Grounding agreements for commenting in the PTSD Bookclub…
I’ll moderate comments personally and closely, especially in the beginning. Apologies for any delays this causes in the dialogue, but I’m erring on the side of caution until we feel this space out. Below are the assumptions that will guide content moderation and what I hope will be agreed communication norms. Please feel free to tell me if there are important things you think I’ve overlooked in the comments or at PTSDBookclub@gmail.com.
- Provide content warnings where appropriate. Nobody wants anyone to get sidelined for hours or days because they get activated by a blog comment. Really – save all those good resourcing skills for something more important! ; ) The things most likely to trigger a PTSD reaction include: sexual assault, child abuse, natural disasters, car accidents, interpersonal violence, and military violence. [Tell me if I’ve missed a common one.] So, if your comments mention one of those things, just pop in a quick header that says, for example, “CW: Sexual assault, Beating”. It’s about respecting people’s autonomy and self-determination – giving them the information they need to make the best decisions for their own health and well-being.
- Take care of yourself. It took me a long time to understand that when I’m activated, I should stay the heck away from social media and email because I give in to doomscrolling and toxic reactivity more quickly. That might not be your experience. But stay aware of the things you know set you off. Pay attention to your physical sensations and your emotions so that you can step away, do your tapping, take deep breaths, or talk to a friend or therapist if you need to.
- Be anti-racist. Racism dehumanizes everyone. Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx and other communities of color are disproportionately impacted by interpersonal, state, and systemic violence; get fewer resources to support their healing; and receive less support when they share their stories in public. There will be no tolerance for overt or covert racism in this forum!
- Tolerate healthy conflict. Conflict is part of growth. We’ll all have different perspectives and we will inevitably disagree, sometimes strongly. That’s OK! Healthy conflict resolution builds relationships and deepens understanding. Try to approach a potential conflict with genuine curiosity: What is that other person really saying? How could I be misunderstanding? Why might their experience or perspective be different from mine? Maintain your boundaries and respect other people’s — no one owes anyone else their time or attention. Recognize that engaging in healthy conflict takes more courage and vulnerability that passive-aggressively avoiding it. Respect the effort.
What I will block in the comments:
- Personal attacks. There’s so much stigma and shame about PTSD out there already. Let’s not make it worse for each other, even though I know it’s hard when we’re triggered. Try to speak only for yourself. If you find yourself preparing to engage in verbal battle, take a minute, step away, take a breath.
- Suggestions that someone’s trauma “doesn’t cause real PTSD.” No atrocity hierarchies (see the Mac McClelland memoir for more on that). For our purposes, if you say you have PTSD, you have it. We’re not here to police each other’s suffering or to diagnose people we’ve never met.
- Commercial solicitation and emotional vampirism. Sadly, there are people who prey on people made vulnerable by trauma. I will block any comment that tries to sell people a magic bullet fix or that sets off my “emotional vampire” alarm. I know “emotional vampire alarm” is pretty subjective. But I’ll err on the side of blocking a comment or a person who seems to be trolling people with PTSD for financial benefit or LOLs. Because if that’s what you are doing, you can fuck right off.