The Crab Bucket: Are Facebook Support Groups Bringing Us Down

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Crabs in a Bucket

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Woman’s Bible Study; the topic was on how women can biblically support each other when in groups of other women. The speaker was my Pastors wife; her speech was about ways we could lift women in our church communities to rise instead of bringing them down.

The analogy she used was that of how crabs behave when placed in a bucket together. When one crab tries to escape from the bucket, the others pull the fellow crab back down.

The principle of the story is,

1. if we are in groups of friends and our friends believe that we are doing or acting in a way that could negatively affect us, our crab friends will stop us from doing anything stupid.

2. But theirs a flip side, when we are climbing out because we want to reach better grounds, our crab friend also may pull us down keeping us from the possibility of achieving a better life.


Someone Like Me

Women that have PMDD can find it difficult to connect with other women. When the other women don’t comprehend PMDD, it makes it challenging to form a meaningful connection. It is especially important to find a support system when the PMDD woman suffers from suicidal ideations; the support could be the difference between life and death.

Additionally, we all want to make connections with others that are just like us. It makes the world we live in less lonely and more relatable; no one wants to be the only one that feels different.  We want to know that others have had the same thought and feeling as we do, that we are not alone in the struggle.

Thanks to technology and Facebook, women with PMDD have found a safe place to seek support and understanding. A place where you can express your fears, anger, issues, and thoughts without judgment. Providing them with much-needed encouragement when they are at their lowest points during PMDD.


The Crab Bucket: Are Facebook Support Groups Bringing Us DownFinding My Bucket

After I started my blog and opened a Facebook account, I decided that I would look for a group of women with PMDD. Once I found a couple of groups, I quickly joined in hopes to finally be with women that understood my moments of rage and insanity.

The groups delivered, it gave me a place I could share those cringe-worthy moments during PMDD. That to other women it seems like I am a flying off the handle. It also provided a place I could finally connect with other women something that has proven at times to be a real struggle for me.

The connection I felt inspired me to do more for my fellow PMDD sisters. I wanted to start advocating and providing tools that would help each PMDD suffer. It inspired me so much that I even started my own Facebook support group Committed PMDD Sisters. Finally three months after starting my blog I felt like I was at home, I felt that here is where God had been leading me to, it was time to do His will.


A Crabby Realization

When I began to navigate the waters of support groups and what I wanted mines to look like, I realized that many are just places you can vent. In an attempt to make my group different I decided that I would make it a point to build a real community that got to know each other.  All the while encouraging self-love, empowerment and personal growth that would be inspiring and healing.

Committed PMDD Sister started small, and it still is, but I pray every day for its growth so that we can reach so many that feel alone in their journey. It not only brings me joy to help fellow women, but it helps me with my symptoms. Another fantastic benefit of creating my group is also getting the same level of love and support from my members. The love and support help me tremendously and fills me with hope for the better days, that always come.

I kept visiting other groups in the hope that I could also bring positivity and inspiration since I had noticed a very unhealthy trend.  Mostly due in part because we are a group of women with a mood disorder that could make anyone in our path weep. But it was more than that; it was like they got sucked into negative Nancy town. The post got increasingly negative, the validations also had very negative undertones, and at times it seemed like the women would lash out at each other.

We had become crabs in a bucket, both talking each other off the ledge and pulling each other down to drown in negativity.


Knocking The Bucket Over

Should we be surprised? I don’t think we should be, I mean what did we expect in a group with different personalities, views, points, and ideas.

In a study done to see how emotions could be infectious, the author noted the following; “social contagion theory hypothesizes that emotions can behave like infectious diseases spreading through groups of intimates in social networks” (Hill et al., 2010.) A reasonable explanation for why a group of women suffering from mood disorders is experiencing pessimistic opinions regarding life with PMDD.

Wait, don’t start unfollowing those groups quite yet!

Even though there may be a few crabs that want to pull us down, there is still many that want to keep us safe. In an additional study, it revealed that “highly susceptible individuals are less inclined to adopt negative emotions but equally likely to adopt positive emotions than the scarcely susceptible ones. Also, the adoption rate of positive emotions is in general greater than that of negative emotions.”(Ferrara and Yang). Meaning that providing more positive feedback could be much more contagious than negative feedback. Giving my group hope that if we stay positive while sharing the negative, we can avoid the crab bucket dilemma!

Please note that I still believe that being part of Facebook Support Groups can be a very empowering and beneficial experience. We need to keep in mind how our harmful speech can impact the groups as a whole.

 


Better Together

I believe that owning our actions and PMDD will give us the freedom to fight against the symptoms. Same thing with being in support groups! When we hold ourselves accountable for contributions it will change the dynamics of our PMDD support groups.

Allowing us to express every single feeling we have no matter if it’s positive one or a negative without the negative feelings spreading like wildfire harmfully impacting the groups as a whole.

But to achieve such balance, we as individuals must answer the following question honestly about our selves:

  • What are we joining the support group for, to get actual support?
  • Or are we just wanting to vent and receive reassurance of bad behavior?
  • Are we extending the same respect we are looking to receive?
  • Are we using PMDD as an excuse to be a negative Nancy ALL the time?
  • Do we contribute during our positive weeks as well as our negative weeks?
  • How many positive, encouraging comments am I responding with, or am I just agreeing and supporting a negative atmosphere?

When we answer these questions, truthfully we can transform the groups into more supportive and healing groups.


A Unique Sisterhood

If we all had a choice, we would not be living with PMDD. Unfortunately, that path has been laid, and we have been chosen to walk along; it’s a steep road. So I ask you;

Why not do it together? Why not do it together in harmony?

I strive to do just that in my group while allowing for each person to be themselves at all times, judgment-free. My PMDD sisters share real-life PMDD while having loving, encouraging, support from others PMDD suffers.

I would love to connect with you, find me on Facebook or message me now; I am happy to answer any question you may have about PMDD or my Support Group.

If you found value in this post, do me a favor and share it, my goal is to reach as many women as I can, so they no longer have to suffer in silence.


Do you suffer from PMDD? Have Facebook?

Here is a list of Support Groups to help you along your Journey.

Committed PMDD Sister (My group)- https://www.facebook.com/groups/committedpmddsisters/

Gia Allemand Foundation – https://www.facebook.com/groups/GAFSupport/

PMDD Moms-https://www.facebook.com/groups/pmddmoms/

PMDD- Strength Trough Faith- https://www.facebook.com/groups/129392330942986/

PMDD Private Discussion- https://www.facebook.com/groups/563576280410235/

PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)- https://www.facebook.com/groups/563576280410235/

You Are Not Alone – Treating PMDD with Positivity- https://www.facebook.com/groups/293355761069826/


Works Cited

Bastiampillai, Tarun, et al. “Is depression contagious? The importance of social networks and the implications of contagion theory.” Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 47, no. 4, 2013, pp. 299-303.

Ferrara, Emilio, and Zeyao Yang. “Measuring Emotional Contagion in Social Media.” PLOS ONE, vol. 10, no. 11, 2015, p. e0142390.

Hill, A. L., et al. “Emotions as infectious diseases in a large social network: the SISa model.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 277, no. 1701, 2010, pp. 3827-3835.

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