Shut up trolls, men like Joe Tracini who talk about suicide awareness are heroes

On other days, he shares messages of hope, and the most regular message he gets across to the many watching who have felt or do feel as he has done is that he is still here, he is surviving and he is still winning.

Millions take comfort, hope and reassurance that they aren’t alone from his uplifting and emotionally raw messages that he puts out there – Metro.co.uk readers were lucky to be given his voice when he wrote his experiences for us in an open letter to anyone experiencing dark thoughts.

Of course, social media being social media, there are a very few users who look for the negative aspect of someone using their experiences to make the world a better place – and Joe was recently targeted by trolls who claimed that he talks about his mental health for attention.

Because sure, that has to be it. No-one could possibly be a kind person. I was once told the same thing after writing about it for Metro.co.uk.

I don’t hide the fact that I have tried to take my own life. Do I regret it? I certainly regret what I put my loved ones through. Am I ashamed of it? I’d have to say no, at least I am not ashamed of talking about it – if it helps just one other man who feels he can’t speak out through fear of mockery or vitriol to talk to someone.

I am certainly glad I am still here. But if I shut up about it, what was it all for – those black feelings, that raging monster in my stomach and my brain, that weirdly hypnotic feeling moments before you do what you plan to do – if I then bottled it up and never reached out, why did I go through it all?

To me, Joe is a personal hero for using a platform that can be toxic and turn it into something positive. He has saved lives, without a doubt – more than he can ever know.

But, as is the nature with us humans – particularly those of us with mental health battles – it just takes one nasty comment or one judgemental keyboard warrior to shake our confidence and send us right back there.

The sad thing is that these trolls forget about their own nasty comment long, long before we do. While we our questioning our existence for the thousandth time, they have moved on to try their luck at making someone else feel like shit.

Trolls are a scourge of social media but no matter how many people tell us to just ignore it, don’t let them get to you, just block them – it’s impossible not to let them under your skin and into your head.

My hopeful side tells me trolls aren’t aware of that power they yield with a single cocky tweet. My more realistic side knows that some of them know exactly what they are doing.

Either way, they can shake you but you will pick yourself back up because as the very essence of you that they try to chip away proves – you are a survivor. And a new and better day will dawn for us, just as some really cack ones will too.

The message in this piece? It’s hard to put into words. It started off as a means of telling trolls to simply f*** off and to encourage everyone to be a little more Joe.

But we all know when one troll gets bored, another two are born. They’re a bit like the White Walkers from Game Of Thrones – the only way they can be defeated is if the core of their vitriol is eliminated. That’s a while off.

But there is much kindness in the world. So never let any petulant, faceless, Twitter warrior shut you up.

Keep talking. We have come a long way. You reading this have come a long way.

And the more we talk, the better we get – and, like a positive herpes – we spread it just by being kinder and more open.

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