Written by Sabrina Johnson LMSW & Max Guttman LCSW
This article is intended to showcase the power of support for people with a medical and psychiatric condition. We all need support in our lives. Obviously support and its power to create a space of safety & even asylum for people to survive & thrive regardless of their problem is critical for those battling extreme conditions. More importantly, and more practically, this article intended to expand and supplement people’s understanding of how to access support that will be a powerful resource in your recovery.
There is no question that all people need human contact regardless of the medical and psychiatric status. The most powerful forms of human contact is derived from healthy support and contact with people with fresh & different perspectives that function to expand and diversify your worldview. Beyond perspective, is basic human contact. Even the the midst of deep break from your “reality” staying in contact with others is the best medicine. People supply us with an opportunity to stay connected to the world through communication and friendship and present us with a safe harbor in the midst of our worst nightmares.
When you have been in the mental health system sometimes your perspective on what constitutes being an ally and friend is skewed. We’re told to take what we can get when it comes to friends. We’re told to not trust our instincts when we’re interacting with friends and allies. I’ve experienced this countless times with therapists. The person with the diagnosis is told that they need to adjust and their ally is “right” because it’s the diagnosed that has go about their relations with people in a different way. Sometimes this might be true. But there is no question that a diagnosed person can have a more grounded and healthy perspective than their ally. So, an ally that is going to be critical in your recovery is going to be healthy & willing to listen to your gripes whatever they may be and able to say your right instead of defending their point at all costs.
Risk and Support
The importance of healthy support is vital in your recovery. Supports and allies that are healthy will let people going through something difficult be comfortable with feelings of hurt and pain without automatically trying to re-frame and move towards a supposed happier space. Sometimes someone’s safety means sitting with pain and processing with an ally that allows us to be ourselves and authentic even if it means introducing risk into the relationship. Support goes beyond just our medical and psychiatric condition. It encompasses all aspects of our lives. Support must mirror the diversity in your life. We take risks and manage risk everyday and our allies must accept this about the people they support.
Supports are there. Out there in your world…Somewhere. Be selective. Be choosey. Allies are vital and choosing an ineffective support can result not only in relapse but demoralization. Protect yourself, respect your safety and diversify your opportunities to recovery without bounds.