Support comes from many sources; self support family (immediate and extended), friends and co-workers, formal support groups and even our communities.
SELF SUPPORT: We support ourselves by becoming educated about the illness we are dealing with; by understanding/accepting that it is an illness and that recovery is possible at some level. Research all medications that are prescribed so that you understand what it is for and what if any side effects there might be. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!! You are the best advocate your child/young adult has, so it is important that you are ready to handle each and every day.
FAMILY SUPPORT: At times you feel like you are handling the issues all alone. Some families experience what they feel is a lack of support from within their own families. Take the time to explain the illness to them; if they understand the situation, it is much more likely that will lend you a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and the all important “hug” to get you through your day. You might even be surprised by an offer to give you a break with some respite time!
FRIENDS/CO-WORKERS: We spend a lot of time with our co-workers and friends; make sure that they understand what you are dealing with. Most will be there with a smile and a hug if they see that your stress level is up. You will know which friend/co-worker you can count on to allow you to vent or just get your mind on something other than the meltdown you had to deal with as you started or ended your day.
FORMAL SUPPORT GROUPS: These groups are made up of families who have been there-done that! They know firsthand your anger, frustration, helplessness and more importantly your need to realize that others DO UNDERSTAND! Most will have trained facilitators who are also family members. A good place to find a Family Support Group is to check with your local NAMI affiliate.
OUR COMMUNITIES: Your local churches, civic organizations and physicians can direct you to services and groups who may be able to assist you with your needs.
If you have any questions regarding support for your family, or to find out more information on how you can support this much needed group, always fell free to contact us.