As part of my unofficial Dealing with Depression Series, I want to talk to you about Support Systems, and why they are so important to making you who and what you are. This is going to be broken into sections, because my view of support systems, and what they consist of is based on my life and my life only. I’m not a psychologist. I’m just telling you what I know, what I think, and what I wish other people would understand. Feel free to disagree with me, dialogue is important!
What is a Support System?
The people who have your back no matter what. I’m not talking about the boys you go out to the club with, or your girls at work. I’m talking about the people that keep you sane, and make you think. The people that question you, and your decisions. Not because they think you are stupid, but because at the end of the day, they want to make sure you are going to be okay.
When I was younger, I thought everyone had a support system. I thought every family was like the Henry Family. A family that consisted of strong men, who wore suits everyday, and went to work everyday. Men who graduated from college, and supported their family. Women who were college educated, and made career choices based on their skill level, not just what was available. Women who made sure their children got the best of everything, and understood their worth as individuals. In the bubble that is the Henry Family, that was the STANDARD. Not the Exception.
Because my family was raised around like minded people, that is all I saw. There were 5 or 6 huge families at my childhood church. They all were raised in the same way, thought the same way, and lived their lives the way we did. When I was younger, my whole life was Littlefield St and True Love Missionary Baptist Church. I was extremely sheltered from the Real World, and as I get older, I am so pleased that I was.
The Real World . . .
is SCARY. There are all kinds of people who are out there to hurt you. So yes, I stayed inside my bubble that was cultivated just for me. It wasn’t until I got to public high school that I found out that people who said they were your friend would actually stab you in the back. I’m a very naive person, because I intrinsically believe that people are good. Even though I know that bad exists, I was raised to be a GOOD PERSON. I was raised to do the right thing, even if you don’t end up winning.
I Was Raised . . .
and not everyone was. Your first Support System should be your parents. They are the people that instill the first set of values in you. Those core values, that you take with you for the rest of your life. These are the lessons that should explain the ways of the world to you. But what if your parents aren’t there for you? What if their priority was each other, or drugs, or alcohol? What if through no fault of your own, your parents just weren’t there?
Then you have had no form of guidance. You have no way to figure out what is right or wrong. OR, your perception of Right Vs. Wrong is easily viewed based on your survival. OR, your perception of Good and Evil is based on what you observed in your youth. You might do things that are not necessarily legal because you need to eat, or you have to take care of your younger siblings, or you need a roof over your head for the night. You might completely violate the boundaries of another person, and not understand why they are so upset. How you see the world is most often based on the World You Have Seen . . .
Survival of the Fittest
Those who make it prosper, those who don’t will have a hard life. This isn’t to say that everyone can’t make it. But those that rise above to overcome usually have found a reliable support system. Sometimes, your friends can be the family you never had. Sometimes, your extended family treats you better than the people that should biologically care the most about you.
The point is, if you want to survive you will. I recently asked a friend who his support system was, he could only think of one person. He has been supporting himself for so long, he stopped relying on others. Honestly, he’s one of the most well adjusted people that I know, except for one area of his life. But the area causes him the most problems, is based almost solely on the lack of a support system.
After You’ve Done all You Can
I have lots of friends, who feel that Jesus is the only form of Support you need in your life. Feeling there is a higher power who has some input in the happenings of your life didn’t just start with Christians. It’s been around for quite sometime. Celestial Support Systems are great, if you are actually dedicated to them.
I’ve seen lots of folk who only ask for support during the bad times, and give themselves all the credit when things are going great. Whether you believe in The Secret, The Bible, Wicca, or the Qur’an: use that belief to lift people up and support them. Don’t use it to tear people down.
The Point of it All . . . .
is knowing that you NEED a support system. System implies that there is more than one person involved. I have some friends that I can tell everything and have no fear of being judged. Some friends that I have to only tell certain parts of my life. I have the FaceBook 40 aka #FGSSUM07, a group of people that I would have never dealt with had it not been for the Internet. I have Sorority Sisters and Frat Brothers, Twitter Friends and GChat Buddies. I have friends that became family, and family that became friends.
I am truly grateful that I have a system of people that support me. That worry about me, and want the best from me. Yes, at times it can be a pain in the ass, but more often than the not, it’s a blessing. Because even within my Support System I have friends who have never been as lucky as I am.
. . . Each One Reach One . . .
We often find it easy to walk away from people when things aren’t working out. To end 10 year relationships because we aren’t getting our way. Just remember, if that person was once a major part of your life, you might have been part of theirs. You don’t want to leave them rolling around looking for that Piece of Themselves that was lost in the fight. . .