Monday, July 21, 2008

A Virtual Community

Just a few thoughts and observations...Do you ever think about how lucky we are to have developed such a supportive virtual community? When I reflect on all the stress, angst, and sadness of last week--and all the support I received from you--I'm awestruck by your love and kindness.

I've met most of you from my blog and yours. Do you share my surprise at how much we know about each other from posting, and commenting back and forth? Is it because writing to heal is such a powerful wellness tool?

Do we all have as many people rooting for us "in real life" as are rooting for us through our blogs? How did we deal our stresses, strains, difficulties, and successes before we started blogging?

Do you feel as sustained by these online friendships as I do?

22 comments:

Mariposa said...

Hi Susan, I share with your thoughts! It's so amazing to find wonderful people here who are just as open as the sky in accepting people...and I'm so glad to belong to this commmunity...glad to have found you and others.

There are moments when I stare at my monitor, wishing...hoping...that the people I'm with in real life are as open and as supportive as the people I found here. Many times I wish they get stumble our blogs and read...

I'm not just so well today...and guess what, I'm hopping from one blog to another...then read this...how true!

Danielle said...

Writing is a powerful wellness tool...but so is sharing. Not only similar experiences but also diverse experiences.

God bless you for being so encouraging to all of us.

Just as a side note, when our beloved CoCo died, when we buried her a cardinal came to visit in the tree above her grave. Since that time whenever we see a Cardinal we say 'here comes CoCo stopping by to say hello'.

When our guinea pig died, a yellow butterfly stopped by her grave and now whenever we see a yellow butterfly we say 'Leo is stopping by to say hello'.

Pets are forever in our hearts.

Jazz said...

Susan--
Like you, I've been amazed at the kindness and support I've received from my online friends. I think we've created a wonderful community, and yes, I do feel close to you and to my other online friends. Many of us have shared experiences that most of my "real life" friends can't relate to.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Mariposa,
I'm sorry you're not so well today, and hope you feel better soon. I love the way you describe people "as open as the sky in accepting people."

When I read your blog and your comments on mine, I see such warmth, kindness, love, enthusiasm, and happiness! Hugs from Los Angeles!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Danielle,
And God bless you for being such a source of brightness, joy, humor, intellect, creativity, love, and warmth!

Thanks for sharing the stories about Coco and Leo. They made me smile. I'm still at the stage where I keep on forgetting that Spike isn't here. When we had extra steak for dinner, I thought, "Oh, he'll really like it," and then the sadness hit. I'm still careful when I open the front door so that he won't scamper out of the house. Or when I hear the mailman come, I wait for his bark.

Things like that. But it's bittersweet because, of course, I want to remember how much I love him.

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Jazz,
It's truly kind of unbelievable, isn't it? It makes the world such a friendlier and more loving universe.

I often wonder if one of the reasons I'm "so well" is because of my blog. During this last 18 months--the period in which I've been writing my blog--so much has happened in my life.

And there's a part of me that feels that for the first time in my life, people I care about have not only "heard" me, but have responded with such thoughtfulness, kindness, and love that it makes the bad stuff that much easier to deal with, and the good stuff that much better.

I am so happy we've become friends!

Susan

Gianna said...

I am profoundly grateful for my online friends. I would truly feel alone without you and many other wonderful people I've met through my blog and others blogs...

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Gianna,
And I am profoundly grateful for your friendship!

Love,
Susan

Bradley said...

I wish the friends in my physical life would be as loving and supporting (or at least understand) as much as my friends in my virtual life.

I'm grateful for you and the many others who support me every day in dealing with my disease.

KJ said...

I feel completely sustained by my online community from my blog. Even my family and friends who I do know in my "face to face" life have grown closer to me through my blog. It is like they get to know the "real me" and vice versa. I think that is great!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Bradley,
Yes, it is quite wonderful how supportive people can become even when we've never had "face to face" time.

Susan
P.S. I love your new photo!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear KJ,
I think it's neat that your friends and family read your blog. A few of mine do--but nearly as many as I'd expect.

Susan

Gianna said...

Gosh, none of my friends read my blog---oh, actually one does, but I met her at a mental health group and I've not known her all that long.

I think for most of my long time friends it's perhaps a case of "too much information." I don't know...I've not really been able to figure it out...

They've all been very impressed in general and positive when I've sent them particular posts to read, but they don't read it at all otherwise as far as I know...

which leads me to feel sometimes like in some strange way my life here is more real. that makes me mildly uncomfortable, but there is simply no veil covering up the warts here.

And I have darn good friends in real life...loving, supportive, people with whom I'm deeply bonded---and it's not like I feel a need to cover anything either---but there is still a way that we who have dealt with similar issues connect that is different.

Virtual reality is a very very strange thing indeed.

Annie said...

Susan, Since I am fairly new to this community I am not sure what the various kinds of support are for me. I know that I get such wonderful feedback about my writing that I am humbled by the communities support. I have friends and they fill some of my needs but I am finding that the community fills a need that my friends in real life can't fill. Thanks for the post! Annie

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Gianna,
Since your blog provides so much information about mental health issues, I can see why your friends may not read it if it's not "their issue."

But, I'm sure they would always be interested in reading the more personal things you write about.

Fondly,
Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Annie,
I just mean that people are so responsive to what I write, and truly understand what I'm going through. And they're empathetic and provide good tips and/or advice (as you have done).

In a few cases, online relationships are evolving into "true life" friendships as well.

Susan

Tamara said...

Susan,

I just put a post on my blog a couple of days ago about the same thing. It is the online community that has been the biggest factor in my healing. The love, acceptance, understanding and validation are helpful beyond words.

Thanks for your very inspirational and informative blog!

Wellness Writer said...

Tamara,
Thanks for your comment and compliment. I'm rushing off but I'll read your post later this afternoon.

Susan

P.J. said...

I feel a deep kinship with the bloggers I am in contact with on a regular basis. To know that we are here for support and not to judge makes this a safe place to share and be real. Sometimes our real friends don't "get" that, and that's okay.

I do have "real" friends that read my blog. Most (if not all) have accepted me, dispite what I write, to the level they can, and that is all I want.

I don't want my blog life to be seperate from my real life, and that's why I like that some of my close friends read what I write, and they hold me accountable, and help me stay realistic. That is what I need.

I am enjoying where my bloggin is and where my life is right now. I find myself to have a good balance - something I haven't had for a long time.

Mary said...

Hi Susan: It is so amazing how we can become so close to the people in the online community. Sharing our blogs with one another shows us that we all share in the same thing.

Not many people in my real world know about what happened to me when I was young. Being able to share our feelings with our online friends makes a connection.

Everyone cares, because everyone has been through the same things and know how we feel inside.

Receiving all the comments back from our readers is so rewarding because they understand and give insight to what we are going through. I look so forward to receiving comments, people are so kind and generous in what they have to say.

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

I think the virtual community is a godsend. I find writing to be very beneficial especially when I'm not in a very good place. It helps me to connect when I don't want anyone around. There is only so much that my "real" friends can understand. I think they are well-meaning, but fall short of what I require for support. I go to a support group near my home every Thursday night and that's good because, as with my online friends, they have walked in my shoes. But, there are times when I'm not in the mood to go and that's where having online support helps.

Rob

Wellness Writer said...

Rob,
I couldn't agree more!

Susan