Living with chronic pain, a disability or other medical condition can trap you in a mental prison. Even if you have friends and family who care about you and check on how you're doing, it's hard not to feel like you're just complaining when you tell them about how you're feeling.
Emotional support when suffering from health problems isn't just a comfort, it's a necessity. And there's something about getting support from a fellow sufferer that gives you a sense of hope and encouragement like no other.
If you are suffering from health problems, be it chronic pain, mental illness or a disability, here are five ways that you can reach out online and find reliable health support. Remember: You are never alone.
1. Use Hashtags and Social Media to Meet People with Similar Conditions
Social media has made it possible for us to find hundreds of people based off a few keywords in a matter of seconds. Whether it's because they live in the same town or like the same video game series, people use hashtags to connect with others.
There are several hashtags on popular platforms like Twitter and Instagram for people suffering from mental illness and chronic pain. There are dozens of mental health hashtags that can get you involved in chats and other discussions with people suffering from mental problems like depression and anxiety disorders.
If you live with chronic pain, it's easy to isolate yourself and feel like you're trapped in your own personal prison. Thankfully, there are major support movements like the Spoonies (wikipedia) that can put you in touch with people from around the world going through the same struggle.
2. Start a Blog to Document Your Journey
Journaling is incredibly therapeutic, and running a private blog is very similar to writing in a notebook. You can make a blog for free with platforms like WordPress and start publishing content immediately. Through tags, you can find other bloggers struggling with the same health issues as you. You can like their posts as a sign of solidarity and strike up a conversation through comments. The level of support among blogging communities is truly awe-inspiring, and reading about others' experiences while letting your own out into the world is wildly cathartic.
3. Start a YouTube Channel to Spread Awareness
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding plenty of health conditions. Some people who seem ignorant or insensitive to your problems are often just uninformed. You can not only use YouTube as a creative outlet but also as a platform to spread awareness about your particular health struggle.You can also discover other vloggers who share their journeys online. YouTube is a wonderful way to voice your thoughts as well as help others. You never know what a few honest words in a video may mean to a viewer going through the same thing. Make sure when making your videos to use a YouTube thumbnail creator and focus on giving your channel an accessible and professional appearance. This will make it more approachable for potential sufferers searching for help online.
4. Find a Support Group
If you type in a condition followed by "support group" online, you're bound to come across dozens of sites that offer forums. Many support groups take place in-person, but there are also lots of online support groups that can provide you with much-needed support and understanding.
5. Find a Community
There are thousands of health support communities for people with health problems to connect and share experiences as well as provide support. Inspire.com is one such example. This site is for people to meet and discuss their various medical problems, treatments and offer one another support. The community works alongside multiple major medical organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation, the National Psoriasis Foundation, the American Lung Association and the Invisible Disabilities Association.
Get Connected to Get Better
Perhaps you're living with a condition that will never be cured. Even if that's the case, there is still a way for you to make connections and find support. Emotional support can build you up, reinvigorate you and help you see a flicker of a future during a dark period.
The best part about reaching out online is that you only have to offer as much as you're comfortable with. If you want to join a site or community and simply read through posts by other members, that's okay. Just make sure that you take the first step and reach out. Getting started can be the hardest part, but it's the most important one in the healing process.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. Dixie recommends looking to Adobe if you’re looking for a YouTube thumbnail creator.