Worried about other users - how are we all doing?
I thought I'd check in to see how everyone is doing; while the nature of these forums is as a place of support, and it feels good to help others, we need to make sure our own welfare is looked after too. Sometimes reading the experiences of others can be validating, because we feel 'we've been there', but sometimes it can also be a trigger for bringing up unpleasant feelings.
I've started this thread so we can have a constructive discussion about helping others and helping ourselves - how do you cope when you read about others in distress? Do you have a self-care plan in place, and if so, what is it?
Really looking forward to hearing from you all.
Following on from SN's comments above, we often have situations come up on the forums where members are providing support for others, and over time, start to become uncomfortable with where the conversation is going. They can feel stuck at this point, especially if they want to leave the conversation.
If this happens to you, it is perfectly ok for you to withdraw from the conversation if you don't feel comfortable.
If you feel like taking things a step further, then you can be honest and say you are no longer comfortable with the conversation, and why.
Peer support is a two-way street. Unlike a therapy relationship, your feelings and experiences in a conversation are just as important and valid as the person you're talking to. Everyone posting here listens as well as speaks - that's how productive conversations are built and it's a good model for managing relationships in your offline life.
Feedback like this can be really helpful for a person. We rely on feedback from others around us to navigate our way through the world every day and evaluate our actions, and here on the forums it is no different.
If you're worried about the person reacting badly to your feedback, remember we run a safe and respectful space here and moderators will step in quickly if anything inappropriate is said.
Respectful honesty is the key.
How do you know if it's time to take a break from the forums?
The short answer to this question is if you find the forums are distressing or upsetting you more than they are making you feel better.
If you're not sure, try this experiment the next few times you log on. Rate your depression and/or anxiety on a scale of 0 to 10, and write down the number. When you log off, rate it again. Is the number higher?
If you find the number is regularly higher when you log off, then the forums are probably not working for you - that's ok, forums are not for everyone. Like any intervention, sometimes they can work for a time and then be less effective. Give our support service a call to talk over some other options.
Sometimes you might need to take a break for a short while. This is ok too, but if you decide this is what you need, then stick to it - sometimes we see members post saying they're going to take a break, but then keep posting.
These posts are often followed by other members replying and urging the member to stay. If someone is saying they need a break, respect their decision and support it. Imploring someone to stay when they've said they need a break can make them feel guilty and obligated to please the community rather than look after their own needs.