Let’s face it. Blogging is a rather narcissistic pastime. We put our words out there every day, assuming others will find our lives as fascinating as we do (and leave us comments to tell us so).
But blogging can be much more than that. It can be a way to connect. A way to reach out. A way to embrace strangers and help them feel less alone.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about depression. A post I agonized over more than most. I’m not sure why—it wasn’t the first time I wrote about it. But as my audience grows bigger, the risks of exposing myself also grow. After all, I’m not hiding behind a pseudonym here. I am indeed Amber Page, and lordy am I google-able.
So I posted it, took it down, and (after a long talk with myself), put it back up. It made me uncomfortable to do so, but something in me told me it was the right thing to do.
A few days later, I got an email. From a stranger. A stranger who was experiencing many of the same symptoms I had, and who was having just as much trouble getting the help she needs. She asked me for advice.
I was floored. I mean who am I to try and help others? Not a doctor, or even a nurse. Just a blogger who spills her guts to the internet and hopes it never comes back to bite her in the ass.
But she didn’t need medical advice. She just needed someone who understood. Who would listen and tell her she wasn’t crazy. And that she was right to think her doctors were missing the boat. She needed someone to tell her she wasn’t (isn’t) alone.
I got the profound honor of being that person.
We emailed back and forth a few times. I gave her a little advice, a lot of pep talks and a great big virtual hug.
I haven’t heard from her since—and that’s okay. It’s enough to know that I helped (even if it was just a little bit). That my words made a difference to someone. That by speaking up, by putting myself out there, I helped someone else feel less alone.
That’s what it’s all about, people.
So the next time you’re about to hit publish on a post that scares you? That makes you feel vulnerable and exposed? Just close your eyes and do it.
Our words have power. Use it for good.