Gratitude - What Do You Gain From Participation Here?

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I think this forum contributed significantly to saving my life. It was here I realized I wasn't alone, hopeless, or a freak that had no purpose. I have learned so much from others: been given the gift of hope when there wasn't any; felt supported and encouraged when I was struggling or down; learned to laugh at myself; and for the first time in a long time felt accepted.

I only hope I can give back even a fraction of what has been given to me.

It's not that I hadn't felt different most of my life but I could cope, cover, shield myself, I "passed" for normal. When I had a complete melt-down I didn't know how to respond to the world and just could not find a reason or a place I fit. Here is where I am me at any given time...which, honestly, changes more than with the flashes.

Sometimes I post here and I start to get sick thinking "why did I write that??!" I wrote it to trust in reaching out, with the hope that what I say makes sense to somebody. It has been a scorched road, I get tired and I look for hope, I look for a "blabber" like me, I look for a smile, I look for a "HA!", I look for someone to comfort, I look for identification, I look for answers, I look to share what I've learned and maybe the next step, I look to remember WHO I am is okay.

I find ALL all these things and much much more right here. :)
I think that on the road to my meltdown, I lost faith in so many people. Much of this was very unwarranted, and some was for good reason. When I was on the way down, others did not have a clue as to my responses to situations. I could not articulate and even trying only made me tired. I felt like it was hard to relate to others at all. How were they all going about there lives, and doing all the day to day things and pretending like the world is a good place. After finding this site and communicating with others and being accepted, my feelings being accepted and validated regularly, feeling validation when I read others accounts and just allow myself to feel, and the desire to want to help others feel validated and accepted, eventually has led to have enough energy to begin finding the good.....
I feel 'heard' here. Like what I say matters, like maybe I can use the lessons I've learned to help someone else? Like someone might want to know what is in my heart and head.

Because I isolate, there is no one that really asks. But, I am dear friend that I met online back in '04. She always asks, and wants to know how I am doing. I've even been to visit her and her family 3 times! Trouble is, she's in California, and I'm in Kansas.
It's nice to know that no matter where I am in the world (I travel a lot... I'm currently in a hotel room in Sydney), I can come on here, and know I'm not alone. it's nice to know that on those days/weeks when I'm doing ok, I can come here and read and sometimes help others get through their bad days. It's nice to know that when I'm having a bad time, whilst I don't tend to tell this forum about it, I can read the postings of other people and the help they get, which helps me. It's nice to know that I can wander away from the forum, return months later and know that people here are welcoming and pleased to see me when I do return. It's nice to come somewhere where the people are (mostly) non-judgmental, understanding, supportive, and willing to chat about a wide range of stuff.
Thank you so very much for this awesome discussion!!! I agree with everyone who has already posted and will post in the future.

My many gains from participation in the forum:

- I feel safe because many people have experienced similar things and are facing the struggles with PTSD.

- I am connected with with other people but I don't feel overwhelmed.

- Depending on how I am feeling on any given day (whether sad, scared, angry, frustrated, even giggly etc...), I can usually find messages that are similar to what I am feeling thus helping me not to feel so alone.

- I hope some things that I have learned help other people.

- The forum members give me hope for the future.

- I like the fact that it is an international forum, making me feel comfortable.

- I am able to come up with questions related to my own life that I can discuss in therapy.

- Thanks to admins, mods, and members I feel safe here.

- I feel comfortable with the rules because it sets up boundaries and expectations, without my having to set them other than the personal ones (my major weakness).

- Having found the forum allowed me really begin working on my trauma.

Thank you to everyone!!!
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