I have found that one of the most important things in treatment – at least for me – is the existence of a healthy support system. In my case, that consists of my friends, my family, my therapist, and any doctors involved – as well as, currently, my co-workers. To a certain extent, a support system has to be nearby. I know that while I was living in St. Louis, my closest friends weren’t nearby, and so while I could talk to them on the phone, I rarely got to see them face-to-face. That was a big pat of my feeling disconnected.
Living in Houston, I have friends who are close by – several of them live in the same apartment complex with me, in fact. We can see each other on a regular basis. That doesn’t make my other friends any less important to me; I still talk to them often. But having people I can see and get together with makes me feel like I am part of the community here, in a way I never really felt in St. Louis. So, while I don’t get to see my family as often as I did when I lived with them, I still talk to them, and I got to see them over Christmas.
It’s important for me to be a part of the support systems of others, too. I know that I’m a friend for Calla, and I view that as a privilege; I view being a part of all my friends’ support systems as a privilege, actually, I just don’t tell them that nearly enough. I also can’t really mention them by name here, which makes it a little tricky. Being part of a community is a big deal, for all of us, since we are social creatures – and many of my friends here in Houston came here from elsewhere, and we have shared experiences which bring us together.
It’s not just friends, though. Having my therapist and psychiatrist is also a big part of things. I can talk to both of them about issues that don’t really come up in everyday conversations with my friends – not that my friends can’t handle them, but talking about variations in medication schedule isn’t exactly a thrilling conversation topic, you know? Also, the support I get from my therapist is different than the support I get from my friends. It’s hard to explain, but both kinds are helpful.
Friends, family, doctors, co-workers, support groups – they’re all important to me in my continuing life. I don’t know that I need all of them, all the time, but I do not that the support system I have formed here has helped me to get where I am now. Which is a far, far better place than I was a little over a year ago. My health isn’t totally due to that – the things I learned in treatment and my medication also play big roles – but the support system is a necessary part.