A String of Losses

It’s been rough for about two months since changing medication. I’ve experienced what I can only describe as a string of losses, and my daily routine has suffered, making me at times sad and at others feeling free.

The first loss was my daily activity on a website I enjoyed. I was a regular contributor to a forum on mental illness on a loosely moderated site. I asked a question one day that was viciously attacked. I was a member of that forum for over three years, and to have the other members turn angrily on a simple question hurt. It’s been two months now since the incident, and I do not remember what I asked that was so roundly despised. I deleted my account, and I have not been back since. I honestly never think about the place. I’m free of it.

Co-directing a play occupied much of my time in the past couple of months. I really enjoyed it. I dove fully into each of the characters I was coaching from the eight actors I was working with. I studied the words. I learned the motivations and thought deeply about the hidden lives of these stage roles. The rehearsals went very well. The other director, a mentor to me in some ways, praised my work proclaiming it “excellent.” The performances were a critical success. People active in the local theatre community all came and openly beamed at the accomplishment. It was a beautiful play.

And then ten days after the show closed, I got a letter from one of the actors I directed. He rebuked me for a change I asked him to make late in the rehearsal process. He made the change in the remaining rehearsals, and his performance was superb. In the letter, though, he said my mishandling of my request to him made him unsure of his characterization, and he was therefore incapable of enjoying any of the normal joy an actor gets from performing.

All of this was new information to me. He was cheerful throughout the run of the show. I took his letter to heart, and it hurt greatly. My happy memories of the successful production are forever tainted by this man’s complaint.

My life is a very quiet one. I live on my computer in many ways. I have many far-flung friends. A number of them are from a small website that I would normally have open on my web browser all day, chatting and interacting with others. It’s a social site with active moderators policing it and keeping it running smoothly. A matter arose on this site, and I voiced my opinion. It was an opinion shared by several users. Much to my surprise, our remarks on the site were removed by the moderators, and we were told to toe the line.

I was flabbergasted. I have been a member of this online community for four years, and suddenly my ideas were forcefully muzzled. I was torn. I complained to the community’s manager and given no answer. I was met with silence. It is a site with many different subjects, and mental illness comes up occasionally. I toyed with the idea of deleting my account, but finally, I decided to tell a few trusted friends there to forward any information or questions that come up about mental illness. I am restricting my interaction there to that subject only.

I have gone from a very active online life to a small one in a matter of weeks. I’m still adjusting.

These are three losses I’ve experienced recently. There have been numerous smaller ones. These three sting.

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4 thoughts on “A String of Losses

  1. Any person or group that would viciously attack another (especially in a forum on mental health issues) for expressing a question or opinion, is not worthy of a member as honest, open, intelligent, and well intended as yourself. While you may see that exchange as your loss, I see it as your gain. It was time to move on, and that was your cue.

    Your letter from the stage actor is unfortunate. I can appreciate how painful that must feel, but once again urge you to think objectively about this ONE particular fellow. If he had such strong feelings or concerns about the interpretation or portrayal of his character, it is his fault for not discussing them with you. It is ridiculous to suggest anyone other than himself be to blame for something so subjective as his “lost joy”. Nothing to do with you. Pointless to ponder further, and even more pointless to consider a response to such unjustifiable criticism. Methinks this actor has issues and should be ashamed of his timing and method of protest.

    Please reconsider all the good feedback and vibe you received, and ignore this oddball.

    J

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • That I was attacked by other self proclaimed people suffering with mental illness made it all the more bewildering. I can understand disagreement, but I can’t wrap my head around the personal vilification I was subjected to. I have moved on. Ignoring the hurt from the actor’s complaint is proving more difficult. It’s still fresh, but I take comfort in the adage that this too shall pass. Thank you.

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