Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The nerve!

Thanks to that classy anonymous person who yesterday wrote this in a comment on my "Telephone" post:

“you're a f_____ idiot. a stupid f_____ crybaby.... I've been reading your blog for some time now, and all you do if (is) bitch and moan. you're a f_____ psycho hypochondriac."

The commenter also noted that I had drank alcohol at my event (it was actually after). I didn't write about the drinking post-event in this blog, so whoever wrote this comment must have been at my event. Someone I know. The only people I knew there were a couple of my friends, a few instructors and a bunch of my classmates. Or maybe it was someone who was told that I had been drinking alcohol. Again, it would have to be someone I know. I want to know who it is!

Whoever you are, I want you to know that you are ignorant and cruel. Let me explain some things that you should have already figured out since you have been following my blog despite hating it (and me, it seems):

1. I am not always sick and I'm seldom so sick that I can't function. I feel pretty decent a lot of the time -- it's actually very seldom that I am sick for an entire day. Thursday was a great body day and I made the most of it with my friends.

2. The theme of this blog is health issues. This is why I constantly talk about how crappy I feel on here. I'm pretty sure I'm not imagining my symptoms. Perhaps you would have balance and fatigue issues too if you were missing part of your cerebellum, had fused discs in your neck, a curvature in your back... I could go on, but I don't want to repeat myself again. I won't mention the Post-Viral Syndrome either because it isn't really detectable through tests: Anonymous Commenter may question the validity of my claim to this illness. Why is it so inconceivable to you, faithful reader, that I am really suffering and not imagining or faking it?

3. I have had health issues for my entire life -- some serious, most requiring treatment and monitoring. The effects of these and my physical and learning disabilities on my childhood were significant and I still carry the pain with me. I use this blog to help me deal with that.

4. The invisibility of my disabilities and health issues complicates matters even further: I tend to get paranoid either that people won't believe that I have issues or that they will try to enforce provisions that I don't think I want or need. It also makes it difficult for me to know when to disclose my problems. I discuss these issues here. Many other bloggers face similar issues and I want to connect with them.

One of my main concerns about writing a blog about my health issues was that that my readers (including friends and family) would think I was exaggerating my issues, just looking for pity or making excuses for not living my life fully. I was concerned that no one would want to read it, that I was somehow arrogant for writing this blog because it means I think I'm important enough to be read.

And now I have proof that at least one person out there thinks I don't have reason to share my issues and vent about my experiences -- that I'm just a hysterical woman.

My health issues are only one part of my life, but as I said, this is a health themed blog. My outlet. I thought this was my "safe place" as one person commented on my blog. Now I feel unsafe, like I have to stop writing about what I'm going through. When I read that terribly hurtful comment I thought,  

Wow. How sick could I have been if I was well enough to drink with my friends? Maybe I should not defer my second semester. I can do it and I need to prove to people that I'm not giving up.

It's unfortunate that one comment can intensify my fears and insecurities about what I write in this blog and how I choose to live my life. I write so much in here about the guilt I feel about claiming illness and disability. I feel accountable to my readers, like I have to prove that I'm genuinely suffering. Seriously, I imagined myself tracking down this commenter and showing him my medical records. Why? Because I feel that medical evidence proves my suffering. It seems my narrative about my experience isn't convincing to him or her.

After I read the comment I felt this intense need to write entries about Pounce and Maui, when I'm there. I want to prove to skeptics that I think about much more than my health. That shouldn't really be a mystery, I guess, since I'm a full time Post-Graduate Corporate Communications student. Of course I will still write about Pounce and Maui, but it will likely be within the context of my health: Pounce came into my life early in the first few months of my current illness, helping me feel useful through my care for him; Maui will mean therapy and rest, but the airplane rides will likely make me feel sick as they usual do. I just can't pretend that my health doesn't play a massive role in my life. It governs most decisions I make. Surely that is worth documenting, no?

I'm not trying to prove to this commenter that I am suffering and have reasons to have a blog about my health. If he or she has indeed read this blog for some time, my suffering should be evident. There is nothing I can say here that will change the commenter's mind. My purpose in writing this was to explain the emotional impact of such a comment. I'm writing this entry more for the people who care, not the ones who don't. But please, if you have any response, share it. Just use fewer expletives, so I can post the comment without offending my readers. Oh, and provide proof of what you mean as well. I prefer arguments that have some meat to them. I want this to be an open community, but only if you have respectful, intelligent things to say.

Thank goodness for comment moderation!

P.S. Today my feet and ankles were so swollen I had trouble getting my shoes on and off. It is painful and fatiguing. I left school early to do school work I didn't do yesterday because I was sick and I was glad that I would also get to take my shoes off and put my feet up. Don't worry Anonymous Commenter, it really does hurt and weaken me. And they really are swollen. Wanna see? You can give me a foot massage. You owe it to me after being such a jerk.


  1. I saw that comment before you took it off (it popped up as I had subscribed to comments) and I was gob-smacked. I started to write a reply on your behalf as I felt my own ire rise, then saw you'd removed it. I've noticed on many blogs the most vile comments are made by those who remain anonymous. I'm all for putting your point across but at least have the guts to identify yourself. And there is such a thing as rational disagreement as opposed to resorting to school yard tactics.

    I'm always amazed that people have no qualms about being so horrid to others and are so invested that they must take the time to write it down. If you don't like it, it's simple, don't read.

    You have no need to justify your life or your choices. You don't need to prove anything. If this petty individual were to comment again I'd just delete and ignore.

    Have you seen The Girl From the Ghetto's recent response to such a commenter, gave me a laugh. I can send you the link if you want.

  2. Sounds to me as though the anonymous one would probably have liked to be able to write as honestly about their own feelings, if they had the courage...pity them for their cowardice.

  3. Ashley,
    Your reaction to that comment is entirely normal. It is amazing how insensitive and un-empathic people can be.

    [In a bigger view of things this is of course how people often are which is why the world is so filled with war and hate].

    Obviously whoever it was has more than a few ‘issues’ of their own since they took the time to read and then write on your blog when they clearly don’t like it/you. They are motivated by something entirely unrelated to you. It certainly has more to do with their own screwed up head than anything to do with you – you are just an object to them, someone to lash out at, the target could have been anyone.

    I would recommend you change your blog settings to not allow anonymous comments (go into blogger Dashboard, settings, comments – change to ‘registered users’ only). You don’t need anonymous comments on your blog and this will eliminate the need for you to even read the comments. I’ve found on my blog after I made that change I stopped even moderating the posts (just let them post) and I’ve had no problems. I seems when people put their names on the comment they are more thoughtful about what they write. Cowards don’t sign their names.

    All that said, let me just add that I think you should write more on your blog about your real life – not just focus on your health issues alone. You are a whole person. Your health effects your life and vice versa. I know your blog is about health issues, but I also know you’re not giving a complete picture when you write only about the negative aspects of that one part of you. You have so many interesting things to say about all different aspects of life. You are a talented writer, you can share insights into life (still through the health viewpoint if you like) that people would love to read.


  4. Aww hun *hugs* I'm so sorry that knob left you a nasty comment. And it sure would hurt more if they knew info you hadn't posted - like... what the hell.

    I just don't get it - if reading something bothers you, then simply don't read it. (hahha my excuse for not reading the news).

    Don't feel bad about posting what you post Ashley. Writing is for you, and if the rest of us read it's our own choice.

    I tended to start reading the negative comments on the rare occasions I'd got them over the years and well, I started to find them amusing, that someone could spend so much time following my life when it apparently bothered them so much. What's it really say about the other person?

    Also, why does Pounce now live with you guys?! I meant to ask that the other day.

  5. Rusty Hoe:

    School yard tactics is probably the best way you could put this. It's just bullying designed to hurt me, not constructive criticism. And you're right: if he or she doesn't like it, why read it? It's good advice to delete and ignore. I've said my bit and I don't have anything more to say. Like I said, if he or she was insensitive to the earlier entries, there's nothing I will say that will make him or feel differently or remorseful.

    Aw thanks Jinksy... I try to be honest, but you know, there is risk to that! So cowardly for sure.

    Robin, you're right... It's more an issue of the commenter's character than of my writings here. People like that are just jerks in general. I agree that pretty much anything can set them off. I have written a number of entries about things other than my health, actually. It's nice of you to suggest I'm interesting as a whole person, that my I'm a good writer. I agree that anonymity is a mark of cowardice. Still, I'm okay with people disagreeing. I know I can be repetitive and mopey here. If people want to call me on that or anything else, I want them to have the option of doing it anonymously. I wanted this blog to be a support system for me and others, but you know, it's public. An open discussion. I'm okay with people disagreeing or even being angry with me.


    Thanks so much for being sympathetic and acknowledging that writing is for ME. Gosh, you're a good friend. It's true that it hurts more because this person must know me... It feels more like a character assassination... Like this person KNOWS me (My readers here don't truly know me because, like Robin said, I'm only writing about one part of myself here. Plus, in-person is different than writing)

    What kind of negative comments have you gotten? Good for you for finding amusement in them! So far, this comment still just stings.

    It's kind of a long, private story about how Pounce came to be ours.

  6. Ok, I'll post my name this time. Not that it'll make any difference because you don't actually know me. So, there. My name is Kyle. I don't know you. I don't work with you. I don't go to school with you.

    And I still think you're a hypochondriac, and I'd rather film a combo of 2 girls 1 cup and 1 guy 1 jar than ever go near your nasty dorrito feet. I bet you have yellow toenails. A "symptom", right?

  7. Kyle,

    If I was a hypochondriac, I would be convinced that my symptoms are a cause of a serious disease -- one that might kill me. I know that isn't true (my treatments for the serious bits work beautifully) and I've been quite clear about the benign nature of most of my symptoms.

    Also, hypochondria is only diagnosed if the person does not actually have an illness. I do. I have many medical tests to prove my health problems. Unless you would like to suggest that I somehow doctored my MRI scans to show I'm missing parts of my brain (Insert clever joke here) and that I have fused spinal discs (which any thinking human being should be able to realize actually hurts). You should have seen the lengths I had to go to to fake my positive liver injury test last year. And that tube I have in my brain? Yeah, I don't need it, but I had my doctors put it in just so I could complain about it... But I know: none of this is worth complaining about, right?

    The point is that I am suffering. What can I say? Writers like to write about suffering. It also tickles us to diffuse ignorance.

    I am pleased that I don't know you. Otherwise, I might be tempted to kick you with my "Dorrito feet," should my illness somehow cause me to stoop to your level.

  8. Hey thanks for following my blog. I decided to drop by to see what yours is like and I'm appalled at how rude this Kyle person is! Wow! How insensitive. I hope someday when he's seriously injured or dying of cancer that he's treated with equal ignorance and insensitivity. I know I'm not supposed to feel that way or say things like that but people like him just really piss me off. If you're reading this Kyle feel free to post rude stuff on my blog. I look forward to the laugh!

    Actually putting that aside before I get completely pissed off I had actually considered making a blog about my own health problems (not nearly as severe as yours but do cause daily life to be a struggle sometimes), but decided against it because I was afraid of putting myself out there. I admire you for your bravery and honesty. I look forward to following your blog. :)

  9. All you can do is do your own thing. If someone doesn't like it that is their problem, they don't have to read it. My goodness, what a sad person this Kyle is. I wouldn't even engage him in further exchages.

    I hope you continue your blog posts.

  10. So... being sensible here. Who knows if Kyle's lying about their name or not? ha.

    In a more humourous thought-process, you should totally paint your toenails yellow. They have yellow nailpolish you know, my niece got some for her birthday. Then we'd know at least one thing that Kyle said was true - that you had yellow toe nails!

    Except that they still wouldn't be a symptom. Unless they were a sympton of boredom.

    Was Dorito-feet his invention or yours? Cause I don't recall having read that before ever, and I find the image sorta hilarious. Don't you?

  11. Achieve1dream -- Thanks for your support! I hadn't really considered the courage I had to muster to write this blog... After years of hiding my issues, now I'm writing about them publicly! I try to be as honest as I can. Please don't minimize your health experiences. If you want to share them, do! I've had similar concerns, though, that my issues aren't blog worthy because I'm not dying or anything. But if you're having a hard time for whatever reason, I think you should feel comfortable sharing. Think about it: not only will you be helping yourself, but you'll be supporting others who are going through similar things. Thanks so much for reading and commenting -- see what "Kyle" just wrote? Yeah. No use trying to drill sensitivity into him. He's way too immature and his comments don't even make sense. His first comment hurt me, but ever since then I've been able to laugh at him. If anyone were to make fun of a blog you may write in the future about your health issues, I hope you would able to laugh about it too. You feel vulnerable for being honest and putting it all out there? I get that. I do too.

    Thank you for encouraging me to keep going with my writing, Ann. This is definitely "my own thing." I can't help but defend it, even if it is a lost cause! "Kyle" is a sad person indeed and I will take you advice by not doing this with him anymore.

    Good point, Lindsey! How do I know who "Kyle" really is? I still think I know him. He hasn't explained how he knows I was drinking at my event. I feel so naive for taking "his" word for it. Haha I don't know if I will paint my toenails yellow. Contrary to what "Kyle" thinks, I actually have pretty feet and I want to keep it that way! "Dorito feet" was his invention. Actually, it didn't make me laugh. I've just been craving Doritos! Sad, eh? I should be repulsed by Doritos because of the association with Kyle and my feet. Thanks again for the support. It was extra nice of you to make me laugh.

  12. Hi thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. Sorry to read that a nasty comment had been left on yours, sadly there are some mean, unkind people around. Carry on blogging it is your space and you make it clear what this blog is for.

    Best wishes Blu.

  13. Oh good heavens, how bored must a person be to read a blog they hate and then leave rude comments? Get a life "Kyle".

    Ashley I'm pretty sure I've said this before: this is Your blog. You get to write whatever you like. The rest of us come back here time and time again because we enjoy reading what you write... and to show you there is support out there, and kindness from strangers. Far more kindness than nastiness, in fact.
    You go girl.
    Oh, and I can't wait to hear about Maui!

    (HaHa! my word verification is "fines" - d'you think that's the Universe making a suggestion on how to deal with rude commenters? Fine 'em!)

  14. Ashley,
    Your comment response to "kyle" just cracked me up! Glad to see you exercising your sense of humor with this. Have fun in Maui!

  15. Ah, so a doctor decided to comment? I know how hurtful comments like that are, and often people don't get that they ARE hate-comments, no different than hate-crime comments based on ethnicity or gender, other things that you and others have no control over, but by talking about them (your health issues), you are attacked.....for simply being alive. It is shitty, and oddly, how a lot of doctors view females with invisable and difficult to diagnose illness'.

    number 4 - I had/have people write comments saying I wasn't really sick or that I was just 'faking it', that is wasn't real. Even though here I am in a $5,000+ wheelchair, now a $22,000+ powerchair and was blogging daily with pictures, they think I was lying, making it up, it is a hoax. Even close online friends said when they first wrote to me this is how they felt. After examination, we decided that it was easier for people to decide AGAINST all the evidence that I/you are a moaner/faker than risk empathizing and starting to understand how difficult and changing your life is - that it is easier to attack than care. They are the ones who are ill. But that doesn't stop the feeling of the knife and the twist inside. It is a hate attack, someone hating you for no reason, no personal but simply because you are sick and brave enough to show pictures and talk about it. You do make a difference, and help people connect and feel less alone in their symptoms. You are brave. I wish the Anon's could just get a group hug and have that hate drained out of them. Sorry this happened to you.

  16. Ashley, you're a lovely kind caring person. "Kyle," whoever that person is, is simply a person so unhappy with themselves that he/she/they have to cut other people down to lift themselves up. This is typical bully tactics. You have been picked for bullying because, due to your illness, you were seen as an easy target. I'm sure "Kyle" wasn't expecting such a well spoken or articulate response to his/her/their inflamitory written diarrea. And interesting how "Kyle" did not specify how he/she/they knew that you had been drinking at your event. I think you can be sure that whoever is doing this is someone with no class who is in our class.

  17. Blu-Thanks for the sympathy and advice! I'm glad I make it clear what this space is for. You're right: it is mine and I'm not going to let "Kyle" take it over.

    Terri -I do wish "Kyle" would get a life... Thanks for reminding me that this is my space. Sometimes I get self conscious that no one will want to read my blog, but most of my comments are from similar people -- there must be a reason they keep coming back. Aside from being nice people who want to wish me well, it is clear you and the other commenters are interested in what I have to say. That means so much! And thanks for your interest in Hawaii! So so excited... It's funny about the word verification. A fine is definitely necessary, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to curb hate.

    Robin-Thanks for noting the fun I had writing to "Kyle." Sometimes you just have to laugh at people -- especially those whose greatest insults are "Dorito Feet." Oh, and there's my favourite insult that I didn't actually publish: "Is the part of your brain that's missing the part that makes you cool?" Such an absurd thing to say because "Kyle" has no authority on what is "cool" -- only authority on how to be a disgusting, pathetic human being. And I know this person! I have anecdotal evidence! It makes school so uncomfortable.

    Elizabeth, thanks for noting that this is hate. A friend of mine noted that this is cyber bullying... And the suspects are in their 20s??? Seriously. This is the kind of thing that drives emotionally vulnerable people to commit suicide. It's a good thing that I'm emotionally stable. Thanks for saying I'm brave to write in here. It means a lot that you think I'm making a difference and helping people feel less alone, especially coming from someone who has clearly suffered from symptoms and discrimination. I'm so sorry you've gone through that. It's scary and painful to know or think that people are skeptical or that they just don't care. I get self conscious because I know they have reason to be skeptical because I'm so active, often not sick and I certainly don't look sick. Thanks for sharing your story. I want this blog would provide support to people and of course, I also want people going through similar things to support me as well.

  18. Whoops Sarah, sorry. You must have commented while I was writing a comment. Thanks for you kind, honest points that this individual is taking advantage of my nature and situation. You're probably right that the commenter wasn't expecting my response. "Kyle" probably antagonized me hoping for some sort of fight or that I would get overemotional or irrational or something. Bullies count on responses like that. And it makes sense to me that this person is probably a bully in general, targeting others. I feel for them if that happens.

    Yes, I'm not sure why "Kyle" would incriminate "himself" by noting I'd been drinking -- information he would only have, of course, if he had been there or knew someone who had been. Of course "Kyle" didn't respond to my questions about it, instead saying his name was Kyle and I didn't know "him" (Because I'm so naive that I would take "his" word for it). Because it doesn't make any sense, it leads me to believe these comments were written in haste or under the influence of alcohol.

    Other unfortunate attempts have been made to cover evidence. Either this person doesn't think things through or assumes I'm too dumb to figure things out.

  19. Let me get this straight Kyle. You rummage around blogs of people you don't actually know, don't work with, don't go to school with just to make comments.

    That's an interesting life your leading.

    You should try move the trash cans away from the basement window, you might find the sun is shining.

  20. Thanks Dad. I'm not sure "Kyle" does this to other blogs -- I'm not willing to make this assumption. But I WILL assume that I know this person.

    The comments have stopped, though. "He" sent me others that I just didn't publish because I'm not willing to play that game. I will not reward hate.

    The first comment upset me, of course, but the other ones just irritated me because "Kyle" was antagonizing me and being extremely juvenile. Some of the comments actually made me laugh! A classmate told me I've been handling this very well and I'm proud of myself for that. Ignorance and hate aren't funny, so maybe I shouldn't laugh -- but the immaturity of this person and the lack of complexity to "his" "jokes," comments and "his" efforts to defend what he has said (without any evidence) are quite humourous to me.

    I make it a point to respond to every comment on my blog. People take the time to support me and I want to show my gratitude. This is a discursive community. My supporters are helping me write this memoir-in-process. This is what a blog is all about, in my eyes.

    I'm spending a lot of time responding to the comments on this entry and I feel it's best to move on. Please feel free to continue commenting if you have something to say -- I would never silence anyone. I just may not reply to you.

  21. I love the support you are getting here Ashley. Know there are way more people who care than don't and the 'Kyles' of this world aren't worth your precious time. Just wanted to let you know your experience inspired my latest post. Hope it gives you a giggle.

    Feel the love :)

  22. People Who Put You Down Are Hurt Themselves
    The first thing to know is that a happy, self confident, person does not put others down. They might provide constructive criticism but they won’t put others down. This tells you a lot about the person who criticizes you. Some people are very negative about others because:

    - they need to make themselves feel like they're in control or more powerful or to cover up their own insecurities
    - they’ve experienced a trauma of their own in the past and they don’t know how to deal with the pain so they'll hurt others as a defense mechanism.

    People’s tirades against you will probably reveal to you just how unhappy and disillusioned and frustrated that person is with life, and that's their problem, not yours.

  23. This LOSER needs to shut the F up, stop being a B**** and GO BACK TO HIGH SCHOOL! It's quite obvious that this person is juvenile, catty and pathetic. If you don't like the blog, DON'T READ IT.

    This person will soon realize in the REAL WORLD (which s/he has yet to enter), people aren't stupid, everyone knows when someone is really a bitch. So those friends you have either are assholes too, or they don't ACTUALLY LIKE YOU, and talk JUST AS MUCH SHIT as you do.

    I hope that if you get really sick one day with a variety of conditions or maybe even just one illness and that when you vent about it because you are facing a difficult time in your life, that people call YOU a hypochondriac. Once you know what it's like to be kicked while you're down, you'll see what a big jerk you are (or maybe you won't because you're too damn stupid).

    You really shouldn't comment on situations you are not completely familiar with. Ash has had more challenges in life than anyone I know, and she has always been strong and tough about it. If she wants to vent about it to people who care, then that's HER BUSINESS.

    Go F yourself, good luck in life, just wait until you realize that being mean in the real world, doesn't get you anywhere. And go laugh to your friends about how hilarious this all is; it's not like you have anything better to do anyway.

  24. The cowardly, pathetic loser Kyle protests too much. She obviously does know you and she does go to school with you. We know who she is. Obviously she has a personality defect to come up with weirdo crap like "dorrito feet"/ "yellow toenails" and perverted filming ideas.
    I would tell her (ahem him) to seek psychiatric counselling immediately.

  25. I'm glad to read you've taken the approach of just laughing at the comments Ashley...

    if nothing else, it means that they're typing hasn't gone to waste.. it's just not being taken the way they mean it to be...

    Which is really their own fault, for not being rational ;)

  26. Ash, you continue to amaze me with your sunny attitude and constant ability to take the high road. I'm so glad you're my friend.
    Also, I hope you reported Kyle to the Blogger authorities so he can be banned from viewing your blog and perhaps removed from the site permanently.

  27. haha thanks Lindsey! It definitely pays to laugh... And I enjoy a good humourous argument.

    Thanks Laura! I'm so glad you're my friend too! Taking the high road is the only way to deal with people like "Kyle." Thanks for the banning tip! I'll remember that for next time.