Everything in Moderation

Janet Coburn
3 min readFeb 4, 2024

Support systems are important for good mental health. There’s just something about sharing difficulties and successes with people who truly understand because they’re in the same place, facing the same issues. You get to say how you’re doing and what has helped you. You get to listen to what has helped others and incorporate their insights into your own journey. You get a chance to bitch and moan if that’s what you need to do. And after you’ve vented to people who share your pain, you feel better.

During the pandemic, we learned the value of connecting without physical presence. In many ways, it was ideal. We didn’t have to get dressed and venture out into the people-y world. We didn’t have to risk getting or spreading illness. Most of our therapy sessions went virtual. Mine did — and stayed that way even after pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Social media has also provided many virtual gathering spaces for people with brain illnesses. For example, there are many Facebook groups that create communities of mental health advocates and sufferers alike. These groups vary in what they offer. Some are chat groups. Others specialize in various diagnoses. Still others provide access to resources so people who need them can find them in one place.

I moderate one of these Facebook groups. It’s called Hope for Troubled Minds, and it addresses people with brain illnesses and their families and caregivers, with an underlying focus on faith. (You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/654965125046006.)

I don’t have an awful lot to moderate, so I curate, instead. Every day, except when I’m out of town, I hunt for articles of interest to our group members. I get them from The Mighty, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN Science, blogs, and other Facebook groups. (I subscribed to NYT and WaPo mainly to be able to share articles they print without having members run into a paywall.)

My goal is to post four to six articles or connections a day, and most days I make my quota. The stories I find include first-person articles written by those with psychiatric conditions and their relatives, scientific articles such as those on brain science, and news stories about political and legal aspects of the topic. I also cross-post my own blog posts to the group. I try to keep a balance of different diagnoses so that it doesn’t run too much to bipolar, which is my own disorder and primary interest.

I comment on most of the posts I make to point out interesting quotes or opinions on the issues presented. The group members also make comments and start discussions, though not as many as I would like. Sometimes I post questions that I hope will prompt those discussions.

Recently, I’ve posted links to articles on hospitalization, “high functioning” anxiety, depression and creativity, the difficulty of reaching out, working, eating disorders, ruminating, OCD, DBT, schizophrenia, medication, self-care, co-occurring conditions, suicide, and more.

My goals for the group (and my moderating of it) are to improve member engagement, to seek out some guest bloggers, and to continue to share a diversity of articles.

I’d like to invite you to go with me on that journey. Join our group or tell me what would make it better. Put me in touch with other groups so we can cross-post information. Point me toward blogs I need to be reading and posts I need to be sharing. Volunteer to write for the group and its members.

Help me make Hope for Troubled Minds the best resource it can be.

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Janet Coburn

Author of Bipolar Me and Bipolar Us, Janet Coburn is a writer, editor, and blogger at butidigress.blog and bipolarme.blog.