- “Hi, my name is Bob, and I am an alcoholic.”
- “Hi, my name is Jill, and I take ownership of my eating problem.”
If those two sentences pretty much characterize the images that flash through your mind when you consider reaching out to a support group for whatever it is that is causing you stress and anxiety, you can now take a moment to relax. The Internet has made the so-called anonymous support group of the past a largely irrelevant creature facing a rapidly nearing extinction.
No matter what is troubling you and keeping you from enjoying your life to the full, help is literally a few clicks of the mouse away.
The Internet is rife with virtual support groups created to support those individuals who are suffering anything from loneliness and shyness to urinary incontinence and hemorrhoids. A quick Web search will most probably give you hundreds of results for forums, newsgroups, and online communities that have something to do with your condition or troubles. And unlike offline support groups, the support groups you will find online offer a great deal of anonymity. (We say a great deal of anonymity rather than complete anonymity, since as any Net savvy person will tell you, the Internet and anonymity are not exactly the best of friends just yet. You may like to keep that in mind as you spill your guts online.)
There are also Web sites where you can receive free advice from medical doctors and other qualified professionals.
What someone in person would normally charge you an arm and a leg to receive, you can get for absolutely nothing online. As always, though, be careful with any advice you receive from a stranger online, qualified or not. Despite the technological marvels of the Internet, it has yet to eliminate the need for a second opinion.
If loneliness is causing you stress and anxiety, there are numerous social-networking Web sites that allow you to find and interact with people who live in your local area.
This is a great way to meet people who share your interest in that one hobby of yours that no one else you know seems to enjoy. You can also use the Internet to pursue new hobbies and pursuits that pique your curiosity. Chances are you have already used an instant-messaging program to chat with your buddies in real time. Instant messaging is a quick and easy way to meet new people, especially with the instant-messaging clients that have an integrated people-search feature.
Always wanted to attend art classes? Find a few video tutorials online that will guide you through the fundamental techniques. That way, you can tell right away whether landscape painting, profile drawing, or whatever else it is that has caught your interest will really be the thing for you. Always wanted to sign up for a boot camp but are afraid of what you would be getting yourself into? Check out videos online that show what takes place at a typical boot camp. Been considering buying a dog to keep you company but are unsure which breed of dog would be right for you? If you are good with your Internet searches, you can probably find a huge collage of different dog breeds or a video compilation that rapidly flashes through your available options.
So keep in mind that you need not suffer from stress and anxiety all alone.
There are plenty of people out there just like you. Do not be afraid to reach out to others, whether online or offline. Although this article is now beginning to sound like a government-sponsored television commercial, the help you seek is always yours for the taking.