Whilst I think that this is a very interesting question I do also recognize that it is one which also comes (when answering) with some necessary caution.
The reason for this being, that in answering or detailing where your support does actually come from you are (by virtue of their absence from said answer) also indicating where you do not get your support from.
Now when starting this blog I made a very conscious, deliberate and (in my opinion) important decision. Which was that I would do my best, throughout all of the posts of this blog, not to consciously bring discomfort or distress to anyone through what I share nor to allow bitterness or revenge to enter into any of my posts.
This policy of trying to avoid causing people distress and of actively trying to avoid bitterness or the need for revenge is one which I also try to maintain throughout my life.
Therefore, I have decided to keep my answers ‘general’ by nature instead of mentioning any specific persons by name. There are of course a few people in my life who have been spectacular in the support that they have given me and/or do give me and whilst you are most certainly noteworthy, I am sure that you already know just how appreciated you are and will appreciate my reasons for not mentioning you by name.
In terms of support, I would have to say that most of it – in day to day terms – comes from my Carer. Regular readers will be aware that additional to my poor mental health I suffer from a very poor physical health also.
This, along with my mental health, has led to the need for me to have a carer and my carer – you know who you are 🙂 – is such a blessing to me and I would hate to think just what I would be like without her support.
Members of my family…
I am very much aware that for some, reactions to the presence of their poor mental health or their mental illnesses has caused great difficulties within their families and that tragically in some situations it has caused them to be shunned or to feel that they are better off living their lives without their family.
In my own situation the fact is that I have little to no doubt that as a child and youth and young adult my mental illnesses seriously impacted my relationships with my family. But that was then and this is now. Now I am 52 years old and in fact live alone. I also live in a different country to the one in which I grew up and in which all of my birth family still live. Because of this, the chances or opportunities for my birth family to support me are fairly limited or indeed are non-existent.
And when it comes to my immediate family, here again only one of my children lives here in Ireland and anywhere close to me. That having been said, despite their all having their own families to look after, I have to say that I do get a great deal of support from them when they are aware that I need it.
Members of my church….
I attend an extremely loving and caring church and there are certain members within the church (and it’s leadership team) who have been and are such a blessing and such a support to me.
Likewise, I also attend a small bible study group within that church. Here, all of the members of that group are, by virtue of the fact that it is a much smaller and thus more personal and intimate a group, aware of my mental illnesses and more aware of some of the struggles that I face as a result of them. And I have to say that they are all so very supportive.
Other bloggers and writers….
One area of support which cannot or should not go unmentioned is the mental health community here online. By this I mean those fellow bloggers and writers who give of themselves regularly to share what is happening in their own lives and with their own mental health and to – by doing so – say, “you are not alone” or “yes, that happened/happens to me.”
They share information, encouragements, heartaches and inspirations in their writings and often read and comment of each others blogs and provide essential support through all this. They are such a blessing and support to me and, whilst I might not always be very good at saying thank you or remembering to comment back, are all appreciated so very much.
Whilst I have to be honest and say that very few (if any) of my neighbors would have any real knowledge of the fact that I have mental illnesses, they all do know that I experience poor physical health.
I think it would, in fact, be fair to say that my physical health issues are (generally speaking) more prominent than my mental health issues. I am so very thankful that all of my neighbors are polite and friendly towards me and that some of them are also so very supportive when I need it.
The truth is that I simply could not complete a list of where I get my support without mentioning my faith. I cannot, for the life of me, begin to think just where I would be, or what would have happened to me by now had I not been blessed with such a strong faith.
And I think that also raises another important point about support.
My faith affords me so much strength and so much hope in the most darkest of times. And unlike a great deal of support which comes from outside ourselves, my faith affords me a strength and a support which comes from within.
In truth, I do not know the faiths of a great many of the folk who write blogs on their mental illness or mental health. But I do see such strength in so many of them.
And I think that the support that we gain from inner strength is often so much more powerful than that offered from others outside of ourselves, and often goes so unnoticed.