I openly made a bold claim in a thread recently–that I felt pretty sure the Insert Credit forums community is probably a very friendly, accepting, and supportive environment when it comes to mental health, neurodiversity, and, I guess, what I’ve called in the thread title, “holistic wellness,” which is, well, a nicer way of saying “etc.”
I’m personally a big proponent of the worth in talking about this sort of thing, sharing knowledge and experience, lending support and showing understanding, and for it being a good thing when this is something we can collectively do openly and proudly.
Hence, the thread–a place for people to talk about anything to do with anything to do with, basically, havin’ a brain, consciousness, emotions, perception, anything like that. Diagnosed, self diagnosed, undiagnosed-but-curious, uncertain, curious, whatever. Sharing your personal experiences with a condition you’ve come to understand on a near expert level, or wanting to ask open questions about things you’re curious about… basically assume if you feel like you want to post about it in here, it’s welcome.
I’m not a mod, so I can’t enforce these as “rules,” but given the sensitivity of this vast spectrum (get it?) of topics, I am going to propose some guidelines for this thread in order to give us all the best chance of being respectful and helpful to each other:
We aren’t the Munchausen Syndrome Police or hypochondria accusers, here. Implicitly trust what other people are saying about their life and experiences.
- Trigger and Content Warnings and Collective Safety
This is a complex issue because I feel there is often a lot of confusion as to what a trigger or content warning should be used for, but, basically, the point is not to ask anyone to self censor, nor feel that talking about what they need to talk about could be harmful to someone else.
I think the best practice would be to heavily encourage everyone to give trigger/content warnings at the top of posts, with as much consideration as one can, when speaking about sensitive or intense issues or events. The point of TWs/CWs is to allow people with a wide array of vulnerabilities to be able to not just opt out, but also opt in to talking about or reading descriptions of things they are sensitive to.
Just something on the first line of the post that says “TW: such and such traumatic or intense experience/content/languge” should be plenty. Maybe use the Spoiler function (formatted by putting text between two pipes, ||that’s the one’s that look like this:
|| text || or between this
>! text !< on either side. Also starting a line with
>! will give you the condensed and collapsible Details button. And, if you’re unsure about what kind of content might be appropriate to offer a cw/tw for, I say, just be better safe than sorry.
Ideally, over time, we will all get a sense if there is anything in particular that people want tagged with warnings. But, you know, there’s lots of different levels of experience with this practice, so please try to be patient if not everyone uses them as deliberately as you would like.
Oh, and if anyone asks you to add a trigger or content warning to something, no arguments. Just do it. They likely wouldn’t ask if there wasn’t a good reason, basically.
I’m a bit of a hypocrite about this, but try not to give unsolicited advice, or answer questions someone wasn’t asking, or ask questions carelessly lest they be felt as intrusive. “Ongoing, mutual, enthusiastic consent” is not just a frame of reference for sex education. Some people might want to use this thread to just vent and aren’t looking to have a dialogue. As a compensatory guideline…
- Be Clear About How You Want To Interact And Be Interacted With
If you do want advice, don’t feel shy in soliciting it. You might not get a response, but, at least if people follow the above guideline the best they can, people are going to feel hesitant to give it if you don’t ask. As well, if you feel comfortable being asked questions, be sure to include the scope and context of that willingness.
Basically, boundaries need to be communicated to be respected, but there are always going to be more general boundaries that one should be assumed to be there too. Of course it’s complicated, so that’s why I say communication is always the first step to expressing and respecting boundaries.
- What Happens In The Circle Stays In The Circle
Even though this thread is public and openly viewable, I personally think it’d be best if what is shared in this thread stays compartmentalized in here.
- All That Being Said, No One Here Is A Doctor, Psychiatrist, Counsellor, Or Crisis Response Worker And You Are Ultimately The One Most Responsible For Your Own Safety And Wellness
And, even if you are a doctor, psychiatrist, counsellor, or crisis response worker, and you do want to represent that in this thread, everyone should keep in mind anything they would be saying would be informally, without a confidentiality agreement, and with only the context you provide.
We already aren’t gonna be poo-pooing self diagnosis here if I have anything to say about it, and I’m sure we all know that access to mental health care is woefully inadequate, inaccessible for a wealth of reasons (especially wealth, and widely stigmatized against. However, we have to keep in mind our mental wellness as a collective community. I’m not gonna say to not ask for help if you’re really struggling, but please be mindful of the nature of our community in terms of how we’re all quite remote from each other and most of us are pretty private about what our real lives are actually like. So, be mindful about bringing more urgent or intense struggles, here (I mean, if that will even happen, but I figured I’d acknowledge the possibility). Basically, this is not exactly the best environment or platform to trust fall too haphazardly into, based on if nothing else the asynchronous nature of forums, the relatively intimate size of our community, and, like, time zones.
That being said, no one is stopping anyone from having private or group conversations about stuff if they feel there’s some shared experience or an agreed upon desire to support each other more directly like that. Just ensure you’ve got that ongoing, mutual, enthusiastic consent to do so.