The main benefit I've found so far from getting involved in an online health community has been an endless font of experience and knowledge.
It's one thing chatting to doctors and nurses, surgeons and consultants but finding a community online is a wonderful way to gain information and an idea on what to expect from a condition from those already living with it.
I've been pleasantly surprised to see how open and brutally honest some people are about what they are going through, not afraid to lay out all their issues for the world to see. This is admirable as it allows others to gain knowledge of their condition and in some cases find reasons why they feel a certain way or what a certain symptom may mean. Obviously there's no substitute for medical knowledge when dealing with a health problem, but it's lovely to know there is a place outwith family and friends where someone out there is willing to listen and offer the support and advice only someone else with the same condition can.
I try my best to be as honest and open as I can in my blog, although I usually stop short of going into too much graphic detail. Some things I still find too uncomfortable to discuss right now, but who knows maybe that opinion will change later.
I hope the online health community continues to be a great and ongoing place of support and advice. Not necessarily a place where everybody knows your name, Cheers-style, but a nice place you can go pay a visit or stay and chat awhile. Everyone's welcome, and that's what makes it so special.
This post was written as part of NHBPM - 30 health posts in 30 days.