Support forums

I am beginning to think that self help forums are some of the most dangerous place to be online for people with social anxiety. I don’t think myself a bad person at all compared to many I have met and yet feel like some kind of evil wrongdoer and outcast on the UK social anxiety forum. I have had the odd argument, well I have been using this forum for over 10 years but apart from that nothing strange or particularly bad has ever happened. Yet using such a forum supposedly for people with social anxiety has made me feel more anxious and even more isolated almost every week. There is so much wrong with online forums such as this that’s its hard to know where to start. First there is a tremendous clique where some regulars never reply to certain members and talk over them like they don’t exist Just great for people who are already paranoid!.

People who are lonely in real life are just as likely to be so online as social etiquette rules still apply so the popular or even better looking people (they often post their pictures ad infinitum despite being shy!) still do the best. It’s also made me question the very nature of human behaviour and the way people seem to be delusional and selfish to others in order to make themselves feel superior and better than you. Rather than having better insights to human behaviour and the condition of anxiety many posts simply try to make you feel guilty for not doing enough as if your anxiety is entirely of your own making when of course it’s almost entirely due to upbringing and circumstances. I have even self harmed after reading a post on a forum as people putting further blame on me for something that I have felt guilty about for years made me almost suicidal. It did not make me go out and DO STUFF and get better because they took the piss out of me. In fact people try to force you to go out and just assume being in the presence of other so called normal people will make you better when in reality it has often made my anxiety far worse and even more avoidant. The underlying fact which is obvious and often ignored is that other people are often very judgemental and very cruel to anyone who acts differently so when you force yourself to go out to events and then act shy, nervous, anxious they mock you and treat you like shit making you feel even worse. I made one very good friend from the forum but have mostly given up on it now as its hard work and there are so many aggressive and nasty people online.  Using the UK anxiety forum has mostly been about as supportive as a kick up the arse and I am sure I could have gotten better support from talking to random strangers on a park! I am also too old now as such forums are so youth orientated I am surprised they don’t ban anyone over the age of 35. I could go on for several more pages but I have been drinking again and you get the idea.

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2 thoughts on “Support forums

  1. I agree that online support groups can do more harm than good at times… simply because they are usually not run by mental health professionals, have lax guidelines, and the admins themselves usually also have the mental illness that they are supporting. It can be a BAD combo… but it can also be empowering if done right. I have had more bad experiences than good with online support groups. Have you tried face to face support groups or group therapy?

  2. No, I have met two people from a forum and one has become a good friend. However I think so many things have to be right that it’s just too much of a lottery. Most of them are now way younger than me and group therapy for someone with a chronic fear of public speaking is like being asked to stab myself with a knife. I am also not sure how supportive such things really are. A lot of people on forums are quite bitter and angry and I have heard that it can be like that in real life.

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