Helpful Tips When You Do Not Have an Encouraging Support System
What do you do when you don’t have the positive and encouraging support of your family and/or friends?
Research shows that when those of us with mental health challenges have a good support system of family and friends, we actually do better than those who do not have a support system. It only makes sense. After all, as it is with any challenges in life, we all do better with the support of family and friends. The support of my wife, family, and close friends was key in encouraging me and helping me to learn to live well in spite of having a bipolar disorder.
So, what do you do when you have no positive and encouraging support from your family and/or friends?
- Choose to work through your hurt from the lack of support from your family and/or friends. You can’t change people. Sometimes we have to just accept the fact that family and friends do not understand nor are they helpful; you resenting it won’t change them and will only end up holding you back.
- Choose to find and establish the type of encouraging positive support system that you need. How?a. Look for a positive, helpful, principled mental health recovery peer support group, in person or online. A support group is a great place to find friends who can be positive and supportive to whom you can be accountable on a regular basis. (For example, Fresh Hope now has support group meetings online so no matter where you live you can find a positive and encouraging mental health support group.)b. Finding a local peer support specialist is also another possibility for a positive support system.c. Other places to find good friends are at church, a health club, the gym, and with special interest groups.
Remember, you and I become like the five people we spend the most time with; therefore choose friends carefully.
In spite of having a great support group of a spouse, family, and friends, I’ve also had an accountability group of peers who have held me accountable for my mental health recovery and doing the things that are best for me and for my family. This accountability group has been key in my recovery support system. They have had access to my doctor and my wife. My wife and doctor have also had access to them and to one another. I call it my “circle of accountability” which hems me in and keeps me honest.
While it’s not always been comfortable; my accountability group has empowered me to live well in the long run. Let’s be honest, too often you and I can easily tell the doctor one thing and our spouse or friends something else; only telling people what we want them to know. And while it took a lot of trust initially in the individuals who have made up my accountability group, it has served me very well.
From my perspective, it imperative for you and me to have a positive and encouraging support system and accountability. And as disappointing and hurtful as it is to have a lack of support from friends and/or family members, you can’t let that keep you from finding the support system you need. Yes, it will take effort to do so. But the effort will pay off.
What about you? Do you have the support of family and friends? If not, have you been able to establish a support system for yourself? If so, where? How?
Check out Brad’s weekly podcast: www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com
Check out Fresh Hope’s online meetings: www.FreshHopeMeeting.com