Home > Mental Health, Trolled > Trolled


Having just gone past the fifth anniversary of starting this blog, something happened here for the first time yesterday: I was trolled. Whilst I’ve always thought that could happen on social media, particularly Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook, unless you make your posts private, I’d never really considered that it might happen to me in the blogosphere. If I were writing controversial stuff maybe I could expect it, but apart from occasional jibes at Trump and Brexit my posts are, I think, uncontroversial to the point of complete blandness! So I wonder what prompted someone to attempt to post this comment on my recent reblog of Mental Health Matters:

I say ‘attempt’ as my blog is set up so that I have to approve any first time commenter, so it is entirely at my discretion what to do with this. I gave it some thought, and wondered whether I should just approve it in the interests of free speech. But I rejected that, as I wanted to make more of it. I have edited the screenshot to remove the identifiers, but as he/she/it (hereafter referred to as ‘it’) only identified itself by a set of letters that makes it difficult to follow up. I searched the WordPress Reader and found one blog with the same set of letters as its name: as it had no posts and just one follower it was a bit of a dead end, though. But opening up a blog in that way would give it access and the ability to comment on other WordPress blogs, so that may well be it. I wonder if any other mental health bloggers have also been visited by this charming individual?

The troll isn’t identifiable by country, but the way the comments are worded, with all the typos and errors, is redolent of the typical commenter who supports the likes of Britain First, is rabidly pro-Brexit and/or a Daily Mail reader so if I had to bet on it I’d go for the UK. Then again, a lot of my readership is from the US so that’s also a possibility. Beware, they move among you!

Now here’s a strange thing. Either the commenter was too stupid to realise it – or just didn’t care – but, as any blogger will know, comments when viewed in your Dashboard identify their email address. And someone with that exact same email address followed my blog yesterday. Go figure! I must be so ‘hillarious’ that it wanted to get repeat laughs. Or maybe it wanted to see what I’d say about them. Sorry, troll, but I’m not going to give you your 15 nanoseconds of fame by identifying you to the world. Nor will I be approving any comments you make in response to this, so save your knuckles the effort of dragging them across your keyboard.

Now to address the points it made. There is nothing fashionable about mental health, and a trope, by the way, is a figure of speech, such as a metaphor, and mental health definitely isn’t that! It’s good to know that for five years I’ve been tedious and wallowing in self-pity: somehow, that realisation had passed me by, as it had to everyone else who has ever commented on my posts. If such posts are so laughable to the point of annoying you, why read them? There can only be one answer to that: because you are an uneducated bully who likes to attack people you think are weaker than you. Sorry mate, that isn’t me. The reason I write about mental health issues and occasionally draw on my own experience is to highlight the need for much more support to be provided for sufferers. I worked in the field for 20 years, and came across many instances of how damaging such illnesses could be, not just to those who were ill but also to their friends and families. Too little is done about this, far too little. Mine is just one small voice: I have no influence on this other than to share my views in the hope that this becomes part of a groundswell of opinion to ‘encourage’ governments to devote much more resource to mental health treatments.

On the charge of being self-centred, I plead guilty. But then again, apart from blogs which post fiction or are themed to a particular topic, that charge could be levelled against a huge number of bloggers. We write about things that are familiar to us and that we believe to be important: there wouldn’t be much point in doing it otherwise. So maybe, troll, you haven’t quite yet grasped what blogging is all about. Come on, give it a go; I’m sure we’re all sufficiently tempted by the words you wrote to me to see more from you.

Feeling sorry for myself? I don’t in any way feel like that, thanks, and if you had taken the trouble to read what I’ve posted you’d have seen that I first wrote about my own illness a year after it was diagnosed, and four months after I was well enough to be back at work – so I was way past that stage by then. But you don’t want to know that, do you? Like all bullying trolls, you wouldn’t want facts to get in the way of your prejudices, would you?

I’ve said in several posts that one of the things that needs to be done is to provide education on mental health issues. This is both to help people recognise it in others to whom they are close, so that they can support them, and also for a wider audience, to enable them to understand how debilitating mental health problems can be. My troll could clearly benefit from this, if it had a sufficiently open mind to take it on. I hope that happens, but I’m not holding my breath.

The troll branded those of us who blog on this as ‘mentalists.’ Just for the record, this is what a mentalist is:

I’m now off to practise my mind reading and telepathic skills – all part of turning myself into a superhero! After all, I need to be strong and powerful, not self-centred and self-pitying in my me-me-me world, don’t I? I hope no one else who writes about mental health comes across this idiot, or anyone else like them. I’m way past the time where this comment could have been hurtful to me, but others might not be so fortunate. I really pity the person who made this comment: their ignorance is now displayed for all to see, and if anyone needs help it’s them, not me. I’m not going to change because of one negative, uncaring comment, and I hope that every other mental health blogger can ignore this type of thing and carry on doing what you do. I’d rather read your words than those of morons like this.

  1. November 1, 2017 at 7:20 am

    I’d say it’s unbelievable that you got trolled, but especially these days anything is possible! You write great posts that aren’t controversial or offensive. Just ignore the ridiculous unnecessary comment. Feel sorry for people who take time out of their sour lives to spread their negative cloudy gloom to other people in anyway they can. Misery loves company.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 1, 2017 at 8:13 am

      Thank you Chrissy, for your kind words and support. I really don’t understand people who feel they have to behave like that, but just wanted to make a point before casting the moment to oblivion.


      • November 14, 2017 at 6:50 am

        You’re welcome, Clive! And haha, please cast it into oblivion! 👌😀👍

        Liked by 1 person

  2. October 31, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    What a horrible experience, Clive. Up close and personal with one of those bastards who go out of their way to abuse people in a way they never would if made to account for their actions. And as you demonstrated, someone who went the trouble of following you and then posting that vile stuff. Careful out there, Clive!

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 31, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      No worries, Enda. I’ve marked the comment as spam and blocked the follow. I just wanted to make a point before doing that. I think the commenter has more issues than any mental health blogger, though I doubt he or she would take too kindly to being told that 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. October 31, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Thankfully I have never received any mail such as this Clive. Sounds like a very unhappy person. I would let it go. 🌼

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 31, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      Don’t worry, Brigid. I just wanted to make my point before sending the comment to spam and blocking the idiot from following. I suspect he or she has far more ‘issues’ than I do. I’m glad you haven’t received anything like this, it would be so undeserved.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. October 31, 2017 at 4:59 am

    Sorry to read this. Throw trolls in the can, and don’t give them another nano-second of your life. Just block ’em.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah Page
    October 30, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Hi Clive,
    My 14yr old daughter who has anxiety and panic attacks had a similar experience today with a girl she knows vaguely. She posted on social media this morning that she was anxious about going to school and was aggressively challenged about why she was posting about being anxious, quizzed about whether she has a diagnosed mental health issue, called a liar when she told the girl she sees a psychotherapist, told she is a drama queen and that social media is no place to talk about mental health issues and it should be private. I’m proud to say my girl stood her ground and told the girl that it’s her social media to say whatever she wished and that the girl was very welcome to ‘do one’.
    I wholeheartedly support you and her in your quest to be open and honest about mental health.

    Liked by 2 people

    • October 30, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Hi Sarah, long time no see! You are right to be proud of your daughter for standing up for herself like that – she was in the right and the other girl was showing the same ignorance and prejudice as my troll. When I needed it, social media gave me a lot of support and it is perfectly valid to use it in that way. The blog, as you may remember when you first followed it all those years ago, is my attempt at sharing my experience in the hope that it helps others. I’ve veered a long way off purpose in the past five years, but I never lose sight of the blog’s roots and return on occasion. Many thanks for your kind words and support, and I hope your daughter is well.


  6. October 30, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Hi Clive,
    You have no need to justify your posts on mental health or other topics. You write from your perspective, telling your story. Good on you for doing so.
    I have some knowledge about mental health issues and think that your voice is an important one.
    I like so may of your followers look forward to reading your posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • October 30, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you, Michael. I appreciate your kind words and support. Hope your journey home is/was a safe one.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. October 30, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    What a blithering idiot……Spam it. And blacklist this gem of a person’s url on WP so he/she can no longer comment on your blog. You don’t need this person’s pathology anywhere near you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • October 30, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Thanks, I will. I just wanted to have my say before doing it 😊


  8. October 30, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Happens all the time. Just mark the comment “spam” and you won’t be bothered anymore. Health blogs, like my former smoking blog are targets for all kind of spam emails or trolls. Don’t lete it get to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • October 30, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      I must have been lucky so far! They usually get picked up by WordPress filters, though, and don’t follow the blog like this one did. I’m not worried by it, as I have control over it 😊


  9. October 30, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I’ve only had one really horrible comment on my blog where the writer (not a blogger) claimed that I was a con-artist of the first order. It happened about six months in and I kept the comment for years. And then I got angry, about two months ago and I deleted it. Consigned it to the bin where it deserved to be. This person who has trolled you is sad and angry and not your responsibility. What drives them, who knows – the idea that they might get some coat-tailed recognition in other words attention that they dont have to work for because you did all the work, I imagine (this is a successful post and has been well read several times over and always elicits much commentary). I imagine I should be as nice as Bernadette and imagine what turmoil the person is in but I’m afraid I just think ‘wot a tossa’ and hope that you can move on and forget about such blatant and nasty negativity on what was actually a fantastically pertinent post xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 30, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that happened to you. It beggars belief both that someone could think that and comment about you in that way. I was a little taken aback by the comment at first, but decided against approving it and possibly getting into a slinging match. That’s not what my blog is for and, as you say, the post it was attached to is a general post on mental health, not me moaning about myself. I agree with you, and the comment will shortly be deleted, as soon as I’ve finished with it. Any follow ups will go the same way too, I’ve had my say on it now 😉 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 31, 2017 at 4:45 am

        As a follow up …. could you send me the letters this creature identifies itself with … I’ve woken to a new email follower with a letters only address. You could send them privately in Facebook messenger perhaps. If it is the Troll Foll de Roll I will block it …. I really don’t want to receive any more nasties xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • October 31, 2017 at 8:13 am

        Will do. Probably not the same one but it’s worth checking! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  10. October 30, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. If they find your writing such a waste of time why bother to visit and comment? They must be sadly lacking in their own life to want to waste it trolling bloggers. Keep on keeping on! 👏🏻💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 30, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      That was exactly what I thought, and I think I said that somewhere in the post. They can waste their life if they want, but not at my expense! Thanks for reading and commenting 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. October 30, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Good for you. I got one such long very negative and accusatory comment on another site where I had posted a profile and much as I realized, as you do, that it was from someone whose opinion I had no interest in and someone I would have no desire to know, still, it rankles. I appreciate your intelligent answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 30, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you, I’m grateful for your support and comment. I didn’t know whether to be angry at this individual or take pity on them, so I went for a mixture. Mostly anger though 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 30, 2017 at 8:12 pm

        He deserved it. There’s such a thing as being too understanding of the misdeeds of others. At some point they need to be held to account.

        Liked by 1 person

      • October 30, 2017 at 8:34 pm

        Completely agree. That’s why I wrote about it, rather than replying direct to him/her/it or just deleting it. And I still have the option of revealing the coded identity too.


  12. October 30, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    I can’t Imagine the sadness and lack of empathy such a person as your troll must have.

    Liked by 2 people

    • October 30, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      As I said near the end, I pity them. It must be horrible to be like that.

      Liked by 1 person

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