I spend a great deal of time online, yes I admit I’m addicted to the internet, in terms of blogging it’s a safe haven for me, though there are times when I think perhaps I rely a lot on online friendships rather than those here.
Am I alone in thinking this?
Bearing in mind I most write about mental health/depression issues, well mine! even though I have a small network of supportive friends I wonder if I get more support here online as opposed to real-time.
I find that in my day-to-day life, my support does come from friends, but that’s also largely based on time constraints, it was a bit easier in former times when I was in crisis all the time it seemed and once I learned that I did indeed need people, they became a life line in which I clung to for dear life.
However you can only use that anchor for so long and I found that although the friendships are still strong, the support as I recover is now different, hard to put my finger on it, but it’s not quite the 24/7 pick up the phone any time availability, the guilt sets in because I feel guilty about relying so heavily on others sometimes just to get me through the day.
The guilt is mainly because I feel I’ve taken much from them and given very little in return and a few of them have gone through several problems of their own of late and my support has been there but not enough in my mind, I also feel there is a slight reluctance on their part to involve me, which I understand on many levels but feel hurt at the same time, not the selfishness here as I focus again on my own problems.
I still feel terribly lucky to have this support as people who were long time friends seem to fade away into the distance without a backward glance(which still rankles somewhat) and others took their place although it took awhile to build the same level of trust, but took a leap of faith from me as I’d been let down by those who knew me better.
I do also feel a slight anxiety when subjects are avoided through fear of “setting me off” I’m not that mess anymore and can cope, even if I have bad days, so there is a loss of freedom in that, but yet again I don’t wish to say too much because I don’t want any of them to feel their help was not appreciated(you know, I’m going to have to address this now I’ve written about it).
Now with my online community I feel no such constraints, because of the categories I write in, everybody gets it yes there is anonymity, but I can feel free to say what is really on my mind, and as everybody is at a different stage and deal with the many facets of mental health/depression not only do I learn but just through reading it helps and the feedback helps.
The online community is not faceless as people might think, you can see their faces in their words, which makes them more real than someone standing in front of you, simply because they read without judgement there is no preconception about who your were/are, your brought together through a bond and the need to find a place that is not only cathartic but also safe.
Sometimes when I read blogs I think these are things I probably wouldn’t discuss outside of here, which I should be able to, not that I’m telling my deepest darkest secrets, I think there is that natural barrier with real-time friendships although some would disagree, but I don’t always want to share aspects of my pain with them, not to protect, I just don’t want them to live with all of what goes on inside of me, this is why I write here.
There you have it, two sides of a coin, in which I get much-needed support from both, which I value tremendously and for that I’m grateful.