Unlocking the Key To Our Souls: Does Social Media Have Its Place with Chronic Illness and Crime Victimization?

“First I was helped, Now I am helping, Now I’m back to being part of the world.”                    
Chronic Illness Patient in Pam Ressler’s Research Study

“Behind every stressful thought is the desire for things to be other than they are.”

Toni Bernhard, How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers

“Capable, generous men do not create victims, they nurture victims.”

Julian Assange

Miraculously recover or die. That’s the extent of our cultural bandwidth for chronic illness.”

S. Kelley Harrell

“So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault & responsibility of the adult― Ellen Bass, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
When discussing social media, it reminds me of those spectacle events about which we have no control such as the releasing of balloon to the sky, fireworks or confetti thrown at a wedding.  You “throw it out there” and although it makes you feel liberated, you never know where it’s going to land.   The human touch is said to be the most healing of all – a gesture, a smile, a hug. As human beings we need this sense of touch, but frequently the need between people may not match between giver and receiver.  So we are left to stand awkwardly or to take the risk and make a match.
Behind our computers, some may feel a false sense of security where social conventions are different.  In today’s society in which electronic connections appear to rule, we often chose the most rapid method available.    Social media was never meant to be our best buddy, to replace true flesh and blood family and friends, to offer solace and support.  However, because those diagnosed with chronic illness or those victimized by crime become social pariahs “in a New York minute” except for the most patient supporters, we are left to our own devices. The power of words…   Words can lift us up, but words can also hurt and tear us down if we are not vigilant of the public, long-lasting nature of its properties on-line.  At it’s basic level:


The Shattered Lives team took a closer look at the influence of social media and the healing or damaging effects that can be brought to bear on those with chronic illnesses or those who have been victimized by crime or other tragedies. Our guest, Pam Ressler, RN, mind, body, spirit advocate, business owner, writer/researcher, educator and social media aficionado, led the discussion to pave the way toward a better understanding. The following are selected highlights of the podcast.

Listen to Shattered Lives Radio Podcast

Questions from the Gallery

· What is “stress hardiness” and what does the research tell us?
· What cultural influences have shaped our outlook in becoming more aware of the possibility of trauma?
· What is Mindfulness and how does it relate to our daily lives?
· What was Delilah’s experience in creating a blog for her close friend with chronic illness?
· What are Pam’s impressions with those on line who suffer from chronic illness?
· Why did most chronically ill patients who blog not want to share with their health care providers?
· How is blogging different than using a pad of paper?
· How can crime victims best express what has happened to them?
· How can we be mindful as “non-victims?”
· How do blogs give back to victims?

The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.

Unlocking the Key To Our Souls: Does Social Media Have Its Place with Chronic Illness and Crime Victimization?


  1. Donna, very interesting topic! This is a current issue in my state right now because of the Oso mudslide. Area residents took to social media and jumped into the rescue and relief efforts immediately and the results have been amazing.

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