Navigating this online world can be tricky. Online support was crucial for me in my recovery from postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. I blogged about finding my online tribe to help support me - http://tranquilamama.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/finding-my-online-tribe/. I feel like this online support facilitated a quicker recovery for me. It was so wonderful to have someone validate your feelings and give you a feeling of hope. When you are in the pit of depression, you despair of ever feeling better. My fellow Warrior Moms encouraged me and cheered me on every step of the way. When I decided to start my blog, I felt this support and love from this wonderful community.
I am the proud member of two really wonderful communities on Facebook – #ppdchat support and Mama’s Comfort Camp. I also participate in the #ppdchat formal chats on Twitter. Maintaining healthy emotional boundaries can be challenging, but it is necessary and healthy for your psyche. My lovely friend and I were chatting on Facebook about setting and maintaining boundaries. It is so tricky to navigate online interactions because you do not have the luxury of seeing the other person’s nonverbal cues. She said this, “Learning to honor and appreciate someone’s intentions without being torn down by the advice is REALLY hard.”
In these two forums, the mamas have wonderful hearts and the best of intentions. Messages can get mixed up and interpreted in a completely different way than you initially meant. I need to know when I am feeling overwhelmed and take a break from social media. I love my friends, but I cannot deplete myself emotionally. I cannot give support if I am not healthy and strong enough. It is so challenging for me to consciously take a step back. When I go offline and reconnect with myself and my family, I am refreshed. I do not have to be everything to everyone of my online friends. Sometimes all people need is just a quick message of encouragement.
If you feel like someone continually drains you, then limit your interactions with that person. You are protecting yourself. You are not being a bad friend. We all bring our own unique experiences and perspectives to the table. That is the beauty of these large groups. We all lean on each other when we need to, and there is more than enough people to share the load. This sisterhood has more than enough love and wisdom to go around. Each individual cannot be everything to everyone all the time which is a lesson I am still learning.
My fellow mamas and sisters, do you feel this pressure, too? I would love to hear your thoughts.