The Many Faces of Support
Last updated: July 2021
When I think of my support system in managing a chronic illness like endometriosis, I think of my husband (and my medical team, of course). He will make himself available to go to appointments, he’ll rest with me when I’m not feeling well, and he keeps me laughing because we know that’s good medicine too.
As I thought more about it though, I started to see and realize that there are so many little ways I’m being supported by my friends and family too. They may not be aware of what they’re doing, but in some way their efforts are making it easier to manage a chronic illness.
I think of my friend who is the socialite of our group and is also a big foodie – she knows all the best restaurants and what to order. So, she’s our go-to planner for a girl’s night out dinner. I know that if she’s selecting the restaurant, it’s one that will be easy to find healthy options that support my nutrition plan in managing my health.
When I think of the trainer at the gym, even though he doesn’t have details on my health, he knows that somedays I have to modify a workout based on how I’m feeling. I’m grateful that he holds an environment that supports me in honoring my body’s needs without judgement.
My online community
I’m also grateful for the community on social media that are fellow endo sisters and other chronic illness warriors who are sharing their stories and successes. It’s inspiring to know that we’re all in this together and that others are finding success in managing their health.
How I support others
Reflecting upon these different faces of support – and countless others – it helped to shift my thinking of the support we have all around us. I wasn’t looking at it through that lenses, but it’s always been there. So, then I started to wonder, am I serving as a support to anyone in my life? It’s wonderful to know that I’m surrounded my little gestures of support, but how am I giving that back to someone else? There were a few people that came to mind that I hope I’m being a support to them, but with some intention, I’m sure I could be serving more.
A simple sign at Starbucks that circulated social media recently reminded me that it doesn’t even have to be someone that I know. The sign read: “Today you could be standing next to someone who is trying their best not to fall apart. Whatever you do today, do it with kindness in your heart.”
How easy it is to forget as we’re moving throughout our day that we could be standing next to someone that needs support? And something as simple as eye contact and a smile, holding the door, letting them have the parking spot could be the one gesture that makes their day just a little easier. I have my bad days for sure, but it feels really good to take the focus on myself and see how I can be up help to others too. We're all in this together.
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