Yes, the haters are going to hate

 

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.

4 Comments

  1. Susan,

    Mea culpas are FUN for everyone!

    The Internet is an adversarial process not unlike our court system & legislative process in Parliament. Read Erich Fromm’s _The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness_ and always remember that there are myriad personalities out in Internet Land that are predisposed to think & act like sadists when people are down & out. Never criticize those that are mentally challenged and in meltdown mode existentially. Try to empathize with those that are suffering from their history. Mature contemplatives in the area of Psychotherapy tend to adopt a ‘Client Centered’ approach to these types of problems and they are non-directive in terms of providing solutions to their clients.
    The key to helping those with personal problems in life is to listen to how the client characterizes their own problems in their ongoing dialog with those that are around them. In Mitic’s case he is being completely forthcoming about his difficulties.

    The social cues to ‘listen’ to Mitic’s own personal & existential difficulties are manifesting via the backlash of ad hominem you are likely experiencing for the errant ‘tweet’. Never forget that Twitter is like being ‘on a non-stop train ride with a number of histrionic drunkards’ suffering from alcohol induced psychosis, and very probably some sort of dementia.

    People are weird, and Personality Theory elucidates that idiosyncratic behaviour. The Internet is even weird-er than that, eh.

    RW

  2. I think you are going to get jumped on by Mitic’s “supporters” regardless of what you post going forward. People like to spin and interpret things that fit their mental narrative. No one in their right mind would believe you meant what they are implying or saying. I’m not a fan of Taylor, but why should you care? This is only an issue because you aired his/her already public dirty laundry and boy was that list long. You didn’t even point out that she ditched her hubby too.

    I’m new to your blog an love it. It fills a void in our fairy tale town. Sometimes it’s nice to see someone dig deeper or expose the underbelly.

    Either way Mitic’s whining like a little bitch on Twitter. To the point of making veiled threats, “Would love more feedback next time we see each other buddy.”

    Keep up the good work and don’t stop. There are many more silent voices that support you than this loser.

    1. Thanks so much Ariana, not a lot of kind words directed my way these days, so yours are much appreciated. Happy to hear you’re enjoying the blog, the pay is hellish but I’m enjoying being able to continue to add my voice to city politics.

  3. The thing that annoys me about your approach lately is – it’s careless. You’ve always been shoot from the hip, but lately it doesn’t even seem like you’re taking the time to consider whether those hot takes even make sense.

    For example – you tweeted that Mitic maybe shouldn’t take a city paycheque. Now you say what you meant was Mitic should step aside to take care of himself and “ensure there’s someone available to take care of Innes ward voters.”

    How exactly do you propose that happens? If Mitic takes an LOA (which would still mean he’s getting a city paycheque), what functionally changes in his ward? Do you envision a city councilor appointed from May – October? Do you have evidence to suggest that Mitic’s office is still not doing the work of servicing calls and requests from residents?

    It’s still not clear what you are proposing here other than for Mitic to more formally say “I can’t do the job right now.” Maybe if you filled in THOSE blanks – the rest of what it is you think he should do – it’d be easier to find a way to actually see the support and respect you claim to have for Mitic. Right now it just seems like you’ve used him to fuel your own content and profile.

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