It’s the people, it’s the relationships that make the most difference in a life. It starts with loving supportive parents, then loving supportive friends and maybe even neighbors. Then it is friendly, supportive colleagues. And of course one of the most important relationships is with the person with whom you are going to spend the rest of your life, your significant other. If all these relationships are loving and supportive, then you have a great chance of succeeding (what does it mean to succeed? more on that later) in life. These relationships are so important. If you are in trouble and you have a web of family, friends, well family and friends, what else is there? then this web will catch you if you fall. If it is tightly knit, you won’t fall through. If you have a close relationship with your parents, then you can reach out to them, and if they are loving caring parents, they will help you to the utmost of their ability. That is what parents do, they help ensure their progeny survives. In evolutionary terms, the purpose of an organism is to pass on its DNA, and parents can do that by being loving, caring, supportive to their children, thereby assuring that their DNA is passed on. So there is an evolutionary argument, as in survival of the species, for being loving and nurturing. That is why maternal instinct exists, that is why babies are so adorable and lovable, because we are supposed to take care of them. Not only as a family, but collectively as a society and a species. I think anyone who doesn’t have these instincts is a sociopath, a seriously defective individual, who cannot participate in this loving, nurturing survival dance. But hopefully and luckily, even though our parents most likely weren’t perfect, they were not sociopaths either. So here we are, human beings who were hopefully given enough love to survive and flourish. And we in turn form attachments, and have a family, and have children, and we are loving and supportive to them, and the dance goes on.
Of course, a person with a mental illness fares better when they have support and love from their friends and families. Life is hard, you need friends and family. Life with a mental illness is harder still, you really need friends and family. And if you have a family circle and a social circle, then you will be surrounded with love and support and will fare better than if you are alone. Family and friends, loving, supporting each other, getting on each other’s nerves sometimes (haha) but definitely a necessity for a happy, well adjusted, loving life.
If you don’t have a lot of family, or if they’re not close by, no worries, good friends are just as loving and supportive as families can be. The saying “Good friends are the family you choose” is so true. My best friends are like my chosen sisters. And we have known each other since were in our teens. I am lucky to have these lengthy, close relationships even though I moved from Islamabad, Pakistan to Buffalo, NY just 10 days shy of my 12th birthday in 1972. I am lucky. I hope we are all as lucky!