Anyone who goes through a predicament such as depression knows the relief of finding another group of people combating with the same problem irrespective of whoever and wherever they are. Hence one fine day, I googled ‘Depression + Community’ and homepage of DepressionTribe(DT) came up. I found DT helpful, and signed up immediately.
I randomly chose USA, Virginia as my location (while I am from India). Loks is a derivative of my first name. And I specified my birth date as October 17, which is the date when I survived my last suicide attempt(date when I was reborn). i tried to sign in but couldn't. I contacted DT and asked them why I couldn't login and I tried to sign up again. I was able to sign up this time, giving same information.
I chose USA Virginia as my location and not India. Why? Because I was apprehensive about whether DT community would accept a foreigner among them or not. Awareness about mental health and disorders in my country is not robust and still in its fetal stage. So I was pretty sure that I may not find many people of my own country on DT (so far, I have been right). And I have no problems with befriending people from other countries, cultures, or races. I want to help people from all regions by my experience.
A week later, I dug out DT’s reply in my inbox and read it. They said that they had deleted my account because I mentioned Virginia as my location from an Indian IP address (they actually deleted my account even before I could start using it). Driven by angst and anxiety, I asked for clarification, and they replied that many people from India sign up selecting ‘USA’ as location and spam their users.
I do not buy it. Spams are a worldwide problem and are not country specific. The first spam ever sent was from Gary Thuerk of DEC(based in United States) in 1978. India produces only 6.9% of spam of entire world as compared to 15.2% by USA(leading in spam generation) and 9.3% by China(second in list) as per report of Trustwave Holdings Inc.(USA).
Signing off a user as a spammer and deleting or restricting his account just because he has registered as an American while not being from USA, is premature, judgmental, prejudiced, and simply lazy. Instead of treating users from other countries like this, a neater path(a more efficient algorithm) could be taken. Let only the IP address do the talking about one’s location instead of asking a user through a separate field. If DT wants to restrict people from other countries from mixing in members from USA, they can modify code of their website. There are other algorithms to restrict spam(learn from google or yahoo. I can give some inputs myself). Or they could simply allow only members from United States to visit their website(no desert, hence no mirage). It will at least save the foreigners from embarrassment and disappointment.
I still cannot visit ‘groups’, ‘forums’, and other features on DT. And it’s a turn off. I wanted to relate to people who self harm, and who have bipolar, OCD, or depression (because I too have those issues) on DT, but I can't.
I do not want to bear an additional burden of xenophobia or racism(if it ever comes to that) on my already troubled soul. Hence with a heavy heart, I am inclined to bid adieu to DT community.
I am forced to find an alternate of DT with more tolerance to all people of our tribe, from all countries. And if I don’t find one, I might create one (if I gather the strength and will).
At last, I urge the DT site maintainers and DT community members to be more tolerant and more welcoming to people from other countries. Because depression knows no country.