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My mental health and the state of the MAP fediverse community.

I’m burnt out. It’s been a long time coming. Once I realized I was starting to burn out I tried to make changes to better my mental health, but by then it was too late. Over these past two years, being off work from a traditional job, I dedicated my time to the MAP community. I wanted to minister to my people and work on activism to make life better for all of us. One of those activism projects was MAP Merch Shop. The idea was simple. I’m a graphic designer, I can make designs and put them on physical items like shirts, so people can express themselves in public, especially at pride events. With ready-made web apps and dropshipping providers, infrastructure was there to get these products in the hands of MAPs everywhere. It was supposed to be easy. Once setup, the site should have run itself, with minimal to no intervention from me. I could make designs whenever I got inspired, and be free to do other MAP ministry and activism. But from the beginning, the site has been a point of stress for me. Constant technical issues popped up, that took a long time to address, and I started receiving criticism from inside the community. That criticism soon became harassment. But I was excited about the potential for activism that I worked through the stress. I figured that eventually the hard work would pay off and we would all be expressing ourselves with MAP merch, and able to make public change.

While stressing over MAP Merch Shop, I was also moderating a forum, doing outreach for an organization, ministering to the community, and organizing my next activism project, all while being actively targeted by antis. Over the last month, I was burning out. Everything was overwhelming, and I couldn’t focus on anything productive. I took an unplanned half-assed sabbatical where I dropped all projects, and just tried to relax and soul-search. I spent a few days developing a plan to set boundaries, and structure my day so I can be effective and avoid burnout. I made a plan to return to service of the community. But I never got to implement it.

Early last week, I got some stressful news in my personal life. Despite this, I decided to reopen MMS after a hiatus. In my announcement, I sarcastically told the people who have been harassing me about adding crypto to “get bent.” The next day the people who have been harassing me went apeshit, and even more people piled on the hate. With everything weighing on me, I had a very public meltdown. I was being called greedy, even though the margin on my items is low and I only profited $52 from MMS in the last 5 months. MMS donated $65 to other MAP organizations. So in a moment of pettiness, to make a statement against those who were calling me greedy, I announced an outrageous fee increase. If they were gonna call me greedy, fine, I’ll give them a reason to call me greedy. The hate continued pouring in. At that point, I could no longer take the abuse being flung my way, and I left the fediverse. I talked with my vendors and my team who helped console me, but also held me accountable and told me my behavior was inappropriate… that I really pulled an Elon.

I spent the next week laying low, doing more soul-searching, and trying to decompress.. There were points where I was suicidal. I reached out to a few of the people I’m closest to in this community. A few people from the fediverse checked in on me. And to them, I say thank you. You are the ones who represent what this community should be. When someone in our community is facing a mental breakdown, we should be there for each other. Not continue tearing them down.

My petty behavior was wrong, and beneath my role in this community, and for that I apologize.

Yesterday, after taking some time away, I tried to engage with the fediverse and matrix side of the MAP community. Yet I was still facing resentment. Members of this community were continuing to gaslight me and others. It was made evidently clear to me that they no longer wanted anything to do with me. They were judging me by the things I said in the window of about an hour, versus my 15 years of service to this community. I think it says a lot about the volatility of this community, that what was said in the middle of one mental breakdown, invalidates everything I’ve done for the last 15 years. Frankly that’s not a community I want to be a part of.

I’m going to take a break. I gave and gave so much of myself over the last several months, that I no longer had anything left to take care of myself. I’m a workaholic. I took on the load of this community, and tried to carry it by myself, instead of asking for help. This was unhealthy, and it caused me to implode. I need to fix myself. Before I can even try to help others, I have to take care of myself first. I’m sorry it took a mental breakdown for me to see this.

In the mean time, I think everyone in this community, not just the MAP fediverse, but the whole MAP community, myself included, needs to stop and reflect and remember why we’re here. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, or if I’ll ever return to the service I once felt so obligated to. But eventually I’ll be around.

Y’all take care of yourselves.

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