Meghan Markle has spoken about the “almost unsurvivable” abuse she has received online as ‘the most trolled person in the world’.
The Duchess of Sussex talked about her experience with online abuse during a appearance with Prince Harry on a podcast to mark World Mental Health Day.
The couple introduced themselves as Harry and Meghan respectively on the Teenager Therapy podcast.
Meghan, 39, said: “If you’re not in school then you’re finding yourselves on your devices or online more, right, and there’s a lot of vulnerability there that I think so many people are experiencing.
“Yes, it’s a great way to connect, but it also ends up being a place where there’s a lot of disconnection, you know, I can speak personally to.
“I’m told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female. Now, eight months of that I wasn’t even visible, I was on maternity leave or with a baby.
“But what was able to just be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable, that’s so big, you can’t think of what that feels like, because I don’t care if you’re 15 or 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging.”
She added: “Part of the work that we do is from our own personal experience, being able to talk to people and understand that, even though our experience is unique to us, and obviously can seem very different to what people experience on the day to day, it’s still a human experience and that’s universal, we all know what it feels like to have our feelings hurt, we all know what it feels like to be isolated or othered.”
When asked about their recent activism, Harry said: “I think the way everything’s happening in the world right now, the moment that people start to think about mental health, immediately people think about a small group of people as opposed to every single one of us.
“I think if you could safely say that 90% of people on planet Earth have suffered some form of trauma, some form of loss, some form of grief, and that’s different, it varies to every single person, then certainly for this year, through Covid, I think it’s probably safe to say that 99.9%, if not 100% of people, have experienced some form of one of those, all those, at the same time.
“Rather than mental health being focused on, the people that are struggling, it needs to go much wider than that, and to the acceptance and the appreciation that every single one of us have mental health, and every single one of us have got stuff going on that we either need to talk about or that we need help with, or that we have some form of compassion and empathy for other people that are going through something similar.
“I think putting your self-care as a priority is hugely important, because vulnerability is not a weakness, showing vulnerability in today’s world especially, is a strength.
“We could certainly see that more from some of those global leaders, because we got ourselves into this very deep hole which we need to come out of.”
Harry praised the teenage hosts and the younger generation for their openness surrounding mental health and personal difficulties, later telling the podcast that he meditates.
He continued: “The more we talk about it the more it becomes normal, and it is normal, and it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.”
He added: “Our situation is somewhat unique but then every single person’s situation is unique, it’s a different version of the same thing.
“For Meghan, she said on a global scale, that’s what happened in 2019, but if you’re a young girl or young boy at school, that’s your world, so if you’re being attacked, or being bullied or whatever is online…it feels the same.
“I think it’s very easy to be sucked in and consumed by negativity, but we all have the choice to be able to cut that out of our lives.
“Hate following has become a thing, you don’t need to do that. Just as much as we worry about, be concerned, and take notice of what we put in our bellies as a diet, the same applies for our eyes and our mind, what we’re consuming is affecting us.
“For me, I made the choice not to read it, not to see it, and to remove myself from that, and to very much focus on the uplifting and the hopeful side.”
He added: “What I’ve seen so much over the years is people hiding behind usernames on the online space. There are things that are said digitally that nobody would say in person, of course.
“But I think there’s a lot of projection that happens as well, I think many. many people are hurting, a lot, and are freaking out because of the way the world is and because of, sometimes, the echo chamber that has been created for them by the online platform that they’ve chosen to be on.
“But also it comes down to control as well, you can control what you see, you can control what you do, so whether it’s notifications or whether it’s vibration ringtones, whatever it is, these things control you, rather than taking control.”
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