Somehow, I have changed over the past 10-15 years that seems very backwards to me, and I don't understand it.
In 1996/97 I started to deal with my abusive past. I got involved in one-on-one and group therapy to help with the healing process.
It was around the same time that I discovered IRC online (Internet Relay Chat rooms). There was a chat room on the starlink network that was for male survivors called 'NOMSV'. The people there were great, so caring and understanding - this was so new to me. They helped to pull me out of my shell. The chatroom eventually closed, and I didn't know why. A few years later I found it again --- here, and then it turned into Male Survivor.
In between, however, I had become involved with 2 other chatrooms on the dalnet network that were for survivors of child abuse. They were very organized, a collaboration of effort from 3 non-profit organizations. One from the UK (Paddy), one from Australia (Robyn), and one from the US (Erin). After a while I was asked to join the operator's team. I had to go through extensive training online. Every 2 weeks we had online meetings to discuss direction, ideas, and possible candidates for new operators. There was a manual of rules, regulations given to us with all kinds of information that was gathered to give to people seeking help - like local clinics and help numbers, etc. It was such a great experience to be helping people in this way. I was promoted from an a-op to an s-op (different levels of channel operators - with different abilities/responsibilities).
For 5 years I was heavily involved - talking to people online, helping where I could. Near the end, Erin (US partner) developed cancer and she passed away fairly quickly. Paddy (UK) and Robyn (AU) had a lot of stress put on them to fill the gap left by Erin ... it came to a bit of a power struggle. The other 35 channel operators started to leave, some joined in with the power struggle to take control of the chat room / organization. It wasn't a pleasant thing - one last operator meeting, and everything fell apart.
I joined here in early 2004 - have met a lot of wonderful people in the years since - but, what happened? I don't get involved in the chatroom. Most of the time I'm there, and I don't say anything unless someone else says something to me. What happened? What happened to the guy who would talk to others online, get involved, and try to lend a hand.
I do care about all of you ... why don't I show it like I used to?
I don't know.. I just don't know. There have been a lot of changes in my life that have demanded my attention, sure ... I guess I've just gone back into my shell ... safer that way? I don't know. At the best of times I have a hard time feeling like I fit in anywhere - and that's not just online, but everywhere. No one else's doing, but mine.
I'm struggling with thoughts of taking a break from here. I'm not much support to anyone, and I don't ask for the support of others much. I do take comfort in knowing there are others on the other side of the screen that ... well, they're/you're there.
Am I still just trying to find myself? Maybe ... I don't know. There's so much that I don't know... tired of not knowing.
Anyway, I'm not looking for any great insight - this is just, where I am. Good or bad - this is me. All I can do is shrug, and put a goofy grin on my face.
Silent company is often more healing than words of advice...