The Power of Social Support

“Friendship isn’t about whom you’ve known the longest, it’s about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you,” and PROVED it.”—Author unknown

That saying reminds me of a time in my life when I was down and broken, and the people who came to my rescue, supported my healing, growth and helped me stay accountable to my goals, weren’t people whom I had called friends at the time but complete strangers who walked in and said “we’re here for you”. At the beginning of the year 2003, I was in a great place in my life. I had lots of friends to party with, had a nice car and apartment, was engaged to a great looking guy and I had just been promoted at work with a pay raise. Life was great. In October of the same year, I lost my job, the man I was engaged to left 3 weeks before the wedding, my car was stolen and I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. Not having a job meant that I could also be potentially homeless when my savings dried up. As far as I was concerned, it would have been better to be dead. I hadn’t been in the United States long at the time and my family was far away. I also was too ashamed to inform them of what had happened and too proud to ask for help. On a Friday morning, I was sitting on the side walk near a very busy street thinking of what to do next and feeling very physically and psychologically tired when two women–whom I later came to know were best friends—stopped and asked me if I was hungry. I proceeded to explain to them exactly when last I ate and that yes I was hungry. They smiled and said, “we meant, are you hungry for hope and life?”. I was almost annoyed by their question because I was hoping to be offered a sandwich or something edible at that moment. I didn’t feel like discussing anything profound. I answered them by saying, “peace, hope and life have no meaning to me. I am no one and no one cares.” They asked me to get up and walk with them. I didn’t want to because they were strangers and probably crazy but I figured it didn’t matter what happened to me from that moment on, so why not? They heard my story and they changed my life. They became my friends at a time when others ran away from me because I was no longer fun. Their names are Maddie and Liz, and their support in a challenging time brought me out of darkness into life. That is the power of having social support.

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