I used to go on automatic ‘help mode’ in every support group I was in.
I wanted to help people, send resources, send sympathy and ask questions to better understand.
Most of the time it didn’t seem like it was appreciated:
“I’ve already tried that”
“That won’t work for me”
And I’d feel less than useless. I was trying to help but I wasn’t being helpful and my support didn’t seem to be appreciated.
So, I focused on things I knew more about, mostly about getting help with Disabled experience support.
I used my work and personal experience to share resources and give people contact details for more knowledgeable others.
Mostly, people ignored my answers or at least they didn’t respond to them.
I was constantly using my spare time to help others but noone seemed to be getting anything from it.
I then started to put in boundaries: just help people I knew better within these groups or with subjects I *really* knew alot about.
Most of the people I know online know I have an open DM policy.
So my use of the support groups has dwindled.
I still feel a pang of guilt (?) every time I scroll past another human being asking for help.
I remind myself that I can’t (and shouldn’t have to) support and love everyone all the time.
It also makes me think that it seems to be one-sided. Where was my deep involved answers for my posts in these groups? Who was helping or supporting me?
Support really needs to be both ways and although noone is *taking* from me. I was giving much more of myself than I was getting support from the people in these groups.
I just want to help everyone and I quite clearly can’t do that. It also takes away from my ability to look after myself.
Its experiences like this that make me laugh when people say Autistic people are unempathetic.
I feel I have no choice *but* to be empathetic with *everyone*. It’s nice to want to help, I’ve just got to help myself first and that isn’t selfish, it’s self care and love.
My new boundaries mean my online time is much more relaxed and less emotionally taxing. And I enjoy the social side of these groups so much more.