Starting Points For The Journey
At times it can be confusing and even overwhelming to find help for yourself or family member. As people who have used Mental Health, Developmental Disability and Drug and Alcohol services for ourselves or our family members, we have identified some strategies that we find helpful. We listed a few of these below including our rights as we seek help. We hope that this provides some good starting points as you begin or continue your journey.
#1 Strategy: Educate Yourself!
Some of the best ways to get information and supports:
- Find and communicate with people who have experienced similar issues.
- Join or connect with a support group – many groups offer support over the phone or online.
- Use the library and the internet to access information and the latest research (libraries offer internet access). The sites we have listed in the resource section are just portholes to what is available. Be careful to use reputable websites and look for accreditations.
- Contact an advocacy organization or professional. Their knowledge is often very specialized and comprehensive.
#2 Strategy: Know Your Rights!
The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
The right to have your needs, wishes, values, beliefs, and experiences respected.
The right to be listened to and taken seriously.
The right to set your own priorities, goals, treatment, and to make your own choices.
The right to say NO without feeling guilty.
The right to say, “I don’t know, I don’t understand, or I don’t care.”
The right to be free from physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, and financial abuse.
The right to file complaints, grievances, and appeals.
The right to ask for information, obtain what you need, and get what you pay for.
The right to have your privacy respected.
#3 Strategy: Never Give Up!
Our experience has been that there is a solution for every problem. Keep searching – the answers will be found!
#4 Strategy: Always Speak Positive Words Over Your Child And Yourself!
There will be people in your life who say hurtful, negative things about you or your son or daughter. Hurtful words may cause deep wounds that are hard to heal. Make sure you speak positive words about and to your son or daughter. Make sure your words bring encouragement and high expectations. People live up to our expectations both positive and negative. Find positive qualities and give lots of praise. Celebrate the differences your child/children have and allow them to express themselves openly and respectfully. Identify their gifts and talents and support and promote them. Many people are resilient and grow strong and happy because someone believes in them. You be that someone – who always believes in your son or daughter – no matter what!
If you are an adult who is seeking help or a parent of a child/teen receiving help, follow the same prescription as above. It’s important how you see yourself and how you speak about yourself as well. Don’t play the awful, negative tapes in your head over and over again, change your stinkin-thinkin and be good to yourself! “Life and death is in the power of the tongue” – speak words that uplift and bring life – no matter what! For personal stories and additional strategies, please see the Resource Guide section of this website.
Be the Victor not the Victim
Victims live a powerless life. Victors live a powerful life. You have the power to:
- Forgive others and yourself– freedom, peace, and joy come when we can forgive those who hurt or traumatized us. People who are hurt cause pain. Imperfect humans cause pain. Forgiveness puts the power in your hand and heart and releases the person from owing you anything, and then you are released to overcome obstacles to your own success
- Take responsibility for your choices – others can influence your choices, but you have the last say
- Identify your uniqueness – your strengths, talents, passions, and dreams and go for them. Explore and find out what is important to you – who you were created to be, and surround yourself with people who will help you get there
- Develop strong relationships –people heal through relationship. Victors develop friendships and relationships that help keep them accountable, offer healthy giving and taking, and provide an opportunity for fun and pleasure
- Encourage others– people who are victims think mostly about themselves and what happened to them and often blame others for their situation. Victors have the thought capacity and take time to recognize the strengths and gifts in others and encourage them to succeed
- New beginnings – every moment, every day is a chance to start anew – start fresh. Victors learn from their mistakes, release self-pity, and figure out a new strategy to overcome. Victors increase their wisdom through trials and triumphs
- Higher power – victors recognize relationship with a “power greater than themselves” gives them the grace, fortitude and power to succeed