The other week, when I posted about what happened at my university as a result of my anaphylaxis reaction to peanuts, I wanted my fellow allergic neighbors in the blogging realm to know what happened regarding my issue with the university. I felt they had a right to know. But if I’d known things would’ve gotten so ornery online I might have sentenced that little article to remain in Word Document purgatory, forever out of sight. But it’s too late for that now. I even ended up in a clip on the local news, which was picked up by other news stations and even ended up playing on Good Morning America. Yup, it’s been interesting.
What’s really surprised me throughout this whole thing though is how people have responded (thankfully, I’m not the only one, The Allergista was surprised by the lack of empathy, too).
Trouble with Trolls
The comment sections of news websites, in case you’re blissfully unaware, seem to be the natural habitat for trolls: disgruntled, aggressive, and with a bit too much time on their hands. I swear, someone could likely post a news story about how a sweet grandson gave flowers to his dear old grandmother, and a troll—or twenty—would likely still freak out. I’ve been staying off the news sites since all this started and that’s helped (thankfully, it’s pretty much died down now; so glad to be last week’s forgotten news).
It’s not that I expected everyone to be all warm and empathetic, but I’d honestly thought part of why the trolls felt the freedom to be so nasty was because they assumed I’d never read their comments. Not only did they feel safe behind their computer screens but I assumed that I must have seemed less like an actual person because of the lack of direct contact with me. Well, that’s what I’d hoped, at least.
Instead, the trolls who saw me during a quick blurb on their local news or Good Morning America were not content with leaving anonymous comments on the news sites. So they tracked down my personal Facebook profile to make sure that I saw their comments. Uh. Creepy? I started getting so many aggressive messages on my personal Facebook profile that I had to completely go into hiding. After just a few days of the troll infestation, I was already starting to feel anxious whenever I’d hear the bing alerting me that there was a new mysterious message waiting—Oh, gosh, what now?
Allergies and Unicorns
A lot the trolls who stalked me down put food allergies into the same box as believing in unicorns and fairies. And I don’t even know how many people have contacted me personally just to tell me that I’m mentally ill because allergies and anaphylaxis simply don’t exist. Appreciate it.
Others demanded explanations about this that or the other—it usually boiled down to the fact that they either didn’t read the article or they didn’t read it very accurately and were, as a result, really not sure exactly what had happened. But were still feeling spiteful, nevertheless.
A Myriad of Allergies
Living with food allergies can vary a lot depending on the severity of someone’s allergies, life stage, and what they’re allergic to. As a result, some of the allergic folks who’ve contacted me don’t even fully understand my situation. Sometimes it isn’t because they’re not trying, but because our own experiences with food allergies have been so drastically different and many of them didn’t have a lot of familiarity with such severe cases. And other times they were just trolls with seasonal allergies (which really isn’t the same thing as anaphylaxis at all).
Other fellow allergic people, while they may be empathetic, just have completely different experiences with allergies than mine. (One young woman contacted me to tell me about how she’s allergic to weed and how she has to ask all of her classmates to please refrain from smoking during lecture; I came away feeling that my own college experience has been very conservative since, even though people smoke at school, I’ve never seen anyone light up during lecture). 😉
Where Things Stand Now
While I’m thankful for some of the new connections I’ve made with fellow allergics online, I’m very grateful to finally be last week’s news. I still haven’t heard from the university at all (even though some of the news reports make it sound like they’re in contact with me). But I’m still going to pursue things at least a little farther, only not in such a public manor.
I’ve already started looking into where I’ll transfer Fall 2014 (or maybe sooner, we’ll see), and I’ve found some good options. But for the moment I’m going to focus on getting married, Mr. M and I buying our first house, moving, and work. It’ll be more than enough to keep me busy. And once I’ve had a bit of a break, I’ll hit the books again.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled programing …
More Crunchy Posts:
- Life in a Nutshell: How Anaphylaxis Impacts My Life
- Oatmeal Muffins (gluten & sugar free)
- Gluten-Free 101: Crosscontamination