Though I write for SchizophreniaConnection, I can honestly say it’s the best website out there exclusively devoted to schizophrenia. We’ve given you the chance to speak your mind, and communicate with others, in an in-depth way that is truly interactive and inclusive. You’ll get armed with cutting-edge information that is updated regularly. We won’t be here today, and disappear tomorrow, or respond to you one day and not include you in the dialogue the next day. Most importantly, your voice will be heard!
The new homepage format may look intimidating, packed with hyper-links, so I’ll make some suggestions. Under the “Find” “Manage” and “Connect” umbrellas, you’ll protect yourself from rain by getting the information you need to weather the SZ storm. I suggest if you’re newly diagnosed, or your son or daughter has been, and even if you’re a veteran, start with “Find,” move on to “Manage” and end with “Connect.”
Though Robin, Dr. Ballas and myself are billed as experts, you are the driver of your recovery and will steer yourself towards wellness by actively taking part in the Connection community. Indeed, you’ve lived your life and experienced the trauma of a scary diagnosis, so your insights and wisdom are equally beneficial.
Why not create your own profile, and write SharePosts? We’d also love to hear what you have to say, so we welcome when you post comments to our blogs. The “send message” option is a way to e-mail us directly. I will check my messages once a week, and depending on the volume, will either respond personally or give multiple queries a forum in a blog entry.
The “subscribe” link is where you can sign up to be notified when a blog or SharePost you like has been updated. You can even get a “free newsletter” by clicking on that link, and choose from other health topics as well as schizophrenia.
I urge you to explore the site. Go at your own pace. With SZ, too many of us live in isolation and fear, afraid to reach out, fearful of what others will think of us, living in guilt and shame for having an illness that nobody else seems to have, or to understand. Social networking in electronic communities is a way to meet people who’ve been where you are and know what it’s like. What’s great is that you can risk revealing yourself, yet at the same time set boundaries, as you brainstorm coping techniques and solutions for growth and change.
As always, you choose who to tell, what you want to say and how much. You can remain anonymous, use your real name, or invent an Internet persona that suits you. Just one piece of advice: be careful whom you disclose personal or identifying information to. All relationships, whether online or in real life, involve trust and respect. If someone here or in any forum takes advantage of those two things, contact the Webmaster. A few rotten apples could shake the tree.
95 percent of the people in electronic forums truly are on the level. The goal of our Connection is to share our experiences and knowledge in the spirit of mutual support and honest collaboration. Whether you’re living with SZ or have recovered from it, whether you are a family member or caregiver, or even just someone who’s interested, SharePosts exist for you to gain wisdom and insight.
Lastly, I want to make a distinction. You’ll see I’m listed as “recovered from.” That’s because I believe this is possible even if a person takes medication. Using chemical-free treatment as the only benchmark of a successful recovery engenders despair. The truth is 90 percent of the people who have schizophrenia need the drugs. As well, “recovery” is open to self-definition: it means different things to different people. You alone know if your life is in balance and you’re at the place you want to be.
Online, you hold the keys to unlocking the door to wellness. There are no walls or barriers or desks in the way. There’s no ceiling on what you can achieve. So join the Connection community. We’re happy to have you here!
Published On: March 15, 2007