Monday, 18 February 2013

Forty Days of Silence, or 'why I've given up tweeting for Lent'

I'm in danger of becoming a bit of a silence bore [exhibit A, exhibit B]. Luckily for you I'm only on day 5 of my 40 day twitter silence so my opportunities to badger you about it are somewhat limited until Easter arrives. But while I have your attention, let me tell you about silence and why I've given up tweeting for Lent.

For the last 18 months or so I have been anything but silent. First I broke my silence to a therapist, then to close friends and family, then to my GP, then to my managers at work, then to more friends and family, then to the kind staff and volunteers at the Maytree sanctuary for the suicidal, then to a room full of near strangers, then to the whole internet via my blog and twitter.

And then I realised that breaking my silence about depression and suicidal thoughts wasn't going far enough ... so I broke my silence on physical and emotional abuse, first to the world via my blog and twitter, then to my mum (hardly the ideal order to break the news but that's the order it happened in).

And then I ranted and raved on twitter and set out my vision for a kinder society. And then I ranted and raved a bit more.

why hold on with tears in our eyes?

And I found myself wondering whether all my silence breaking had really changed anything. And I wondered how many other people's stories need to be shared before anything changes. And that's when I thought I'd stay silent again instead and see if people would react more to my public silence than than they had to my public silence breaking. Putting it simply, I decided to yield the floor and stop talking about silence for a while to see what happens when I stop speaking up.

The main aim of my 40 day twitter silence is to raise awareness of silence and how it adds to the stigma experienced by abuse victims and those suffering from mental health conditions such as depression. If you'd like to support my 40 day twitter silence you can do that by sponsoring me or by simply talking to those in your immediate family and circle of friends about their mental health. The money you donate will go to the Maytree respite centre who helped me find my way back to the land of the living last year.

I'm not undertaking this twitter silence as a digital detox so I'm still looking at twitter and I'll be sending very occasional DMs to close friends. If that feels like I'm cheating then I'd like to politely suggest that you embark on your own twitter silence and make the rules for that as rigid as you'd like them to be ... and let me know about it so that I can sponsor you :-)

So anyway, enough words from me, please visit my Just Giving page and make a donation if you can spare the cash - but more importantly please talk about silence and get the support you need to break your own silence.

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