Habinteg tenant and disability blogger Kerry Thompson recently worked with charities Leonard Cheshire and United Response to raise awareness about the impact of disability hate crime. She explains how she’s learnt to deal with some of the trolling comments she receives online.
“I have a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. It’s a progressive muscle-wasting condition that affects my arm and leg muscles. My blog is a way for me to talk about the good, bad, and sometimes ugly, as well as the positives of living with Muscular Dystrophy.
As much as I’ve received the odd hurtful comment, it’s been a mixed bag. I receive many comments from people sharing their own stories. Then you have the odd few telling me in an incredulous voice that I wouldn’t understand ‘real struggles’. And how would I? I’m only disabled.
I’ve got private messages with classic lines like ‘you should’ve been aborted,’ ‘I can’t even bring myself to read anything with a title like that,’ or ‘you’re a drain on society, just die already’.
Your mental health
You can spend your time worrying and looking at those one or two hurtful comments over and over, trying to understand why! If you’re not careful, anxiety can creep in and take over. I found myself second-guessing my writing and the context.
In a way, I was starting to write on eggshells. All because of other people’s words. I was allowing them to take my words, my truth, my life, my personal experiences.
While I receive many positive, kind and beautiful comments, my mind can take me back to the negative ones.
I have learnt as time has passed that I can’t allow these people and hateful comments to control my life and affect my mental health. It’s not like they lose any sleep after they have left a hateful comment. So why should I?
I was once told that ‘if everybody liked you, you’re doing something wrong’. It’s a very true statement that I carry with me always. As a disabled person over the years, I have learnt to grow a thick skin.
Until social media platforms start to recognise disability hate crime and ableism, we are faced with adding it to the already long list of things we ‘just put up with’.
We can’t let the trolls win!”
You can read the full story by visiting https://www.leonardcheshire.org/our-impact/stories/writing-egg-shells-impact-online-trolls. You can also read Kerry’s blog My Life Kerry’s Way by visiting kerry-thompson.com.
Reporting disability hate crime
If you’re experiencing Disability Hate Crime, find out how you can report it by visiting www.habinteg.org.uk/asb.