Let’s talk about vent channels.
(Apologies in advance for any grammatical/spelling errors)
To preface, this is not meant to be a personal attack on anyone who uses/has vent channels. That’s your business, you do what you want. This is an opinion piece based mostly off of MY personal experiences alongside some of my peers’. Obviously this is going to be in regards to Discord specifically, however, I feel a lot of these points can be applied to traumacore, or any sort of vent-related blogs/posts/tags (albeit some in different contexts). I don’t know how coherent this is going to be because it’s tumblr and I’m just trying to get my thoughts out LOL.
Vent channels are breeding grounds for negativity, toxicity, and hostility. It introduces a gloomy, cynical environment to the servers that feature them regardless of if they’re “role locked” or not. I don’t think I have ever been in a public server that wasn’t created by me that has lacked vent channels - including private hangout servers. The following are various reasons as to why vent channels are counter-intuitive when it comes to being helpful:
Vent channels, whether vocally or not, do after a certain amount of time become competitive. This is especially true when people present in the server, whether they are actively using the channel or not, have eating disorders - which are inherently competitive (it only takes one person venting about this for it to become competitive between other members). You may start to compare your situation to the situations of others, you may begin to think your suffering isn’t “bad enough” to be considered “real” suffering. I have been in situations where people have complained that other server members weren’t venting about things that were “bad enough” as if you had to hit a certain threshold of pain to be “allowed” to vent about your problems. I have witnessed people venting about not “suffering enough” in comparison to other server members, which in turn can come across as guilt trippy or make other members feel as if they’re a burden.
Expanding on the previous paragraph, my self-worth was tarnished as a result of vent channels when I actively participated in using them. Not only was the competitive nature of them leading me to believe my pain wasn’t real/I was being overdramatic, but also I began to base my value in the group upon how many responses I was getting in comparison to others - especially in the private servers intended to be group hangouts for my friends and I. This is also true for friends of mine that have since stepped away from using vent channels.
As an example:
There are 2 vent channels. Person A is using one, Person B is using another (what they are venting about is irrelevant). Person A is getting loads of support and advice from their peers, meanwhile Person B is getting no responses (despite everyone obviously being active). Regardless of if it’s intentional or not this shit HURTS. It makes you feel as if you’re not a priority or cared about in your friend group as much as others even if that’s not true (these feelings might be even worse depending on previous social situations and your upbringing). This also can make others - or even yourself - feel required to respond to vents regardless of if they’re feeling emotionally/mentally equipped to handle it in the moment.
Vent channels are direct gateways to oversharing. It doesn’t matter how “vague” you are, you are giving information about your personal life out - sometimes to strangers - that can be definitely used against you in the future. I cannot stress enough how much I regret sharing any negative information about my mental health and personal life, even in private servers for people who were/are my friends. It doesn’t matter how “close” you are, you don’t know if you’re going to even know these people in a year. It is DANGEROUS to post this information ANYWHERE. Period. I was looped into heavily oversharing my trauma because it's that normalized and I was convinced that it was helping me recover when it was actually counter-intuitive and worsening my mental health severely. People I trusted took even the slightest amount of info about me in that regard and twisted it as a means to use against me (i.e. I shared something regarding my autism with my peers so that they could get a better understanding of my behaviour and someone took that information and used it to villainize me and get away with their own bad behaviour). I, again, cannot stress enough how dangerous this is. I have seen people make vent threads on Twitter and Tumblr (Discord aside) detailing information about shitty situations they’re in. I have seen young teens linking to detailed lists of their mental illnesses, triggers, etc, EN MASSE because it is that normalized. And by participating in this you are further normalizing it and thereby contributing to these kids putting themselves at risk because it is the “internet norm” to share that much information. So if you’re not going to stop for your own sake, please please PLEASE at least take into consideration other people who are going to be impacted (this can also be applied to who may be looking at your content i.e. if you are not primarily a traumacore blog and you repost traumacore - especially without tagging - it’s deceiving and can be triggering or just generally uncomfortable for others to see).
Obviously, most people who participate in using vent channels are struggling with their mental health to various degrees of severity. People who use vent channels are using them as a form of “self help”, which on a surface level seems really good, right? You’re getting all this shit off your chest in a - assumed to be - safe environment surrounded by people who want you around and who may be able to offer some advice. In reality, vent channels are a very, very temporary solution if even a solution at all. As much as I claimed using vent channels and getting that support was helpful, it wasn’t. I had convinced myself it was despite always coming out of it either feeling that same or, most of the time, worse and the same can be said for friends of mine who formerly used vent channels as well. Aside from all the aforementioned points made, vent channels are easy to access compilations of everyone’s suffering. This is especially harmful if you’re someone who seeks out negative content during times where you’re not feeling all too great (i.e. browsing trauma tags) as a means to make yourself feel worse or otherwise fuel the worsening of your mental health. Who needs traumacore when the pain of people you know is neatly organized into these lovely channels, right? (/s) This is absolutely the biggest factor as to why vent channels aren’t actually that great or helpful.
On top of this, vent channels tend to encourage bad habits and self depreciation. You may begin to believe that something you went through isn’t “bad enough” or even real if you’re not constantly suffering from symptoms of it (or suffering in general). The environment of the entire server will be impacted by this as people, for example, feed into each others’ mental illnesses and justify their own impulsivity by reassuring others of the same things. There have been situations time and time again where people reject healthy coping methods offered to them and recovery in general (you can’t go around preaching that “things get better” without making a day-to-day effort to actually improve your self image and mental health in general dude). People also have bragged about feeding into addictions, whether substance abuse, eating disorders, self harm, etc, which is obviously going to impact other server members who see that who may have the same/similar addictions themselves. Hell, even people without additions may develop one over time from seeing that.
Obviously I could find more reasons as to why vent channels are so harmful, however I believe these to be the main contributors. If you are someone who participates in using vent channels I highly encourage you to seek out other ways to help yourself during times of suffering. As I mentioned most if not all of this can be applied to other sites, especially vent tags/blogs. I ask that you don’t attempt to debate me on this as I do not intend to change my mind on this subject at all.
Stay safe, please.
20 notes · View notes