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Welcome to After Silence! Some helpful tips/info for newbies.

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Hello to our newbies!! 

I remember when back in the day, there was a time when I felt most alone.  I was sitting in front of my (burnt-out by now) laptop - After Silence had just been recommended to me by a friend and I'd just completed the sign-up process.  I'd already spent quite a bit of time holding onto my pain and keeping it from everyone around me - and now I was starting to feel ready to find and share my voice; to start to discuss what had happened to me...even if it was online, it was more than I'd ever been willing to do.  I was feeling both courageous and terrified at the same time.  It was not normal for me to be amongst others who understood and who could relate to all of these emotions that I thought only applied to me.  

And then, there was After Silence!   

It can understandably be overwhelming once you've been completed registration and you've unlocked access to our private forums.  We've a huge selection of board types to choose from.  There's Welcome.  Gathering Place.  Aftermath.  Therapy Discussion.  Humor and Silliness!?  And so, so many more!  

'Where to start?  What do I do first?'

As a brand-new member, likely you've grappled with where to begin posting, or even where to begin reading.  Here at After Silence, we do NOT encourage nor want you to feel that there is any pressure to post something immediately.  Our number one rule is - take it all in at the pace that is most comfortable.  Familiarize yourself with all of our boards and what each specifically addresses.

Read, read, read!
Hopefully you've found this board, even before the approval of your account!! :) After reading this, please do spend some more time reading all of the other helpful public/newbie FAQ boards that our site administrators and moderators have put together for you.  There is a wealth of helpful information in these boards and they're there to help you become familiar with how our site works and what you can expect from our site, moving forward.

Please take your time going through all of the forums.  It is perfectly okay to spend a little extra time looking around before you post, if this is what you prefer.  Prior to approval of new members, the private forums are not yet visible and there is SO much more to explore when you've signed in for the first time as a registered member.   Please do browse through all of the forums you see, just to have an idea of the kind of content you'd expect to view in each forum.  Perhaps you will see some boards that you can personally relate to, and this will help to gain a feel for the type of support you are likely to receive.  Additionally, you will witness how our amazing members usually interact with one another, which is always a comfort to see - especially when pertaining to subject matter you may understand all too well based on your own experience(s).

Remember to be gentle with yourself.
You are in a new place.  It can ultimately be a lot to take in.  Breathe.  Remember, you are healing, and it should be recognized that signing up and registering with us was a tremendous step, whether you have been healing for some time already or this is your first step, it's by no means a small one - it's a leap.  One you should be proud of yourself for having taken.  I think we all arrive at After Silence with a specific goal or thought in mind - and when we see just HOW MUCH information this site has to offer, it can be stress-inducing and for lack of a better word - scary.  

Sometimes content posted can trigger, so please only read and take in what you are in the frame of mind to.  As you read, perhaps you'll find it helpful to take notes on what you might like to eventually address when it comes to yourself, and when you're ready.  

You are also welcome to reach out to the Newbie Support Team member who welcomed you to the site.  They are dedicated to answering any of your questions and addressing any concerns you may have as you get to know the site and if you're unsure on where to post, you can always ask for guidance.  Additionally, if you would like the password to the females-only, males-only or LGBT-only forums, you may ask them for it and it will be provided to you. 

Start posting in the Welcome forum!
This is the best place to start posting when you're ready to introduce yourself to other members of After Silence.  We do not recommend putting too much information down as an introduction, for it may overwhelm you as well as others who are also new to the site.  A small message about who you are, how you found After Silence, and perhaps what you hope to gain from being a member of our community.  This post will likely get the attention of one of our amazing Newbie Support Team staffers, and shortly after you post your introduction, you will receive a private message welcoming you into the community.  Please remember - the Welcome forum is not where you should post any triggering or sensitive content and should be kept light and simple. :) 

Bringing me to likely your next question:

Where and when can I share my story?
We often get asked this by new members.  We do have a Share Your Story forum, that will unlock and become visible once you have reached a post count of 10.  There are a few reasons for the restriction of this particular forum, the main one being for your own safety.  We sincerely care about the privacy and security of all of our members.  The contents of that forum are extremely sensitive and we do not want any of it visible to members who do not intend to stay with us for a longer period of time.  It is because of this protective measure that before you have reached ten posts, you are also unable to view this forum or post in it.

That being said, it's often a concern when newbies do not see this board right away.  I believe that sharing our stories is something most members eventually want to do, in order to gain feedback, support, comfort, and validation from others.  Please be assured that we wish for you to have this opportunity as well, but hope you'll take the time recommended in order to better prepare yourself and others for the discussion of these more sensitive topics.

A few suggestions to keep in mind about some of the other unspecified reasons behind the 10-post restriction when it comes to that one forum:

It might be beneficial to let others get to know you a little bit before expecting or asking them to view your story.  It can be a little uncomfortable when someone unknown to us posts a detailed story as an introduction.  Think a moment about how you would introduce yourself to a room full of strangers.  Understandably, to converse online is a bit more anonymous, but for some, it is their only option as in-person interactions are difficult or not possible. By adhering to the 10-post rule before sharing your story, you are allowing others some time to become familiar with you through other postings or responses.  

(If a detailed introductory post happens, we must immediately relocate the post into Share Your Story, and even though you are the author of the post in question, you will not be able to re-access it until you've reached ten posts.  There are NO exceptions to this - the Welcome forum is simply not for heavy content.  If your story is posted in any of the other forums, it will also potentially be moved if it contains explicit detail.  You will be notified privately by a moderator in the event your post is ever moved or edited to include any necessary trigger warnings.  More information about trigger warnings can be found here: http://www.aftersilence.org/forum/index.php?/topic/131947-issuing-trigger-warnings-tws-please-read/)

Perhaps consider your first 10 posts a 'trial period' of sorts. :)  It is recommended you spend some time interacting with others in the other forums before you share your story.  Some of you may be new to message boards in general - this will give you the chance to 'get your feet wet' and additionally, to show other members that you're interested in staying a while - both to give and to receive support.  We have had people 'post and run,' which, of course, is okay.  After Silence takes a little time to get used to - for some, it takes longer to find our place here.  Regardless, we are always going to be here if you or anyone decides to take a break and return later.  There is no rush nor any set timeline for healing.

These are, of course, just suggestions and tips that I hope will further enhance your experience here at After Silence and to ensure that the site remains a safe place for you as well as for others.  You are welcome to post whatever you like, as long as it adheres to the rules, which can be found in Public: Rules and Guidelines.  Please take the time to familiarize yourself with those, if you have not already.

In closing, I'd like to welcome all of you to After Silence.  It is my hope to get to know as many of you as possible and that you'll all find that we are a supportive bunch and a unified community.  I wish you  nothing but the best in your healing processes!!!  It is a long road for us all but I am confident that knowing that you are not alone will make the journey much more bearable.

If at any time you need assistance with anything, please feel free to visit and post in the Help Desk forum or you may email aftersilence.moderators@gmail.com.  Responses are generally speedy and we will do our best to help with your needs or concerns.

Best wishes to you all,
After Silence Moderator

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