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#SelfCare means Finding Your Tribe

How finding your Tribe is an act of #SelfCare

I spoke yesterday about finding your tribe. For those of you wondering what on earth I meant by this, I thought I'd start with an explanation, and Google kindly provided the following words which I thought were a good start ...

While I finding your tribe could form part of the education process, there is one other very important aspect to it. In this current period of COVID-19 lock-down, I don't think I need to clarify how much human beings need connection with other human beings. But isolation and loneliness are also a significant modern day cause of depression - so finding your tribe (or tribes) can be an important act of #SelfCare totally independent of the education process.

Like homelessness, loneliness happens all too easily. A sudden change in your personal status - becoming widowed or divorced, losing a child or elderly parent when your life has been built around them, being made redundant - are just some potential causes which can happen to any of us. Like homelessness, there's a stigma and shame involved, so those who are suffering tend to avoid drawing undue attention to themselves, or drown in feelings of guilt and hopelessness.

When I decided to end my long-term relationship late in life, I realised I didn't know any other single people my own age, and was rapidly slipping below the radar. But I was fortunate in having a friend nudge me into building a new life. While doing so, I happened upon an online dating site which believed in the importance of building a new social life as well as potentially meeting "the one". It not only saved my sanity, it provided me with a friendship group which is still going strong.

But your tribe could take any number of different forms (and you could decide to have multiple tribes). If you want specifically to find fellowship with other sufferers of depression, then finding your tribe could mean ...

  • a group of people suffering from all types of depression

  • a group of people suffering from the specific type of depression you have, be that genetic, hormonal, chemical or reactional

  • a group of people who are suffering from depression, having experienced the same root issues as your depression (childhood trauma, workplace stress or chronic illness being just a few examples)

  • any combination of the above

The benefit of selecting a depression-centric group is you'll have the opportunity to meet some people who are ahead of you on their #SelfCare journey. They can share their experiences, their recommendations, and their empathy. Their support and advice is likely to feel more authentic, for you'll know they've been where you are now, and could be there again - and there really is nothing like that. When diagnosed with cancer, I received exactly that type of support from a group I met via a cancer website. I received amazing care and support from my friends, but the shorthand which existed between the "cancer girls" couldn't be matched.

You may prefer a local group or an online group, a group made up of only one gender, one age group, one religion etc. You may need to try out various groups to see which one fits you the best, you may even stumble upon the right one totally by mistake. Your tribe could also be made up of individual people - it doesn't have to be an existing group. You don't even need to see them that regularly, just knowing there's people out there who see and like the real you, may provide you with a great springboard.

One final word before you race off to find your tribe - what's important about this is that you must be ready to be your true self. You can only become part of a tribe when other members see that you are authentically like them in one way or another. If you're hiding behind a false front, they'll do likewise. So, it's time to be kind to yourself. Don't focus on the negatives, allow your positive qualities to be acknowledged by the most important person in this exercise - you. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen, and write them down. Don't allow yourself to get away with just one or two, keep digging. I don't care how trivial you think those positives might be - write them down, for there's people out here who appreciate them, even if you don't.

Tomorrow I'll focus on #SelfLove - on really getting to know yourself and identifying your core values.

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