I accepted WEGO Health’s invitation to do 30 posts in 30 days. Clearly, I’m crazy.
Today’s topic is “My favorite thing about social media, the internet, online health communities, etc.”
I imagine that there are going to be some great posts today from other “health activists”. I imagine that there are going to be people who are going to tell you how much they appreciate these outlets online for various reasons. I know that I appreciate social media because I am a very social person, who happens to be home bound most of the time.
Social person + stuck at home a lot = not the best combination
Social media gives those of us with chronic illnesses a way to not only keep in touch with our family and friends, but also a way to make friends with others sharing similar battles. We can research medications and treatment techniques online. We can find ways to help ourselves. We can join online health communities that can really make an amazing difference in our lives. I know that I appreciate the friends I have made in my MG support groups so much that it would be hard to put into words. I could write an entire post about those awesome folks.
But, I’m currently in the middle of an MG flare, in a snow storm (Hurricane Sandy snow to be exact), without a working furnace. The magical, little, rare part that my furnace needs to work again is stuck somewhere between Cincinnati, Ohio and here. My 3-year-old, who has autism, just finished having a 2 hour, screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs and kicking-everyone-that-got-near-her meltdown. My stomach hurts (probably because I got kicked really hard there) and I’m kind of cold, tired, frustrated, and in need of a good laugh.
So instead of telling you all of the wonderful (serious) things about those topics, I think I’ll tell you some of my other favorite things about social media, the internet, online health communities, etc. Otherwise known as…
How Being Online Can Make You Feel Better About Life
(sense of humor required)
In no particular order:
* Reading the news on the internet.
It makes me feel better about my less-than-stellar grammar skills. I mean really? Have you seen what passes for a news journalist these days?
* “Friending” your former teachers online.
Remember my “red marks” blog post? The one about the teachers that would return everything I wrote covered in red marks and telling me I should stick to science and math (the subjects I excelled in). Well…. now I have the opportunity to watch those teachers post online. Why is that fun? Because they screw up too! Seeing them misspell something or post something incorrectly always brings a smile to my face. I think to myself, “Ha Ha! You’re human too!”
* Health communities.
Sure there are those “winners” kicking your illness’ butt. (Which is great!) But there’s almost always someone around that is a lot worse off than you are. Which I don’t wish on anyone ever, but it does remind you to be thankful for what you have.
* Devastating news stories.
Yes, I’m sitting here, cold with my MG in a rage because I don’t tolerate temperature fluctuations well at all. But I’m not in a shelter somewhere while my house is in the ocean. Can we all take a moment and say a prayer for those folks? Again, a reminder to be grateful for what we have.
* Reading most teenager’s posts on Facebook.
Seriously, their spelling is so bad that if you are a homeschooler (like me) you think to yourself, “Wow! That’s sad, they made it to high school and they couldn’t get through a 2nd grade spelling bee if their life depended on it. Clearly I’m doing a GREAT job homeschooling. Because I can’t be doing worse than that. Yeah!!! Go me!”
* Online arguments.
Yes, most of the time they are stressful, horrible things that I wish to avoid. But… occasionally they are downright funny. Sometimes people get into a heated debate and then mess something up and it comes out hilarious. I’ll give you an example. Approximately 11 years ago I got into a heated disagreement with someone online and called them an idiot. And you know what I did? I misspelled idiot.
Seriously. How awesome is that? I called someone an idiot and spelled it “idoit”. Sure it was just a typo, but it was a funny one. I love that crap. I really do, even when it’s me. I mean it serves me right for calling someone a name online.
I can totally laugh at myself. And it’s a good thing I can, since I seem to give myself plenty of opportunities to laugh at myself! Usually my opportunities come up in real life, like tripping over things and falling down, etc. but sometimes I share the love online too.
One of my favorite online disagreements ever was with a group of pregnant women – those groups are otherwise known as “online hormone explosions waiting to happen”. I came home from an OB/GYN appointment and complained about a woman who had brought her kid to her OB appointment and started pulling out peanut butter crackers as snacks for the kid. She allowed him to run all around the waiting area making a disgusting mess, rubbing peanut butter over more than a half-dozen seats and the carpeted floor! While making zero effort to stop him, or clean it up.
I was forced to leave the room and sit out in the hallway, on the floor, waiting for my name to be called, while pregnant, swallowing Benadryl and praying I would keep breathing. Because I am severely allergic to peanuts (as in I have asthma attacks from simply being near them). Obviously this is not the funny part of the story.
The funny part is, I came home, made a short post on this group about my appointment and how I wished that there was better education on the topic of allergies. And I said, “It is so frustrating when someone’s ignorance endangers the lives of others.” I wasn’t mean-spirited in my post, not at all. I even said something about how I was sure the lady didn’t realize what she was doing. But that it posed a tremendous risk to someone who might come in afterwards and sit in one of those seats, etc.
But I was DOG PILED. I mean these hormonal women jumped on me like you would not believe. I came back online to find this long list of posts aimed at me. And they all were various versions of this, “I know it must have been hard on you, but I wouldn’t have known that either and it’s really not fair to call someone ignorant.” My personal favorite (posted in all-caps) was:
“HOW DARE YOU CALL SOMEONE IGNORANT JUST BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T KNOW SOMETHING!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!”
I was like…. Um…. you do know what the definition of ignorant is right?
ignorant: Lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact.
That happened years ago and to this day, it still makes me laugh.
If you read this and think I’m a “big meanie” (yeah, I got called that, that day too! LOL) then I’m sorry. I assure you I’m not mean. But I do enjoy the lighter side of life. Not everything has to be serious all the time.
So… hang out online somewhere and have a laugh. Maybe even at me. :)
It’s cool, I don’t mind.