I remember being very envious of a work colleague who used to converse with friends all around the world on the internet. It almost seemed magical to be able to communicate with someone in Australia, Canada or Asia who would be looking out of their window upon an entirely different landscape and way of life. Of course many years later and the reality is somewhat different. The frequency of using the internet and getting replies from literally anyone on the planet who is connected has taken away most of the mystery and excitement. But should it? It is after all quite magical to be speaking to someone looking out upon mountains and snow when you are in wet rainy England. When kids at school used to communicate with foreign students as a pen pals it appeared much more exciting. Lifelong friends could be made and maybe one day even meet up. Of course nowadays you can see pictures almost instantly and even skype them and see their face as they talk.
The mental health forums don’t really work do they? Some people like them but for many if not most they are no better than real life for finding friends. There are so many lonely people in the world and many of these are connected to the internet. It would be wonderful for them to unite and became friends, someone to share problems with and someone to trust especially if they have no family or real life friends. Why then is it so hard? Facebook is notorious for trolling and abuse. Is it simply human nature to be a good and bad at the same time and for many people to be outright vile? We often dare not make a connection for fear of being used or let down. Safety in isolation. For example I have tried to be more active on the anxiety forum I use and did share PM’s with several people at one stage. I found that even messages over the internet were better than near total isolation and did lift my mood. However these people often vanish without trace or don’t seem that eager to talk again even though they contacted me first. Perhaps I am not what they had hoped for. Of course many of them have huge problems, physical and mental. I have known someone to meet up with an online friend only to find the person in real life to be rude and almost abusive when staying at their house. Using the internet to find friends to me is like fishing in a vast pool of water. Occasionally you find someone wonderful but the vast majority of time is spent doing nothing or hooking rubbish. I have only ever found one good friend on the internet in all these years and the vast array of all my communications has been pointless. Perhaps I am lucky to find one.