I have only realised in probably the last year or so, how important it is to surround yourself with people who can help you through difficult situations.
Now, it is of course extremely difficult to find one person who can help you with everything, which is what I struggled with. I wanted to open up about bad things but I didn’t think that I wanted to open up to many people. I tried to find one person who would understand everything. As you might have guessed, it didn’t work out too well.
This year, when my anxiety became very bad, I ended up having to open up a little bit to people that I worked with to explain why sometimes I needed to go and sit down in the back for 2 minutes to avoid having a panic attack, and why I often seemed agitated and nervous. I know that they say that it is easier to talk to people once you have opened up to one person, but I didn’t really believe it until I did.
I spoke to a few people about what I was going through and I discovered how many people identified with some part of what I was going through and with this new found information I began to build myself a support system.
Basically, what I would recommend is trying to find people that you feel comfortable with, and then find what you have in common. Sometimes people have gone through the same or similar problems, and they are able to help you with those problems. Sometimes they haven’t experienced your troubles, but they can be a form of emotional support. Some people have an incredible ability to read your emotions and see when something is wrong – and sometimes all you need is that recognition: that someone understands that you are in pain, even if they cannot do anything about it.
It is also important to surround yourself with people who will listen. I think that speaking about what is bothering you is the biggest step that you can take to make the problems seem smaller. Often keeping a thought tucked away inside your head can make it seem so incredibly huge – but if you think of the thought as a physical thing, when it is stuck inside your head, obviously it is going to seem big. It takes up all that space within your brain and it feels like your head is going to explode. And then you put the thought out there into the world, and suddenly it seems dwarfed in comparison to the entire planet. It’s still big, and it still has presence in your life, it is just easier to put into perspective when you share it with other people.
Start small. You don’t have to start sharing everything thought with everyone person you come across – your neighbours, and that old guy in the queue at the grocery store probably aren’t going to be able to help you out as much as a friend who already knows things about you.
Sometimes, through sharing, you will make some incredible friendships. One of my closest friends has experienced a lot of not so great things in her life, and she understands a lot of what I’m going through. She is one of the few people who taught me that friends really mean it when they say that you can call them whenever you need them. I know that when I need support I can call her, and she will talk me through it. And sometimes all you need to make it through it, is someone telling you that you can.
And I know that sounds ridiculously cliche. But sometimes there’s a reason things are a cliche.
Friends are there because they love you, and good friends will support you through everything that you are going through. Piece together a support system that you can always fall back on, and don’t forget to be a support system for your friends as well. Giving advice is as important as receiving it – and you never know how many people need help with things that you’ve already experienced.
Do you have a support system, or any advice on what you would do to support people you love?