How to Build Your Support Network
Finding support can be a challenge. Depending on your support system and your mental state it can be an uphill battle. Fear not! I am here to tell you my tips in finding a support system. I am lucky. I have a very supportive family and a wonderful network of friends. Finding other individuals having a similar experience was a tough challenge. So I began my search for a bigger support network.
- Facebook groups and Instagram
Social media is an excellent way to find others like you. You may be reading this because of Instagram or Facebook, if so, Welcome! I’m glad you’re here. There are great support groups on Facebook. They can offer medical advice (based off of personal experience and not a medical degree). Even a helping hand if you’re needing advice or a mental boost. Instagram functions differently. There are tons of pages that are dedicated to advocacy or sharing experiences. Hashtags are also a great way to find people going through a similar ailment.
- Find a Local Support Group
Speaking from experience, this is easier said than done. I have a few different support groups that I am apart of. One for OCD and another for Dysautonomia. I’m not going to lie, I had to push a preexisting ball to get it rolling but I did it! A support group is a weird idea. It’s unknown what the experience will be like when you get there but I’ve found it helpful and I think you will too.
- Reach Out
It’s difficult to reach out to people when you’re in need of help. It can feel awkward and embarrassing. You may fear being a burden. In my experience, most people want to help. As humans, we crave connection and most people are giddy at the idea of someone needing their help. It gives us purpose and makes us feel needed. There’s no harm in trying. If you run into someone overwhelmed by their own life, respect that it’s not you it really is them. Ask someone else, keep asking until you find someone who can help. You are not a burden, you deserve to be listened to and given love.
- Call Your Healthcare Team
This was something I recently learned about that would’ve been helpful six months ago. You can call your healthcare coordinator. They’re sometimes referred to as a case manager and probably a hundred other names but they can do the leg work for you. Their job is to help you and finding support falls into that category. I know that it’s easy to give up faith in the medical system but I would explore this option if you have the opportunity. Most people with chronic illness have this preassigned, they may have sent you a letter. You most likely threw it away because it was of no importance until this moment.
These are the first step in a lengthy process of building up your support system. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your support network. The point is, someone cares. Even if you don’t believe it, I promise you that someone on this earth cares for you. It’s difficult to suck up your pride and ask for help. If I’ve learned anything from sharing my story, there are a lot of people who care even when you don’t know it. I’ve received overwhelming love and support. I didn’t expect it, nor did I need it but now that I have it, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.