The Value of Sharing Ourselves Online

I’ve had a difficult time lately.  I’ve been sacked with various sources of stress.  A bum therapist for the last six months… I suppose he is very skilled, but not in a way that is compatible with me.  I guess that is why I stayed for so long.  I still have yet to cut the tie.  Our appointment is on Friday, so I can procrastinate a bit further.

There are other sources of stress as well.  In light of the above situation, I attempted to remain mum about this situation online.  I initially told my story to my friends on Facebook, but then got cold feet and withdrew the post.  A non-mental-health friend of mine warned me of being accused of slander and whatnot, and so I succumbed.

It is a common sentiment that people express to me, that I share too much of my personal life online.

“You don’t know who’s reading your stuff.”

“I don’t want you telling my life to all of your friends!”  That one’s my mother.  I make my best effort to say nothing about her, other than that I love her to bits.  Her unconditional love towards me is what allows me to live with the comforts that I do now.

Regarding my own thoughts and experiences, I normally tell as much as I can to all online, within safety and reason.  But with this past experience, as I explained above… I didn’t tell anyone.  And then… something within me just started to wither.  After a few days… I stopped reaching out to my friends altogether.  I stopped trusting people, and became more defensive.  And then I became withdrawn.  And then I felt like the world was too much for me.

Seven days ago, I became so overwhelmed with these feelings, that I signed myself into a respite center.  I’m still here now, and I’m hoping to stay for another seven days.  This place is really great.  This is my second time here; I went last September, during another rough patch.  When I went in, I was scared that I wasn’t going to make it.  Mind you, I wasn’t suicidal.  But I was just… falling apart.  I felt like I was spiraling downward, and if I hadn’t done anything, I would have ended up in the hospital.

But I didn’t.  I went to respite instead.

Known as a “Crisis Respite Center,” there are seven of these in New York City.  It is part of the new Parachute NYC mental health initiative in the city.  It is an alternative to hospitalization.  You sign yourself in, and you get your own room.  You are free to come and go as you like, and there is an industrial kitchen where you can bring your own food.  They have food here as well, if you need.  The place is staffed by peer specialists: mental health professionals who have mental illness themselves.  I am a peer too.  It’s a wonderful career.  And not a cakewalk, I’ll tell you.

I’m starting to feel better.  I’m starting to write again, and I’m reaching out to my friends online again.  And for me… there are a lot of people to reach out to!  I run a small-but-tight-knit mental health discussion group on Facebook… for over a year now.  We have really stimulated one another’s minds by sharing our woes, interests, inspirations and dreams.

People really value the group, and I’m realizing that I’m lost without it myself.  When I share myself there, I then open myself up to receiving positivity and wisdom from the other members.  When I try and hide myself… then I become completely cut off from this vital wellspring of healing support.

Perhaps this is a microcosm of the world… how it should be.  We are open.  We are accepting.  We are insightful as we share ourselves, and so we invite insightful people into our lives.

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3 thoughts on “The Value of Sharing Ourselves Online

  1. That respite program sounds great, and a thing so much needed everywhere. And I’m very glad its working for you. The part about the therapist and your decision not to share about it before reminds me of Nicole writing that her psychiatrist read some of her posts about medication issues and got insulted and dumped her. A good fit between therapist and client is hugely important and, like any intense relationship, can take time to tell whether it is going to develop in a way that will work well. I think six months is plenty much of a test and its probably time to ask for a referral. Its good to see you writing.

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