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  • Writer's pictureShabnam Rakhiba

Social Media Kindness Day- My Pledge

Today I made a pledge to make Social Media a kinder place.

Social Media Kindness Day is one of those ‘days’ which we should NOT have a ‘need’ for.

Alas, it exists.

Because human beings sometimes lose their humanity, their decency, their heart and their soul. We hide behind our screens and harass those who we feel are less than us.

We bully, we threaten, we intimidate, we chide.

We censure, we criticize, we condemn.

We judge and we blame.

We laugh.

One would think that the chronic illness community would be free of such vileness and bullying.

Afterall, aren’t we a group of people who struggle due to the nastiness of people who don’t understand us?

Aren’t we supposed to have developed awesome compassion and sensitivity due to our own challenges?

It seems not.

The truth is that chronic illness online support groups are rife with criticism, toxicity and negativity.

However, this cyberbullying is of a more insidious form. It is hard to recognise and leaves one feeling confused.

1) It happens when symptoms are compared in a way that leaves one feeling that one is not sick enough. The person feels compelled to prove their illness and their diagnosis.

2) It happens when we fail to respect the medical choices that others make. We insist that our way is the only way and everything else is rubbish. We fail to respect the choice that others make. I have seen this often in the endometriosis community where women deride each other because of their opposing viewpoints: ‘Surgery is the only treatment’ vs ‘Surgery makes things worse’.

3) It happens often in groups where natural treatments (diet, exercise, specific supplement regimes etc) are recommended. I have seen women bash and demean others for not ‘trying hard enough’.

The emotional and psychological impact of this toxicity is serious. In a world where women with chronic illness are already struggling against a judgemental able-bodied society, facing further negativity from women who are also chronically ill is soul-destroying.

I make my pledge today to keep my own support group, Unapologetic Women Collective, free of this toxicity and negativity.

I pledge to make it a kind and safe space where we hold space for each other.

A place where each and everyone is felt and heard.

A place of kindness.

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