Comfort

A word with many meanings like so many others, comfort in this context is about emotional stability and support. An obvious or traditional place we would find comfort is not always enough for everyone or simply always enough of what people feel they need, especially when dealing chronic illness like hep C. For some it is easily found in the community, at home with spouses, partners, friends or any of the more traditional sources, which are well tested over time, historically. In some situations, we may need professional help, in the form of counseling. That can look like a whole range of things like talk therapy with a psychologist or on a helpline, or drug therapy with a psychiatrist.

The importance of community

I have written and spoken endlessly about the importance of community, here and elsewhere. In fact, I speak about it almost at every chance I get and that is because I have seen the great value that community can have in the area of support. I am not saying that the greater community is meant to replace the traditional and more close-to-home sources like I mentioned.

Sometimes we need and seek more than simple answers, or complicated ones, in our need to feel valued or safe. The groups we see online in social media offer up a kind of ready-to-go community that we can access on our schedule and participate on our terms. Is this a bad thing or a good thing? Maybe a question better asked by those who participate or watch from a distance. The value assessment is subjective, in that each person will place a different measure of usefulness or satisfaction. What I have witnessed is that it really depends on the group and the administrators who are tasked with keeping things respectful while being the same themselves. Some groups are drama from wall-to-wall and resemble or are more akin to dating sites.

Seeking comfort and support

Where you seek comfort and support is entirely up to you, of course. It surely isn’t my role to judge or rate one against the other. Maybe you have made new friends (virtually) or have found romance in these places online. It happens all the time.

Sometimes people will interpret a sympathetic ear and a kind word as being a sign of affection. This is nothing new. And as adults, we certainly never want to cause any harm when we engage with others. Ethically we all have a responsibility to be appropriate when safety and comfort are at the core, beyond the medical information we share. Things change and this is true with comfort and support. If a person gives you comfort and it feels like you are the most important person to them, it can be difficult when we realize that this is no longer or ever was the true situation. I guess my main message is to be accepting and show compassion and empathy, but also be aware of how and from whom we receive the comfort we feel we need.

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