Have you ever felt alone in your struggles? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to lean into others for support? A support system during your mental health journey is going to benefit you in more ways that you could imagine. There are multiple steps that go into building your support system. When building a support system, you want to be conscious and put thought into who you feel will have your back and best interest at heart. It is more than just choosing a random friend or a family member. It is more than having someone that shows you kindness on a daily basis. You are strong enough to get through anything, but it doesn’t help to have some cheerleaders on the sideline!
1. Identify Your Needs
The first step in building your support system is identifying your needs. What do you feel you could benefit from in the support figure you choose? Do you need someone that will hold you accountable? Do you need someone who can offer a non-judgmental listening ear? Some people need access to an outlet for crisis situations. Some people need an outlet where they can vent and get things off their chest that feels heavy. Maybe, you need someone that is going to cheer you on in the big moments. It is up to you to decide what your needs are when it comes to making progress in your mental health journey.
2. Reach Out
It can be very helpful to reach out to family and friends in times of struggle. Whether it be someone you haven’t spoken to in months or a family member that you speak to everyday, leaning into the vulnerability of someone else can have a positive
impact on your healing journey. It is important to have the correct people in your corner. Choose people that you feel will have your best interest at heart. You may need to set boundaries with those in your support system. When you think about reaching out to a friend or a family member, think to yourself, “In what way will they meet my needs?” Will they aid in your progress or will they set you back? Will they celebrate even the small wins and not just the big wins? It is okay to be picky in who you decide to have in your support system. This is your journey and you have the autonomy to choose your people.
3. Find the Therapist for You
A very important part of your support system is a therapist. There are many benefits to seeking professional help. When adding a therapist to your support system, you are adding someone that shows up for you, creates a safe space, and provides unbiased support and guidance. A therapist allows you to show up as you are and use the session for whatever you feel you need to work on that day. They can be in your support system for a few months or a few years. Similarly to identifying your needs in your support system, it is beneficial to identify what characteristics you want to have in a therapist. Finding the correct therapist can feel a lot like dating, but it will all be worth it when you find the right therapist for you that walks with you through your mental health journey.
4. Consider Other Resources
There are other outlets to add to your support system that doesn’t constrict yourself to just family, friends, and a therapist. Depending on what you are seeking help for, there can be other members of your support system such as a primary care doctor, a dietician, or a psychiatrist. It all goes back to what your needs are in your healing
journey. Aside from those examples, it could be helpful to join a support group. Sometimes it is nice to know that you are not alone in your journey. Not only are you in a room filled with support, but you can also build relationships that eventually may find their way into your system. There are so many different groups in the mental health world. If it is something you feel would help you in your journey, I would highly recommend looking into some groups in your area!
I encourage you, reader, to lean into the vulnerability and comfort of having a support system and give yourself grace and self-love during your mental health journey.