In your own space, write about a moment in fandom that meant a lot to you. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.
Okay, now this I can do. Tough to narrow down, actually.
I discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer while I was at a low point, and a few months later I was deep in its fandom and Season Eight comic continuation, making some progress in putting my life together but leaning heavily on the one new fun thing I had as a distraction. When an issue of S8 was published that favored my shipper faction, I made a celebratory post that quickly attracted the like-minded and became an epic fangirl thread of silliness.
The next morning, it also attracted a rival shipper. I knew that ship wars were a thing, but had subconsciously assumed that everyone went about it with the same carefree playfight mentality that I had, or at least that I was shielded by my own obscurity. Well, after she made a post with a link to mine so that she and her friends could start their own epic thread bitching about us, I learned otherwise.
It was a rough couple days. Even if I'd had anyone in real life to talk to, explaining what had me down came off as ridiculous even in my own head. Fandom started seeming less like a release and more like the minotaur's labyrinth. But I never considered vanishing to find a new distraction, because as it turned out, I did have people to talk to. They weren't there in real life, but they were real people. They'd seen what happened, and they let me know in clear terms that it wasn't ridiculous to feel upset by it.
So, it sealed a few friendships, created a few more, some of them lifelong. Over time, I found that the incident was widely regarded as an anomaly, and not how new fans should expect to be treated. I was invited to mod at a B/A forum and encouraged to keep posting my fanfiction. I came away with a much firmer footing in the fandom and a greater appreciation of the people in it, which when you think about it is kind of the opposite of what should have happened.
Maybe it's a weird thing to have as a cherished memory, but without it, my fandom history might have ended when I stopped needing it as an escape from life. I like that it's become a part of my life instead.