An insightful post from our fantastic Community Correspondent Ann-Marie D’Arcy-Sharpe, explaining how the support networks she has nurtured help her to manage a serious health condition.
Having a mental illness like Bipolar Disorder, connections are vital in order to cope with the symptoms and to live daily life. For me, those vital connections are those with other people, my support system, which I feel very lucky to have.
Having someone in your life who truly understands your illness and how it affects you, and more than that understands the best ways to support you through difficult times can make the world of difference. For me, this person is my husband, who is there for me unwaveringly, and whom I have a deep connection with which allows him to actually understand my condition as much as anyone without the condition themselves can. I also have family and friends who are there for me when I need to talk. These connections are at the end of the phone if I’m having a bad day and help me to calm down and figure out what my next steps should be.
Connections with others who are experiencing the same condition as you can be life changing. For me, these people come from all over the world via social media. It’s amazing to be able to talk to people about shared experiences, to feel understood on every level and to share in good and bad times.
Lastly, professional connections are also a vital part of coping with a serious mental illness. These are something I was lacking for a long time: it took years to find doctors who could understand, truly listen and who could diagnose and treat me effectively. Now I have a team of phychiatrists, doctors and a crisis team who help me to cope during bad times in a professional capacity.
A combination of these connections allows me to cope with my illness and to be able to function in the best way possible for me. These connections enable me to live the life I want to the best of my ability; without them, I wouldn’t be able to do so.