Hi Struggler (and Danny)
I don't think you're imagining it - I think it's definitely real. There is an influx of newbies coming on board.
The reasons could be many and the season is definitely one of them I would think.
But the community is becoming more and more aware of this illness; media is bringing more attention to it (and everyone of these things is a GREAT thing).
I know it is sad and unfortunate that there are so many wonderful people who are being affected by this - but I believe for every person that arrives here as a new person, I would imagine that say, this time a year ago, they may not have done so. They may have just gone about how they were feeling and continue to do it tough with no further or outside assistance. And you suggested quite rightly Struggler; there ARE so many troubled souls.
But what I really believe to be super important is for these lovely people (IF) they can somehow manage to stay here with us - while we provide as much support and guidance to them - THEN, they might just feel that they may wish to stay on for a while.
And I know in the last couple of months we've had a number of "newbies" who have stayed on and are now being regular posters to the site: case in point, yourself Struggler AND Danny - and I could list half a dozen more as well. And this is such a wonderful thing, but it's so much more than that. It's highly IMPORTANT - for without regular posters here, this site would be a 'ghost site with tumbleweeds blowing across your monitor'. Ok, highly exaggerated there, but you know what I mean.
The more people we can gain as being regular posters, WOW, the better this site will be become. Because as more people post here for the first time, it's important that they are greeted and met and given support; and the more people around the share the load, the better.
Wowee, I sure jumped on a soap box there; sorry about that. But simple post/thread created by you Struggler, and I've turned it into somekind of marathon. Sorry about that.