When your best friends live hundreds of miles away, it’s when I’m grateful for social media such as Skype. There is something very comforting in being able to have face to face conversations with those who really get you because they go through the same things.
Some of my friends aren’t even in my country. These are the friends I have met in support groups and we chat fairly regularly online and I keep more up to date with what’s going on in their lives than I do most of the people I went to high school with. It’s because they understand it all. I never have to explain myself or give excuses, and I can just sit on the couch or in bed with Netflix in the background and PJs on and chat with my friend’s as if they are here with me.
It doesn’t matter what’s going on during the day, they can make me smile. It was extremely nice after the stress of college, the inevitable support group drama that happens everyday (a topic for another time), people dying and the pile up from being in pain all day. Regardless, I see their faces and hear their voices and immediately I feel better.
We can joke about our illnesses, throw up in front of each other, tell corny jokes, rant about the problems we had the following week, and just comfort each other. I have laughed so hard I choked on my NJ tube with these girls. They are some of the best friends a person could wish for.
It is so weird to hear someone’s voice for the first time when you have been chatting online to them for almost a year. The first time I heard Ari’s voice and she heard mine we both just asked, “Do I have an accent? Is it bad?” Since I’m from West Virginia and she’s from Texas, we assumed we would have the ridiculous accents stereotyped with our state.
And same with Lizzie, and her British accent and us comparing the strange and stereotypical accents from our different homes.
It’s just so fascinating to meet people in other places who have gone or are going through the same things I am. It’s so great to joke around and feel accepted and share stories about things or compare medical treatment from Cinci Children’s to the UK to Texas and how no two doctors treat things the same it seems, to some extent they do but it’s just strange that there isn’t a text book of steps for treatment. It also helps to get tips on things such as types of face tape, formula, mobility devices, treatment, etc.
A lot of times you hear people complain about technology and about people being on their phones and social media all the time, but for a lot of chronically ill people, social media and phones are the only source of social life we have, it may be the only place we can find people we really connect with who understand what we go through and have gone through it as well.
Much like I explained in my sociology class: technology isn’t inherently bad or good, it just is. And I’m thankfully for technology like Skype that allow me to have face to face interaction, maybe one day I will be able to travel and meet them personally.