<Possible Trigger Warning>
No matter what disorder you face in your day to day life, having at least a few people who you can turn to for advice, comforting, or healthy distractions can definitely make the journey a tad smoother. These bonds can be romantic, platonic, or beneficial in multiple different ways. There have been times where my life seemed to lack in social bonds, as well as periods where I felt nothing but love from those I surrounded myself with. Transitions and phases in this sector of your life are going to be almost constant, but should be welcomed with an open mind or else you will idle instead of continuing to grow and know yourself. Taking the good with the bad is key.
I find when I am overwhelmed with school work, social anxiety, or anything of that sort that linking up with someone I trust and enjoy talking to the most helpful. I may or may not talk directly about the subject that’s currently eating at me, but that’s okay. The tone generates the subject in this case, and I let it flow. I always feel refreshed afterwards. Sometimes this ‘talk’ may come in the form of a quick, condensed venting session to my friend, mom, or boyfriend via text; others, I go on a walk with them to vent and clear our heads. These talks are FOR you, so conduct them in the way you feel most comfortable and have good results in terms of releasing stress.
Other times, when it seems that I am the only person on the planet, I am actually craving social situations and locations because I tend to isolate myself a lot. Having people you can simply go get a coffee with, go to the park or gym with, or run a few necessary or for-fun errands with can make getting out of this grey area more accessible and appealing. I have all different kinds of relationships that I can relate to this area currently as it is something I have been working on. This isn’t something you have to push yourself to do everyday, just as you feel you need. Not only do you get your social fix, you also continue the bonds with the people you already care for: win-win!
If some of the sources of your mental health issues are linked to lost or damaged relationships in your life, maybe really focus on the main possible sources of failure for each. If it is a lack in communication, make a small goal to increase contact with that specific person. Had the relationship fallen apart due to a misunderstanding and you find yourself wanting to repair it, reach out to the other person and express your wishes and emotions. Remember, you only have so much control in this situation; you don’t have a say over how they will react but you can at least do your part in initiating a rekindling. Continue to use small goals as a main motivator with any perceived ‘wrongdoing’ or mistake, keeping them small enough so that they’re 100% obtainable. This will offer a great amount of motivation and encouragement; you’ll be amazed at how far you’ll get.
Overall, it is extremely crucial to ensure you maintain reliable connections to some people you wholeheartedly trust and value. My parents, boyfriend, and friends are some of the most amazing resources and blessings I have in my life. They offer endless support, love, and pure awesomeness. Even during dips in my mental health, I can turn to these people without fear of judgement or rejection. They are anchors at times when I feel myself floating away and can’t seem to get grounded.
This doesn’t mean I dump everything to them all of the time, because that is unfair to them; everyone deals with heavy things, despite whether they talk about it ever or not, so they can only handle so much of other peoples’ things on top of it. If you need to talk and get it out, that’s fine; just avoid making this a habit for every time you and that person hangout. That wouldn’t be beneficial either to you or them and would only weaken the ties between each other. Also try to have multiple ways you can understand and release negative energies like journalism, art, music, exercise, etc. and not solely relying on venting.
P.S. Professional help is another type of network that can be beneficial. Of course it’s not for everyone, just like most things in life, it’s highly subjective. I personally have tried counseling at two different periods in my life, one in my early teens and one now at age 19. In my younger years, I didn’t enjoy the appointments and found they only increased the symptoms of both my depression and anxiety; I also didn’t feel connected to my therapist. Now, however, I feel a strong tie to my psychotherapist. I don’t feel the need or want to hold anything back, there’s an obvious feeling of neutrality in her responses which is refreshing, and she helps me make plans and set goals that are exciting and feasible. Just as in any relationship, the counselor-patient relationship matters in terms of trust and comfortableness. Without it, the sessions could be rather useless and you may never see the results you wish for.