When Strangers Connect


You may have noticed (like you might notice getting hit by a car) that many of my recent rants have related to illness, self-pity, depression, hopelessness and a multitude of other pretty shitty feelings, emotions and mental states of mind.

I admit… I’ve been self-indulgent in channeling my newly found “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” persona.  Please accept my sincerest, apologies for this boorish and inconsiderate behaviour.

“What does today bring?”  you ask?  Well today is totally different, as today, I am filled with the optimism of Spring and Snowdrops; and with this new day came a new discovery!

Magic happens, when strangers connect!

No seriously!  Hear me out… you know how when you’re “struggling” (and that encompasses an unlimited number of personal, painful, bad states of mind or body); you expect (on some level) to find comfort and support with your friends and family, right?

Of course you do! One would always want to believe their friends and family would be there for them, in a time of need.

… but what about a kind, empathetic, compassionate, genuine STRANGER? 

Since I’ve been unwell, I’ve been frequenting (like a recovering alcoholic attends AA meetings) a Health, social network site. (HealthUnblocked).

It’s a “peer-to-peer” support network, where patients, caregivers and health advocates connect online to talk about their experiences, conditions, symptoms, treatments, health services, etc.  Everything is catalogued in a database and more 2.5 million experiences have been shared!  That’s a LOT of freakin experience.

In this surprisingly safe and accepting space, I have encountered total strangers, people I do not know, who are more than willing to share their story/experience, listen to my bullshit, angst and resentment and take the time to reply to me with a gentle, but honest, caring, authentic response!

No political bullshit, no abuse, no trolls (Well, there this one guy, trying to sell loss weight crap), no arguments, no profanity (Well, there is me and with me there’s alayws profanity!) It’s a comfortable, secure space where people act and are treated like kind, caring, compassionate, giving adults and it REALLY WORKS!

Wait what?

How could this be?  In a country that voted for Brexit?  With peope from the United States of America, who may have voted for Trump. In a world that seems to have turned a blind eye to global human suffering, racism, sexism, abuse and an infinite number of other unspoken atrocities… how could total strangers, possibly co-exist and care about each other?

To quote Winston Churchill; “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.”

Perhaps it’s the fact that we are total strangers (who will most likely never meet face to face) that we feel free to drop our facade and be our true authentic selves?

…but is it really that simple?

I mean, these people are “forreal forreal.” 

If they think you’re taking bollocks, they tell you.  If something you said resonates with them, they tell you.  They openly share related anecdotes and personal stories with you, in the hope that they may help you and/or induce you to consider another perspective.

They are genuinely invested.

I have become genuinely INVESTED!

Yes, me!  The of late, poor, poor pitiful, victim minded, up my own ass {ME} has addmitted that my showing concern and genuine interest in a total stranger’s wellbeing, has been as good for me, as it has been for them and vice versa!

My outlook on life, along with my general demeanor, has improved drastically.  I have developed a vested interest in the wellbeing of the individuals who make up this virtual community; and they have developed a vested interest in me!

All of this because we found a common interest, a common bond; we share one or both interrelated inflammatory disorders; PMR and/or & GCA.

So, out of this terrible misfortune and what probabley boils down to bad f**king luck, has come this mini-miracle, of sorts!

Whatever this magic is… it needs to be “bottled,” mass-produced and distributed around the  world.

Think about it, virtual strangers, genuinely caring about one another.  That is no small feat… not in today’s world.

Thanks peeps @ healthUnlocked.com, pmrgcgauk… you ROCK!


  1. They say nothing brings people together more than a common enemy. It’s always a good thing to talk to people on the same path that you are taking and realizing you are not alone in your pain (misery loves company?) Good for you. I hope all is well (as can be) and that you have a great writing week. – Robert

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, and I love the pic! I think it’s the same pic that is on the cover of the book Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. It’s a beautifully written book if you ever get a chance to pick it up. – Robert

      Liked by 1 person

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