Friends

Really Real Life Post

Yesterday I had an intake for a therapy group that is starting next week.  I’m super excited about this as I’ve been trying to find and get into a Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills group for a few years now and it’s finally happening.

These groups are a mix between an educational, skills based group, and group therapy.  I’ll learn how to work through negative thought patterns, intrusive thoughts (like my suicidal thoughts tend to be), extreme emotions, and also how to cope with trauma.  Lots of mindfulness and living in the moment kind of stuff.  The group facilitators are specifically trained in DBT skills and overall it tends to have really good outcomes.

It’s a 42 week commitment, once a week, 2 hour groups.   Bring it on!

Anyway, that’s not really what this is about though.  One of the intake questions was about my friends.  “Who are your most supportive friends and family?”

And I realized that, in person, I have a lot of people, but that my closest friends are all online and spread around the globe.  Most of them I met online first, even if I’ve since met them in person.  Most of them I’ve never met in person but I’ve known online for more than a decade.

The biggest part of my tribe are my online friends who I reach through a screen.  They are my best and closest friends even though they are so far away.  They are part of my chosen family, even though I’ve never sat in the same physical space with them.  They are the ones I can’t wait to tell the newest and greatest news to, even though I will only hear their excitement through the words that show up on my screen.

It’s not that I don’t have any in person, people.  But most of them I haven’t known as long, and those friendships have changed drastically over time.  Friendships wax and wane and it seems that online, it’s easier to handle that change in dynamics.  The difference in communication makes it a bit easier to deal with life changes as well.

For whatever reason, there’s a specific group of friends that I’ve known for about 18 years and we’ve been through thick and thin together.

I know I’m lucky to have the support network I do.  My girlfriend, my derby friends, my other local friends, my family who all support me in different ways no matter if they are local or far away.  I think one of the most significant differences the past 2.5 years has been the support network I’ve built around me.

But don’t discount online friendships, they’re as real as anything else, and I know during some of my worst times they have been a lifesaver, and during some of my best times, they have cheered the loudest.

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