EmpowHER.com provides a valuable community for sharing ideas. Some of us go further and form a local, face to face community for our specific issues.
For example, maybe you're on dialysis. You may find that your friends and family don't know what to say to you, don't understand what you can and can't do and generally don't have a lot of empathy because they haven't been there. A support group provides a way to make new friends who can relate to your situation. My friend Joni James of Austin formed a group for singles over 40, many who are survivors of divorce, to support and socialize with each other. Here's what Joni has to say:
“Support and community in life are always important. But when it comes to having chronic pain from injury, illness or emotional trauma, a like-minded community can be a powerful tool to offer support, healing and acceptance in many ways. Speaking with others with a similar condition helps people to not feel so isolated, fearful or depressed. There is great comfort in being understood. Many tips and tricks can be shared to support one another. Friendships and community occur through support groups and that contributes to quality of life.”
If you can find information you need on EmpowHER.com, then you have enough computer skills to find or start a support group using Internet tools. Joni used the Meetup.com Web site. The cost is roughly $15 per month for a Website complete with a calendar, message board, profiles, individual and group email systems. Just follow the directions step by step to input your information. There's an easy setup for collecting dues from your members so they can help you pay the website costs, and even your salary if you decide to make this a for-profit project. Meetup.com will provide initial marketing for you by announcing your Meeetup to all its member (thousands!).
And while you're on the Internet, check out other resources for social support. For example, there is a web site offering dialysis-friendly cruises. Another site shows you the top cities for people interested in dialysis social groups.
Example of a Meetup.com group:
Dialysis meetup cities:
Dialysis friendly cruises:
Linda Fugate is a scientist and writer in Austin, Texas. She has a Ph.D. in Physics and an M.S. in Macromolecular Science and Engineering. Her background includes academic and industrial research in materials science. She currently writes song lyrics and health articles.