I did something Foolish

I read Reddit.

No that’s not the foolish thing. No… I read the r/PTSD forum of Reddit.

[warning]TW – PTSD, Harassment, Rape, Anti-FTB MRA twaddle[/warning]

There was a young person there who felt guilty that they had PTSD. After all it is a diagnosis of warfare is it not? In solidarity? I decided to post what I wrote about my PTSD.

And it was a bad mistake. A really bad mistake.

Pretty much this happened.


It started off nice.

Very long read, but well worth it.

I’m sick and tired of the “only vets get PTSD” excuse. I’m sick of people thinking that cyberbullying isn’t traumatic enough to give someone PTSD. I’m sick of people not understanding that someone could suffer decades worth of trauma before one little thing can crack their psyche like an egg.

In short, I’m just sick of everyone. Except everyone on here, of course.

See? It is something I have said before. There is a HUGE amount of guilt associated with PTSD. It can either be associated with survivor’s guilt or the guilt of weakness. As a society? We have generally rewarded bravery and the dialogue of PTSD generally is cowardice. You couldn’t handle it. You are scared of balloons. You can’t be anxious about this.

People have called me terrible things online but it never traumatised me. Nearly made me angry.

But here is the thing. Our experiences are subjective. PTSD is an attempt to classify a series of subjective symptoms and experiences into an objective diagnosis. It runs a range and a gamut of capacity and even symptoms.

It is why no trained professional I have known in the field of PTSD treatment or indeed even “doctors who aren’t” suggests that PTSD victims compare their traumas. Because there are only two stances to take if you start comparing.

1. My trauma is worse than others. I wish to be on a pedestal unlike those fakers.

2. My trauma is nothing, I cannot possibly demand help unlike those ones.

Both of these are unhealthy. One of these drives away others and makes you feel “alone” and uncaring. The other causes you to not seek the help needed. While you are encouraged to speak and talk about this and encourage each other? You are not encouraged to declare a hierarchy of trauma. It doesn’t help anyone. Not you, not the people you are comparing yourself to.

It was nice to read this because it vindicates the fact that I have written something good and that it may have helped a few people.

But remember the cartoon. And remember where I write. What I attracted were the anti-FTB brigade.

You know… people don’t have to be on twitter.

It is simple:

If you got PTSD on twitter THEN STAY OFF TWITTER.

If you cannot handle people saying mean things to you or even disagreeing with you, then you are not fit to run an activist organization.

If you are scared of balloons, you should not have Birthday Parties.

And bear in mind? This is a safe zone for PTSD sufferers. Not only has Fedora Man Anonymous jumped through the window to deliver his medical opinion as a complete lay person but also broken the clear rules of r/PTSD. Good job!

It is simple: If you got PTSD on twitter THEN STAY OFF TWITTER.

Otherwise it looks just like another professional victim whining about how their feelings are hurt because people are disagreeing with them.

The same guy here. Apparently the MRA have declared twitter to be unsafe for PTSD victims based on research. They also think Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and controlled exposure to triggers is so much hokum. The real way to deal with PTSD is to live as a hermit. A shut in.

Trolls don’t have to be on Twitter either. If our response to harassment is to defend the harasser and encourage more of it, then we are part of the issue. And you can call me a “social justice warrior” to imply I just sit behind a keyboard and yell at people online but you know what? I actually do that in real life too. And I demand the respect

We would not tolerate this behaviour if it was aimed at anyone else.

And the reason I have kept my PTSD under wraps for so long was due to the “trolls” as you called them. Because I didn’t wish to be another person used to beat “fake PTSD” sufferers back into their hermitages.

Since I posted this I got hate mail for telling people what they are doing doesn’t help any PTSD survivor. Attempts to send me back to mine.

So kindly knock it off. I understand you bemoan “free speech” at all costs but understand free speech comes with the responsibility of speech.

We don’t have to be on twitter or use the internet.

Or leave the house.

But we do, because we wish to have a normal life. See the thing is you think normal life should have douchebags in it. People who kick over children, and trip up old ladies and laugh and defend it as “for the lolz” and “just to see people get mad”. These are the sort of people who make life worse for everyone else simply because they “can”.

We think those people deserve society less than we do because they make everyone’s life difficult and worse. We think that behaviour should be less tolerated than someone merely saying that they have PTSD.

And that applies to twitter too. I got PTSD from Newtonian Physics, Chemistry, Gyroscopes, Sand or International Politics. To demand she stay out of the Internet when her job is so intricately linked to it is to demand I stay away from any event with fireworks or balloons because they may pop. Bear in mind this means most fast food places, sporting events, Guy Fawkes night, New Year’s Eve, Diwali, Chinese New Year…

There are people who have PTSD from a variety of sources. No one would fucking dare say the same nonsense you just said to a Veteran or a victim of trauma you consider appropriate.

Luckily? We diagnose PTSD using trained professionals. I am educated enough in medicine to recognise the signs and send it to someone who can help.

Have you read ANY statement here? Of people who literally fear their trauma is insufficient? Have you even read my damn piece about how soldiers themselves were not treated for PTSD because it was seen as malingering and cowardice? Soldiers were executed during WW I for getting PTSD and not fighting.

To be the arbiter of PTSD even when you have it is considered unhealthy. To be such a person when you don’t have PTSD or any training is just damn stupid.

I understand you like screwing over FTB stuff and playing “Devil’s Advocate” but frankly? This is not the place nor the time.

And I have been more polite to you than you deserve.

But what I wanted to really show is this dialogue before it got deleted.

Different people have different psychic makeups. Different people have different things that can set them off, and people might be more sensitive than others. However, when a trauma triggers subsequent PTSD, it’s debilitating- a soldier, for instance, might have an episode just at the sound of gunfire, or even the sight of a uniform. When someone claims they got PTSD from twitter, and then brags about it ON TWITTER, I call BS; that’s just hijacking clinical terms for the sake of hyperbolic self-pity that demeans the experience of actual victims.

To which the woman who wrote the first voice of support responded with.

As an actual victim, I don’t feel demeaned.

After going through your post history a bit, you seem to not only have a grudge against this particular woman, but you sure love to tell people what’s actual PTSD and what isn’t…based off of some psychology and neuroscience classes you took.

Part of my PTSD stems from internet harassment. My ex hid a camera when he viciously raped me, and then when I tried to break up with him, he sent the video to my parents, sister, friends, etc. and post it on 4chan and whatnot. He wiped all my social media accounts and replaced them with explicit photos. He went into chat rooms I frequented and sent them links to everything. Since you can’t permanently remove anything from the internet, every couple of years something gets resurfaced. Thankfully, this was before the days of revenge porn sites, so it takes a lot of digging…either that, or he’s still at it. I honestly don’t know. I could be paranoid, but he was incredibly unhinged and it’s possible.

Point is, sometimes things that happen on social media can be triggering. I only feel comfortable using things like Twitter or Facebook when my identity is completely concealed. Even my personal Facebook I’ve had for ages, I never used my real name or location, and I don’t take photos of myself anywhere in or near my house. Part of my work is writing for websites, so I use a pseudonym, have alternate accounts for everything using it, attached to an alternate email, with one photo that barely looks like me. I cannot distance myself entirely from social media, because it’s part of my job. I talk about my PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc. freely on these. Does this make me a bullshitter now?

You are not a doctor. You don’t get to define shit.

I think I was less patient than her. But not to the charming man who decided play Devil’s Advocate.

Reading through this in real time- So, you got PTSD from internet harassment. Not from getting raped? I mean, Christ, getting raped is hugely traumatic. I think that getting internet bullied would be a distant, distant back seat to getting sexually assaulted. Internet harassment in conjunction with such physical brutality would be more than cause for PTSD, not just through immediate damage, but through ongoing effects, through the violation of trust, through never knowing if you would have to relive the trauma… you have been through something terrible that nobody should experience, and I’m really sorry that you or anyone would have gone through that. Whoever this guy is, I hope it comes back on his head tenfold.

I’m not denying that PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc. are not very, very real. There are countless people who survive things like murder attempts, rape, stalking, childbirth, car accidents, who suffer real, ongoing consequences. Claiming you have PTSD from being viciously raped and getting the pictures put online is above question. Claiming you have PTSD from getting called mean names online is laughable. A huge component of the definition of PTSD is being out of control, unable to help yourself no matter how much you want to (Martin Seligman has theories on Learned Helplessness you might find interesting), a condition which encompasses many things (like rape), but not mean tweets. I stand by my assertion.

As far as getting to define shit; the last person I argued this with called me stupid for thinking having a Y chromosome makes you male. It’s clearly a consensus that everybody gets to define whatever they want however the hell they want. If I wanted to claim I had PTSD from this conversation (and I wasn’t a man) there would be people, however few, defending me. You’re damn right I have a grudge against her; it’s unavoidable for people to feel sorry for themselves or want attention, but I find her method contemptible. I hold to the comparison that it’s like claiming you got raped in Call of Duty- an egregiously misrepresentative pity-grab that demeans actual victims. Unless, of course, she actually sustained a prolonged physiological conditional impact of autonomous-associated Hebbian connections from mean tweets, in which case she’s really too delicate to have been using the internet in the first place. It can be pretty vicious, PTSD or not.

Then again, I only study psychology and neuroscience. I’ll take your word as authority.

A word here? If your education in Psych and Neuro excludes CBT and controlled contact with triggers and encouragement to live a normal life as gold standard treatment for PTSD then you may be studying at a diploma mill for people like Mike Adams.

What ensues is a post of such utter dignity and class from this unknown and brave soul who wrote the first post.

No, I said part of my PTSD stems from internet harassment. Being raped and abused by my ex is a huge part, and probably the straw that broke the camel’s back to one metric shitload of trauma I’ve dealt with in my life. But the fucker thankfully moved across the country, so avoiding triggers relating to him is much easier now. But because he has a gun and the complete inability to drop grudges, I have to track down whatever new name he’s using on Facebook and make sure he’s staying at least 3,000 miles away from me, and it’s about as pleasant as chewing on broken glass.

Thing is, Melody could very well have lived through years of trauma. I did, before this went down. Neglectful childhood, mom’s boyfriend was abusive, friends ODing in front of me…but aside from being angry and depressed, I was fine. At the time, absolutely not, but it sure as shit was better than it is now. Hell, my PTSD didn’t go into high gear until about a year after I broke up with the ex. It came out of left field, and if I didn’t have experience with people who have PTSD, I would have probably assumed it was over being dumped on Facebook chat by some guy I wasn’t really that into.

Don’t take this as condescending: you have no idea what it’s like to be caught Female In Public. Rarely am I able to walk to the grocery store and back without someone honking their horn and yelling at me. I stopped taking cabs after one driver asked me how much a blowjob was (and shoved $150 into my hand), and another refused to give me my change unless I went somewhere and smoked weed with him. On the train, I’ve had guys pull my headphones off of my head, because they really absolutely had to say hi to me. So the one place I attempt to escape from things is to go online, play some games, post videos of kittens to my wall…but nope. No safety there. Doesn’t matter that everyone knows I’m engaged, some “friend” will always make some disgusting innuendo on a completely unrelated post. I’ll post on my Twitter, make a sandwich, and come back to a string of messages asking me for my tits and (less than two minutes later) calling me a cunt and a bitch for not responding. I log into a game, but I have to use a gender-neutral name and avoid voice chat, or else I’ll get the lovely onslaught of “suck my dick whore” and “you sound fat” and “I’m gonna rape you in your sleep”. Hell, even if I remain completely silent, I’ll see porn sprays while they call the chicks sluts and cumpdumpsters, talk about how they so raped that guy, and so on. So I frequent sites that are “female friendly”, or at least have strong female-oriented communities. Still, there’s always some neckbeardy asshole who feels the need to search these places out, anonymously attack me using every name in the book, then try and doxx me…all because I spoke my mind about something as trivial as plot holes in a movie.

I’ve been dealing with this kind of crap daily for well over 10 years, but it’s gotten significantly worse in the past 5. I remember the first time I had 4chan attack me, and I was shaken for days. I became really paranoid, thinking that they were actually going to call my manager and tell them I was doing German porn or whatever bullshit they were coming up with–I can’t remember for the life of me, but it was that insane. Had I not been in a good mental space at the time, I could have collapsed like a flan in a cupboard.

I think it’s more disturbing that you’re so cavalier about the internet being vicious, instead of getting upset that it’sso vicious that people are getting PTSD from it. I’m sure it’s not the first case; it’s just the first publicized case because Daily Mail made a mockery of it all.

For the record, it doesn’t matter what you studied. My friend studied American Maritime, that doesn’t make him a sea captain. If you’re a doctor or a psychiatrist, then we can talk. Even still, you’d need to have graduated from Hogwarts or something to be able to diagnose someone you read about in a couple articles online.

I barely leave the house anymore, and I have to take a beta blocker before I walk out the door. I have flashbacks every single night as I’m falling asleep, and every single morning when I wake up. These are pretty recent developments as of this past winter; I used to only have flashbacks maybe once every couple of weeks, and I was able to walk around town daily. Last year was really rough on me, and I think my psyche is finally on it’s last leg. The only thing that’s really keeping my head above water are the number of new medications and treatments being tested for PTSD, depression, and anxiety. If something isn’t released soon, or if I don’t get into a clinical trial, I’m going to do electroconvulsive therapy. Maybe then, some people will realize I’m not choosing to live like this.

I would have just called him names and thrown bricks at him.

Devil’s advocate is the kindest thing I can call him.


  1. says

    Amazing comment from that person about her PTSD. Unfortunately my good mood was obliterated by the asshole chuntering away on there whining that the mens “rights” subreddit MRAs are being “oppressed” by having an againstmensrights subreddit. What a total shit head. Was far too much to hope he’d read and comprehended some of it.

  2. says

    See the thing is you think normal life should have douchebags in it. People who kick over children, and trip up old ladies and laugh and defend it as “for the lolz” and “just to see people get mad”. These are the sort of people who make life worse for everyone else simply because they “can”.

    “Brave heroes”

  3. says

    Then again, I only study psychology and neuroscience. I’ll take your word as authority.

    That’s suspiciously vague; it could stretch to cover just about anything including having a “university of wikipedia overnight degree..” Those of us who have actually studied psychology might say (as I do) “BA psychology, Johns Hopkins University, 1985.”

  4. says

    Can I simply just say what a relief to find an individual who genuinely knows what they’re talking about online.

    You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    A lot more people should read this and understand this side of the story.
    I can’t believe you’re not more popular given that you most certainly have the gift.

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