The other day it appeared to me that I’m happiest when I’m around my peers.  It never really hit me like it did until I was able to see the faces from the front of the room as I shared my stories and helped train new Peer Support Specialist in Austin.    

Thinking back over the years and looking at the society we now live in, I’ve noticed we’ve grown apart.  Community is often only experienced either at a church, school or a concert gathering. The scene has changed almost as quickly as the sun comes up.  Where we once shared smiles and high-fives we now only share a smiley face on social media site and give brief explanations of what we are currently involved in.  The excitement of laughter and deep conversations has left us for now. 

I think this is a sad state of affairs we have found ourselves in.  Looking at the faces of my peers it has become apparent to me that even though we don’t say it, we are lonely.  Deep down inside our souls we are crying out for someone to hear our hearts and we desperately want someone to say our name.  Think about it, when was the last time someone you loved called you by your name is a fashion that made you smile.

This is something that bothers me about the world we live in.  I’m reminded how far we have come when my granddaughter, Gracie hears me call her name and she looks at my face and smiles as though she is waiting on that invitation to join me in some fun and games.   Mental illness has a way of robbing us of the times we need to express our thoughts and feelings. It swarms us and carries them away in a cloud of confusion. If we are not careful we lose them forever, but we have a choice in that decision.   We can decide to keep our community closely together as we move forward in our journeys of recovery because there is power in community.