Obviously I don’t just mean ‘any’ others, I mean those special people in your life who you would call on in times of need. There’s a lot of talk at the moment in Scotland about long term conditions and peer support. In many ways peer support has been taking place online for many years now but has largely been unrecognised.
My own mental health recovery journey started in 1998 with peer support in the form of a website I created that still runs to this day. My communication, I found, was always so much easier online. By writing I was able to really share with others in a anonymous environment my deepest thoughts and feelings. I was able to listen, care and support my fellow avatars who I knew nothing about. What we had in common was all that mattered. Stigma, judgements, opinions, criticisms etc. went out of the window.
Support online is everywhere now and I’m privileged to have been there from the beginning.
Peer support can indeed include those nearest and dearest to you, but for me it’s in a very different way. The biggest barrier is ‘being a burden’. Something I know all to well about with various situations I’ve been in with my husband.
So, will peer support take many forms or will it focus too much on specifics. I never saw my husband as my carer although as a label that’s what he was. But we were much more on equal terms than that so it’s not something I felt comfortable with.
Even though I am now in a different position again, I engage in support once again online in communities related to my condition. I work full-time and my husband works part -time so he can have the dinner ready in the evening and do some of the chores that I am unable to do.
He’s my companion in sickness and in health.