Having a mental illness for as long as I have, you start to think about what caused it. Moreover, I can’t help but wonder why some of us make it through while, sadly, others do not. Is there something to connection and recovery?
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One would have to be a fool to think that some of us are stronger than others and that’s why some people make it. While there may be some truth to that, one thing that science knows for sure is that we are wired for connection. Could this be the reason some of us hold on?
I credit most of my ability to stay on the road to mental wellness with the love and support I am blessed with.
A study conducted by Harvard University over a span of 80 years has found that people need other people. People with strong ties to the community, to their families and relationships, are more likely to live longer. Essentially, the happier you are, the longer you will live. Find the tedX talk on the study here:
Perhaps what’s most fascinating to me is that positive social interaction can help you live longer even if your cholesterol is high. In other words, what actually makes us happy is the bonds we forge, not the jobs we have and certainly not the things we own.
So, why am I bringing this up? Well, is it then possible that people with mental illness who have strong ties to supports and have strong ties to others could also live longer?
Like water to a plant, we need a social connection if we are going to survive and live the best life possible.
Fortunately, when I read the study, it looks like it could be the case. Although the study doesn’t seem to focus on the mentally ill, it does demonstrate that social connection has a positive impact on mental-health outcomes. Therefore, it’s not s leap of faith to suggest that this too applies to us.
Now, I can’t find any good science to suggest this – however, I can speak to my own experiences on having good supports in life. And I can say that for me, the social connection and love has literally been a lifesaver.
People have commended me for what appears to them, to be a sort of inner strength. Maybe, but I can’t say that’s totally true. I credit most of my ability to stay on the road to mental wellness with the love and support of family, friends and a sense of duty to help others.
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As anyone with a debilitating mental health condition can tell yo,; one of the hallmark tendencies is to withdraw from any form of social interaction. This may sound counter-intuitive but when the outside world wears down your tolerance, this seems logical to the ill-minded individual.
This behaviour, the need to isolate, is in fact not the answer, at least not entirely. Should you take time for self-care? Absolutely! Should your self-care extend into weeks or even months? The answer is probably not. Rather, the answer mostly lies in connection and recovery.
In short, we need connection and good support. We also must find the strength to integrate ourselves into something meaningful outside of our comfort zone. Like water to a plant, we need a social connection if we are going to survive and live the best life possible.
I want you to live: Go to Crisis Services Canada If you need help
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Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness