Sunday, August 23, 2009

taking a vacation

WestJet is by far my favourite airline, and in just 45 short days I will be taking a plane, just like the one pictured, to go see one of my very best friends. I can't tell you how excited I am. The catch? I've never met her before. So, how are we such good friends? Well it all started five years ago when I was young and angsty... (And now it's time for story time with Still Dreaming).

Back in first year university, my life was pretty screwed up. I was living in residence and spending much of my time with two pretty disfunctional older woman at the non-profit I was involved in. Of course, being at Bible College, things got pretty touchy feely one night and I was all like "i cut myself" and yada, yada, yada... No alcohol involved in my "confession" either. So then we made this convenant to tell people and blah, blah, blah, I told these two women (okay, this is turning into a horrible story). The point is, that since we couldn't find a face to face support group they suggested I look online. And I found this awesome support forum.

This forum was my "everything" for a really long time. I couldn't go for very long without looking at it. And as I spent more time on it, I began to make friends. Good friends. Of course then came holidays and birthdays and we would even exchange letters and cards. And some of the friendships I developed way back then I still have today. Including the friendship I have with the person I'm going to see. I seriously can't imagine my life without her. She knows just about everything there is to know about me.

What I found interesting, while reading the message boards, was the number of teenagers on it who reported that their therapists didn't want them being a part of the community. Now, I understand a therapists hesitation. The internet can be WAY out there, and I think we more commonly think of websites encouraging disordered behaviour such as "pro-ana" websites. It's important however not to put things in boxes and label them as good or bad. Some websites are good for some people and some aren't. Whatever helps the person, and finds them support should be encouraged, not restricted.

Another common assumption is that "online" relationships aren't as meaningful or valuable as "real life" relationships. This is something I both agree and disagree with. I love my "real life" friends, or perhaps I should say, the friends in my city, but I also have great relationships with friends who've moved away or I've met in other places. And very honestly, my online relationships are just as "real" to me. Maybe it's a generation thing, but it doesn't bother me that I haven't met them.

So in anycase, I'm super excited to be taking some holidays to spend with an amazing friend! I'm counting down the days :D


Anonymous said...

I'm dating someone I met from an online support community. These communities, have often times, helped me to feel not alone, to see that it wasn't my fault, to allow me connect to other people, in many places during our healing/recovery.

Just the knowledge of places I could go, 24/7 with people who knew me and we could offer mutual support, was enough to keep me going, until I was well enough to interact in daily life.

Good luck with your visit - I have found, some people I clicked well with, others, there wasn't much but typed words on the screen.

Bethany said...

You make me so happy. :D I am so excited too!! :)

SocialWkr24/7 said...

I have a couple of friends that I met online - none through a support network, but through other types of forums and the blog world! I don't care what anyone says - good friends can come from a multitude of places! Have a great time!

Still Dreaming said...

you make me happy too :D I can't WAIT!!!

I'm glad to hear that others have had awesome experiences with online support.

Herman said...

:O Oooo you are going to have fun