Good Friends are Good for your Mental Health

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The title of this post seems like it is a no brainer.  

Of course you should have friends that are good for your mental health.  But, this one consideration can be overlooked as you are navigating your way through life and trying to manage your illness, and the ups and downs of everyday life.  I have never been a person with an overflow of friends. I am an introvert, and I am more interested in quality over quantity. I have to say I love my friends, they are great but as I have been on my mental health journey, I did not realize how important they are!  Before I was actually diagnosed I would have my periods of being MIA, I would brush off plans and do other things that are consistent with a person who is in crisis. For years it was like this and frankly, I seemed like a big ole flake. I mean looking back at some of the stuff that I had done, I would think that I was a flake also.  

One of the turning points for me in my interactions with my friends was my willingness and level of comfort with sharing my diagnosis with them.  

I had to get to a point where I was comfortable talking about it to the people in my life. That took some time. Once I let them in on what I was dealing with, my behaviors from the past suddenly had a reason for it.  It took some time to get to that point, I am glad that I finally got there.


Having friends in your life that know about my diagnosis and understands how I am affected by my illness has been a tremendous effect on my recovery.  

When I am with them, I feel normal, I feel like myself, and that is the time when I can really kick back, unwind, and enjoy myself. I need that. I think, that we all need people like that in our lives.  Having good friends who love, support, and accept you no matter what can make the difference in a recovery success story, and a recovery not so successful story.




Support! Who Needs Support?!

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The quick answer is everyone.  


Being diagnosed with a mental illness is one of the most difficult things that you can deal with.  When I was diagnosed, I wanted to get as much information as I could possibly get my hands on regarding bipolar disorder.  I wanted to how I could live with it and what I would do to maintain it. I was looking for hope. I found a few articles online and I also found a magazine called BP Hope.  It is a magazine that tells the stories of people who live with bipolar disorder. This what exactly what I needed because I figured if so many others could live successfully with their illnesses, then so could I.  While reading about these awesome people in a magazine were great for me to see, I never found people in real life that I could relate to, who also suffered from some sort of mental health disorder.


My need to connect with others who shared a situation that was similar to me was overwhelming.

I wanted to be around people who were high functioning, had families, careers, and also a mental illness.  I wanted to feel like I was not “abnormal” or the only one in the world who suffered in silence. I wanted a connection, and I was determined to find it.


I searched high and low for a support group that I could attend with people who could relate to me.  I did find a support group, and it was nothing like I expected. Now don’t get me wrong, the people were very nice and they were polite and all of that.  The thing that I did not like about the group was that when I would leave, I felt more sad and depressed than when I arrived. I was always under the impression, that support groups are supposed to help you through your tough time and also offer hope along the way.  That is not what I felt. I felt like I was doomed and that I would live a sad, grim existence based on the folks that I had met in this support group. If I could help it, I never wanted anyone to feel the way I did during my support group experience.


I have created an online support group called the Sanctuary Support Group.  

I created this group to combat the feelings of loneliness, and isolation that I felt so many years ago.  This is a safe place for sharing hope, inspiration and experiences with others who live with a mental health disorder.  The group will meet once a month, and the next meeting is scheduled for January 19, 2019.


For more information on the Sanctuary Support Group Virtual, please visit the link below.  

http://bit.ly/SanctuarySupportVirtual



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5 Amazing Reasons to Attend A Support Group

Ever since being diagnosed, I have done a lot of research on things that would help me manage my mental health.  Support groups are a great way to manage your mental health in a positive way.  I have attended many support groups and I love all that support groups stand for.  Below are 5 great reasons to attend a support group.

  1. Shared Experiences – When you attend a support group, you meet up with people who share similar experiences and circumstances as you.  This allows you to feel comfortable. 
  2. Open and honest communication – You can engage in honest communication about your experiences with people who are familiar with what you are going through without the judgement you may face from those who are not in similar circumstances.
  3. Sense of community – You feel like you are a part of an exclusive club when you a part of group of peers who share a similar experience.
  4. Comparison of resources – Being in a support group is a great way to share tips, resources, and advice on your illness and treatment.
  5. Developing and understanding of your situation - When you surround yourself with people who share similar expeiences as you, you are able to look at your situation in a way that you may not have done so in the past.  This gives you a new outlook on your circumstances, and this may be for the better.  


If you are dealing with a mental health issue and are looking for a healthy way to deal with it.  Consider a support group.  It may be just what you need.