I have to say something about bullying.

Bullying is rife in the RA community.  I’ve seen it done to others.  I’ve had it done to me.  And it hurts.  And as long as I live I will never understand why a person, or group of persons, would possibly find pleasure in hurting someone else.

compbullymemeSome people like to ‘take you down a notch’ because you’ve become too big for your boots.

Some people take joy in seeing someone else cry.  Or seeing despair in their posts online. Or watching them sink into depression, and then kicking them when they are down.

Some preach love and kindness and compassion for all, and even blog about it. BUT if they don’t like something someone else has written, no compassion. Loose the hounds!

Some people pretend they are your online friends and go in for the kill when you are having a down patch.

The thing is, when you choose to attack and bully someone, you don’t know where they are in their life.  You don’t know how bad their pain has been lately. You don’t know the degree of their disease.  Maybe they have liver damage, or their kidneys are failing.  Maybe they are losing their vision. Maybe they’ve just had another scary diagnosis. Maybe they’re about to have surgery, or a procedure. Maybe they’re scared.  Maybe they have no one to even take them to the hospital.  Or visit them. Or pick them up.  Maybe they’ve just had surgery.  Maybe it’s their third hospitalisation in 4 months.  Or maybe they have a post op infection, and can’t take their meds.  So they are at a constant 8+ on the pain scale, and really, really sick.  Maybe their husband just left them, or they’ve just found out he’s cheating, or maybe they just lost their best friend.  Maybe they don’t have any friends.  Maybe they are just surrounded by people who can’t see them.  Or maybe their kid is sick, or just been diagnosed with something terrible.  Or expelled from school, or violent to them.  Maybe they have problems with their extended family. Maybe they don’t have any extended family.  Maybe they don’t have anyone.  No one at all.  Maybe they can’t pay the bills.  Maybe their ex has stopped paying child support and now they’re in deep financial shit.  Because they are too sick to work.  Because they are too sick to stand up. Because they get infection after infection and can’t recover.  Maybe they’re going to lose their house.  You don’t know what challenges they are facing.  Life, bills, kids…and maybe they have NO ONE to lean on.

No one.

And you don’t know how close they are to the edge. 

So let me be really clear.

Don’t bully.  Don’t troll.

You see something you don’t like on a page or a group?  Keep scrolling.  You don’t like a blog post, or a Facebook post, feel free to comment politely.  You have a right to your opinion.  You have a right to share it.  It can be done with civility.  Without hurting anyone.

If you think someone is a crap advocate.  If you think they are a lousy writer.  If you think someone is a terrible example for what it is to be sick.  If you think someone is not as sick as you, and therefore shouldn’t be in the position they are in.  If you think they are far too healthy to be that positive, to manage as well as they do…maybe they are just stronger than you, dear troll.

And if you’re offended…

Unlike the page.  Unjoin the group.

Just go.  Quietly.

Have some respect.  Some decency.  And practice what you preach.  Or shut the f*ck up.