If you’ve been reading Twitter lately, you’ll see I messed up. Big time.
And as such, I’m being vilified on Twitter as a bully, as someone who doesn’t care about first responders and a big part of the reason people don’t feel comfortable opening up about their mental health.
In a tweet, I suggested Innes Coun. Jody Mitic might consider not taking a city paycheque given that he hasn’t been feeling up to the job.
Unfortunately, it’s not the first time in recent weeks I’ve let Twitter get the better of me.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote what I thought was a light-hearted tweet and ended up hurting someone I care a lot about. That’s all on me, though this time the repercussions are far more serious.
I can’t keep up with the tweets telling me what an insensitive idiot I am, so will try to address some of the issues here.
Here’s the thing. Mitic bravely came forward with his mental health issues and acknowledged he wasn’t going to seek re-election because he needed to take care of himself. And that is what I hope for him. So in my awkwardly worded tweet, I wasn’t trying to suggest in any way that people struggling with depression should lose their livelihood. That’s ridiculous.
But as anyone who has an illness, visible or silent, there are avenues to continue to get paid while acknowledging your health is your priority. It seemed to me Mitic shouldn’t be worried about his job as a city councillor because he clearly has acknowledged he needs time for himself and his family. His health is the priority here. And he could take care of himself and ensure there’s someone available to take care of Innes ward voters.
I wrote a tweet in haste – that didn’t at all convey how I feel. Now I know the haters will say I’m back-pedalling. I can live with that and don’t much care.
Actually, I don’t care at all.
(Think I feel a Taylor Swift song coming on.)
What I do care about are the accusations that I don’t care about first responders. That’s a lie. My late brother Bill Sherring was the proudest firefighter I have ever known. He saw things he couldn’t block from his mind or his heart. He had people die in his arms and couldn’t deal with the images, the guilt or the heartache.
And through him and my work as a reporter, I’ve met countless firefighters, police officers and paramedics who put their lives in danger on an almost daily basis and sometimes struggle with what’s out there. They do a job I could never perform and they have my undying respect and thanks.
Some people choose to go public with their mental health issues, like Mitic did. That’s not a route I’ve chosen. But again I won’t sit quietly by with people saying I don’t know what I’m talking about. I do.
Of course, the irony of my situation isn’t lost on me. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column directed at Mitic advising him that social media isn’t for the faint of heart.
When I write a tweet that many find offensive, I’m fair game. And Mitic and lots of his supporters let me have it. That’s how social media works. If you don’t like it, stay off of it.
But as I gave Mitic the opportunity to have his say about the negative comments written about him following his Facebook posting, I get mine.