What does support look like to you?
I was asked this question by the local authority at Mondays meeting and I struggled to answer. Its a tricky question I think, its bit like someone asking you what you want for tea when you don’t know what’s in the fridge.
So I’ve been trying to think about what it is I want/need when I’m asking for support and I’ve decided what I really need is somewhere to off load. It can’t just be anywhere though. It has to be somewhere/someone that understands.
My head is a constant whirr of ‘stuff’ its full to the brim and dripping over the sides. Occasionally my brain seizes an opportunity to loose some ‘excess baggage’ and bam before I know what’s going on, I’ve poured my heart out all over some poor unsuspecting passer by that simply asked ‘how are you today?’. I’m sure it won’t be long before a checkout lady in Sainsburys report’s me to some sort of mental health organisation. So what can I do? How can I safely off load without the risk of drowning innocent people with my thoughts or being sectioned in to a mental health institute?!
So off loading to random passer by’s is inappropriate.
I have friends and family I ‘could’ off load too, and I’ve tried this in the past and It didn’t go so well. Mostly because they dont/cant understand, they can only offer me sympathy when what I really need is validation and understanding of my thoughts, feelings and worries. In fact this is partly the reason that many people turned their backs and walked away, they just didn’t understand which left me and them equally frustrated.
So it has to be someone that gets it.
I have friends locally that have adopted that I could share a coffee and a chat with, but offloading my entire brain on to 1 person would be overwhelming and unfair to them, after all they have their own issues they’re facing and I have a lot to offload.
So it needs to be a group of people that get it.
I have a fantastic group of supporters online that I’m eternally grateful to have found, and I’ve received some amazing messages through my blog, you know who you are, but its not enough, not for me anyway, I need/want all of those amazing people that have offered me support right here right now, drinking coffee, sharing some (low fat of course) cake. I want real hugs not virtual ones, I want to be able to look in to someone’s eyes and see their understanding rather than looking at a profile picture of something random, I want to hear their voices and see their faces, I want it all, anything less it seems, just isn’t enough.
So whilst virtual support groups help, they aren’t enough.
So where does this leave me? This leaves me wanting a real life, weekly support group, somewhere I can go and chat, a place where I can share my idea’s, a safe haven where I can air my concerns, a group of people that can validate my fears. People that know, people that understand, people that get it, people just like me. There must be more of me surely, I can’t be the only adoptive parent with a need to talk, talk and talk some more?!
The problem is, there just aren’t any of these support groups local to me.