I am a member of a small private Facebook support group of people with mental and physical health problems such as depression, anxiety, disability and chronic pain. It was started when someone on another forum announced he felt suicidal and was subsequently trolled by a few arseholes urging him to do it. He did. His sister posted the news and it was pretty devastating. So we created a safe space where fellow travellers could share their thoughts and their feelings without the risk of being trolled. When we spot someone in need of a friend we invite them in to a place they can speak freely and where everyone else understands something about what they are experiencing.
It is the main reason I stay on Facebook, which I originally joined only to stay in touch with my family. That didn’t work out so well as they now use other media.
It has been a life changing experience for me, because I now talk to people who have far greater problems than I, and who share how they cope (and sometimes don’t), and I get – and sometimes give – support and advice that truly helps us all get through whatever we are experiencing. Sometimes it’s just a place to vent knowing that only understanding people are reading ones post and are offering support while making no judgement.
Yesterday I had whinge on line that I was booked into Caboolture Hospital for a medical procedure that involved anaesthesia, but the hospital would not do it unless I had someone who would drop me off, pick me up, and monitor me for 24 hours afterwards. I have no one nearby who can do that. That meant I might have to go onto an ever lengthening waiting list until there was an overnight bed available that was not required by some patient in more urgent need. They told me frankly it could mean not having the procedure there at all.
One of Ricky Gervais’ lines in the series “Derek” is “A prayer is just a posh whinge, innit”.
My whinge turned out to be a prayer answered. One of my Fb friends lives In the vicinity. She and her husband offered to undertake the task of being my carer. We have never met, though we have conversed on Fb for several years. Nonetheless a virtual stranger has extended a real hand.
How cool is that?