Peer support

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Part of the human condition, at least in North America, is a tendency to internalize things, keep them secret like some kind of shame, hide them from the rest of the world so we won’t be judged.

If you’re depressed, just be happy. If you’re anxious about something, just force yourself to do it anyway. If you’re angry, just push past it.

That advice is not only dangerously inaccurate, it’s impossible to maintain while continuing to live a healthy life.

There is something to be said for peer support, especially when learning to cope with someone else’s illness. It’s never easy to openly discuss struggles, but when you do, you learn not only are your feelings valid, but you’re not the only one that feels that way.

You’re not strange or unkind because someone else’s struggle is contributing to your struggle. You’re not weak or broken. You’re not a failure or a horrible person. You are a human doing the best you can in a new, and often uncomfortable, situation.

Living with someone with mental illness is like walking a minefield blindfolded. You don’t know what person you will get each day. You don’t know what will trigger a negative reaction in that person and you don’t know how to help. The frustration is real and it takes its toll.

That’s why we are excited to hear of the new peer support group for families with a loved one with mental health issues.

Asking for help is not easy, but when you find others who understand what you’re dealing with, it can make a world of difference.

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