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Mumsnetters do really really well but ……

(128 Posts)
retiredlady Sun 06-Sep-09 09:49:30

I have tried several times to write down what I am thinking about how we, the Mumsnet readers, support people in their darkest hours. I still don’t think I have sorted out in my own mind exactly what it is that is niggling away at me but I do know that I have spent many hours reading different threads and the sadness of some of them and the compassion and good sense offered have made me cry more than once.

But I still don’t think we are quite getting it right.

To me there doesn’t always seem to be the link that I would have expected to see between the urgency of the cry for help and the number of postings in the thread. Sometimes the balance seems wrong so for example (using a made-up crisis here for obvious reasons) “two little girls living next door were drowned in a local lake” although most unpleasant for the OP is not nearly as urgent as “my two little girls were drowned in a local lake”.

One change I would make would be to have Bereavement as one of the chat topics that comes up automatically rather than hiding it away under the more … sign. Perhaps swap PRS option with Bereavement??

I have also made a paper list of the threads where I think urgent support could make a real difference, perhaps even a life-or-death difference, and if I don’t see anything being posted for perhaps 24 hours I will show the OP that they are not forgotten by posting something myself. Other readers might care to do the same?

purepurple Sun 06-Sep-09 09:55:44

I actualy don't come on here to hand-hold complete strangers while they go through bereavment.
I think you have too much time on your hands, have you thought about joining the Samaritans?

bradsmissus Sun 06-Sep-09 09:59:09

I think people respond honestly in these situations.

I don't often post on bereavement threads because they bring up sad and horrible feelings for me and make me think about things.

However, if something hits a chord with me and I feel strongly compelled to post, I will.

I agree with purple, you are overthinking it.

ComeOVeneer Sun 06-Sep-09 09:59:42

Agree with purepurple. I think making lists of threads is letting MN take over too much of your life tbh. I think that energy would be better channelled elsewhere.

ArizonaBarker Sun 06-Sep-09 09:59:45

I don't think anyone should be under any obligation to offer support.
It's a personal choice based on many things, time, experience etc.

Sparkletastic Sun 06-Sep-09 10:00:12

retiredlady are you new here? You are posting some very odd comments. IF you are genuine one aspect to consider is that it isn't the number of responses that determines how well-supported or comforted a poster might feel, but rather the quality of those responses. Your post on another thread about a chronically ill DH where you instead seem to dismiss the poster's concerns and instead mention your grandfather suffering from the after-effects of being gassed in WW1 is an example of an unsupportive response that perhaps would have been best left un-posted no?

ComeOVeneer Sun 06-Sep-09 10:00:45

And why have you posted this exact same OP twice (like your other thread on a similar vien)?

cathcat Sun 06-Sep-09 10:01:19

I think there are plenty MNetters who return to threads and continue to offer support.

LuluMaman Sun 06-Sep-09 10:03:06

hi retiredlady.. how long have you been here on MN? your name seems quite new to me..

It is not the responsibility of strangers on the internet to carry others through bereavement or loss in the 'correct'way

what is great about MN is that the site allows you to share your own stories of grief and bereavement to comfort others and help yourself grieve

often threads will advise other bereavement websites and helplines such as CRUSE or compassionate friends, or advise seeing a GP or counsellor for additional help

some people do not want to post on these threads as they don't know what to say, ahve no experience of it etc

if you are desperate to make a difference , consider, as purple says, training to be a Samaritan or even a bereavement counsellor

people use MN for all different things from breastfeeding support to how to end an abusive relationship, and everything in between

it is not the responsibility of MNers to save others from themselves, and this has been dsicussed extensively before re suididal MNers posting for help

also MNers have been taken advantage of by trolls, which also makes some posters less keen to get invovled in emotionally draining threads

retiredlady Sun 06-Sep-09 10:04:46

Yes I know I am new, yes I know I am probably quite a bit older than most readers, yes I know from experience that a newcomer making suggestions about changing an existing system is never popular. I know all that.

It doesn't mean that the question doesn't need to be asked. Does it?

Sparkletastic Sun 06-Sep-09 10:06:50

It might mean you aren't the best-qualified person to ask it though.

We have no knowledge of how old you are - your nickname might be entirely irrelevant to your age. We look forward to seeing your profile wink

beaniebgivesupontheDMarsery Sun 06-Sep-09 10:08:47

I have the same questions as Sparkletastic and ComeOVeneer. You have done the same with this thread as you did with your other thread "A question for experienced readers of this group" and although I am sure your intentions are good it is likely to raise eyebrows if you post like this.

ComeOVeneer Sun 06-Sep-09 10:09:34

Actually the more I read your OP the more it bugs me. It has a patronising air about it - you are doing quite well, but could improve and her@s how you can do it. Were you a teacher before you retired by any chance?

lottiejenkins Sun 06-Sep-09 10:10:08

We have a very good thread in the bereavement section for us Mums who have lost our babies/children. I am very glad of the support of my friends on there!

ComeOVeneer Sun 06-Sep-09 10:12:18

Also there isn't really an "exsisting system", people post, people read, people reply. Although MN is hugely supportive, it isn't run with qualified persons who deal with these situations (that is what counsellors/samaratains etc ore for).

LedodgyDailyMailstinksofpoo Sun 06-Sep-09 10:18:46

I dont agree with you at all OP. If you'd been around for a while you would be able to see how much mn'ers have supported the personally bereaved.

If someone is looking for the kind of help you're talking about they need to look to Cruse, Winston's wish etc.

beaniebgivesupontheDMarsery Sun 06-Sep-09 10:20:20

"I have also made a paper list of the threads where I think urgent support could make a real difference, perhaps even a life-or-death difference, and if I don’t see anything being posted for perhaps 24 hours I will show the OP that they are not forgotten by posting something myself. Other readers might care to do the same?"

this seems a little odd.

If I were going through a berevement I would much rather have someone who genuinely empathises with my situation trying to help and sympathise and share their experience rather than someone randomly bumping my thread 24 hours later with what they think are the right words.

makedoandmend Sun 06-Sep-09 10:33:35

I agree with sparkletastic that it isn't the number of responses that has anything to do with the quality of support. Some of the most posted on threads have so many posts because a bunfight has started halfway through which has little to do with the op and usually not very helpful!

When things are hard it's sometimes just one comment that says everything you need to hear.

makedoandmend Sun 06-Sep-09 10:38:59

And I find 'yes I know from experience that a newcomer making suggestions about changing an existing system is never popular' a bit odd. Those that have posted are not disagreeing with you from a defensive standpoint - people just don't agree with some of the assumptions.

Stick around a bit and, as Ledodgy says, you'll see how much support there is here. It's phenomenal at times.

Onlyjoking Sun 06-Sep-09 10:40:27

I have read your post and your previous post in this topic, I have to say that I find your tone offensive.
Mn does and has offered a huge amount of support to people on these threads but what people chose to offer is really up to them.
Personally I have had a huge amount of support and when I can I try to give some back.

theyoungvisiter Sun 06-Sep-09 10:43:29

"To me there doesn’t always seem to be the link that I would have expected to see between the urgency of the cry for help and the number of postings in the thread."

The thing is, people who have no experience of a subject don't want to post inanities or say the "wrong" thing.

I never/rarely post on miscarriage threads for example, not because I don't have huge sympathy for the people suffering, but because I have never had a miscarriage and I don't feel that I can offer either experience or practical advice. It has nothing to do with my huge sadness for the situation, but simply posting "sad" doesn't seem to me to do justice to their feelings or help the situation at all.

Whereas (to use your example) "two little girls living next door were drowned in a lake" - many people have had experience of offering sympathy and help to a grieving friend, so they can draw on their own experience with practical suggestions for how to help.

I also think your comments about the "existing system" and "mners doing very well" are a little odd and perhaps misunderstand the ethos of MN. This website is not a service where we have to attain certain levels of response time etc, to be assessed and policed by each other. You seem to be treating MN as if it's the Samaritans. It's not. It shouldn't be. And it would do nobody any favours to try to pretend it is.

PielightIsMyNewLove Sun 06-Sep-09 10:46:21

I think that your OP is badly worded. You can think about this all you like, make all the lists you like but you cannot make people behave in way that fits your model.

LuluMaman Sun 06-Sep-09 10:52:58

you also don't see the support that happens off board, where people phone/email and visit other MNers , send food and clothing parcels and do give support.

I think you cannot judge or criticise MN for not giving support when you have not been here long and have not seen the amount of support that goes on

for instance, do you know baout the Xmas appeal? do you know about the Mile for Maude? do you know about the support that bereaved MNers who have lsot children or husbands have received?

when my grandmother was terminally ill a while back, I posted on the prayer request thread , somewhere i rarely post and have the most beautfiul and supportive messages. in fact, 18 months after her death, one of those prayers sticks in my mind for it's beauty and kindness. just a few words, from a stranger and it has had a huge impact on me.

so, i think you need to really experience more of MN before you tell us off for not being good enough

2shoes Sun 06-Sep-09 10:55:09

I disagree with the op.
It is not the ammount of post you get, sometimes just a couple of answers is all you need.
what I posted in bereavement, I just wanted to get it out of my head.
it was nice that people posted though.
I rarely look in bereavement as to be honest I am still dealing with my own, so have a bit of trouble reading other people's sadness.

Onlyjoking Sun 06-Sep-09 10:55:53

Your previos thread in this section described Mnetters who have these "crisises" as "poor tourtured souls".
I might be on my own with this but I found that very offensive.

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