Experience

The Importance of Having a Community

Written by ECBC contributor, Rachel Finch- an inspirational young woman sharing her journey of acceptance and happiness with her mental illness. 

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Living with a mental illness can be incredibly isolating. I myself have gone days ignoring the world, hiding in my bed, convinced that no one cared or truly understood.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Opening up and starting a dialogue with someone you trust can be daunting, almost terrifying. Depending on what feels more natural or comfortable for you, the best way to start your dialogue could be with your GP.

For me it was with my Mum. I talked as honestly as I could at the time and together we reached out to get help from the NHS. Taking that step was almost inconceivable at first. Saying out loud to a doctor that something was wrong and I didn’t know what or how to handle it seemed ridiculous. The shame I felt was overwhelming. Having my mum there, metaphorically and literally holding my hand every step of the way helped me push through the shame and embarrassment so that I could get the help that I needed.

“A circle of support is simply a group of people who have a commitment to a person to help them to have a good life”. Mental Health Foundation

I’ve been very lucky. My support network came naturally. First my Mum, and then a wonderful psychologist were crucial to helping me open up to my friends and thank God I did. My support network isn’t huge, it doesn’t need to be. What’s important is that you have a sense of belonging. Feeling supported and having trusted people around you that can also support the burden can help pull you out of some of the darkest moments that can shroud our minds.

Trying to deal with traumatic experiences, mental health or simply day to day life is hard enough, if you are then trying to do it all on your own it can help to feed the loneliness, despair and bleak outlook you can feel when stuck. This can even leave you feeling like a support network could never even exist for you. But it can!

I truly believe creating a support network to help tackle mental health is possibly the most important part of recovery. Not knowing who to turn to first can be difficult. If you don’t feel you have someone in your life already that you could open up to there are so many amazing groups, forums and charities you can seek help from.

A website I regularly visit is The Mighty . It’s a platform for people to share stories or even just thoughts with topics ranging from anxiety, cancer and rare diseases. Taking that first step to opening up was the scariest thing I did. But looking back now what seems scarier is if I hadn’t.

If you are wanting support but not sure where to start I would recommend visiting The Mighty, Self Help Services, Manchester Mind or Heads together.

Remember you are loved and are worthy of love. x

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You can read more about Rachel’s story here.

If you’d like to contribute to our blog or get involved behind-the-scenes with ECBC, please get in touch.

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