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Ideas & Opinions Does SF sometimes backfire?

Winslow

Siamese Twin
SF Supporter
#1
Does SF sometimes backfire on you? Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming SF but rather myself. That is, I find myself so addicted to SF that I come here habitually even though I'm feeling good. Then in the feel-good state when I read the posts of those in mental anguish, then it backfires by changing my good mood into a miserable mood. So that's what I mean by backfiring. Has this happened to any of you who find yourself visiting here habitually even when in a good mood?? Has it backfired in that way?
 

justrob

Keep on keeping on.
#3
No. I usually feel better. I know others experienced what you have. There is a lot of pain. One way people deal with that is to post to SF. It helps then to get it out and to tell people.

When you are in a good mood do you read the forums or go to the social chat? The social chat sometimes has good vibes. What about Jim's cafe? Read through there when feeling good. These are places on SF where you can read about more positive things that are going on with the people here. When your in a good mood, try posting about it in appropriate forum, let people know the good that's happening.
 

Winslow

Siamese Twin
SF Supporter
#4
In addition there was another person who sent me a PM instead of posting on this thread. I don't know why the person sent me a PM instead, but I will respect the person's privacy by withholding the name.
The point is that the person agrees with me. That is, even a person in a good mood can be adversely affected by some posts, especially people such as myself who visit on a daily basis.
What I'm also saying is that this forum can be addictive in that I visit even when I don't have to. So what can I do psychologically to myself to limit my visits?
 

Lane

SF Supporter
#5
In addition there was another person who sent me a PM instead of posting on this thread. I don't know why the person sent me a PM instead, but I will respect the person's privacy by withholding the name.
The point is that the person agrees with me. That is, even a person in a good mood can be adversely affected by some posts, especially people such as myself who visit on a daily basis.
What I'm also saying is that this forum can be addictive in that I visit even when I don't have to. So what can I do psychologically to myself to limit my visits?
People need a break sometimes. Others commit themselves to helping when they can. I think that it depends on how one is effected my the more emotional posts. I know that I'll have mental illness for life so I'm at risk and I like this forum because as @justrob says, there are different areas. If you're feeling that you're addicted and that people's issues are bringing you down you can take a break or find a forum as an alternate or supplement. I can understand how it can be trigger to read a lot of negative thoughts @Winslow.
 

the.end.ish

Misknown Member
#6
Can confirm this happens to me too. Not like I blame anyone or the site itself, but I think any site can be addictive and possibly a sort of crutch? I wouldn't go as far as to say it's killed my happy mood. But I've felt alright and my alright has shifted to ..meh when signing on.

I think it also depends on the person so wouldn't make this a blanket statement, but would say that the addictive nature of computers/internet in general can cause you to feel shitty, with so much screen time.

Things like technology cleanses and focusing more on physical activities have helped with this. Physical activities including painting, drawing, writing, etc.
 

Legate Lanius

Try not to kill yourself 2020 challenge.
#7
I guess it really depends on the person. I don't mind reading horrible stuff that I wouldn't want my worst enemy to go through. I can also watch gore videos and true crime stuff without really it being a problem. Not that I lack compassion or empathy; I just know that I'm looking at a screen, I suppose. I can even feel better when I hear that some people really have it way worse than me and that I have many things to be grateful for. Not that I enjoy others' suffering, but rather that I get a reality check on what I have rn that's good.

I think if you posted as much as you read, you'd reduce the negative effects of the forum on your mind. Instead of getting bombarded with negative stuff, you'd be adding positivity and being able to vent and get help at the same time. I usually throw in some personal feelings/experiences in my posts and I try to post productive and positive things.
 

Bloop

Che Vuole Questa Musica Stasera
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#9
Yes, it used to happen to me. Consider that I am in a vulnerable state and can't always control my feelings or how my days will go. I will have a good day or moment but still come on to SF because it is, was, my home for many years. Seeing my happy mood disappear just by reading a post or being in chat during a difficult topic would often flip my mood back.

This applied to me during my teenage years as I was a teenager when I joined this site and into my adolescence, when I was in uni. I can only assume, but I think it will vary by person. If it affects you, it affects you, do NOT ignore it.

I was eventually able to overcome this problem, I would say 5 years ago, but if it is affecting you then avoid coming here for some time. Work on yourself in that time and try to overcome the problem.
 

BarryW

SF Supporter
#10
but if it is affecting you then avoid coming here for some time.
I have taken long breaks (months or years) from the site if I observe that visiting the site is having a negative impact on me more often than positive. Log out, delete the bookmark, and don't visit. When I am comfortable visiting the site, I found it important for me to:
  • avoid several entire sections and subsections of the forum
  • skip over posts by certain members, after I've noticed that I am getting bothered reading their posts
  • be very aware of my mood before I open the site and ask myself, am I in a mood that i am likely to be easily bothered? if so, maybe don't open it, and try again in a couple hours
  • limit myself to posting on topics that are more meaningful to me -- not just posting for the sake of posting
  • use the 'unwatch thread' feature when a thread is going on and on but i have lost interest in it
  • after poking around a bit, if i'm not feeling it, remember it's okay to just close out the site. I have no obligation here.
There's nothing wrong with coming here when you are feeling good. That might be the best opportunity for you to make supportive posts to others. However I recommend that no matter what mood you are in, be careful about what types of threads you are viewing and how it is making you feel. Some areas of the forum are 'heavier' than others. Since you have recognized the problem, you can now think about ways to solve it.
 

Bloop

Che Vuole Questa Musica Stasera
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#11
I have taken long breaks (months or years) from the site if I observe that visiting the site is having a negative impact on me more often than positive. Log out, delete the bookmark, and don't visit. When I am comfortable visiting the site, I found it important for me to:
  • avoid several entire sections and subsections of the forum
  • skip over posts by certain members, after I've noticed that I am getting bothered reading their posts
  • be very aware of my mood before I open the site and ask myself, am I in a mood that i am likely to be easily bothered? if so, maybe don't open it, and try again in a couple hours
  • limit myself to posting on topics that are more meaningful to me -- not just posting for the sake of posting
  • use the 'unwatch thread' feature when a thread is going on and on but i have lost interest in it
  • after poking around a bit, if i'm not feeling it, remember it's okay to just close out the site. I have no obligation here.
There's nothing wrong with coming here when you are feeling good. That might be the best opportunity for you to make supportive posts to others. However I recommend that no matter what mood you are in, be careful about what types of threads you are viewing and how it is making you feel. Some areas of the forum are 'heavier' than others. Since you have recognized the problem, you can now think about ways to solve it.
This is really perfectly said, the whole post, and what I wanted, was trying to say myself.

Do not feel an obligation to be here but IF you want to be here make it as comfortable for yourself as possible. It is not weak to block a sub-forum or particular members if they are bothering you, or may bother you. No one will notice but you. Avoid whatever you need to to ensure you keep feeling the way you are.

If I had known this, that it is not a weakness or a slight or embarrassing I would have done it many years ago and I guarantee you it would have helped me. This is a website, a lovely website but that doesn't mean every single part of SF has to fit in with where you are at the moment. Look after yourself first and foremost then you can worry about everything else after.
 
#12
Yes! This is why I've disappeared from here for a few months. Well, not the only reason, but one. This site is helpful but I also find it can drag you down. Certain things were starting to make me feel worse being on here and I found it liberating not being on here for so long. It's hard cause we need support but at the same time the time when you need support is when you're most fragile and therefore any tiny thing could make you feel worse, from different peoples choice of wording which might seem too blunt or insensitive to some, to what you mentioned about feeling a bit better but then seeing sad posts and feeling down again cause it makes you feel hopeless or reminds you of stuff you're trying to forget about and make peace with.

I guess gradually limit your visits here? That's what I tried to do but it was hard, I found it addictive too?! I'd be checking like 10+ times a day sometimes and I'd be saying to myself look some things make you feel worse so chill out and spend less time there! I'd even try to discourage myself by logging out or deleting my history but I'd still go back *facepalm I finally managed to visit less times a day and then suddenly weeks and months went by and I forgot about it (well mostly) and now it's easy to stay away. I do think about this place at times though, I don't want to disappear from here permanently I just... I don't know. I think maybe I need to wait until my mental health is a decent amount more stable before being here more frequently again. Stay safe, and just do whatever you feel comfortable with. :) It's hard to limit something when you feel addicted or are in heavy habit of doing it, but it is possible
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#13
Hmm, not quite in the same way, but I find my issues can catch up with me here really badly, yeah.
A lot of my life can be summed up with the word conflict. I have a habit of clashing with people a lot, on a lot of things. I'm not generally the sort to back down on things, and unless someone gets me to see things from a new perspective, I will die on that hill until the hill has eroded away to dust. A combo of the way my father raised me and the experiences i've had that have forced me to toughen up and learn to stand my ground, I suspect.

As such, I generally don't care much if some people don't like me, or even hate me. I've accepted it as an inevitability. To some degree, I embrace it, like if I'm pissing some people off, I'm living the right way. But I find myself caring a lot what the people here think of me. Somehow the goodness in this place has wormed its way through my armour and gotten to the softer bits of my heart. And that can really complicate things when I butt heads with some people here, especially the ones who are pillars of this community. It sets off the exact same horrific doubt spiral I get when I properly argue with my dad.

At first I have faith in my ability to argue my points coherently, and confidence that I'm in the right. But as the argument goes on, these little niggling doubts that maybe I'm in the wrong start appearing. And then they fester. Little doubts turn into "I'm wrong to have this argument", which turns into "I'm such an asshole", then "I'm just a useless freak" to "I'm a terrible human being" to "I'm completely poisonous, and I damage everyone I care about, I should just off myself." And bam, I'm in one of the deepest pits I've been in for months.

Several staff could probably confirm that they've seen me go from "Come on, this is unreasonable" to "God, wtf am I doing here, just delete my fucking account. Ban me, please, I'm so fucking toxic." in the space of like, an hour. It looks like such an overreaction to nothing for anyone else. From what I've heard, I have a reputation now as a guy who's generally fine, but occasionally has a massive meltdown. It's actually one major reason why I had to quit my pro role, because I was required to make judgement calls, and whenever I got called out for my decisions, it would start that same spiral.
So yeah, it definitely backfires on me in a different way, but I suspect it's for similar reasons. We care too much about the thoughts and feelings of the people saying the words to just let it go. It sticks with us, and drags us under.
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#14
No. I usually feel better. I know others experienced what you have. There is a lot of pain. One way people deal with that is to post to SF. It helps then to get it out and to tell people.

When you are in a good mood do you read the forums or go to the social chat? The social chat sometimes has good vibes. What about Jim's cafe? Read through there when feeling good. These are places on SF where you can read about more positive things that are going on with the people here. When your in a good mood, try posting about it in appropriate forum, let people know the good that's happening.
Yeah, definitely agreed. Like, not to sound harsh, but this is kinda why it bothers me a little seeing people posting negativity to those spaces. Like those "What made you smile today" posts that say "nothing". Sometimes you just need to chat with people about light things, find yourself a reason to smile. You need to escape all the sadness and pain in the world for a moment.

Like I'm not judging people who do that, I just wish they'd take the wellbeing of others into consideration and find one of the more appropriate spaces for that kind of post. Like we have two separate complaints threads, and at least two for just posting whatever's on your mind. Why do you need to be posting it to a happy space?
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#16
I was either thinking about doing that a couple weeks ago or I did it. I don't remember.
Like I say, it's not that I judge anyone for it.
See, it's always tricky discussing these things, because I'm aware that people come here because they're in pain, and that's why they do it, which makes it understandable.
But I'm also aware that they're in pain, and can need spaces where they can find respite from it, so it's also why it bothers me.
It's definitely complicated. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything, my bad.
My goal definitely wasn't to guilt anyone for it. *hug10
 

BarryW

SF Supporter
#17
Goatman, I like your avatar, although I am not sure what it is, maybe a dog pilgrim? Don't worry, I don't feel guilty.

This site is so many things to so many people and some of these goals are at somewhat at odds with each other.

I think perhaps the most important thing this site provides is a place where people can talk about their negative feelings without it being taboo or frowned upon. To me the site is an oasis from the 'real world' where 90%+ of people that you might meet can't deal with suicidal/depression topics in a productive manner (bad responses include running away, not talking to you anymore, looking at you funny, laughing at you, belitting your feelings, encouraging suicide, etc.).

I see so many members post about their frustration with this taboo, or frustration at family/friends/etc not being understanding or supportive. I also have seen a lot of complaints about coworkers or other people who ask how is your day, only to get angry or non-responsive if you give a truthful response instead of lying and saying 'fine' when you're not. I was reminded about these when I read your comment about disliking responding to the 'what made you smile today' thread with 'nothing'. You probably didn't mean it this way, but in my overly negative and depressed mind that meant you wanted to make SF into the same kind of place as the fake real world, which is why I felt the need to "rat myself out".

Absolutely there is a balance. I wouldn't go onto that thread and say something mean to the participants. Just making an honest answer to a question that was posted to the general populace, should be allowed and encouraged on this forum. I understand you probably want to protect those who want to see mostly positive stuff on this site. I'm not looking to convince you of anything. I just wanted to throw out some information that might help you understand a bit more about why people might post things like that.

Hope you are having a great day. But if you're not, I won't be offended :)
 
#18
Hmm, not quite in the same way, but I find my issues can catch up with me here really badly, yeah.
A lot of my life can be summed up with the word conflict. I have a habit of clashing with people a lot, on a lot of things. I'm not generally the sort to back down on things, and unless someone gets me to see things from a new perspective, I will die on that hill until the hill has eroded away to dust. A combo of the way my father raised me and the experiences i've had that have forced me to toughen up and learn to stand my ground, I suspect.

As such, I generally don't care much if some people don't like me, or even hate me. I've accepted it as an inevitability. To some degree, I embrace it, like if I'm pissing some people off, I'm living the right way. But I find myself caring a lot what the people here think of me. Somehow the goodness in this place has wormed its way through my armour and gotten to the softer bits of my heart. And that can really complicate things when I butt heads with some people here, especially the ones who are pillars of this community. It sets off the exact same horrific doubt spiral I get when I properly argue with my dad.

At first I have faith in my ability to argue my points coherently, and confidence that I'm in the right. But as the argument goes on, these little niggling doubts that maybe I'm in the wrong start appearing. And then they fester. Little doubts turn into "I'm wrong to have this argument", which turns into "I'm such an asshole", then "I'm just a useless freak" to "I'm a terrible human being" to "I'm completely poisonous, and I damage everyone I care about, I should just off myself." And bam, I'm in one of the deepest pits I've been in for months.

Several staff could probably confirm that they've seen me go from "Come on, this is unreasonable" to "God, wtf am I doing here, just delete my fucking account. Ban me, please, I'm so fucking toxic." in the space of like, an hour. It looks like such an overreaction to nothing for anyone else. From what I've heard, I have a reputation now as a guy who's generally fine, but occasionally has a massive meltdown. It's actually one major reason why I had to quit my pro role, because I was required to make judgement calls, and whenever I got called out for my decisions, it would start that same spiral.
So yeah, it definitely backfires on me in a different way, but I suspect it's for similar reasons. We care too much about the thoughts and feelings of the people saying the words to just let it go. It sticks with us, and drags us under.
from what I've seen you seem like a nice well-rounded person :) the most important thing is you don't have bad intent, which I'm sure you don't, you're good and I'm sure people know that :D


p.s. hope you've been ok lately health-wise etc, if not sending hugs *brohug
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#19
Goatman, I like your avatar, although I am not sure what it is, maybe a dog pilgrim?
Oh, it's a character Asriel, from this game called Undertale. Appropriately enough, he's a goat. ;) People love making fan art of him. :D
Don't worry, I don't feel guilty. This site is so many things to so many people and some of these goals are at somewhat at odds with each other.

I think perhaps the most important thing this site provides is a place where people can talk about their negative feelings without it being taboo or frowned upon. To me the site is an oasis from the 'real world' where 90%+ of people that you might meet can't deal with suicidal/depression topics in a productive manner (bad responses include running away, not talking to you anymore, looking at you funny, laughing at you, belitting your feelings, encouraging suicide, etc.).

I see so many members post about their frustration with this taboo, or frustration at family/friends/etc not being understanding or supportive. I also have seen a lot of complaints about coworkers or other people who ask how is your day, only to get angry or non-responsive if you give a truthful response instead of lying and saying 'fine' when you're not. I was reminded about these when I read your comment about disliking responding to the 'what made you smile today' thread with 'nothing'. You probably didn't mean it this way, but in my overly negative and depressed mind that meant you wanted to make SF into the same kind of place as the fake real world, which is why I felt the need to "rat myself out".

Absolutely there is a balance. I wouldn't go onto that thread and say something mean to the participants. Just making an honest answer to a question that was posted to the general populace, should be allowed and encouraged on this forum. I understand you probably want to protect those who want to see mostly positive stuff on this site. I'm not looking to convince you of anything. I just wanted to throw out some information that might help you understand a bit more about why people might post things like that.

Hope you are having a great day. But if you're not, I won't be offended :)
I appreciate your calm and measured reply, I can get how some people could feel that was some kind of personal attack. It's good of you to be more reasoned than that. *hug And I can also see why it sounded like I was saying I wanted to make this place into that same kind of phony niceties. But no, I totally agree - I love the fact that we can be open and honest about difficult feelings in this place. If that were to ever change, I would feel a great sense of loss for what this place provided. And I think if people came here looking exclusively for positive things, they'd most likely be looking in the wrong place.

I suppose my thinking really fits that term - "oasis". As I say, I would want the majority of spaces to allow for that kind of free expression, I suppose my thinking is more along the fact that for some people, what they get out of this place is the community as much as anything, and sometimes they want that but aren't feeling in a fit state to process the more negative aspects of what brought that community together. And it kinda feels like the few threads that were created for positive messages were designed with that in mind. And so, again, while I would never want to affect the nature of the majority of threads specifically for the purpose of discussing difficult emotions, I suppose I also like the idea of having a safe haven, or oasis, as you say, where those people can find the comfort they're seeking. But yes, at the same time, I understand the inherent complexity in wanting to "protect" people from what is effectively other people in the same situation as them, trying to process things in their own way.

Think along the lines of this site's initial response to covid. That presented a real challenge, because some people needed to talk out their feelings regarding the outbreak, while others couldn't cope with hearing such things, and it was really difficult to facilitate the needs of both, which led to a lot of talk of censorship and authoritarianism. Ultimately all it was on the part of the staff was an earnest attempt to meet the needs of everybody as best as they could.

I think I may need to create a thread soon discussing this concept of expressing one's pain in a conscientious manner, because I admit, it's one where I always struggle to know where the boundaries lie.
I hope this has cleared up what I'm attempting, in my own imperfect way, to describe. :)
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#20
from what I've seen you seem like a nice well-rounded person :) the most important thing is you don't have bad intent, which I'm sure you don't, you're good and I'm sure people know that :D


p.s. hope you've been ok lately health-wise etc, if not sending hugs *brohug
Aw, thanks Lost. Yeah, I try to reassure myself that I usually only get worked up or adamant when I feel someone else's wellbeing is being affected by the matter in question, but I also have to acknowledge I can take it too far at times, or respond in an overly-hostile manner. And that can be difficult, especially when I feel like I've made a scene in front of people I care about. But hey, it's human nature to make mistakes, eh? :)

For what it's worth, i've always though you were a genuinely lovely person yourself. This place is definitely better off for having you here.*hug

And things are going really well actually, thanks, my exposure therapy has been going great, and things have been becoming much more manageable as a result. I hope things have been going as well as can be hoped for you. *hug10
 

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