The number one reaction when someone mentions cyber bullying. Well why should they!!!! Ever since the start of the dreaded pandemic from the virus that shall not be named, I think most of us have resorted to the fact that we are stuck indoors more. I personally found myself spending more time on YouTube and getting into new things (I had pretty much completed NetFlix). I started watching Vanlifers, the outdoorsy, adventurous community that travel the globe in a van, yes, a van. I began by watching various people converting a standard white tradesperson van into beautiful little homes on wheels to go exploring. Why did this fascinate me? I have no clue, but I found myself compelled to watch. Maybe it was because I was jealous (bit harsh, let’s say envious but I will come onto jealousy later) that I was watching people outdoors, travelling, seemingly care-free from the corporate hustle and bustle? Who knows?
Now before I go too off-piste, this blog today is a story of a truly amazing young woman called Lee MacMillan. I have never met Lee in person, purely from online videos on YouTube. I stumbled across her and her then partner Max’s channel and began to watch their story from the previous year as they journeyed around Mexico in their converted van. As I continued to watch and getting closer to real-time (March/April 2020 at the time), Lee was very open and honest about struggling with her metal health. She felt lost, that the person that she was, was not truly her. Add in a breakup, reducing her vlogging and content and trying to change as a person into the whirlwind of a mix, can you even imagine or comprehend how cyber-bullying, spiteful comments and hurtful replies affected this wonderful person??
Well, despite speaking with professionals, loving friends and family, meditating, practicing yoga, and advocating for mental health and depression publicly, on Friday 26th March 2021, Lee took her own life!! Take just 30 seconds after reading the above and allow that to sink in.
What is the answer? I sure as hell do not know. What I do know is that you should NOT be forced into stopping what you love, creating content, being you and putting yourself out there because of a/a few keyboard warrior/s getting some kind of kick out of making a person miserable.
Next question. Why do they do it? Again, I do not know. I simply can not comprehend why someone would do that. Now, there is plenty of content online that I can say, is not for me, I don’t enjoy and don’t agree with BUT, never would I post a comment, reply or force any sort of hate speech because of it. I would just move on. So what drives people to do it? I guess that there is a number of possible explanations but in my opinion, a large percentage of the time, it would be jealousy. As a content viewer, we see a beautiful person, appearing to live a perfect life. A life that we wish that we were living. Maybe in some people that breeds jealousy instead of envy? Maybe it breeds a negative reaction instead of a positive “good for them” attitude? I don’t know. Let’s not forget that the person inciting the bullying chose to watch that video, read that blog or scroll through that social media post, so it must contain something of interest to them, right, surely? So, for me, that is the main logical explanation. But those actions are not okay!
What can we do about it? Several things:
It’s okay not to be okay
However you are affected, please do not stop doing what you love. If it’s not for you then that is a different matter, but if you love writing, keep doing it. If you love vlogging/blogging, keep doing it. Do NOT accept, “well why don’t you stop then?” as the answer.
Lee’s family and friends are now campaigning and continuing Lee’s work in her honour. Follow the hash-tag #speakupforlee on social media and for more information on Lee’s story and the campaign, you can visit her Instagram at:
If you need help or someone to talk to, help is there for you. People want to listen. Contact the Samaritans, free from any phone 24/7 on 116123 or email email@example.com
If you do just one thing today, be kind.