Monday, January 23, 2006

Blogging creates communities

...but what kind of communities? It's no secret that medical bloggers are still figuring this out. Have I thought about this enough?

Scroll down and observe: while I am posting about suicidal cartoon characters and women who eat crayons, some commenters are sharing intensely personal stories of suffering.

These stories are so valuable! They need to be heard. But I have to remind myself that I'm not Dr. Freud Online, and that there can be no therapy on this blog. I do hope that anyone who needs to talk to their doctor, is doing so.


Anonymous The Medical Blog Network said...

You are right, Shrinkette. Blogging does create communities but there is a lot of work to be done to make it effective in connecting the participants. Our goal at HealthVoices is to help give these communities some shape and usefulness.

I encourage everyone to take a look at the newsletter, we just launched and jump in: Member News: Service Update & Call for Nominations

12:12 AM  
Blogger jw said...

- Blogs often create a community of shared concepts.
- The internet is not at all good at providing counsel.

The two are true.

Medical blogs are very good at sharing information and ideas; they are almost useless for providing help to patients who cannot help themselves. Medical blogs are quite good at showing people who have made progress and very good at exposing problems within a community.

So? Take advantage of the strength while realizing the weakness.

There's no paradox here. The internet has its own stengths and weaknesses: From that, we use the strengths while watching so we do not fall into the weaknesses.

2:48 AM  
Anonymous Difficult Patient said...

I agree with you that the internet is not a good venue for providing psychiatric services(or other medical services for that matter), but it does provide a good forum to learn how others have dealt with similar issues and to find encouragement. I believe this is true for doctors, patients, and anyone else who needs to find a community of similar interests.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Fallen Angels said...

Hmmm...I have to say I am glad you are not Dr. Freud online...I don't think I would read your blog if you were!

I am reasonably sure that a good number of people that should be talking to their doctors are not doing that, but a large proportion of us do. My own blog is a journal for the most part. Handwritting my journal (done for a couple years) is tiresome physically. My Doc/T reads my journal/blog and occasionally comments, but usually saves her comments for our sessions. I think that a lot of times the personal stories come out because the blog world is so is much easier to say things that you would normally not disclose, since you know that the people reading it really do not know you. I also find the psych/medical blogs to be good for me because I get to hear things from "the other side", and so does the blogger. In my personal experience, it makes it easier to talk to my Doc, she's human too.


10:37 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

I agree with Fallen Angels: while I do pose the occasional question to you, I am mostly interested in you as ~a~ psychiatrist not you as ~my~ psychiatrist, which you are not.

I wrote a blog article, this morning, which pertains to this:

In part: "We’re conditioned to expect that our pundits do only one thing. Sufferers of bipolar disorder, for example, are expected to talk only about bipolar disorder...."

11:04 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

Since you're interested in symptoms:

11:44 AM  
Blogger bp_hockey_chick said...

I comment on your blog because I like what you write and sometimes have the hubris to think that my comments might add insight to the topic at hand, not because I am expecting therapy.

As for the ongoing discussion re: the suitability and applicability of current psychiatric thought and diagnoses:

I was diagnosed bipolar after fighting with myself not to cut off my left hand. I take medication. I have had periods of time where I feel that the medication is not needed. I stop it. I then find myself sitting in coffee shops terrified to move because the drink cooler sending making secret messages to me and I'm afraid someone else will see me and figure it out if I move. Then I find the courage to tell my husband and I'm back on my meds.

I would give almost anything to not have this illness. You can call it bipolar. You can call it being moody, or weird, or call me a one-eyed purple people eater. It doesn't change my vigilance over my own mind and behaviour every day. Every day. Every day.

4:04 PM  
Blogger TBTAM said...

As a relatively new blogger, I can see already the potential that blogging has to link doctors who otherwise might never come into one another's spheres of practice. DOcs in different specialties, differnt geographic areas, different countries even. We tend to all be so provincial in our fields, really only knowing our own specialties. When in my real life would I ever hang out and really talk shop with a shrink about anything other than the few patients we have in common? In the end, it can onyl make us better doctors.

1:14 PM  

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