One thing I find immensely helpful in navigating chronic illnesses and disabilities is finding and developing a core support structure. I’ve attended and led many support groups over the years; most recently, I’ve helped to spearhead the launch of the Teen IBD Social Group for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation in New York City. I’ve also been a part of and led Tweet Chats to help connect patients and provide psychosocial support.

Tina with her Teen IBD Group co-facilitators at the Brooklyn Take Steps Walk

In addition to groups, there are peer-to-peer mentor programs, blogs such as this, social media chats and support forums and of course, good old friendships and familial relationships that provide emotional support. If you have a chronic illness and/or disability, I encourage you to reach out and ask for the support you might need. There is NO shame in doing so and it is vital to our physical and mental health to create those bonds.

For more information on support groups, please check out my article: The Value of Support Groups. Please know that you are NOT in this alone in this journey and there is help every step every step of the way!

Tina with her former Women’s Support Group co-facilitator at the NYC Take Steps Walk