I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Gratitude for My Support Network


Healing does not always refer to the transformation of the physical body. The activity of healing, while sometimes bodily, is the action of restoring wholeness and community where there is exclusion, corruption, individualism, fragmentation, and brokenness. Thus, salvation is found in Jesus and in those who imitate Jesus in these acts of healing. (95, Making a Way Out of No Way, Monica A Coleman)
I would like my physical body healed! Currently, I am suffering from a major cold and it is making my nose runny, my throat sore and me not wanting to move a muscle. Yuck! No one likes a cold. And yet, I am still very, very happy. Though my body is still on the mend, my spirit is very much whole and joyous for I am now in my new house. I have two roommates, whom I get along well with so far. I am closer to my church and my therapist and to my favorite city, Atlanta. I feel redeemed by being closer to my community and no longer feel marked by my mental illness - not that I'm going to stop taking my medications, seeing my therapist, or using my DBT skills any time soon. Many people helped get me here and acted-still do act-as healers and I want to acknowledge them in this post. They are:

  1. My Parents-Financially and Emotionally they have supported me.  They have taken care of me when I could not take care of myself.  They have visited me in the hospital, attended therapy sessions, have helped me obtain disability.  My mom is an expert on helping me manage an anxiety attack.  Their loving support is something not everybody with a disability, especially with a mental illness, experiences.
  2. My Therapist-She has seen me shed many a tear.  She finally advised me to attend her DBT classes after just psychiatric medications and regular talk therapy was not enough.
  3. Supportive Friends-I have some fabulous friends who have listened to me and provided me with distraction when I needed it.
  4. Various Church Communities-Being a part of a spiritual community is a great part of my healing.  Contributing to churches, which I still do, helps give my life meaning.
  5. Various Support Groups-I used to attend several support groups a week, but now that I am more mentally stable, I just go a few times a month-when I feel physically well to have the extra spoon.  Support groups have allowed me to be able to ask for feedback and get support from others similar to me when I have felt troubled. 
  6. Feminist Gwinnett Readers-I started this group about a year and a half ago and it has increased my self-confidence, given me more friends, and a feeling of safety in conservative suburbia.  
All of these people and groups are what I call my "recovery net" in my In Our Own Voice speeches.  Building your own support network is incredibly important for sane and joyful living.  Everyone needs a support network whether they have a mental illness or not. No matter if you are an extreme introvert or a loud extrovert, we all need community in order to get our needs met-it is a lie that one can completely pull themselves up by their bootstraps alone.
Thank you family, mental health workers, friends, and churches-without your support I would not be where I am today...and today is good.
(A Creative Commons license; art by geralt)

If you need help finding support groups, NAMI, E.A., and E.D.A. are good places to start.  Don't forget that you can find online meetings if there's not a meeting close by!

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