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This topic may be controversial. Nonetheless, it has been on my mind for quite awhile.

I know this forum has provided support for all of us POTSIES. I am grateful for the support which you all have offered as I have gone down the path of breast cancer, etc.

Here is my question: To what extent do these forums serve an enabling function. That is, are we sometimes acting as enablers?

Just a question to throw out...when does support cross the line and become enabling?

Your thoughts, please!

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Well it depends in the intent of the enabler and what said person is doing,imo.

Enabling one to achieve a positive goal is a good thing...But enabling one to repeatedly engage in SELF DESTRUCTIVE behavior is another.

Course, there are many varying degrees to this question and I wondered if you might be more specific Goldiedance or did you just want a general question?


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Like Sophia said I think it depends on the person and the intent.

I know that for me personally reading posts can help me feel like less of a freak, I notice that there are a lot of symptoms dr's don't link to POTS that we indeed have. For example I have spurts of hbp, it usually correlates with medication and other times dr's who don't understand POTs think that my bp isn't right that I can't have the disease unless it is super low. I always struggled with this and after searching posts about bp i realize that POTS can cause both high and low bp.

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I think it is very possible that this happens at times. For most people here, we do want to feel better, validated, and talk to people who understand.

There are always going to be people who really don't want to feel better, have no intention of doing things that may help them and will use the people and a site to rationalize their unwillingness to work on making things better. Or do all their work for them. If you don't want to do something and you get lots of people supporting you in that, it is not neccessarily a good thing.

No one here ever wants to hurt anyone's feelings or push them away, and we all have a tendency to be defensive and easily hurt, because of treatment we have received by the medical community, family members, so called friends, etc. Therefore, I think, sometimes we are enabling some people, who in fact, may need a bit of a push, always mixed with a great deal of support and validation. Out of the fear of hurting their feelings. My feelings have been hurt, but after licking my perceived wounds, I typically do see that people have had my best interests at heart. We can be supportive, but firm, without being hurtful and harsh.

I do feel, at times however, we do make it easier for someone not to seek help. I google, look at archives, and exhaust as many ways I can before coming on with questions that may have been asked before. I remember being new and having many questions, but even at the beginning, I looked before I asked. I find at times, it is better for me to leave for a bit, because I find, at times, the site does feed a bit into my own negative feelings. By that I mean, if everyone is having a really bad time, I don't have the energy for myself, let alone a whole lot of others who feel as badly as I do. I become cranky and not very nice, and I really must follow my own advice, of getting myself better, then returning. A bit more refreshed and ready to go again. Although this can be perceived as "bailing" it is actually me helping me, so that hopefully, I can help others, or at least support them with a clearer head.

I know I have made suggestions to people and been met with a great deal of anger, even if I've felt I have been supportive at the same time. However, I am guilty of the same thing. I don't believe anyone here ever wants to hurt anyone, but we are dealing with fragile and vulnerable folks. This does not excuse us from feeding into things that cause them to delay or seek treatments for fear of hurting feelings. We are also adults.

My primary told me last week, the one thing I did that always made him realize that I wasn't crazy, was I drove him crazy, asking for tests, sending him articles, and never letting up on trying to find ways to feel better. I found this very interesting. I have been a royal pain in his hiney for a long time, but it has validated my situation to him. So for those that put off everything, don't follow through and are never willing to try anything new, whether because you are too depressed, just don't want to, are terrified of meds (that would be me) we apparently aren't doing ourselves any favors. And for those of us that continually condone this, we are not doing anyone any favors.

This is controversial, but I am glad you brought it up Lois. I do feel it's important that when some of us do push, people hopefully understand it's out of concern, not to be mean and hurt you as others do. ramblinghardtounderstandmorgan

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i understand what goldie is getting at. i think it falls more on the individual seeking the advice and not the advice giver. i choose not to believe that anyone on this forum has any malicious intent for anyone. only to help. even in enabling i think it is more how the poster themselves choose to perceive the intent of the replier.

i come here fo research( most of u have dealt with this longer than i) and to sometimes lift my spirits or to lift the spirits of others. i tend to look at u long time sufferers as guiders in my journey. we have to be realistic. some of us will completely recover, others will never, and some of us just fall right in the middle.

a wise woman told me one time I am the only one who can dictate what my feelings are. other people try to change them all day long, good or bad, but essentially it is my reactions that make the difference.

we are all enablers to someone in our lives to some degree.

my emotions when coming to the site vary daily, according to my needs or wants. and usually i am satisfied in one way or the tuther.

as a matter of fact, I have decided that i will get up everyday whether i feel like it or not and try to accomplish something. I am not making daily goals other than to have my feet touch the floor. i know that for some of u that is not possible and that's ok, see, cuz it's my dysautonomia not yours.

validation is only relevant to the validator. i recieve validation just knowing there is a site for this dys stuff.

i still search for answers, but more for a cure or better managment or a cause of dys for all of us.

i am stillso new that i still can't wrap my head around all of it. err go , the ?'s.

i am so glad this was brought up as i feel we ALL still ? our problems.

and i am not even going to pretend that i can support anyone else i can't even support myself all the time.

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I was too "lazy" to read the other replies but I do have my 2 cents to throw in.

the only thing "we" offer is attention, unprofessional advise, camaraderie. Therefore we can only enable the attention seeker, maybe a chronic complainer and those who are introverted and don't socialize non-cyber. Non of which rule out POTS or any other illness or condition.

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I think the not-so-good type of enabling can and has sometimes happened here--but one of the reasons that we continue to maintain this as *moderated* site, is to attempt to limit that as much as we can. Sometimes it means that folks have though of us mods/admins as being too harsh or mean spirited, but all I can say to that is that we do our best to make sure people get whatever help they need, and sometimes that help ISN'T from folks here, but from some other type of support, be it medical, family, social work, psychological, etc.


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I often think these types of boards can have adverse effects on people.

For example, really really sick people might ask things like, whether they should go on a trip, have a baby, look for a job and people try to be encouraging when I think that being blunt and saying something like, "You sound too sick to....." might be better advice.

I also see people complain about things that healthy people complain about, like forgetting things, anxiety, pains in joints, etc. and here they are taken very seriously when in real life, friends wouldn't think they were a big deal and might just say "I get that too" and because they don't have POTS, it is considered normal. I know that happens with my card group a lot, things that are frequent complaints here, are also frequent complaints among my "healthy" friends. It just isn't considered a big deal.

Then there is a small percent of people on boards like this who aren't sick physically but get off on pretending to be. You can pretend they aren't here, but they are. Their advice is usually accompanied by their own very sad story. I think those people make us all feel worse.

I think for many people, including myself, I like to make people feel better and offer support because it makes me feel better so maybe that does encourage people to think about their illness more.

I have a friend with POTS who refused to go on any boards because he was just going to focus on getting better and didn't want to know all the things he had to worry about. He is 98% well. I can't say that about myself.

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