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Friday, 5 February 2016

Support Systems

Who do you turn to in times of need? Friends, relatives, help hotlines?

We all need a support system. No matter how strong we may think we are, it is so valuable to have someone we can turn to and say "I'm not okay". 

I had a panic attack again recently. I was tired and sick, and when I started crying I completely lost control of my breathing. Having a panic attack is one of the scariest experiences: I can't move, I can barely speak, and I feel completely lost and alone. Yet my darling friend, seeing how upset I was, sat with me throughout it all. She called a trusted staff member of my university who, in her free time, sat on the phone with me for 20 minutes just breathing in and out with me, trying to help me breathe. These are my support systems in Abu Dhabi, the people I trust when I can't manage by myself. And because I had met with that person the very same day she knew why I was so upset, and knew how to help. I'm lucky to have support systems in both my homes, family and friends who are only a phone call away.

I've said it before and I will continue to say it: vulnerability helps us to get the help we need. I was so vulnerable in that moment but there were people there to hold my hand, and it made the world of difference. Without them I would have been lost and alone.

So why am I writing this post?
Well I think it's beneficial to identify your support systems before you need them. Think about who you trust, and who is best likely to help you in a variety of situations. Knowing in advance who to call when it feels like the world is falling apart makes it oh so easier when the time comes. Before, when I've known that my usual heroes are away, I've actually spoken to other close friends and said "Hey, since x and y is going on and Z isn't here I might be a little extra emotionally needy this week - hope that's okay!" and you know what the response has been? Varieties of "of course" or "I'm here when you need me" followed by many love hearts. You can make it sound slightly humorous but they'll understand what you're trying to say.

And think about it from the other end too: who's support are you? Are they finding things particularly hard at the moment? Why not check in with them to see how they're doing. I can't tell you how much I appreciate friends who follow up when I've confided worries in them.

 Essentially what I'm trying to tell you is don't hesitate to ask for help or to offer it, you're not a burden nor intruding. We are all so much stronger when we are supporting, and being supported by, those around us. 


  1. I couldn't agree more with, finding your support systems is a key to really helping you through stressful, emotional times. No one can really do anything wholly on their own! x

    Jodie // Jodie Loue

    1. Thank you for your comment Jodie, I'm so glad you agree! xx

  2. You are completely right. Support systems are really important. Over the last couple of weeks I've been thinking a lot of the support that I can offer and how to go about it. My best friend is going through a very difficult time with her dad being seriously ill and I'm trying to support her in the best way I can.

    Eline |

    1. Eline you always write the most beautiful comments! I'm sorry that your best friend is going through a hard time but so glad you can be there for her. Good luck with supporting her, and remember to take care of yourself too xxx

  3. I so needed this post today! I've been really ill at uni since Tuesday and it's been such a difficult week, and I've founded asking for help the hardest thing. Thank you for the reminder that it's not just an okay thing to do, but the right thing.

    1. I'm sorry you've been having a difficult week Lucy, and I really hope that you have found help! It's so important to get the support you need xxx

  4. This post is so powerful. I think what I sometimes fail to acknowledge is that I indeed need that support system. I'm also a very open and vulnerable person BUT at the same time I always keep a strong mask on my face, like I can do everything by myself when in reality, I don't. And lately I've been opening up and sharing and identifying the people in my support system and it's so beautiful to see that they don't judge me for not being strong all the time, they help me, they love me and that is something I'm trying to build upon in 2016. I also love that there's a place for honest vulnerability and stories online, which sometimes can feel like you're complaining, or "fragile" but I think it's beautiful to see the human side of things .. so thank you for sharing!


    1. Thank you so much for your comment Margot! I'm really glad you're finding support from those around you, it's so important for all of us. I'm really trying to fight for spaces to express vulnerability, it shouldn't be seen as complaining at all and we can learn so much from sharing our experiences. I really love your thoughtful comment.

      Liza xxx


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