This post was inspired by a piece of the same name written by Jenna (wishingwellblog) a couple of weeks back. I’ve included a link should you want to head over there and have a read at some point. I’d definitely recommend it!
As a child when we start to learn to use the computer we’re taught about the widespread dangers of the Internet, we’re taught to be careful about what we upload – once it’s out there, there is no controlling it. And above all else, we’re told not to talk to strangers. I can understand why. It’s all perfectly sound advice.
As Jenna did herself, I’d like to kick things off by asking you all a very simple question…
Have you ever lost a friend?
I have. I know you have too. Sometimes this is connected to mental illness, sometimes not. Sometimes we just drift apart. We can’t be expected to maintain an ever-expanding circle of friends from when we enter primary school to when we enter retirement. We’re setting unrealistic expectations if we believe that we can. Friends come and go depending on our circumstances at the time. It’s a fact of life. And something else we’re not taught as a child.
I didn’t realise it was possible to make friends on the Internet. Sure, we still need to be careful. Online we can be at our most vulnerable. We think we’re ok, safe in the comforts of our own house or bedroom, but that’s what makes us even more vulnerable. We’re unsuspecting at times. All that said, I have experienced nothing but joy meeting people online.
My struggles with mental health led me to creating this blog, which in turn, has led me to meeting a truly wonderful group of people online. I have found support, care and friendship where once I thought impossible. Illness does have it’s silver linings.
It seems strange to use the word ‘meet’; I’ve not gone anywhere, I’m still at home looking at a screen, I’ve not ventured outside my room, yet I am talking to someone halfway round the world. Technology is amazing these days.
Some of you might question the legitimacy of a friendship if we’ve never met face-to-face, and I can understand where you’re coming from. There are times where I feel like these friendships have a limited possibility of growth. Where can they go when thousands of miles and multiple time zones separate us?
But perhaps we’re reading this the wrong way round? Maybe our friendships are stronger than we realise, our friendships have endured thus far in spite of the distance between us. Perhaps there’s something more to ours than the common, everyday friendship? The nights whiled away messaging each other, confessing all the emotions we’ve kept locked away through-out the day. Maybe there’s something more intimate about these friendships? They’re certainly more honest and truthful than others we have.
Life can be unpredictable. So who knows where things will go? Not for a second as a child did I imagine that I’d be sitting here talking to you today. But I am. Where to next? I don’t know, but I’d like to think that I’ll meet you on my travels of the world one day…