on silence

I read this by Kate Bowles about speaking words that are true, necessary and kind.

And I read this by Kate Bowles about how that social media joke isn’t funny anymore.

Those two posts led to me to ask the following, open questions of anyone who wishes to use mental health and/or alcoholism as an amuse bouche on their social media platform(s). They were triggered by writing here.

  1. How do we use our established social media platforms to refuse to joke about mental health and alcoholism? How do we avoid the glib use of these conditions, in order to escape our trivialising of them? How do we engage with those who have experience of them so that we can make reasoned, evidenced, and practical arguments? How do we write in ways that are true, necessary and kind?
  2. If we do not struggle with “regular bouts of clinical depression, temporary insanity and chronic alcoholism”, should we really be joking about them? Really? If we don’t then from what basis are we writing and joking about them and why? Why these conditions and not others?
  3. How do we generate a collective understanding of the damaging impact of misinformed assertions about those conditions? How do we refuse writing about conditions that can actually trigger? How do we refuse and push-back against those misinformed, poorly-evidenced, fatuous pieces of writing that risk being forms of trolling?
  4. How do we avoid making tenuous and poorly-researched connections about the association between technology use (e.g. blogging) and mental health or substance abuse? Wouldn’t it be better to try to understand the conditions first? There is plenty of academic and user-centred literature available. How does our writing help those who are campaigning for better mental health or alcohol awareness?
  5. How do we develop a collective understanding of the actual impact on families and relationships of chronic alcoholism? How do we understand the impact on families and relationships of caring for someone with Wernicke’s Encephalopathy and/or Korsakoff Syndrome? How do we understand the pain of caring for someone as they develop alcohol-induced dementia? How do we show kindness and care to those who are forced to watch the struggle in life and death of the addict?
  6. How do we develop a collective understanding of how depression and substance abuse don’t emerge from the pressure of writing? How do we develop a collective understanding of how debilitating clinical depression is? How do we write and speak in ways that increase societal understanding or care for those who suffer? How do we avoid amplifying societal misunderstandings and assertions and prejudices?
  7. How do we use our privilege to hear others, and to care about others? How do we speak and write in ways that are true, necessary and kind, so that what we say is true, necessary and kind?
  8. How do we recognise that sometimes we need to apologise rather than give poorly thought through excuses for our apparent thoughtlessness? How do we recognise that sometimes silence is the thing?

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