Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Monday, March 24, 2008

JK Rowling speaks of suicide--HATE responds.

Hate and ignorance prevailed today in response to JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, when she revealed that she had suffered depression and considered suicide earlier in life.
JK Rowling: I considered suicide as a struggling single mother the Daily Mail
For me, it was quite a horrifying introduction to the online social networking and discussion forum communities. It was only shortly after finally figuring out how to link my blog to and sign up for all of these cool sites that I came happily across this article. "Wow! Great," I thought! "Good for her!" I was feeling really fine. I was thankful the world would get to see a successful, intelligent, creative person could suffer from an illness which is rarely associated with successful attributes. My sense of gratitude and relief quickly turned to horror, however, as I began reading the comments in response to this article on those "really cool" websites.

Here are a select few of the 150 current comments on Warning: if you have a weak stomach or a low frustration tolerance, you may want to discontinue reading now.

  1. umm, big deal. who hasn't thought about suicide before? oops.... thats right. my fault. because she's famous this is somehow more important.
  2. She decided against it when she realized she could torture the world with her writing
  4. Wow, everyone gets depressed once in their life. Next on digg, Brad Pitt: I went through puberty.
  5. I don't even see why her attempt at suicide is news. Everyone thought about it at least once.
  6. she should have gone through with it
  7. WHY IS THIS ON THE FRONT PAGE!!!!!The woman is one of the richest people on the planet. So how is this supposed to make any difference in ANYONE'S life or situation. WHO CARES!!!!!Kevin please fix the algorithm to keep crap like this away from those of us who actually give a shit about what gets here. This makes Digg BORING and less interesting and intellectually useful than it used to be.
  8. Oh please - who hasn't "contemplated" suicide at some point in their life?Next up? JK Rowling considered taking a shower instead of a bath! Potter fans SHOCKED!
  9. Too bad she didn't spare us 7 god awful books and slit her wrists in the late 90s.
  10. depression isn't a disease. It's a state of mind & nothing more than a word. snap out of it!

There's not much left to say...there were a few defenders among the haters, but the vast majority are reflected within the 10 statements I've included above. Wow...

I feel really sad and discouraged. I don't generally get involved in these discussions for that reason. I guess I prefer NOT to know how much hate, rage, envy and self-centeredness there really is in this world. And I think the anonymity of the internet allows for the underbelly of feelings to pour freely from within. It saddens and scares me.

Are people really this mean? Can they really NOT comprehend another person's experience AT ALL, despite their feelings about that person? Is my neighbor who smiles and snow blows my driveway when I can't get out to shovel blasting JK Rowling (and me) for being weak, lazy, attention-seeking, money-grubbing, malingerers with fake illnesses?! I don't want to know. It takes a lot less energy to treat my neighbor with respect and expect that he also respects me. That keeps my life simpler today, and I guess that's the way I need it to be.


Anonymous said...

Haven't used Digg in a while. It used to be pretty "techie" oriented and many techies are somewhat socially challenged. I suspect the anonymity afforded by the Internet allows them to be the bully instead of the bullied. As a whole they seem to be a pretty immature, mean, petty, and sad lot. I expect many of them to join the ranks of the depressed after their anger festers for a few years and life grinds them down.

Where Digg is concerned I'd say "consider the source", although we both know ignorance and meanness are on the rise.

BTW, I tried to post this comment early yesterday and several times since. I'm not sure, but I don't think my comments are getting through.

We'll try again ...

etta said...

Thanks for the comment, crackedheadblogger. Can I just call you CHB for short?
Interesting observation about Digg. I am new to the whole arena, so I will keep that in mind. However, I don't think we can say that this meanness and ignorance is limited to just one group or subset of the population. Unfortunately, I think their comments may accurately reflect many, not all, but many in the wider populace. I do think the internet anonymity allows people an uninhibited, free-for-all mentality. I find the comments on many forums filled with similar name-calling and hate-filled language. It's disturbing and frustrating. Rather than allow for a civilized exchange of ideas and opinions, it seems many online discussions are the playground equivalent of, "Oh yeah? Well I'm taking my ball and going home!" (pout and stomp foot here)

Anonymous said...

No shortage of ignorance. I've just noticed the techie and political bloggers tend to be the most mean-spirited. I think I have some insight into the techie behavior. I'm so apolitical I can't imagine what "political groupies" are all about.

Anonymous said...

Hi I know your post was awhile ago but I wanted to write you a note about this. I am a writer and I've noticed that it's not that most people are mean but that most people who write mean statments about some person they've never met are the types of people who are not 1) going after their dreams themselves 2) probably live miserable lives and venting against somebody who 'made it' seems a good idea to them 3) are actually teens. Yes teens.
There was a survey a few years ago that showed that while most people who use the internet for research, email or entertaiment fall all over the age spectrum, most who populate chat forums or add comments in places like digg are by far kids from ages 12-17.

keep fighting the good fight. there are many good decent people in the world but we arent always commenting. Me? Ive had internet for 5 years this is the first time Ive posted a comment anywhere! (hence the anon post).

there are millions who love rowling but the immature aand silly have turned the internet into the equivalent of the high school bathroom stall wall!

keep on fighting the good fight!

Anonymous said...

How old you are has nothing to do with how mean you are. Enough of judging people because of their age!