Monday, April 26, 2021

Sandy's Corner: Social Media & Support Groups

      I started a support group (ADMI Support group for women 21+) on Facebook three years ago.  I currently have 256 members, and of that only about 20 are active.  By active I mean they react to post and get involved in conversations.  One of my questions is where the heck are all the rest of the members.  I have my own theory so I will do a bit of research to get the correct answer.  My group is for Anxiety, Depression, Mental Illness (ADMI) Now it is my theory that (in this case women) in one of these mental states, goes out looking for someone to listen to them so they join groups such as my own. They end up joining so many such groups that they forget most if not all of them. Once they found the place that offers not only the attention but the kind of answers they want then that is the group they stick to.  This attention may not be the best for them but if it gives them the attention they desire, the rest of the groups are forgotten.   I found that the groups with thousands of members tend to be a joke.  Conversations are weak and getting a knowledgeable answer is somewhat of a joke.  The only response you will get is "I'm so sorry." & "I'll pray for you."  Where is the education of its members?  Where are things such as coping skills and information regarding mental illness and their symptoms faced each day taught in these groups?  

The reason I started my Facebook group was to give true support, education, and local support agency information.  All I have gotten out of this experience is frustration.  I work hard doing the work yet get little to no response. So I don't know if my work is all a waste of my time or if I'm silently reaching members and helping them.  These types of groups tend to attract what I call pity pott poopers, people that cry about their lives every day, the same stories, day after day. I'm not without empathy, I've been there myself.  Yet change can happen if we are given the right tools, and most of all, we want to do the work to create the lives we really want. I allow this negative behavior for so long if I see the person does not put forth the effort after I give them the main tools to create change, I tell them to come back when they are ready to.  They are wasting their time and mine.  Other groups just allow a person to stay stuck in the psychological muck.  

I guess what I want to say here is this if you join a social media group looking for support because of any mental illness, such as depression, check the group out first. If you don't get anything positive out of the group and you are not taking steps in the right direction, get out of the group.  Note, it is very important that you seek professional help first.  These groups should help you with the support needed between your sessions with a professional. The most important thing is that you are ready to do the work needed and know that you are the only one that can change your life. You and you alone make that choice.  Social media groups are not a cure.  

Thank you & God bless,

Dir Sandra M. Nicoll