Open your hands,
if you want to be held
º º º
My final Support Group meeting last week turned out to be quiet and modest, which is fitting. It’s been three months since I admitted myself to the partial hospitalization program, and during that transitional time the emphasis has been on doing what it takes every day to manage our varied illnesses. We marked quiet, diligent effort and tiny steps toward a stronger sense of self all leading to a “graduation day” when we would continue on our own with outside support and services in place.
Most of the people in group last week were brand new, freshly discharged from the Program and hesitant about joining a group in progress. But that’s the nature of this type of group—people come, people go, and there are lessons to be learned whichever way the door swings. There were a few there who had been with me for a while in group, and when it came time to pass around the graduation token, they held it and spoke kindly about me and my participation. The counselor, in particular, spoke about my skills as a peer. He was quite adamant about me pursuing work as a Peer Support Specialist. With the nature of mental health services shifting toward peer advocacy, he told me I was needed and gave me a contact at the local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) office.
So, today I sent an introductory email and asked for information. I know nothing about Peer Advocacy, but I’m willing to find out. This feels like a huge step after trying and failing at jobs and volunteer work for several years. I gave up the hope of ever returning to work for my peace of mind. I felt I needed to accept my limitations and move on from that basic understanding.
But I also know that I have a lot to offer as a peer. I know how to listen and how to ask questions. I know how hard it is to do the work every day. If I can find a place to use those skills, I think I must.
So, I sent the query today, along with my willingness and gratitude, into the ethers. We’ll see what the Universe sends back.