MH –

I want to tell you all about an incredible online resource for mental health. PsychCentral is a huge community of forums, articles, resources and even fun. They have a forum for anything and everything. The place has grown in leaps and bounds since I found it back in 2004.

I’ve mentioned it here before, about how I found PC back when I was depressed in a relationship. I joined the community and started posting and hanging out in the chatroom. I found others who understood what I was going through and if they didn’t have advice, they offered hugs. In the ‘social chat’ forum, people wrote jokes or played games or left links to fun stuff. In the ‘kudos’ forum, people left hugs for one another or birthday wishes. It soon became a family, and it was where I could go to not feel quite so lonely. I really believe that PC saved my life until I got sober.

Dr. John Grohol runs the site, and he’d do weekly chats where you could go in and ask him questions. He was always open to suggestions for the site. He had moderators, people who had been members for awhile, who went and made sure all the content was suitable, or would go into chat when an issue arose. Eventually I was made a moderator and it made me feel so useful. At that point, I had been diagnosed with MS and couldn’t work, so I was on PC all the time. When I was made a moderator, I felt like I had a purpose.

I specifically remember a time when a teen member hailed me and told me a guy was sexually harassing her in chat. I logged in and began a private chat with him, pretending I was like fourteen. After he came on to me, I was able to ban him from the site.

Everyone at PC takes care of each other, watches out for each other. We mother the teens. We are sisters and brothers to each other.

When I went blind, I had B log in to the mod forum and tell them what had happened. I had him leave my phone number, and they called me. They would tell me what was going on at PC. One of the mods sent a message to my then best friend on the site, and she would call me and read me messages.

When I went to the Apple store to check out Voiceover, I told them I wanted to access PC and if I couldn’t, I wasn’t interested. I was able to write a message that night in the store, bought the computer and by the next day I had pages of messages, welcoming me back. I spent a lot of time at PC in those first few months with the computer while I was learning it. I haven’t visited there in so long now, just because of lack of time, other committments like the blog, and the site is definitely daunting with a screen reader. Much to my dismay, the layout had been changed in the time between going blind and getting my Apple haha! It’s like moving furniture on a blind person hehe.

But I know if I ever need them, all I have to do is log in and ask for help, and the hugs will come pouring in.

PsychCentral is an amazing place. If you’re feeling lonely and just want someone who understands, go check it out. I guarantee someone there will understand.

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