Finding support doesn’t always have to come in the traditional views. Sometimes your mother isn’t the shoulder you can cry on. The people closest to you may not understand what you are going through. They may look at you with pity or disgust. That doesn’t mean you have to keep going back to the same people. Just because they are your immediate family or a close friend does not mean they will be your support. I looked for so many years to find support and I was looking in all the wrong places.
Don’t Rush It
In the height of my anxiety I was constantly relying on people. I finally decided I was going to take control of my life. I no longer wanted to be dependent on others to do small tasks, such as ordering at a restaurant for me. Instead of slowly going into the process, I did a 180 and decided I would never need anyone for anything again. As empowering of an idea as that was, it was unrealistic. I was now hiding in my house more and more. If I didn’t have to face the things that caused me anxiety than I wouldn’t need people to help me. In my mind that was better than being a burden. I realized I was one anxiety attack away from being someone who only leaves the house to get the mail. Worrying that every step placed past that point a death sentence.
I Don’t Need Your Pity
Every where I looked to find support was showing me nothing but pity. People who were close to me, but didn’t understand. People like this usually try to baby me when I do attend an event. The last thing I want is attention drawn to just how anxious I am. You don’t look at someone with diabetes with pity every time you see them! You don’t quietly shed a tear when you see them break and eat that sweet you know isn’t good for them!
There are some people who will drain you because they don’t understand mental illness and have no desire to. THERE ARE ALSO people who may not understand, but are willing to be patient. Find someone who generally just cares about your well being. Society convinces us that certain people should play certain roles in our lives. Your father is supposed to be your protector, your mother should be your emotional support, and your siblings your ride or dies. I wanted so bad to mold my parents into people that their personalities didn’t fit. Why? Why can’t someone else in my life play these roles?
There Are Supportive People Out There!
Amazing things happened when I finally decided to find support. Some of my family members are my shoulder to cry on. These people have never looked at me with a sense of pity. They are aware of my struggles and my downfalls. I have always felt a sense of pride and understanding from certain people in my family. I don’t think it is far fetched that I probably married a Marine, to become my warrior. My husband doesn’t let me get away with much. He is the person that constantly reminds me that I am not a victim any more. Any small worry I have he looks at me with the most genuine face and says you have survived so much worse. You are stronger then you even know. A gentle squeeze of his hand can make me feel calm while being surrounded by the unknowns.
Find a True Best Friend
My best friend has come right out and said that she doesn’t know what it feels like to be anxious. She also has never become frustrated with my anxieties. The positive person she is I am sure sometimes it is draining for her to be around my negativity. She too has gone through the journey of mental illness and came out the other side a happier person. She always pushes me to try new things. Her presence in itself is a calming experience and she has just the right amount of understanding and inclusion no matter who we are with. When she would come visit and when I would go see her, she would gently push me into trying something new.
With each new thing I became more impressed with my mind and body. I could accomplish things that my anxiety had always halted me from doing. Always feeling like I was relying on her to excel in my life and I wanted to rely on the belief in myself. It was a long journey of negativity and worry for me. I am still young and I am still learning, but I am so damn proud of myself.
Fly Birdie Fly
My best friend went away recently for two week. During those weeks I couldn’t constantly text her for reassurance. I scheduled an exam that would get me a higher more respected credential and I passed it!! While she was away, I finally got up the nerve to show people I actually knew personally that I had a blog. Yes, I preach spreading the word when I am terrified to do the same. Not only did I share it with my friends and family I did it by declaring I WAS A SURVIVOR OF A SUICIDE ATTEMPT. My anxiety was on high alert for a couple days after posting that post. This time I knew I have built a support system who lifts me up and reminds me that sharing my story is the only way to BREAK THE STIGMA.
People Won’t Stop Me From Telling My Story
I posted that post and expected it to be ignored. That it would not receive any likes. There are many people in my life who still do not believe mental illness exists. I noticed a lot of family members who closed their eyes while scrolling through their Facebook feed that day. That is okay, you have to be patient. Some people will never change, but some people are just starting their journey to a happy and positive life. Do not stress society’s roles of what people SHOULD be.
Instead, rejoice with the people who can fill the hole that has developed over time. Also, be that cheerleader on the sideline! My best friend has quietly pushed me for years to be anything I wanted to be and do anything I wanted to do. She always made me believe that physically and mentally I was stronger than I ever knew. My support system always believed in me. Even in the darkest of my moments they knew the person I was in my heart was good. In one month with the support of my new accepted version of family and my belief in myself I have told my story to my family and friends, I got a new credential, and I ran a 8.5 mile race. FIND YOUR OWN FAMILY. WE ARE ALL ON OUR OWN CONTINUING JOURNEY.