As I’m sure you all know by now, The Good Limbo prides itself on being an inclusive peer support community. As such we have meetings with the members every 3 months. These are to check in on how they feel things are going. In one of these meetings recently somebody asked if we had a guide on how to use peer support, something so obvious to us that we’d just taken it for granted that others understood the way we worked. I had a think about this with Muir and we realised that it’s not actually that obvious.
You see, we work differently to many other peer support communities. We don’t have set supporters or provide one on one support (unless people choose to do so through direct messages). We believe that input from multiple members with multiple life experiences, diagnoses, and different support styles is important. It puts less pressure on sole supporters and it also provides many different perspectives and options for those receiving support. It’s funny the things you can miss when they’re right in front of your face! With all that being said it’s time to get stuck into the guide.
Guidelines that apply to all
Firstly, we have a couple of guidelines that apply to both sides of the support spectrum:
- We have a multitude of members here (and future members I hope!) that have different opinions, lifestyles, backgrounds, and values. It’s important to remember that even if we don’t always agree with one another, respect is the cornerstone of a community. We can’t run a place effectively without all having respect for one another and being polite.
- It can help us all to spend some time in the general rooms. This gives us an opportunity to chat and get to know one another. From a receiving support perspective, it may make people more comfortable with asking for support. From the giving side of things, it can be easier to help if you understand what works and what doesn’t for the individual asking.
- Some individuals here may be professionals working in the medical or therapeutic fields. However, it’s important to remember that everybody is here as a peer and professional advice or support won’t be given.
Giving peer support
- When giving support to somebody it can be helpful to start by asking what they need or what you can do to help. Some people may want practical solutions, while others may just want to get their feelings off their chest or feel validated. Whichever is the case it’s helpful to know what the goal is when you’re providing support. Support doesn’t have to mean advice. Sometimes it just means hearing somebody out.
- Try to let the discussion go at the pace that the individual asking for support can cope with. Some may share very little, others might go into depth. Both of these things are completely fine. Listening and giving people time to respond to how they feel is important.
- When you are giving advice try not to be too specific about things. If you’re sharing your own experiences you can preface them with this is what I found helpful personally. Remember that we’re all individuals though, and what works for one may not work for another. More general advice like routine, sleep hygiene, diet, and exercise can be helpful to remind people that the basics matter but try to never be too pushy about things.
- If somebody is looking for practical support it can help to know that we have many resources for helplines on the main website. These can be sorted by the country that somebody is living in.
- Try not to be offended if somebody is unable to utilise the support that you’ve offered. We’re all individuals and what suits me may not suit you.
- If you’re becoming frustrated while trying to support somebody it may be a good idea to excuse yourself, step away and take some time for a general chat or self-care. There are always other members who can step in.
Receiving peer support
- If you know what kind of support you’re looking for i.e. just to vent, practical advice, validation, try to share this at the start of your post so that members can best help you.
- Remember that 99.9% of the time (barring occasional trolls who will be banned) every person taking the time to support you has the best of intentions even if the way that they are supporting doesn’t fit what you’re looking for.
- Try not to get frustrated or give up on the idea of peer support if somebody isn’t giving support that you’re finding helpful. We’re not mind readers here and we can’t know exactly what is right for each individual. The beauty of having so many members is that there are bound to be people who can at least partially relate to what you’re sharing and support you in a way that will work for you.
- If you aren’t finding the support or advice that somebody is sharing helpful it’s completely acceptable to say so as long as you do it in a polite way e.g. I’m not finding this approach helpful right now but I appreciate you taking the time out to listen. Perhaps when I feel a little calmer I can read back through and see if I gain something from it.
- It can be nice for people to hear thank you if they take the time to support. While nobody is doing it for their own gain, appreciation can feel good.
- Should you need crisis support numbers for your area you can find these on the website here: https://thegoodlimbo.com/support/. This list is more comprehensive than the shortcut list available in chat.
- If you would like the crisis numbers quickly in discord chat you can find these by using the following shortcuts in the support room:
?support us – United States
?support uk – United Kingdom
?support ca – Canada
?support ie – Ireland
?support au – Australia
?support dk – Denmark
?support no – Norway
- A shortcut link to the 54321 grounding technique can also be found in chat by using the bot command ?54321 in the support rooms.
A final word
I hope this has helped to provide a little insight into how we do things on TGL and that it’s useful to everybody trying to provide or receive support both on the forums or in chat. If you’d like any more questions cleared up you’re welcome to ask in a direct message on either the forums or chat (Spork. or Muir) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to see you all soon. Take care and goodbye for now!