Support Groups


Support groups are some of the most life- and spirit-saving resources known to people suffering from chronic pain and the Internet has become a virtual fountain of these.


Whatever your disease or injury, there is a support group on the Internet to supplement or take the place of those found in real life. Unlike those in real life, one doesn't need a car or driver or specialized vehicle to reach out to people enduring the same pain, disease, or disability.


A simple search for example, for "spinal cord injury support group" turns up dozens of support groups geared toward you. You can further narrow it to paraplegia or quadriplegia, to phantom pain, to research or activism.


Just as finding the right doctor may take a while, finding the support group that fits may take a while.


Just Be Careful Out There


Through these groups, you may make close friends. Just remember all you really know about these people is their screen name. Unfortunately some sick people come into groups specifically to cause trouble. Some are even there for deviant behavior, such as looking for amputees to "love." Vulnerable people in pain don't need this type of harassment. Report such people to the list owner.


Use a screen name that won't lead people to you. NEVER give out your address or phone number except to the list owners and then only if they promise to keep them confidential; this is one way they try to protect their members. Even giving out the state and city where you live can allow hacks to find you.


It is safer to get a general email address from hotmail, gmail, or yahoo rather than use your home email address for joining the groups.


Internet predators are rampant and have no compunction about taking advantage of people, even disabled people in chronic pain. Be careful. The last thing you need is to be stalked or have some stranger from the Internet track you down.


If this should happen, contact your police department. They take these reports seriously as they become more frequent. They can track down the person and prosecute him or her.


With those warnings in mind, have fun, enjoy your support groups, make friends, gain knowledge, utilize their experience. Most people there are honest, hurting people just like you.


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