Saturday, 11 August 2012

A carer on social networks

When is enough really enough?
I am a huge fan of social networks such as twitter and Facebook but are they really harmless places to socialise?
Oh I know about the dangers of stalkers, pedophiles etc and the danger they represent but what about to 'ordinary' everyday users?
I have come to realise that these social sites are used for many different reasons by many different personalities, maybe that is what keeps it exciting for us.
I have however been made to look more closely at what can happen to the 'carers' of twitter recently.
Carers are the people who often have problems/issues of their own, be that illness, disability, emotional issues etc. this doesn't surprise me as I have always believed those most willing and able to support others are often those who have experienced things in their own lives, maybe that is why they reach out to others or why others reach out to them.
This is a good thing and thankfully people do still care enough about their fellow human beings to interact in this way. But it carries with it responsibility not only to the person you are helping but first and foremost to yourself.
I have seen several of my friends get overwhelmed by the demands placed on them recently.
If you dread logging onto a social network for fear of what may be asked of you, or logging on to check on your 'friends' takes precedence over other maybe more important things then you need to take a step back and look at what you are doing and what you could do differently.
Your own emotional and physical health must always be your priority or you will find yourself rushing headlong Into burnout.
Burnout is a very real problem and should be taken very seriously.
Maybe it is my background in Psychology That has made me so aware of how awful it can be and the warning signs we should be looking out for.
I reached a stage in my working life where I used to have to have stern words with myself before a client came to get my head in the right place to work with that client.
There were times when a feeling of real dread would come over me at the thought of the days counselling ahead. Admittedly I had health problems to contend with as well but I pushed on for far longer than I should have done.
I have to admit I wonder if we allow ourselves to get so involved in others issues or causes as it enables us to put our own issues on the back burner for a while,
Whilst your head and your heart is feeling for and at times fighting for other people or other causes you have no time to look at yourself and what may be going on in your own world.
It's a clever distraction but don't be fooled, whatever it is you are covering up or running from will need facing one day and you will have depleted energy with which to face it if all of your energy has gone to others.
Don't stop supporting or caring about your fellow human beings as it is what makes you special and undoubtably it is appreciated but do please keep your own health and well being uppermost in your mind, taking a step back now and then is preferable to having to cope with burnout.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Jane said...

Wow, your post resonates with my recent experience. You are absolutely right that we must think to ourselves first before those that we seek to support. Especially when we have chronic illnesses that in themselves make life such an enormous challenge.

It wasn't until recently that I realised just how much supporting others took out of me, to the point that I had nothing left for myself. I suffered the consequences and it has been a difficult road back for me. It made me take a step back, made me realise what it was doing to me.

I certainly will be more careful in future and would advise anyone who supports others through social media to read Penny's post and really take her words of advice to heart. Perhaps if I had been able to read this it would have saved me the dark times of the recent past. Excellent post my friend.... Wise words indeed!

feline9 said...

I do agree with you, I am a member of several groups about AS, but I have found myself stepping back from them. I was finding that every day I was reading about people with health issues, usually going through a bad time, and eventualy I felt overwhelmed by it all. I was spending hours each day talking with people about their problems. I realised it was getting to me, either by making me fell vulnerable about what might be waiting for me, or feeling guilty I wansnt as bad, then not wanting to say when I was going through a bad patch.So I stepped back, yes I have AS, but there is more to me than that, and while there are individuals I care bout and want to know what they are going through, I don't want to be so involved with large numbers of people for hours each day.