Thursday, 14 June 2012


I am going to try and tell this story without sounding:
a) self-pitying;
b) over-dramatic
both traits I dislike in myself and both traps I tend to fall into very easily.

Once upon a time, I was a divorced working mum with two teenage girls, a ginger tomcat, a dwarf rabbit and a not-so-dwarf-mortgage to feed. I worked all the hours that God sent to make a living.  I was very ambitious and I vowed to prove that a single mother could make it in the world without the baggage of a penis to hold her back. It was me against the Universe! Bring it on!

Fate certainly did bring it on.  She threw quite a few things at me and, being the stubborn (slightly dim?) person I am, I batted them right back. In retrospect however, that didn't exactly make me a very decent or pleasant person and I still shudder to think how badly I behaved towards my fellow man/woman/child. Anyway, after a while Fate obviously had enough of giving me a bloody nose and fired up the Enola Gay.

And Little Boy landed fair square on my head.

I had a complete mental and physical breakdown – or a human 'press CTRL ALT DEL' if you will.

Well, it took years to haul my sorry carcass up again, but to cut a long and very painful story short, I actually came out of the rubble a better person. Naturally, I don't recommend this for anyone else – I wouldn't wish what I went through on my worse enemy – but for me, I found that I was actually a lot nicer. Most of my anger and bitterness had been spent and although I wasn't exactly Julie Andrews, I was certainly more forgiving and an all round better egg.

However, I was left with the feeling that as a race (and I include myself in this) humans are sometimes just not very good at being humane. So I decided that the best thing for me was to protect my new found serenity and move somewhere quiet and away from the world.

Fast forward a few years.
Enter Twitter.
I can't even remember why I first joined Twitter. Perhaps I thought some really interesting celebrities were going to instantly fall in love with my wit and banter and be my new best friends forever. Well, that myth was quickly exposed – there's no such thing as a really interesting celebrity... real people on the other hand are another matter. I have 'met' some really great people on there (and admittedly some horrors too), people who have been supportive, made me laugh, think, see things from a different perspective, worry, raise an eyebrow or two, and even sometimes go “euww”. On the whole it has been a positive experience for me – if ever my timeline got a bit toxic, I would just clear off for a bit and read a book. After a while I began to think: Hmm, maybe people aren't so bad after all....

Fate gets bored playing Picture Bingo with the other furies and says:  “Hey, do you remember that belligerent cockney bird I nuked back in the late 90s? Wonder what she's doing now? I must look her up......

Fate decides that it would be a great wheeze to play 'let's get jiggy with my central nervous system': That'll bugger her up for a bit and the drugs they use to treat it are a real hoot too!

And Fate will always have the last word.

I'm afraid it's all rather taken its toll. Despite my attempts to laugh and joke it off, I have to admit it has worn me down a tad. The pain levels and the treatments for the condition have been about as entertaining as a barrel load of dead monkeys – I bounced from frustration to anger to depression to despair to: 'well, this is a fine pickle, where the hell do we go from here?' and all the while I have not been able to put on so much as a pair of socks. The nerve endings in my hands and feet have become 'live and kicking' which means I get feedback from electric appliances – now this would be amusing.... on anyone else. We did try and make a laugh out of it, where I  have turned into some mutant Avenger type Electra-luxia Woman, zapping evil with only the aid of her trusty Kenwood food-mixer, but it wears thin after a while. Life was becoming a bit frayed around the edges and, like my synapses, I was becoming more and more sensitive to the vagaries of others - this was especially true of Twitter.

Oh it wasn't the spammers that bothered me – I'd ignore them and they would go away after a day or two; even the porn bots had no effect – I'd heard/seen worse at my high school discos back in the 70s... old hat and yawnsville. No, I felt that Twitter was morphing into a gigantic, negative, supercilious and judgemental old uncle, angrily wagging a finger in my face every time I logged on:

                            you are a spammer/bad tweeter if you do 'X'

      if you do 'Y' I will unfollow/block you

you are a half-witted idiot/imbecile if you listen to'Z' music or read 'Q' books

you are a low-life waste of human space because you are watching 'XYZ' on TV

    You are all a piece of crap if you like 'xyz'

Tweet this way................. Tweet that way..... do as I say.......or else!

Someone actually had the temerity to tweet and write a blog post entitled: 
                         '10 reasons why I will unfollow your blog'
Well, that was one good enough reason for me to unfollow hers.

You see, what with all the shit that has happened to me in the past, I cherish my freedom of choice........ just so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.

 I really have difficulties with being told what to do and particularly with the words “ YOU SHOULD”.   So if I chose to tweet about watching 'Come Dine with my Pointless X Factor Dog'  or listening to 'Englebert O'Lanza Plays The Archers on his Organ' or reading '76 Tints of Beige with Brown Bits' that's my choice; if people have a problem with it - they can unfollow and that's their choice. The insults and advice on how to improve my sorry life are superficial and can be hurtful. Freedom of speech is a marvellous jewel, but there's a fine line between a bit of jolly joshing and vitriol.

Despite taking a shed-load of drugs, I'm not living in a rainbow dream full of sunshine and lollipops. I don't expect the world to be perfect and I'm just as flawed (perhaps even more so) than the next mutant Super-heroine. Even so, I have never got used to a place like Twitter where the word HATE is used so free and easily that it eventually becomes meaningless.

On top of all this, the meds I am taking have turned what used to be a reasonably sharp, nay razorlike, mind into a lump of grey Play-doh, to the point where I make Winnie the Pooh look like Stephen Hawking.  So, Hobson's choice is pain and brain - or not so much pain and very little brain.  Hmm... tricky one.....

Put it all together and rather like Electra-luxia and her food-mixer, my tweeting was fast running out of fun; I began to wonder what I was actually bringing to the party.   I've always marvelled at why people stayed on Twitter when they continually bitched about how dreadful it all was and promised I wouldn't be like that. So I decided to delete the account. I said some thankyou's (not enough I fear) to some of the really brilliant people in my timeline, but then another follower cottoned on to my not-so-cunning-plan and talked me down. He convinced me to sleep on it ..... to go off and do something else for a while.  Maybe the judgemental tweets were more about their authors than the contents..........

My Twitter Samaritan tells me that a number of people have said some really kind and lovely things about me since I have been away and I have been truly humbled by that –  and that's not an empty gesture on my part, it means a lot to me, it really does. If any of them pick this up through Twitter (I have put it on automated posting) thank you for restoring my faith.  I don't know what else to say.

For that is the wonderful side of Twitter, it's the real reason people will join and continue to get something positive out of it no matter how many times Uncle Supercilious continues to crap on his own doorstep.

A thought has just occurred to me: doesn't all this make me just as judgemental?

That certainly wasn't my intention.

Maybe the fact that I have written this post says more about it's author than it's contents................


  1. Well, Mama, I have certainly missed you. I still think Twitter could be good for you, as it is for me, *under certain circumstances*. I continue to have two accounts, and it's only on the one you know me on as @purplepersuasion that I feel safe and happy. How do I feel safe and happy?

    1) I keep it locked. Anyone who doesn't understand or support my reasons for that can bog off.
    2) If I begin to feel that anyone is draining/abusive/overly critical/not a healthy person to be around, I unfollow/block. Sometimes I have been sad to do this, because I have considered the person a friend, but if my interactions with them are feeling stressful, it's time for them to go.
    3) mmmm,3 is a work in progress, but it involves noting when I am in a mood state that leads me to pick fights or get upset, I go away just for a day or so.
    4) I only have a couple of hundred people in my timeline, that are picked to be people I really like.

    And I don't find it too draining that way. Unlike my other account, where there are lots of people waiting to attack and demolish your point of view. In consequence, I don't go there very often any more - in fact I have "migrated" over my favourite people to my locked account. The blogger account is back to being my original intention: a place to promot my blog and RT stories of interest to the mental health community. Which doesn't always feel so much of a community...

    I really hope you'll figure out a way Twitter can be safe for you and come back to us xx

    1. Hi Charlotte, yes, you understand perfectly. It's good advice + I need to sort myself out as well. Never easy admitting you are still fragile (when you have convinced yourself otherwise). I hope you are well - you are one of the main things i DO miss about Twitter. If there were more like you on there it would be a much better place x

  2. As I have told you already, I'd love to see you come back. But, really for me, Twitter is mainly for fun & chat so if you're not enjoying it or, worse, it's making you upset then it's best to avoid it.
    It is a good idea just to leave your account there rather than cancelling it I think. Just in case.....
    Lots of love xxx

    1. Thanks Yvonne. I think Charlotte's description of feeling drained by it all is the most accurate. It was fun for me too and I've always tried to be fairly light-hearted on there - It's just the mix of events I suppose.

      Still, you are right, who knows what will happen

  3. Hello Mama T,

    I'd love to see you come back too. You're one of the those it's always a pleasure to see in my timeline.

    Like Charlotte, I unfollow/block the troublesome.

    Maybe a protected account with a chosen few is the way to go?

    I'm in a similar boat on the chronic pain front and experienced a loss of faith in human race post trauma & a mental/physical breakdown.

    Hope life is soon sweeter again for you.

    Take care.


  4. Thank you Rach, that's very kind. I will indeed think about Charlotte's advice - like I said, Twitter isn't all poop and Popeyes, there is also a certain element of good on there and you lovely ladies are definitely part of that circle.

    I am so sorry that you are treading the same path with the chronic pain. It truly is a right royal b*tch & you have my every sympathy. Although it doesn't help with the physical, it is still a comfort to know you're not alone....

    If you ever need to talk/support about it please do DM me - they go through to my e-mails or poke me with a stick on here.

    Thanks again & look after yourself


  5. I too have missed your wit on Twit but I can see your point. If Twitter becomes a source of upset or anger, then it's definitely time to step away - we have enough dramas and misery in our lives without a social networking site adding to them.
    I really hope we see you back at some point - I'm sure you'll know if and when you're ready. Twitter needs more people like you.
    Wishing you well.
    Amanda x (mummy_misfit)

  6. Thank you Amanda, you are right - things simply felt more 'controlling' & less fun. I've always tried to keep things a little lighthearted & so would not like to come back & just stoppedbe a negative Nellie or a moaning Minnie, like you say, there are enough of all that around. I do miss the positive side of Twitter so maybe if I sort myself out, you never know. I hope you are well & happy x

  7. I've always loved your blogs, especially since I used to live in Suffolk and can identify with some of the people and places. Many times your articles have made me want to move back to an area, that despite some changes for the worse during my 10 yrs absence, is still infinitely calmer and more gentle than the intolerant, angry, violent part of the UK where I now live.
    I suffered a lot of abuse/trolling recently as a "leftie" who is strongly pro police and anti-privatisation. In fact I changed my Twitter name. Also it was a delight to block the idiots with one click of a button, if only real life were so simple.......

    1. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoy them - gives them a purpose I suppose. Sorry you are seeing the underbelly of twitter - there are some very nasty people out there & some who just get kicks out of the whole 'control" thing. I've gone back, but not so much (the cnp makes me a right misery guts sometimes & there are enough of them on twitter without me tbh). BSE is gentle compared to the smoke, but it still has it's dark side . For instance, I've never come across such open racism as I have done here. The older generation are very much ruder too.