Having family available to support me has been a blessing I’ve tried to never take for granted. Especially during these difficult times with COVID-19, I have found love and comfort in reading daily texts from my mother, talking on the phone with my sister who is a peer specialist, and occasionally enjoying safe visits with them and other family members who live close to me.
In fact, my loving family has supported me since my depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety first emerged, some 35 years ago. When I entered a psychiatric hospital as a frightened and suicidal adolescent, I didn’t know what was happening to me, how my mind had betrayed me, and I despaired of ever recovering.
But, to this day I still remember that my parents and various sisters and brothers visited me every single day during visiting hours. They attended multi-family therapy sessions with me, and they always believed that I could recover and find a place of greater wellness – and so I did.
After my first hospital stay ended, my parents and siblings continued to assist me with ensuring that I transitioned successfully through the college years and beyond. I attended a university close to home and since then, most of my family members have remained in the same geographical location near me, which has been very reassuring and at times a saving grace.
Sure, things aren’t perfect in my family situation – but that’s true of every family. I’m still overcome with humility and gratitude that these people that I love and that love me have shown me again and again that they’ve got my back, that we’re in each other’s hearts always.
-Shannon F., Guest Blogger