Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

the closing of the hellmouth


Don’t get too sad, but this may be my last post about formspring.  I know, I know, it’s a site full of opportunities for social commentary, but enough is enough.

I stated in my previous “hellmouth” entry that I, personally, do not take people’s comments seriously.  When people on formspring debated MY recovery and MY definitions of MY recovery, it did not affect my actual recovery.  I am secure in where I am, and some anonymous poster isn’t going to bring me down, especially when their source of information seems to be the Facebook newsfeed.  Here’s a newsfeed:  status updates are not an accurate way of assessing the totality of a human being.  We are much more complex than the 420 characters that facebook allows for a status update.

I started laughing at the people harassing me.  I started letting my sarcasm come through.  I started calling myself banana’ed in my description as an attempt to ward off further debates about my recovery since the debates really aren’t helping anyone.

Why I liked formspring: I liked being asked questions about ME.  Like what books I read, where I want to travel, what three things I like most about myself, my favorite movies and colors and music, what and where I teach, etc.  I also really liked the honest questions about my recovery, about steps I took to get there, and about difficulties I had along the way and how I managed them.  And people were starting to ask about my trauma and a lot of people asked good questions about how I was dealing with that and how long the process was and how I managed to “get over” it.  (I don’t think I will ever fully get over it.  It’s still a little nagging dark spot in the corner of my mind that gets a bit darker and a bit larger from time to time.  And sometimes it shrinks, but it never disappears.)

Did you notice the past tense of “liked”?  I deleted my account.  Formspring has become an open invitation for cyber bullies to run rampant.  People’s answers are being twisted and misinterpreted and applied to other situations and people are talking about so-and-so’s answers to something behind so-and-so’s back, but of course so-and-so finds out that gossip is happening but doesn’t know what exactly and starts to get paranoid and hurt and angry and paranoid.  And rightfully so.  And instead of someone flat out asking so-and-so to clarify a statement, they run with their own ideas and the situation becomes drama and feelings get hurt all around and I’ve seen namecalling and I’ve seen people put other people down on someone’s page who isn’t even involved in whatever situation is happening and I’ve seen way too many people ask questions like “what was your lowest weight?” (my favorite answer to that question was something like “7 pounds 14 ounces, my birthweight.”).

I’ve seen too many people get hurt.  I’ve tried speaking up on formspring, and I’ve tried standing up for people I see getting hurt, but my words of course are twisted out of context and then used against me.  And it just doesn’t seem worth my time and energy anymore.  I wish I could have a formspring where people felt free to ask the recovery-oriented questions, because I don’t think they would ask them if they had to leave a name.  But I cannot continue to support this forum when I have friends in tears because of things being said about them on their own pages.

So I’m pulling out.  I hope other people follow suit.  My emotional energy is better spent elsewhere.  And if you are in the stage of recovery where it takes every ounce of energy to keep putting one foot in front of the other, your emotional energy is best spent on yourself and your recovery.  Not on answering questions that are more like accusations than anything else.  No one needs that.

I’m not naive, and I know my deleting my account will not spark a worldwide movement for everyone to delete their accounts, but I’m hoping a few of my friends will, for their sakes and for their mental well-being.  In this small pocket of the world I reside in, I’d like to see as few people get trampled on as possible.


June 13, 2010 - Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders, relationships | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. i recently created an account but have been hesitant about getting too involved for the reasons you’ve listed. seems entirely too easy for the trolls to create problems. not sure i’m really in the mood for that kind of challenge right now.

    Comment by marisa | June 14, 2010 | Reply

    • I think you’re smart. Even if you only let your friends know about it, THEIR friends see that they asked you questions and then they’ll ask YOU questions and people make fake accounts so even if you have it set to no anonymous questions, there’s a way around that. The internet world is so gossipy and this is just allowing more and more cyberbullying to take place.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | June 14, 2010 | Reply

  2. yep. i BURST out laughing about the 7pounds 14 oz. if i ever get asked that q-even by a doc, thats going to be my new answer LOL

    Comment by shira | June 14, 2010 | Reply

  3. ok, yesterday my friend was asked, what’s the BMI that your team wants you at?
    i swear.
    i think she answered something like, my nutritionist said it should 10 but my therapist said, no maybe a 9, and it got more and more ridiculous

    Comment by shira | June 14, 2010 | Reply

  4. Good for you! I understand – and am not surprised – to hear that you are solid enough in recovery to not doubt yourself in response to those comments, but I completely agree – you have so many more important things to spend your energy on. I also hope that other people will be able to get rid of their formspring accounts if it is harmful. This may be overly naive, but perhaps a facebook group could be created to help members if their recovery has been compromised/doubt is created due to comments, and determine if their formspring account is doing more harm than good and encourage them to get rid of it. I don’t want to assume, though, that every account is negative – perhaps some people are just lucky… It’s such a shame that something that can be very positive can be tainted by immature, ignorant, and cruel people 😦

    (perhaps some programmers experienced in natural language processing can create a parser that automatically detects harmful comments and prevents them from being seen by the creator of the account…and then ban users based on IP address, although even that can be changed… wow, that would be pretty complicated!)

    Comment by anon | June 14, 2010 | Reply

  5. Well done!

    Comment by Kat | June 15, 2010 | Reply

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