talk to, use this page to inbox me. Let’s all agree to disagree with civility.
Love and Peace.