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It's a Support Community!


malign

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So, it sometimes seems as if we lose track of what this place is here for. So I thought I'd define my view of it, for you. This is a

Support Community

What does that mean?

First, the purpose is to support each other. That means that we try to help each other, in a certain particular way.

Second, it's a community. That is, it's a bunch of people gathered in one place for a similar purpose, in this case, support.

So, what the heck is support, anyway?

Well, sometimes it's information. Some of us have factual information that others can use. Though no one here is in a position to diagnose someone, some do have knowledge that others might not have.

Sometimes, it's personal experience. Each of us has a different story to tell, some of us, many stories. Relating those experiences can help others to feel the fundamental commonality that we all share: we're all human. Not one of us is so different that they can't be understood.

But I would submit that most of the time, supporting a person is something even less tangible: most people come here, I believe, simply to know that they've been heard, and "felt". It's a pretty basic need, and only other humans can offer it. It doesn't have to be expressed in flowery words, it doesn't require any special education, and it doesn't require that the person doing the supporting be free of the need for support, themselves. It just requires humanity, and thankfully, we all have that.

So, how do we make this a community?

Now, any time you get a bunch of people in one place, it can get complicated. People's needs are diverse, sometimes even contradictory. For instance, some people have been hurt by a certain behavior, and others are here because they have that behavior and are trying to change.

Sometimes, given the limitations of our different backgrounds and of the narrow communications medium that we're using, people misunderstand each other. We come from different cultures, different parents, different homes, different lives. Some words are used differently in different places; some phrases are common in one place but would sound insulting somewhere else.

These are realities that cannot be changed, as they arise directly from the fact of our diversity. It is simply impossible for our interactions to be smooth at all times.

However, we do need to keep in mind that this is a community. That means that grievances are not settled by escalation. That just leads to wars. Grievances are settled by informing the person who hurt you of what has happened, and giving them the chance to apologize or restate what they said in a less hurtful way. They may not choose to do that; people aren't predictable. But both your response and theirs are out there in the community, and it's the community's responsibility to absorb the disturbance and make the situation work.

That might mean intervention by a moderator, but I would like to believe that most disputes can be solved within the context of the community itself. That's the reason we gathered together, in the first place, after all. And besides, that way, we get to learn in this smaller, safer "world", before having to venture out again into the larger one.

Why am I throwing all of these words at you?

It seems like a good time for us all to think about why we came here, and about why we stay. Is it to seek help, is it to give help, is it to express ourselves, or to hear other people? Many people are unsure about whether they can be helped; many are unsure about whether they have any help to offer to others.

But only by thinking about what we want can we begin to work on getting it. And only by thinking about how we want to feel can we begin to work on feeling that way.

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I see what you are saying...but just in case (in my paranoid mind!) this has anything to do with something that happened with me earlier.....Its very difficult here. With earlier I felt I couldn't say anything as this may start a "war" so I "emigrated" to the blogs. As it happened this pointed out a misunderstanding. But if I had actually voiced this concern directly would it have evoked a defensive reply or sorted the situation....it's a risk I didn't want to take....or worse a "what are you talking about you paranoid idiot!?"

This forum, after all, is for people with various issues including paranoia, low self esteem, anger issues. I'm not saying you're not right because you are....we should all be here to help each other and move forward. But I am guilty of many a misunderstanding and I mostly blame not hearing a tone of voice or intonation combined with low self esteem.

But I hope we can all live and learn :D

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My post was not related directly to any one individual here, Calla. We've had a rough couple of months, really, with some angry incidents, some less offensive but still inappropriate comments exchanged, and just, to me, a general feeling of sadness that I hoped to lighten.

I agree that much of it probably has to do with low self-esteem among our members. That leads to doubts and a tendency to misunderstand, in the negative direction. In a sense, I was trying to support the idea of speaking up, to people to whom that doesn't come naturally. So, I'm glad you checked: I don't believe that you've done anything wrong. :-)

It's only by living that we can learn, and it may be that only by learning will we be able to live, at least happily.

So I vote we start today! :-)

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Oh yeah....I actually did the thing I am afraid of doing!! Good point and maybe a small step there!! :D

I don't know about other people but all my issues come (unfortunately) with some bad anger issues. And sometimes they come out at the wrong time in the wrong place and to the wrong people. So I guess thats another issue for this site. But yes I vote for a new start today :)

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Guest GingerSnap

Posted

malign: Good blog post. I have been here long enough to know that you are not talking about anyone(s) in particular. Why I came was for information. Why I stayed around for awhile was to pay back for what I received. Why I am here now, to pay it forward and share some of my life experience related to myself and the many others that I have known over my 56 years. (In my head I am still 20 but I have stuffed my years full and am looking to stuff the next 56 years full too - well, this is supposed to be "middle" age still, right? Thanks malign

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No, I don't mind in the least; I've addressed it before, somewhere back in the mass of blog entries. :-)

It began as an anagram, and the only one I could come up with, of my first initial and last name. For reasons of not wanting to be easily found on a Google search, I didn't want to use something more identifiable, yet I wanted it to be "me" in some way. I considered the less desirable connotations of it, but decided to use it, anyway.

Of course, almost immediately (while thinking up a name for the e-mail account that I use, now, actually) I came up with 'karmalign', (my full first and last names, anagrammed), which has the more positive sound of aligning my karma, but it was too late to change the account name, sadly.

I'm sorry if the name sounds disturbing; that's far from my intention, in life.

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Ah I see. Sorry I missed the previous explanation.

I can understand not wanting to be indentifiable. Obviously Calla is not my real name :) But I have a beautiful painting of one and wanted to identify myself with something beautiful for once.

I love riddles, they are very good for the mind but I will not attempt the anagram to protect your identity :)

Its not disturbing, although I do suffer a certain amount of paranoia so figure it's best to ask out right :)

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No problem; the explanation was months ago. I didn't try to find it, either, just explained again. :-)

The amusing thing is that, because I already identify myself as Mark, all you have to attempt is the last name. All I wanted was not to be searchable; I don't mind who knows me, otherwise.

And I think you did the best possible thing: whenever confronted by a doubt, it's better to ask, if you can, than let the mind supply the worst, as minds tend to do.

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Oh, good. I wondered about it too, malign. Also, the internet search thing, I wrote an article that was published in a specific type of magazine - personal story - found it on the internet during a search at about.com 10 years later so............but, cool, thousands of people have probably read it and it needed to be said.

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