I’ve posted a few times about Mental Health Voices the Twitter account I set up to develop a peer based community for people to be able to openly talk about mental health.
What I don’t talk about are the problems I have related to running the account but I feel now is a time to discuss these as I am considering closing the account permanently. Last year when I needed to take a step back for a while and had a friend manage the admin for me, I did so as for several months prior to this the account had been plagued with abuse from a gang of trolls, I had managed it so that curators were as much as possible kept away from it and this had transferred them to my personal account and I eventually had to get the police involved, and yes they took it very seriously getting the situation stopped.
I’ve been accused of being cruel because I refer people in crisis to the Samaritans. Even though I am not trained, nor in any fit state, to help someone who is in a state of crisis. I would never expect one of the accounts curators to try and help someone in this state either. There are professionals far better equipped for these situations. I have used the Samaritans when I have been in crisis myself, they are very good. I am not cruel for referring people to them, I do not want someone’s suicide on my hands because myself or one of my curators was out of their depth.
I’ve had to wade into the middle of arguments about what is politically correct when I’ve had curators on the account who are a bit more blasé about their own mental health. The fact is that sometimes some people talk about their mental health in a way that makes the rest of us shudder a bit, but they have that right, the account was formed so people could be open and honest, so they could share their opinions, and there could be friendly debate. Instead when this happens I get a tonne of messages from people policing someone’s language.
Medication always causes ruction, as soon as a curator starts talking meds arguments start. And like with the language I start getting messages telling me I should block this person or stop that person from being a curator.
Then there are the personal feuds which people take to the account. I have literally lost count of the number of times I have received a message from someone saying “I’ve been blocked because your curator hates me” or I get a message from someone else asking me to unblock X. I sometimes feel like I’m a playground attendant, which is funny because I really don’t like children much!
Then there are the panics because a curator gets sick or anxious or something bad happens in their personal life and they pull out at the last minute or midway through their week meaning I have to find someone to fill in last minute.
On top of this is keeping the schedule of curators, sending password so, changing the passwords, keeping in touch with everyone etc.
I do all of this while being pretty damn sick myself. I don’t talk on social media much about how I am day to day. I try to be positive and focus on what I achieve. But I am really unwell, my meds have all been increased recently and I’m about to start Lithium. I am not coping with things very well and I do the best I can to manage all of this aswell to keep this running.
I suppose this sounds like a moan, and in a way it is, I put up with all this because I believe in the community, I feel like overall more good than bad comes from it.
But three times this week I have been accused of not caring about people in the mental health community, of being selfish, and of only looking out for myself.
If this is really what people think, if this is really all the people that use Mental Health Voices think of what I have created then I need to seriously consider shutting it down and saving myself a whole lot of hassle.
After I wrote this post things settled a bit and I thought if we could maintain this status quo for even a few weeks I may start to feel better about things, and better able to handle the stressful parts.
The curator I had scheduled for this week didn’t turn up for the show. I checked their timeline in case something was wrong but they were online and things seemed normal, I messaged to ask if they still wanted to take part but had no response. This happens ocassionally, so I messaged to say what I had done that I hoped everything was OK but I would find someone else to manage the account.
I was called a “creeper” for looking at a public timeline, I was told, again, that I don’t care about people with mental illness, that they hadn’t logged on because they had forgotten and were ill.
Anyone who has curated knows I am really flexible, there have been people who haven’t used the account 4 of the 7 days because they have been ill. But it helps to communicate with me.
Anyway, there were some very unpleasant things said in the message to me and quite honestly it’s the straw that broke the camels back.
I can’t do this anymore, my sanity is on a knife edge. I am so stressed and jittery where this account is concerned. Running Mental Health Voices has broken me.
A few people have suggested sharing the admin, but I honestly wouldn’t put anybody else especially with fragile mental health through this.
I am very sorry for the majority who get value from this account, who use it sensibly as it is intended. To all the curators who have put their time in and to those who had yet to take a turn.
Mental Health Voices will officially close at the end of this week on 17 July.