Thursday, August 30, 2012

Finding the right support group has been a great encouragement for me.  I live in a small town, so there are not any support groups that fit my needs;  however, I have found sisters in the spirit with similar problems that understand what I am going through on Facebook, Spark People, and a couple of other forums on the internet.  When I first became ill, it was difficult to find anything that gave me any answers or support; and actually, answers are not always certain in some illnesses.  But just knowing someone else understands helps me to feel that I am not alone.  I have left a couple of forums in my search for the right fit.  Sometimes, it was because I was too ill to  participate.  I left one group, because the posts were becoming more and more negative and I didn't like the jokes.  

Support groups can be both informative and encouraging.   I belonged to a group on a forum, which gave personal antidotes about what it was like to have hip replacement surgery, as well as answering questions the newbies asked.  It was belonging to that group that helped me make an informed decision.  I also did research on my own and talked to my orthopedic surgeon;  but it was communicating with the group members that helped remove my fear of having the surgery.  Having a joint and hip replacement is probably one of the best things I could have done for my health at this point  in my life, for I was extremely sedentary because of the pain.   While the hip heals and because I deal with other health issues, I have taken very small steps in adding activity.  I feel better because I'm moving more, but I try not to push myself;  because, I know that I will run out of fuel for several days if I do too much.

Do I have to tell people my real name?
I can be authentic without sharing
 all information about myself on the internet.
There are forums where you can use a pseudonym, as well as social media where you can use your real name.  When you are in an online support group, which is open to the public, you don't have to share anymore than you are comfortable sharing, certainly not your real name if you are talking about personal matters.  

I hope you have found this information to be helpful.  If you are a regular internet user, then you are probably well aware of what a great tool it can be;  however, it is on-the-job training for new users.  One more thing, do not let the internet totally take over your life.  Yes, we can make friends on the social media and reconnect with old ones;  but there is more to life than spending all day on the computer. If I have a day or two away from the computer,  I actually feel like I am doing something good for myself.  I lived a very full life before I had a computer, and I don't want to feel it has taken over my life.                                                         

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It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah