Get Support in Your Community
Family and friends can be an amazing support system. But no family or group of friends has all the expertise that someone with a disability or mental health struggle might need. There are times when we need support from community organizations.
However, when we are really struggling, we feel alone and might not want to reach out to anyone. It is easy to keep things to ourselves rather than open up. But there can be many benefits to seeking support from community organizations. There are so many types of organizations out there that it is mind-blowing. I will only mention a couple.
One type of community organization is churches and faith-based groups. I have been attending church since I was born. From 18 months old to 18 years old, my Sunday School classes were divided by age. Many of the children who were in my church youth groups went to the same schools as I did. It was wonderful to see friends from church in the hall at school. Also, my denomination has a nationwide and worldwide structure, so when I moved across the country twice, the church structure was still there for me. When I became an adult, I became part of the women’s group and have had opportunities to get to know amazing women and learn from them. A few of these women have become friends, moving from a community connection to the friend category. Thus, my church is a community organization that has allowed me to meet new people and feel supported.
I have done water therapy on and off throughout my life, either with a therapist or with my mom. This has helped me with muscle strength and coordination, but to be honest I just enjoyed being in the water and interacting with others. Some of my fondest memories growing up were with my therapists in the pool. They made it fun and let me make up water gymnastics routines and pick plastic strawberries as I walked in the water with weights on my ankles. One of my therapy pools offered snacks. I really enjoyed my Lorna Dunes after each session. When I moved to Kentucky, I started using the pool at the local YMCA. My mom and I got on friendly terms with a few of the workers, who were excited to see me and ask about my progress. The YMCA also offers fitness classes, a gym to work out in, and more. It’s a great way to get support in your community.
Community organizations are just about as varied as the interests and conditions they cater to. Word of mouth may be more helpful than a Google search. When you get involved with an organization, you can meet people, let them meet you, and find out about more community organizations. The more people you know, the more supported you will feel. There’s no doubt that community organizations are valuable sources of support.