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Widening my support network. - March 7th 2013, 06:29 AM

So in the last week I've just started doing something called a WRAP course, which is a Wellness and Recovery Action Programme. A big part of the two sessions I've done so far has been for me, realising that I need to have a support network that extends beyond my clinical team.

So I made a post on facebook asking for friends who are willing to commit to spending an hour a week with me, not necessarily at the same time each week, but a regular thing, and said I was looking for between 1 - 3 people.

Ideally these people will be aware of my crisis plan, my early warning signs, and what they need to help me to do if things start going pear shaped. Not saying that things will go that way, but having these things in place is a way of preventing it from getting to a crisis stage.

So I only put the post up on facebook about an hour ago, I'm giving it a couple of days, the responses I've had so far are interesting. I have one guy, who met my old flatmate in hospital, who has made a genuine offer to be there and hang out. I don't know him too well but I really appreciate that he's made himself available for this and I will make use of that.

I've had one friend who has said that although they live far away (over an hour's drive), that if I need to talk we can always chat through facebook.

And I've had a cousin who has started talking to me about how she was seeking a diagnosis as she thought she may have bipolar, and her father (my uncle, my father's brother so a direct blood relative) has a bipolar diagnosis.

So two things:
One: I'm going to tell my team about a family member having a bipolar diagnosis.
Two: How else can I widen my support network?

My clinical team are absolutely fantastic. I have a community support worker who I think the world of, a key worker who is incredibly experienced (though retiring in July), and a psychiatrist who listens. Also I will soon be engaging with a psychologist, as well as possibly doing DBT, and as I said I'm currently doing WRAP.

But I know that in order to succeed with less input from mental health, I need to have friends and family I can trust and rely on to be there. I know I have to do most of the hard work myself and I'm okay with that (although scared), I just need to know how else, aside from facebook, I can increase the amount of people who I can actually see and hang out with in person.

It's really important for me that it's in person as I find things like hugs are vital to my ongoing wellness.

Tips please!

Thanks guys.
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Re: Widening my support network. - March 11th 2013, 01:16 AM

Have you ever considered things like joining social groups? I can understand it would be a scary thing to do but it can be a great way to meet people, gain friends and overcome some fears and build confidence! Or even more so, you could look in to some local support groups. You would be able to meet people in similar situations to you who'd be able to relate to how you feel and what you're going through and they may be able to offer support for you which might be good for you too.

But things like meeting with friends is really good. The guy who messaged you on facebook sounds like he's genuine so maybe you could start meeting him for a few hours a week and try and build on it.

This was pretty useless but I hope it helps in someway. If you ever need anything, you know where I am

"Only in the dark, can you see the stars..."
Josie 12/3/2014, always in my heart. Sue 19/2/2016; Peter, Ellie, Hannah, Andy, Kirtsie RIP.

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