Over the last seven years, connection with others has fueled my journey from mental “hellness” to mental wellness.
I believe connection is the answer to the question, the solution to the riddle, and our best response to the rapid and dangerous spread of mental illness, and its oft present brethren, suicide.
I would go so far as to say, I don’t believe people so much die of mental illness as they do of hopelessness. In turn, I believe, connection creates hope, and hope saves lives.
But, even with the remedy in hand, we still may be at a loss of how to create connection.
So how do we create connection in our everyday lives?
I speak about three ways:
These are the methods I use every day to create connection as often as I possibly can.
For me, the more connected I am, the better I feel. Added to this is my experience that the monster of mental illness has no defense against connection. In this way connection acts like a protective bubble or impenetrable boundary where my soul can catch its breath.
That said, I realize that works for me may not work for you.
So, what’s a fella to do?
Thanks to the input of a great soul, I have come to realize that there is actually a “one-size-fits-all” solution; to create an online community, a safe place for sharing, learning, and most important of all, connecting.
I’ve gone on to discover, “community” is, in fact, the perfect word to describe what was suggested to me:
“A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”
Today, I invite others to join my new Facebook group, “The Sanctuary.”
The purpose of the group is for people with “lived experience,” along with the people in their life, to share their personal experiences on either side of the table of, “mental uniqueness.”
Members of the group will be encouraged to share their story, to speak openly about what works for them and what doesn’t, and to unburden their souls on the tough days, and sing their delights on the good ones.
The group will include content and resources from notable experts, as well as personal commentary from those authors, bloggers, and advocates who are doing great work in the field of mental health and stigma slaying.
We will collectively leverage curiously to discover answers, and when asked, share ideas and possible answers to the conditions that from time to time overwhelm us, our family and our friends.
That said, my role in leading eight monthly mental health and grief support group meetings in the physical world has taught me this; the best groups are those based on offering support, not advice unless advice is expressly asked for.
Such will be the case in, “The Sanctuary.”
We face a formidable foe, but he is not indestructible. It is possible to live well, and in coming together, we stand the greatest chance of realizing our birthright; mental health.
I have witnessed firsthand the profound and powerful healing that comes when people join as a community, experience connection, and thus recharged, head out into the world feeling at least a tinge of hope. And as far of hope is concerned, a little goes a really long way!
Please join me and help create a community for one another. Join the sanctuary here.