Today, I had an experience with the comments section that I found quite interesting. I thought I might share my experience here.
My comment started with the words “Any sane person would …”. A commenter called that “ableist”. That made me mad! Without going into detail, I have good reasons for not picturing myself as “ableist” when it comes to mental health. How dare someone stick that label on me!
But…I do, indeed, have personal reasons to be careful about stigmatizing mental health. I was writing my response early in the day, shortly after waking up, and I did have a small hesitation about that word. Still! How dare someone stick that label on me! It would have been better if they expressed their concerns in a more neutral way!
But…if I expressed myself poorly, maybe other people don’t always put things perfectly either. The commenter wasn’t on my short list of s**t-disturbers, so I had to give their response serious consideration.
So, after a few minutes of reacting and thinking, I edited my post, and (still feeling sulky, I confess) responded to the “ableist” comment with the single word, “Fixed”.
That was a few hours ago. After mulling it over for a longer period of time, I agreed with the response to my original wording, and I will be a bit more careful in future. I also, now, have had a first-hand experience with how it feels to be labelled in that way, which makes me understand the reactions others have had. In short, if you want to change someone’s behaviour, it’s not a very useful tactic. (There is science to back this up, BTW: Changing Minds: Logic or Empathy? | Psychology Today Canada - not the best link, but it gives a good synopsis.)
Long story short, that comment forced me to do exactly what I suggested to Kenneth Vendelboe earlier in this thread, and listen to the criticism (even though I strongly felt that it was hurtful and unfair) and think about it.