I am a person living with chronic and mental illnesses. I didn’t plan this, and I often don’t know how to manage this lifestyle. I research things a lot, and I cry a lot more. I also make dua.
When my mom was living, I had a sounding board and a confidante. I also had a friend. My mom guided me through my life and helped me parent with mental illness. Now I turn to my father and sometimes my friends. I also lean heavily on my mentors for support.
To me, an ally is someone who cares and is there for you throughout your life. They are someone who can help you handle your feelings and your situation. An ally is a person who steps in and asks what they can do to help. They are someone who notices a problem and decides to pitch in.
When you are an ally, you don’t pick that title for yourself. It’s a role and an unspoken relationship between you and another person/community. It’s learniny how to hold space for someone and their feelings. It’s not centering yourself, while at the same time, making sure not to diminish your own needs and such. Being an ally is challenging because while you are a helper, you have to know how to be emotionally sound and develop proper boundaries.
You have to know when to step in and when to step back. You have to know how to ask people what they need and how to listen. Being an ally is about active and passive listening skills. You also have to forgive yourself in the beginning and throughout, for the times you will and do make mistakes.
As a person who needs allies, I am learning to ask for help and to forgive myself for my own mistakes. This is a work in progress but I’m happy to be on the road to wellness with good friends, and true allies.