. Joining Facebook was exciting for me. I love new technology and the chance to reconnect with so many childhood friends was wonderful. Once I started having health problems I began searching for information which led me to slowly start joining support groups. I spent time reading others posts and eventually would start to ask questions looking for anything that could help with the pain, sleeplessness, depression, the all life changing symptoms. It was so reassuring to meet so many people who understood how I was feeling and what I was experiencing. I started spending more time talking with my online friends. It isn’t that my non-fibro friends wouldn’t listen or empathize but like any other thing in life if you yourself have not experienced it you really can’t possibly understand. After joining several groups and reading their posts I began to form real friendships. We were learning about each other, where we lived, our families, our ailments but mostly we were there for each other on not only our bad days but our good ones. Our closed groups become even more personal. We can share information there that we would not even want our families to know. There are times when we need someone to listen that have experienced similar situations. I was asked how can you trust these people who you have never met. What if they are serial killers? You haven’t met these people how can they be your friends. I looked up the definition of Online friendships. It stated that online friendships can be a bonus in your life, but only if you also have face-to-face friends to spend time with and be there for you. In terms of friendship, you cannot replace the human connection. Trying to find the time for that person to person human connection can be near impossible. If your life schedule is like mine and my friends it is near impossible ti find time in our busy schedules to get together. We have to pencil mark in a coffee break, swimming or a phone call. Our main time together is on the way back and forth to work. I personally don’t feel I need to physically see these people I have met to be considered my friends. I have family and friends that I see only once or twice a year. Those of us with our laundry list of health conditions have a harder time getting together face to face with our friends. There are so many things to consider. A few of them are what is my current pain level, the time of the get together, how long it will be, how far of a drive it takes to get there. If I am feeling well, I feel that I should spend time cleaning my house or working on the outside ~ they both get neglected. My online friends are available almost 24/7 and they don’t care if I am in my sweat pants with no make-up and my hair pulled up. I can be doing my house work and still be visiting with them. I can find 5 minutes to talk to them while waiting in line at the grocery store, the post office, the gas station and as I am winding down for the day. Another definition stated that a real friend is one who is there always for you in good times and in bad. A real friend is there to comfort you when you’re hurting and celebrate with you when you’re happy. While online friendships can serve a place in your life, they aren’t the same as a real friendship. Yes, Real friends and family can never be replaced. They can and will be beside you physically in your time of need. They will be the ones to visit you in the hospital, show their support for you at a funeral, and share a lifetime of memories. But I disagree that you can not get the comfort and support that you need from online friendships. I have been in my greatest of pain and not able to sleep in the middle of the night I go to my phone to see who is online. I have received amazing support from my online friends. They offer suggestions, prayers, and their concerns day and night. I know that my family and non-fibro friends love and care for me as well. However, I am positive that they would not appreciate me calling them at 1 am to tell them I can’ t sleep, have a headache or trigger points making it impossible to get comfortable. I am grateful for all of the friends I have made both in person and online. I am very lucky to have found the support that is needed to deal with what life has dealt me.
I am a Fibro~Warrior Living Life!