Her Digital Fallout PTSD Is Not Better Than Your Fried War Nerves; A New Generation Emerges
“This wk has been tough. There has been a campaign against me. I’m blocking dozens accounts of ppl telling me I don’t have PTSD & threats.” — tweeted by digital war veteran @MelodyHensley
If a friend told you it was tough to be an atheist and a feminist on Twitter these days, you might think she was telling you that it’s tough being trendy and going with the flow. Yet, one woman named Melody Hensley has been reduced to staying home in bed for six months because of suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that she claims came from overwhelming harassment on the famous chirping social media site.
Before my readers who slugged it out at Vietnam close this window, Hensley is not saying her PTSD is better than yours. The disorder can happen to anybody. It’s a constant triggering of fear and anxiety in the body because of a traumatic incident or series of incidences, digital or real.
Hensley claims she’s been attacked for years by a cybermob of more than 400 people. While she did an interview with the Daily Dot, she declined commenting to the Daily Mail because she was not well enough to answer questions.
I have sympathy for Hensley. Actually, I do. No, really, I do.
I too suffer from PTSD. I’m one of many traumatized bloggers, writing all night about my personal assumptions and promoting any number of conspiracy theories I’d heard or thought of while in the shower. I’m in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety from the vitriolic rebuttals lobbed at me from readers. The sharp comments ricocheting around me. The debilitating personal insults stacking up in the comment sections of articles that spread far and wide across the web. In 2011, a right-wing gentleman even threatened to shoot me after I insulted Sarah Palin.
Like Ms Hensley, my adrenal glands are fried. It’s our digital culture. The rapid and constant pings of information that demand our time, attention, and fray our consciousness one Facebook, Twitter, and text message at a time. There’s one last hope for repairing our adrenal glands and patching up our nervous systems — it’s called Mucuna, and it’s a super food — but there is not much hope in repairing our shattered states of mind, nor will it be possible to break the chains of dependency we’ve locked ourselves into with these smart devices.
My shaky nerves have affected every area of my life. Every time my cell phone hoots because I’ve received a text message, it’s like another deadly land mine has gone off on the trail ahead of my wandering mind, and I dare not tread to see the tangled remains. The adrenaline surges. My muscles tense. I feel the sudden urge to respond. Somebody needs something, I think. And they need it now. Somebody is demanding a verbal response. What will they think if I don’t send back a message immediately?
Destroy the goddamned thing, you fearful Luddite, a voice in my mind says. And tell Ms Hensley to do the same. Go down to Rodeo Drive, buy a $1000 shirt with the last of your money, put it on over your stained white t-shirt, and then raise your iPhone high into the air until people notice it. Slam it to the ground. “Son of Satan!” Grind your boot heel into it. Jump into the air and bring all your weight down upon the cursed thing, just as Homer in The Day of the Locust stomps on the back of the fallen boy who’d been tormenting him.
And the nearby crowd begins to riot. Just one person needs to light the match to the violent combustible cloud of collective consciousness that bubbles and builds day by day.
But then I feel a phantom vibration in my pocket. When I pull out the phone, there’s nobody there. I breathe deep and set the device aside. But not too far. Just in case somebody somewhere needs something at some time.
“Stressed out about leaving my house tomorrow by myself and going to unfamiliar place.” #PTSD — was one of Hensley’s tweets.
Following in the fearful footsteps of our friend Melody Hensley, I too dread leaving my apartment and going someplace unfamiliar. More shitheads, I think, that I might have to meet. And anything could happen. At any time. Before leaving home, I can’t help but think I may never make it back again. We’ve all seen the wrecked cars on the side of the freeway. The dangers of life exponentially increase once a person steps outside their home.
Welcome to 2014, and say hello to the Millenials. A “Me Is the Most Special” crowd, of which I am sadly a part of. A generation of thumb-suckers who claim the same detrimental effects of being shot at with words as others are with bullets.
May God help us. Or, with Ms Hensley, she might have to put her faith in Google or a tech demi-god to figure it out.