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Is this the last of Jillybean25?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

I have a confession: I'm not sure I'm going to be sticking with Spark or not in the near future. I feel very disconnected from the community on here in general. I know it's no one's job to be my keeper or even my friend for that matter, but I'm feeling lonely and isolated on the Spark webs.

I'm not doing so well on my journey right now. I'm stuck with a gallbladder that interferes with a decent portion of my life. I get lazy, lose motivation easily, and haven't made it out to a rally in some time. Its the people that are struggling that need the most encouragement, and sometimes (and this is my perspective only- I'm not saying this is the absolute truth for everyone) it seems like people are only congratulating and encouraging people that are doing well on their journey or who have reached their goals. Just how I see it, at least right now... Not always true, like I said.

Not to point fingers, because I know I take a lot of blame for this. I don't get to make it to rallies (I don't have a car and the buses are very limited on weekends) anymore like I used to. I dropped off the face of the SparkPeople earth for a while, so I'm sure many people just forgot about me. And I don't blame them at all. I came back after finding new motivation, a new spark... I completed the 28 Day Bootcamp, but only had a few cheerleaders on that journey (thank you for the encouragement, by the way! You know who you are!) I had a few friends add me, but then where did they go? They already have established SparkFriendships to nurture. I tried to reach out. I left comments on pages and blogs, left some Goodies here and there, huddle with my favorite team- Spark San Diego! I made myself blog a little more than I had been (which still didn't amount to much).

I feel like I put in some effort and got [next to] nothing in return. Hell, I'm not even sure who is actually going to take the time to read this blog.

I've enjoyed being on Spark. I love their trackers, not that I like tracking food, but exercise and other goals are usually worth my while. I read lots of the articles, utilize some of the recipes... I'm always reading people's blogs, but hardly ever comment since it doesn't seem to spark any sort of conversation. I feel like I don't have Spark Friends anymore. And I don't have anyone in my "real" life going on this journey (or a similar one) with me.

I feel like such a whiner with this blog. Like I'm being so negative. Like I'm accusing people of being bad friends. That's not what this blog is about. Its my honest feelings about how I really feel right now.

I can't even guarantee to always be there for someone else, either, and maybe that's the problem. Like a lot of people, life gets in the way sometimes. I get busy with homework or work or life in general and forget that there are people who need encouragement from me. I think I'd be more on top of checking in with people on their journeys if I had a little more consistent/established SparkFriends, too. If they check on me, I'll remember to check on them. And vice versa. Until, like exercising regularly or eating healthy, it becomes a habit- a part of this lifestyle change we're all trying to make.

I'm not asking to be convinced to stay. I'm not asking for permission to leave. I'm not asking for anything except a few minutes of your time to read this blog. Thank you.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hi Jillybean, I was just reading your blog today. I completely understand where you are coming from and felt the same way. After emailing you about some San Diego stuff I actually felt like you would be a good friend for me on here since I have trouble making friends on the internet world. Its funny actually, I have no problem in the real world but online I just can't seem to connect. I am often looking for weight loss buddies and when I think I found one they disappear. I want you to know I would have completely stayed in touch with you (and remember friendship is always a two way street, I tend to feel abandoned on here a lot) but I got pregnant and have not been using the tools on Sp at all. There were a couple pregnant groups on here but again I didn't find the answers, or support I needed going through my first pregnancy. So I turned to babycenter which has a lot more info and members who post constantly so I can get my questions answered. Once I have the baby I plan on coming back full force and making it my mission to feel a part of this community. I have actually been surprised at how many people have been messaging me since I left. I figured no one would notice if I was here or not. So thank you for your message. It reminds me that people do care on here and I should make an effort, even during my pregnancy, to keep in touch with people who I have felt a connection to at one time. And after this baby is born I would love to take part in more San Diego activites with sp, make new friends out here, and if you are not too far from me I would have no problem picking you up or meeting you for walks. As long as you don't mind babies :) emoticon
    3478 days ago
  • LINDAJ0621
    I was just checking up on some of my friends today and one of them had blogged about your blog. I usually hear from about 7-10 friends (out of 127) on a regular basis. Not necessarily on a daily basis. I might go for several weeks before I find the chance to touch base with my other 120 friends. I think the more active we get in pursuing our healthier lifestyle, the less time there is to sit at the computer. I am at the point where I usually Spark while working because the rest of the time I am at the gym or shopping or cooking/meal planning. I have recently been struggling with the reverse problem - feeling guilty for NOT being able to keep in closer touch with my friends and wondering if I should leave SP. I think if you decide to stay, work on making friends with a small core group rather than huge numbers of Sparkers. It is easier to stay more personal that way. Good luck!
    3484 days ago
    Oh COOL I just saw your blog for the first time - I didn't know you were from San Diego (think it was another one I just read before this). Very cool place. Lots of great places to eat, or was, 25 years ago when I was on my honeymoon there with my ex-husband. heh. Two of my cousins did their Snowbirds Away From Colorado & Wyoming thing by going to college in San Diego - they really loved Beaches 101! haah!

    Take care!
    3485 days ago
  • CORKY982
    I tend to feel the same way as you're describing! I do the same thing - read all the blogs, comment here and there, and hope to find a friendship to "spark" so that I have someone who I can sort of lean on while I'm struggling with this last friggin 15 pounds. And it's difficult! But in the end, I really do think that this is a good place to be, because if nothing else... I can log on and see that there are so many people who feel the same way as I do, and it makes you feel slightly less alone.
    3485 days ago
    Sorry you're kinda feeling down in the dumps lately! My wife is on here all the time and she has that sense of community that you were talking about. She utilizes the tools at her disposal and is constantly on SP blogging, messaging, tracking, reading, and generally trying to stay positive. We go hiking all over San Diego, so if you ever wanna go, the wife, kids, and I are always glad for company!
    3486 days ago
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    3486 days ago
  • LUCYLU22
    I really admire your honesty!! I think that because there are so many people on SP it is easy to get "lost in the crowd" so to speak, to feel isolated and alone. I only recently, within the last year, have found a group of sparkbuddies who are really encouraging and supportive, and interestingly we all have friends in common through checking out each others' blogs and friend feeds. I think that all of us feel like this sometimes, and it is refreshing to hear an honest admission. I know that for me personally, I tend to isolate myself when I lose motivation and get angry with myself for slacking off in my routine, and then I just shut myself off from any support. I hope things get better for you regarding your health and in finding whatever works best for YOU!!

    3487 days ago
    I read it, lots of people read it. And you have a lot of valid comments. But there will always be some people who are givers and some who are takers, some who give more and some who take more. I do this for me. I blog for me, to get my thoughts together and to reach out to just 1 person.

    You are struggling and many people here are reaching out. Be mindful to take help (I read that in your bio of things you are going to do). I find if you are there for just one person, one person will be there for you (these are not necessarily the same person).

    So, it's up to you...hope you can connect.
    Genuinely emoticon you are feeling down. Smiles!
    3487 days ago
  • CANNIE50
    I applaud your honesty. As I read through the comments, I couldn't help but think you may have found a connection or two with people who can keep the Spark going for you. I experience this feeling in real life, too, and when I do, sometimes I "go into the cave" - I just do a little stepping back from everyone until I can lick my emotional wounds a bit and then feel a little stronger again. Then, I focus on others for awhile. It sounds counter-intuitive but the best antidote to loneliness and isolation that I have ever found is to reach out to others to encourage them. That is probably a really obvious statement, but, having said it, I also know there are times I just don't have it in me to keep giving. I am sorry to hear about your health problem, that has to be draining. You must be very tired and everything is harder when we are tired. I'm sorry, sweetie - I hope you feel better soon, both physically and emotionally. Take care.
    3487 days ago
  • JSPIN74
    hi there :)

    i came to SP for the calorie tracker & more knowledge. i wasn't looking for support or friendship at all....that has just been a happy happening...a great bonus...

    i didn't think i needed a "community" per se...and i may not have, but it certainly has helped me...

    sorry to hear you feel so isolated. you really are in better shape then me...i've never been to a spark rally in my life. lol

    i hope you find a rhythm & way that works for you & as previous people have said...sometimes u just need a break! we're here though...u just need to give a yell sometimes...
    3487 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8377237
    It is hard to stay connected. Another friend blogged about your blog, saying it was worth the read. You know what? I think we've all been there. I had written a blog a while ago that is very similar to this one... not about leaving, but about feeling I wasn't getting enough in return. Its hard to keep from sounding whiny and accusative, so I know what you mean. You just want as much back as you put in. I think the key is to finding that "right fit" of sparkfriends, and to do that, you have to reach out more than maybe others reach out to you. It sucks... but its also how you find those gems out there that make it all worthwile. I think you should stick to Spark... at least for the tools and trackers, but hopefully also for those people who make up your own personal sparkcommunity. I think you can do it, and when you do, all these obstacles you mention, you'll have overcome those and come out on top! Imagine how proud you'll be then!!! :D Something to look forward to.
    3487 days ago
    I saw this from a friends feed. I am always looking for a new friend, I am going to add you incase yyou stay.
    3487 days ago
    I totally understand how you feel. Being a member of Spark People can be very liberating, but it can be very isolating too. The community is so large that posting a thread feels like you're shouting in a crowd. Does anyone hear you ? The answer is yes, someone did hear you !

    You're not as alone as you think. People do pay attention. I think the problem is that we don't always pay attention 24/7. I have over 200+ Spark friends. Some are very active. Some are occasionally active. Some have fallen off the face of the Earth. Others leave and return. They take a sabbatical. I try to be in touch with as many friends as I can, but it's not always possible. That doesn't mean I've forgotten them or they've forgotten me. Some times, life gets in the way. We have other projects that take our focus in another direction.

    Some times we need a breather. So, if you need time away from Spark People, no one would think less of you. I won't say that people lose their Spark per se. I think that at first, joining Spark feels like a honeymoon. Well, the honeymoon is over, now what ?

    That's the problem with losing weight and maintaining... it's not exciting any more. It's mundane. If you'd like to stay with Spark, you need something that excites your passion for weight loss again. Because I'll say it,"eating right, watching your portions and getting some regular exercise that includes some strength training" does get boring.

    Thus the need to find something that excites your passions.

    3487 days ago
    I've used other sites and believe me... the support on this one is 100% better if not 1,000% better. On the other sites, I've been told that my journey isn't really a journey that it's just a virtual fantasy and that I'm just imagining that I need to lose weight until I prove it by going on national tv. Why should anybody have to prove that they have to lose weight?
    3487 days ago
    Funny that this blog has warranted so many comments when you were worried there'd be none :)

    I just want you to know that I totally agree and understand that disconnected feeling. I used to be really active on all my teams, but then I just sort of stopped. Now I'm struggling to get back some feeling of community. My new thing is just to comment on my friends' activities in my feed, and try to connect one-on-one like that, rather than via teams. Several of my Spark friends and I are now facebook friends, and that's helped me even more.

    I realize you don't blame other people entirely, and that it does take effort on your part. But maybe just try some other methods of reaching out to people. Focus on the friends you DO have and put your energy into them.

    I'm going to add you as a friend - I hope you do the same :)
    3487 days ago
    i gotta say i completely agree with you .. i feel the same, and i also have a gallbladder problem, i know the feeling... losing weight is hard enought.. the support your spousta have .. isnt always there.. thats why i joined spark people, thinking .. the extra support will help me on my journey, but honestly, i havent seen much of that support, and ive only been here just about 2 wks, .. im still looking for that spark friend.. that i can get to know and help support, not just for them but for me too,
    so keep your head up , seems like u got alot of support from this blog, but its not about that .. u need and want that support .. all the time .. not just when u blog.. that ur unhappy about sp... so again , keep ur head.. up .. smile, and know .. ur trying hard, ... you got a friend in me !
    3487 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8977674
    The community piece goes in bursts for me, there are days I am SO into it and feel so connected and others that I wonder why I bother. I hope you find what you are looking for but know that others feel the same way.
    3487 days ago
    Thank you for being so honest. I sometimes feel the same way. When I do a blog I will get a few comments on it..usually the same people and I appreciate them so much. This past week or so I have felt a bit more connection...though I haven't had any more response to my blogs than usual...I have a few great supports.
    I hope that this changes for you. You said you don't have the "real life" support that you need, so maybe hang on a bit longer because it is really difficult to do this alone.

    3487 days ago
    3487 days ago
    I came to Sparkpeople only for the trackers and information, and didn't really expect to make friends. I've been here for a year and a half or so now, and there are a handful of people who I follow fairly closely - I read their blogs, pay attention to their status updates and so on. "Knowing" them, even only virtually, feels like a bonus.

    In many ways, Sparkpeople makes it a little awkward to have a conversation. For example, if I leave a comment on a blog of someone who is not in my friend feed and they reply, I don't even know, so there is no way to go back and carry on the conversation. Comments on status updates are equally awkward, and if you have lots of people in your feed, you might miss replies and comments.

    I'm adding you as a friend and will gladly check in on you now and again, offering empathy and encouragement when and if I can. We don't know each other, but I think we both know how it feels to be a little lonely.
    3487 days ago
    I agree with you 100%. I feel disconnected on here as well. I'm hoping to meet friends on here but I have been unsuccessful so far. I hope you decide to stay. If you'd like, I'll help cheer you on! emoticon
    3488 days ago
    hey there-- i ran across your blog through a friends' and I'm ALWAYS looking for new people to encourage and push through their journeys. I'm here to support you if you choose to stay!! Just send me a message when you feel you've come to a conclusion for what's best for YOU and then I'll do whatever I can to help motivate you forward! You can do this girl, and trust me you're not alone!
    3488 days ago
    I'm sorry you are feeling unsupported. :( I second all of the below advice and agree that you should stay on! Sparkpeople has so many great resources, you just have to work it!

    Since we live so close to each other, we should meet up for a walk sometime. I get home from work around 4:30pm every night, so anytime after that works for me! Let me know.

    3488 days ago
    I just added you to my small list of SparkFriends, half of which are inactive or on hiatus. You can't leave now.

    Can I just say that your post is actually kind of refreshing, despite it's sour message? I'm not really into SparkPeople for it's community, despite the fact that I've made some good virtual friends and even a few Real Life ones. I just get the feeling sometimes that I'm on the SparkPeople Island for Misfit Toys, out on the fringe somewhere. I know the Pleasantville-like atmosphere works for most people, but the "woo hoo" stuff can just seem a bit cultish or automatic sometimes. Reading some introspective, honest, disenchanted thoughts breaks up the illusion that everyone at SparkPeople is in on the party and overcoming their obstacles.

    I'd wager there are more people struggling with sentiments like yours than we realize, and I wouldn't be surprised if this blog entry gets a reaction from others sharing your feelings.

    3488 days ago
    I would be sad to see you go. :(

    I hope you stay. So, maybe this is selfish, but I have the opportunity to know a lot of people on Spark, but not really KNOW them, as in meet with them, and get a true sense of their identity. (When I recognize a Sparkname, or a comment from someone I know, it holds even greater meaning, whether that is right or wrong.) Also, since I've been on Spark consistently for over 3.5 years, I've seen a LOT of people go. Sometimes they come back, usually they don't. Okay, so that part was about me.

    About you: I think HERE you have all of the tools available to you to really accomplish what you want. You just said that no one in your life is going through this process. I was isolated like that too, the first year I was here, and it was SparkPeople and the message boards and blog conversations that got me in the "weight loss/healthy living" mindset, and kept me there. People around me wanted to eat at TGIFriday's (fried cheese topped with cheese with a cheese dipping sauce). I got weird looks for bringing baby carrots as a snack when having coffee with friends. But SP helped me feel normal, and not quit taking care of myself out of being different. You should stay here for you. And for all of the possibilities that await you in your future.

    I know you said that this isn't what the blog was about, and you didn't want to be convinced. I just wanted to be sure to share what was on my mind.

    I have my Friend Feed set to ONLY show me my friends' new blogs. I have less than 1 hour on SparkPeople each day (usually), so I rarely read them, or reply to people. But sometimes, when I'm on here (okay, it's when I should be doing something else, like the Done Girl Birthday Alert this morning), I can't resist sneaking a peek at a blog. This morning it was yours. You're one of my special SparkFriends.

    I've been through a lot this summer... Divorce, homelessness, etc., and haven't been able to be a presence on Spark like I normally am. I recognize exactly what you describe about not getting much encouragement from the community. But *I* think that is directly related to how little *I* was in the community. I wasn't greeting newbies; I wasn't replying to people that commented on my page; I wasn't in the message boards offering support or advice or anything; I rarely read blogs (but I have a rule that if I read a blog I HAVE to comment with SOMETHING, even if it's just a phrase of encouragement, even if just to show the person who has read their blog---That's what I wish people would do on mine; I wasn't blogging as frequently. People didn't necessarily forget about me, but there were days with no comments at all. For me, that can be strange, since I lead a group that has over 16,000 members. And they see my face in their email box from my daily Sparkmail. But I strongly feel that you get what you give out here, albeit maybe half as much. If you give out 40%, you'll get back 20%. It's not an equal ratio, but if you give out 5%, you'll probably only get back 2.5%, and that may feel like nothing. And if you're already in a mind frame that has a touch or more of depression, instead of seeing that 2.5% as a gift, you may only focus on what is lacking. Just like you may have modest healthy success, but only focus on what you're NOT doing or NOT accomplishing.

    I hope this isn't starting to sound like I'm berating you - my tone in my head is far, far more gentle than that. I'm merely sharing my experience, not telling you what to do.

    You can do this, and have fun, and really be a part of something special! Build your own empire. Some of the most enthusiastic Sparkers are the new people (they are also a gamble since some of them drop off right away). Try to connect with them. Do what they advise in the "Community Member" requirements, and I think you'll be amazed at what you find.

    You have the power within yourself to unleash something beautiful in the world. Take your own breath away! You could end up revolutionizing your life.

    Hugs and loves,
    3488 days ago
    I really could have written a lot of what you talk about. I find it SO hard to connect with people (even more so in "real life" than on SP).

    I know I am 85% to blame because I'm not great at offering support or picking up the phone to call my friends. I don't know why; I complain that I don't have friends but I don't put in the effort. And I have no idea why. (I'm not AT ALL saying this is what you do, I'm just offering my experience and struggles.)

    I guess I'm just such an introvert and shy and slightly awkward that I'm comfortable with my small group of friends (like, 2 or 3), and I need to come to terms with that. Maybe I'm not meant to be one of those people contantly surrounded by lots of people. But I would like to know that if my car broke down at 3am and my husband was unavailable, I'd have someone to call. Right now, I wouldn't.

    But back to Spark. I actually had kind of an "a-ha moment" reading JBINAUSTIN's reply about how she gets more connection from message boards and groups than one-on-one conversations. That's totally me! I like to observe from a distance. That said, I do like to keep up with friends about how they're doing, even if I don't always converse with them (but I should do that more!)

    Re-reading my response, I realize I'm not a ton of help. But hopefully you feel like you're not alone in your feelings; sometimes I think I'm the only young woman struggling with social issues (online and real life).

    I do hope you'll stay on SP; you're my funniest SparkFriend by far! emoticon But of course, you need to do what's best for you and you deserve support. If you do decide to stay, you have my pledge that I'll be a better SparkFriend and offer more support. emoticon
    3488 days ago
    I read your blog, Jillybean. Thanks for writing. You seem to have a knack for blog titles that catch the eye.

    I sometimes think the same thing: I blog and no one notices. But it turns out they do notice; they just don't comment all the time. I wish SP showed the "Like" count on blogs, so you can see how many people stopped by and appreciated your words. You never know about that unless you make it big enough to get sent around as a favorite, which has never happened to me. Not even my blog on sea slugs (how that that NOT go viral?).

    I don't get a lot of SparkMail but I get a feeling of connection from the message boards for my teams and from reading blogs. I'm kind of shy and don't need a lot of one-on-one so it works for me. People post in topic threads and games and I get feedback and community that way, in addition to comments on my blogs. Also, I don't really have time for a lot of conversational email, so I don't tend to comment on much unless it really strikes a chord or someone asks for feedback.

    I check my friend feed and the scrolling blog/huddle wall every day or so to see what's up with friends and teams. I'm on late at night (even by California standards) so there aren't many people huddling when I'm on either.

    I'm sorry you have to deal with gallbladder trouble. I know it's sometimes hard to get a diagnosis and suitable treatment for more complex problems. My husband had a series of strokes last year, so I know how navigating the medical system can take over your life and make it hard to do things like focus on or have time for healthy eating.

    I hope you find a community that works for you, whether its SP or elsewhere.

    P.S. I'm glad you got a haircut you like :-)
    3488 days ago
  • CATS_MEOW_0911
    I'm sorry you're struggling with feeling disconnected. I hope you can find what you need, whether that be here on Spark or elsewhere.
    3488 days ago
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