June 20th, 2006

Because I'm worth it

Thought stirring question of the week: Support Network

So this week's question will also include an activity! :)

This week's activity: List of needs and sources*
1. Make a two-column list
2. In the first column write down a list of your needs. Include everything from food and water to your emotional needs - love, snuggles, conversation, support through flashbacks. Everything you can think of, even if things are things you strongly want as opposed to need.
3. In the second column write down everyone you know who could provide that need or want for you. Be sure to include yourself on this list! There will be some people who can only partially address that need, so include them too, but feel free to leave a note there about the extent to which they can provide that for you.
4. Keep this list around, as you'll discover more people who can address those needs, or you might think of more needs that you have

You don't need to share this list with us, but you can if you would like. This list will help you to answer the questions for this week.

Almost all survivors struggle with getting what they need, especially if it means asking for something from our support network. Often, we feel that we burden those we love. Whether it's because we are constantly asking the same members of our support network for help, or we just feel that our emotions and memories are a burden to a non-survivor, a majority of survivors often struggle to get their physical and emotional needs met.

When we're in need, when we're upset or struggling, it is the most difficult to remember what options we have. Having a list of people who can provide for you can be a big relief, especially if you've remembered to include yourself in the list of people who can help. Sometimes, just remembering that you are an excellent provider for your own needs can be a relief in a time of stress. But also, being able to look at the list and realize that you can get the smaller needs met by people you don't usually ask for support from - can help make you feel a lot less like a burden. Effective use of your support network is like a big car-safety system. You have a few people who provide a majority of your needs - much like the seatbelt and airbags, but you also have lots of people who can provide little things that help - much like good tires, good brakes, etc.

Often, because we can't see our options when we're stressed, these people who can help with the smaller things often get overlooked, and many of our needs will fall unmet.

So this week's questions are:
- Are there any needs you were surprised by when you made your list? Were there any people there which you usually forget about?
- What is the most difficult part of getting help from your support network?

Bonus question:
- What small things make big contributions to your well-being? Whether it's just getting ten minutes of outdoors time to a night at the movies - tell us which small things mean the most to you?

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So dig right in and talk away! :)

* This activity idea lovingly borrowed from "Allies in Healing" by Laura Davis