Relax Damit it’s just another support group….
Over the years I have had some bad experiences with support groups. For the most part they never seemed to fit my needs. I have never had a reason to go to attend 12 step meeting, Al-Anon, or a CODA meetings.
I am biased on the 12 step program. My brother was in the program and wound up dying from a drug overdose. I know the program did not kill my brother he was an addict that made his own choices. It’s kind of like the person who knows exactly why it is safe to fly but can’t help but worry if the dam thing will fall out of the sky.
Right after I was diagnosed I attended a Bipolar support group and it scared the hell out of me. All I could think was I’m not like these freaks. It took me over a year to try another group.
For almost a year I went to Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance meetings.I liked the format and the people involved but eventually the group became dominated by extremely depressed members. I came home from the meetings drained of energy and feeling worse than I had left the house.
Now, years later, I have been attending support groups as a part of my daughters inpatient mental health recovery. This time it is different. The kids may or may not be attending 12 set meetings and the adults may also be attending Al-Anon or CODA meetings but the environment this group provides is different. Most people can’t wrap their mind around mental illness. My therapist pointed out if I had cancer or some rare disease communities often rise up in support. Fundraisers, and people wearing ribbons are a sign that they stand with you.
I am the only parent at this particular support group dealing with my own mental illness. It is a rare opportunity to see both sides of the coin. I never realized how much energy my family put in to helping me. At the group I am able to give insight on how being Bipolar affects me. Having a mental illness is like being a snowflake. No two diagnosis are the same even though they might look alike. I know what is like to me both medicated and non medicated. I understand what is like to know that your meds are off and a change is necessary.
Now I’m experiencing the fear of a caregiver. This is new unexplored territory for me. At these meeting I am accepted who I am and find comfort in the fact that I am not alone.
I can Relax Damit! It’s not just another support group, I finally found one that works for me.