What is a Support System? Do I really need one?

Let me start by saying that everyone needs a support system in their life. A support system is a network of people in your life who provide just what it says “support.” This can be in the form of emotional, physical, social or otherwise. This network of people are the ones who help you through times of turbulence, celebrate in moments of joy and are just there when you need them. Needless to say, when you suffer from Mental Health issues, a great support system is a must-have.

Some people are leery about telling people they know important details about their lives. The most important thing to remember about having a support system is to make sure it includes people who are really concerned about your well-being. A support system does not have to include family if they are not conducive to your mental wellness. Only people who are authentically concerned for you and want the best for you should be included in your support system.

People who are constantly negative, are never there when you need them, judgmental, slow to appreciate your efforts towards progress, or a plain hindrance to your goals should NOT be included in your support system. The whole purpose is to have the necessary support when the time comes. Some supports come in places you most likely have never thought of like church, work, social organizations, and your doctor’s office. Yes, your doctor can be part of your support system if they are the type who is truly concerned about you and are willing to help you achieve your best life. So basically, a support system can include a therapist, doctor, friends, family, co-workers, sorority/fraternity, church members, among others.

Get people who will sit with you and listen to you vent, someone who will help you clean your house if you need it, sit at the hospital with you, babysit your kids or even treat you to a spa day. The most important thing to remember is please make sure the people you surround yourself are truly in your corner.

Am I crazy?

Am I crazy? This is a common question for many people when they think about therapy. First, there is nothing “crazy” about needing or looking for help for any situations that occur in life. Sometimes, people just need the assistance of someone who is non-judgmental, compassionate, objective, professional and is not personally invested in your life. We all need a great support system but having someone you can talk to who don’t shove their personal opinions down your throat as our loved ones usually do can be a welcoming change. You would be surprised at the people we encounter daily who visit a professional for issues that come up. You would also be surprised at the number of people we encounter daily who NEED to see a professional.

You may hear the words therapy and counseling, you usually hear them used interchangeably. Even I use them interchangeably although there is a difference in the meanings. Therapy or Psychotherapy refers to a service that covers a broad range of issues and is usually long term. This type of service is where you may discuss childhood traumas and how they continue to affect your daily life, along with relationships with your family. The purpose of this it to determine what patterns have you developed that have led your current state and how can these patterns be changed. Counseling is focused more on problem-solving specific issues by learning techniques specific to that situation. This type of service is usually short term and behavior based. Many professionals in this field are experienced in providing both. You just have to find the right one to fit your needs and that you feel comfortable with.

So how about we take the word “crazy” out of our vocabulary when describing those with Mental Health issues or those who have no diagnosis but see a therapist/counselor. “Crazy” is a term started a long time ago that stigmatizes anyone who needs any type of mental health services. It is not accurate. It is hurtful. It is ignorant. Before using that word, think about how you would feel after the loss of a loved one and you find yourself unable to move on and you need help from a therapist. Would you be okay with someone calling you crazy because you’re grieving? No? Then stop using it in reference to other people. We all need help sooner or later.

Intro 2 Tidbits with Maria

Tidbits with Maria is a snapshot of my professional views related to Mental and Behavioral Health. I will be covering a variety of topics from everyday self-care to personality disorders. Mental Health issues are such a stigma in our community because people are afraid to acknowledge that they and/or someone they know is suffering from a mental health issue.

Generally speaking, people tend to take care of their physical ailments faster than they will any mental health problems that come up. Why is that? Why do we feel that our mental well-being does not need as much care as our physical health? Mental, physical and spiritual well-being go hand in hand. If we falter in taking care of one of these areas, the others will tumble just like a row of Dominos.

The questions we need to ask: how do we end the stigma of mental health? How do we approach the topic of mental illness concerns with a friend or family member? What do you do if you feel you are drowning and need help? These are questions that can be answered with the right people. All you have to do is ask. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

Tidbits with Maria is a blog that will address issues for a community that has traditionally felt ashamed, afraid, unidentified, and helpless. This is a forum for people to feel free to express themselves and discuss topics that are significant to them. Let’s make changes by allowing ourselves to be free to ask for help, free to get help, and free to receive help. I’ll see you on the blog!