March 13, 2020
Life can be lonely when you are trying to make it on your own. Life is even more lonely when you are trying to manage mental health issues on your own. Having found treatment for your mental health and/or substance use issues, you know how important it is to have a strong support network. At the core of your support network, whenever possible, should be your family. Even if you have completed your treatment, it is important to keep strong ties to your family.
On your worst day, there will always be one or more people who will still love you. Your family will love you, no matter what. They have loved you since you joined them in your family, and they will love you to the ends of time. This unconditional love is the one thing you can count on in a world that can be so difficult to navigate, especially with mental health or substance use issues.
Not every family shows love in the same way, and families have their personalities and mannerisms, their own customs and habits. Your family may have exhibited “tough love,” for example, if your behaviors were especially difficult to live with or if you pushed their boundaries. Or you may have one or more people in your family that you consider to be your best friend. Or you may have very limited contact with your family if there is a lot of dysfunction. Or any combination of these and more. In whatever ways that your family does or does not appear to show it, the love that exists in families is still unconditional, and not like any other kind of love that you will find in this life.
Your family is your reference point in the world. They have raised you, taught you, and shared with you their values, behaviors, and views on life. They are familiar, they are comfortable, and they know everything about you – what you like to eat, your favorite everythings, and the things that bug you most. Even when you are not living at home, they are the “North” that your compass naturally points towards.
It is only natural, then, that as you go through life, you turn to them. Particularly as you have struggled with mental health or substance use, they can be a reference for you. You can rely on their wisdom, the familiar sounds of their voices, and that they are the people who will always have your back. Whether you are still living at home, are away to school, or have moved out on your own, your family can be your reference points in life.
Even in strained or difficult relationships, it is really smart to keep strong ties with your family. They know your physical and mental health history as well as other important information to help you to stay strong and be healthy. You can trust them to make medical decisions for you even when you are not able to, and you can trust that they will support you in whatever mental or physical health challenges you may face. Even if your relationships are strained or difficult, it is smart to keep in touch with them and to make an effort to keep the communications open with them because you never know when you may need them, or they will need you.
Support from the Heart
The best kind of support is the kind of support that comes from the heart. Even in the most dysfunctional of families, their support for you comes from a place of love that not even your best friend or significant other may have for you. At your lowest moment, whether it is from a place of self-harm, from the police station, or any other situation, your family will be the one to pick up the call and to come and get you and do whatever you need. They may not sound like they are coming from the heart, their lectures may seem worse than whatever situation that you were just in. But they are from the heart. Because no one else loves you like family does.
The most straightforward reason to keep strong ties to your family is for sentimental reasons. Sharing stories, pictures, movies, and memories of growing up gives us an emotional strength that nothing else can. Our ties to our family keep us grounded. Family fills a need that is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The stronger we can keep our bonds with them, the stronger we will be to stand up against mental illness or substance use or whatever else life throws at us. Our ties to our family are like the foundation of our well-being. Every memory we share, every memory we make together helps us to be better and stronger.
We need our families to be healthy, especially mentally healthy. The unconditional love, strength, and knowledge we get from them helps to support us in our best and worst of times. Even if we have moved out of our parents’ home, we can still maintain close relationships. For support, for love, for help in our time of need, our families are the ones who will always love us and always take our call.
Remember the skills you learned in family therapy. Call Potomac Programs 1-855-809-0409 if you need a refresher. Your family can help you safeguard your mental health, heart, and soul.