A few thoughts on group discussion * VIBES *
(for our online and real life discussions)
Whether you're jumping into our Facebook group discussion, or heading along to one of our real life meet-ups, the points below outline the general vibe we're going for.
If it were up to Bodie, the vibe would be pretty simple. There would be treats. Many treats.
I can't argue with that, but here's a few more to think about:
It’s ok to not have The Answer.
In fact it’s encouraged :) Our discussions probably won't be tied up with a ribbon at the end and we think that's just fine.
Sometimes unsolicited advice can be a little disconnecting.
Unless someone’s asking for suggestions, let's be curious instead? Or share our own experiences?
Feel-osophy, not therapy
This isn’t a therapy space. It’s not run by mental health professionals. It’s not somewhere to find ‘the answer’.
It’s a discussion space, where you can chat with other people asking the same big questions.
Honor and Graham do their best to guide the discussion, but ultimately it’s up to the group to uphold these vibes.
It can feel a little funny getting a private message out of the blue from someone, even if you’re both in the same online discussion group. If you want to connect more, we suggest replying to their comment with something like ‘Hey if you want to chat more about this privately, PM me.’
Our Facebook group is a closed group. That means anyone can see you're part of the group, but only group members can see posts and comments. But it's still Facebook - so all their privacy policies apply.
For both online and real life stuff - we could say ‘what happens in our club stays in our club.’ But the thing is, when you hear something you find inspiring, you want to share it. And we hope you’ll be inspired by what you find here.
So instead of blanket confidentiality, try these two things on for size:
1 - Consider that what you say here might be shared outside the club, if you’ve said something that gets someone thinking.
2 - If you want to share what you’ve heard here, don’t quote people by name (unless you ask them first and they say yes!)
If you're having a *really* hard time...
We’re not a crisis support space. Our online discussions aren’t moderated, and there’s no guarantee one of us will see what you post. So if you’re in crisis right now, we can’t offer you immediate support (and please don’t ask us to).
But the thing about crisis is, sometimes it lasts a while. Sometimes it moves in with you (and refuses to pay rent).
So if you’re in that really tough space, and it’s been going on for a few weeks, months, or longer… you might still want to join in our discussions. We can’t offer you crisis support or a ‘fix’, but here’s what we can offer.
Some people have told us our discussions can be really useful, even when they’re in the really tough space. It’s a chance to meet other sensitive cats who don’t have ‘the answer’, but are asking similar questions.
On the other hand, other people have told us our discussions can leave them feeling more isolated (because their feelings were so big and scary that even a club for big feelings didn’t help).
We don't have an easy answer on this one. But what we can say is - you are welcome here.
In our discussion spaces, you probably won’t want to share exactly what's happening for you right now. They’re designed to be spaces to philosophise about what it’s like to live with big feelings, rather than to tell people that, say, you’re thinking about death a lot lately.
So if you decide to join our discussions when you’re in that really tough space, you’ll probably hold a few things back. But that doesn't mean you're not being authentic. It just means you're doing your best to look after yourself.
And you’ve probably heard this spiel before, but in case you need to hear it right now:
If you want to talk to someone who isn’t a friend or family, search “crisis line + your hometown”. Or “crisis support chat”, if you prefer online chat. In Australia, a few options are:
ReachOut - Online forum for people aged 14 to 25. These are moderated by other people with big feelings, and unlike us, they have threads dedicated to the ‘I’m having a hard time right now!’ stuff
SANE - chat online from 10am to 10pm weekdays, and a forum similar to ReachOut, but without the age cutoff.
Switchboard - peer-based support for LGBTQI folks.
Lifeline - call 13 11 14 to talk to someone, 24-7.
*If you're worried about someone else...
Every now and then, someone might say something in one of our discussions that makes you wonder, ‘hey are they ok?’
There are three things you can do in that situation:
- Trust they've got this. (This is almost definitely not the only thing they're doing to try to deal.)
- Tell them you're worried (if you feel comfortable doing that)
- Tell *us* you're worried. At a real life meet up, you can tell any of the facilitators. If it's in the online discussion space, you can always message us.