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Building a Support Framework

Simone Biles’ decision to put her mental health ahead of competing in the Olympics has amplified the conversation around the issues so many of us face. Journalists in every form of media, people all over social media, and strangers in the grocery store began talking about Biles’ decision.

Simone had a support network that stood behind her decision to step away. Coaches, doctors, friends, family, teammates, all came out to publicly support and defend her. Not everyone who goes through issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues has that kind of circle. To me, that’s incredibly sad.

If you feel like you don’t have people in your life who support you in your mental health or invisible illness battle, then it’s past time to start building that framework. At some point in our lives, all of us need support, whether that’s for a traumatic event, an illness, or a big life change. We need people to trust and open up to.

This blog post lists a number of online resources for people who need help, or want to talk about what they are going through. Mental Health America has a list of in-person support groups for a wide variety of mental health battles. Most of these groups are free, and have structure and/or leaders who are trained to help you.

The first step is to open up and say, “I need help.” It can be incredibly tough to do—believe me, I know because I have been there—but if a world-class gymnast can stop what she is doing and admit to the world that she needs a break to regroup, then any one of us can.

Most of all, know that you aren’t alone. It’s easy to withdraw and try to battle it out on your own, but that’s not the best solution. It’s not weakness to admit you need help—it’s a strength. There are dozens of great quotes here, but I especially like the first one on the page:

Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you, doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone.” – Lisa Olivera

I’m here, if you want to comment or reach out. I’ve been there (and you can read more about my story in my book, You’ve Got Some Nerve). If you have a friend who is in need of support, reach out today. Sometimes just knowing you are there can make a dark day much lighter.

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