Finding support in an online family and community – share your story

Finding support in an online family and community – share your story

Have you found online support helpful in coping with the challenges of diagnosing, treating and recovering from an eating disorder? Either for yourself, or someone you care for? If so, I would love to hear from you.

The second half of my upcoming book, Using Writing as a Resource to Treat Eating Disorders: The Diary Healer, explores the development and effect of online narrative support in eating disorder care via websites, blogs, social media.

Already, many sufferers of eating disorders have responded to the call relating to the first half of the book, on  how keeping a diary or journal has helped, and is helping, them to understand, inspire, heal and liberate self. This sharing of evidence of life experience in finding solace and understanding self through writing is truly amazing and inspiring.

My inspiration for writing The Diary Healer stems from the fact that the process of diary writing remains a largely untapped resource in health care professions, in helping people to heal and ‘know who they are’ at every life stage, and evidence-based research particularly in the field of eating disorders, is sadly lacking. The Diary Healer aims to inspire correction to this imbalance. Add to this, the mushrooming effect of online communication ….

Sharing by writing online in support groups – on blogs, Apps,  Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media – can help us feel part of a supportive and understanding family or village no matter what our personal circumstances or where we are, and cope with challenges such as mental or physical illness, emotional pain and trauma. In The Diary Healer I draw on my diary writing and eating disorder experience, together with evidence-based research, to explain why and how the process of writing can assist in recovery and in maximizing life quality and potential. While this book’s primary healing focus is on eating disorders, it offers guidance for all who seek to be more in touch and in tune with their true self.
Your response is invited to any or all of the following questions:

  1. What online support groups have you tried?
  2. Which group have you found most useful? How long have you been using it and how often do you use it?
  3. Why is this group your favorite? List features that are particularly helpful.
  4. Did you seek treatment (for yourself, your child or partner) before connecting with this online support that you like? Have you sought help since becoming part of an online community?
  5. How has the online community been helpful to you? For instance, in relation to managing meals, exercise and mood (thoughts and feelings)? In learning about and managing health concerns?
  6. How can online groups be improved? What features are ideal?
  7. Comment on the online support groups as a self-help tool in relation to:

a) privacy (nobody else needs to know you are seeking help – is privacy  a factor? If so, can you explain why?)
b) cost (is this type of care more affordable? Is cost a prohibitive factor in seeking real-time care/support?)
c) constant companion (e.g. you can reach for your Smartphone or go online at anytime – is this helpful at trigger moments? Describe examples)
d) convenience (no matter where you live, or what your commitments are,  you can access this type of care and support?)

8.   Regarding the stages of an eating disorder, when do you think the online group/support is most useful? for instance: recognising and treating the early symptoms, when recovery efforts start, as a stepdown tool, as a relapse prevention tool?

9.   What are your views on the effectiveness/potential of online support and engagement as a resource for carers and sufferers in eating disorder care? Do you see them as a tool best used in conjunction with a therapist/clinician, or on their own as a form of self-care?

10. How important is it for you to feel like part of the treatment team in your or your   child/partner’s recovery? Like, is it important for you to have a say in the decision-making, and feel understood and respected as a person? Does the online support help in this way? Can you tell me about this?

11. Consent and Acknowledgment: Do you give permission for submitted material to be selected and published in The Diary Healer? What name do you wish to be used as acknowledgment? Pseudonym? First name only? Full name? Include title, website link if desired.

Email your responses to:

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