Support is a huge part of our mental wellbeing. When dealing with difficult life situations, adverse circumstances, or health concerns, avoiding isolation can be a crucial part of treatment and healing. Understanding that you are not alone, is directly related to feelings of hope and optimism.
Staying connected to supportive people, has the potential to prevent isolation.
When we are faced with tragedy, illness, loss, pain, hardship, conflict, fear, discomfort, or difficult circumstance, we may wonder- What do we have, then?
We have each other. We have other people in our lives, who we can receive support from them. We don’t have to struggle alone.
Who you choose to surround yourself with, can have a tremendous impact on how well you do, and how well you feel. It is even connected to what you may “choose” “to do, what you follow through with, directions you take, pursuits you attempt, whether it’s career related or treatment related.
How you feel “around” others, also has a tremendous influence on your mental wellness. It is easier to build your strength and self-confidence when you’re spending time around those who believe in you, and your capabilities.
Asking for help and support can feel difficult to do, because it requires vulnerability, You might not be completely comfortable with the idea of sharing.
However! It is “worth” it- because it can improve your mood, change your perspective, and your life.
It hurts less and feels easier to manage when you know you have someone who cares.
Check In With Yourself
Upon understanding the importance of support, and recognizing the positive impact that it can have on your life, the next step is to Maximize this foundation. Check in with yourself:
Are you comfortable talking to them?
Are you being honest about how I feel?
Building a support system can improve your life, however, the key to feeling better and utilizing support effectively requires that you know yourself, and understand yourself. Once you understand “how” you’re feeling, you can choose to increase your communication with the people you reach out to, This is the way to create stronger connections – by sharing how you “really” feel, and honoring the truth within yourself.
Communication is such an important part of our relationships.
Being honest with loved ones, and surrounding ourselves with those we feel we “can” be genuine with, does have significant effects. This doesn’t mean we have to sever ties with people that do not understand or limit our time with them. It DOES mean that communication becomes very important. And that’s a personal responsibility.
If you stay aware of how you feel, there may be times you’ll notice: any of the following: “I’m disappointed that didn’t work out, or that it worked out the way it did” “I’m hurt that I wasn’t included. I don’t understand why.” “I’m scared of what may happen.” There is a full range of emotions that we all experience. You’re likely to learn how common these feelings and experiences are, just as you’ll see you’re in this process “with” others.
You can allow yourself to receive support, by knowing what you need, and expressing it. You can set a goal- not only to align yourself “with” others, but to have your support system align themselves with you. Tell them what would help.
In summary, maximizing the benefits of a support system, includes:
-Knowing Yourself and Understanding Yourself
-Being honest with yourself
-Communicating with those who care
-Being honest with your loved ones about how you feel and what you need.
Recruit a Support System
If you’re feeling isolated, misunderstood, and unsure of who you can reach out to, you can contact a mental health professional. It is easier to do, than you might imagine.
Schools and physicians often have names of local therapists they can provide. If you would like to find a therapist on your own, Psychology Today lists mental health practitioners by zip code and specialty. Most therapists, like myself, are offering teletherapy through HIPAA compliant platforms, by video session or phone session. Choosing to talk to a therapist is really the process of recruiting your own support system! I may be biased, but it can be extremely useful!
Therapy is: experiencing and feeling the sadness from disappointments, the elation from joys WITH another person, in a nonjudgmental supportive environment. A sense of relief, is felt, even in response to the deepest emotions, as a product of the therapeutic process.
There is something greater than the pain- and it is the connection and relationship that you can form with another person- and the realization of your potential to understand yourself, accept yourself, and heal.
Reach out to sources of support- whether it’s family members, friends, teachers, or even a mental health professional or a treatment provider. Stay aware of your experience, share your thoughts and feelings with others. Get in touch, and stay connected