A support system is a group of people in an individual's life that provide you with support both emotionally and physically. Most of us need help on a daily basis. Help with the kids, with our workload, with the stress, with the bills and much more. What we fail to understand today is that we cannot do it all alone. It takes a village to remain sane.
Everyone needs and deserves a person or group of people who makes existing a little easier. A group of people who stand with you and hold you up when you are falling. This group of people never leave you.
They support you
They pray for you and with you
They advise you
They show up for you
They listen to you
They forewarn you
They celebrate with you.
Having a good support system is necessary for all of us. It is vital for mentally ill people to have the most support they can receive because support helps you recover faster.
When i was diagnosed with Major depression, being African (mental health is a myth), I felt lost. My family members abandoned me to myself to deal with this illness. I had no clue what depression was or what to do to heal. I did not know if i would ever get better or if i was doing better. Everyone stepped away because they did not know what to do, or did not want to be involved.
The road to recovery was way longer and tougher than i believe it would have been , had i had my family supporting me. Today, two and a half years after my diagnosis i have a better handle of my mental health. It is not perfect but it sure is getting better. If you know someone suffering from any mental health illness and you want to be of support here are a few things you can do for us
1. Educate Yourself on the Illness
Don’t be ignorant and stay ignorant. If you care about them, do your research first to understand what the illness actually is.
2. Be Patient
Once you understand a bit better what actually your loved one is fighting, be patient. Recovery is slow and we might slip off every now and then. We need to know that it is okay.
3. Love Us
Mental health illnesses usually makes you feel isolated or difficult to be around. Isolation only brings more depression. So don’t abandon us. Plan things with us, drag us out if you have to. Show us that no matter what, you love us.
Listen. Period. Sometimes we need to let things out and as our support system you can be our tree. By our tree i mean you listen and hear us. You do not necessarily have to know what to say; sometimes being heard makes a great difference.
5. Involve Yourself
Choose one thing you can do or check on for your loved one. It could be calling them once a week for a prayer over the phone. It could be reading articles about the illness and sending them tips. You can decide to drive them once a week to their therapist.
There are tons of ways to help or get involved as a support system for others. Please, understand that, we (Mentally Ill people) do not need to be saved or fixed. We just need support. Most of the time we are willing to fight our own demons we just need someone watching over to make sure we do not drown in the fight. The difference between someone who has support and someone who is left alone, is tremendous ;It can be a matter of life and death. Some people with no support, relapse more often and sometimes even give up. So if someone around you has been diagnosed with a mental illness, step in, show your support. It matters.