To meet or not

I found the contact info for the local (county) Bipolar support group earlier. My first thought was “Great!” but then almost straight away I began wondering what on earth I would or could get out of it.
My bipolar is very different from anyone else’s when it comes down to practical day-to-day effects. How I function on a daily / weekly / cyclical basis is understood some by J, less by me and even less by the psych and I can’t see how talking to others can help. Thing is, when I’m down I wouldn’t go, when I’m up I’d be far too busy and the times inbetween are so fleeting they can’t be used. (So when do others go ??). It’s quite – in my case – an isolating thing too. Meds don’t help totally but flashes of lucidity combined with a general awareness of how I could be presenting to others makes any situation involving others potentially stressful – and we all avoid stress where possible don’t we ? Also there is the thought that I don’t want to sit around surrounded by people who are either high or low. (Been around someone who is genuinely manic ? Scary. Very very funny, but very unsettling. Having been one and been next to one, I know). How can what I think or my situation be changed by discussing it – it can’t, No-one can tell me how to cope, what to do – aren’t we all creatures of habit ? – or even what meds are good. So I just do not see the point in going. I wonder who goes ? Why ? What they get from it ? What their motivation is ? I suppose pointers to help is one reason but anything else ? Not a clue.. I could go to find out, but I won’t. I have nothing to offer, nothing to gain. That’s not a bad thought or a down thought just a reasoned response.
Got to say though that whoever runs these things just has to be applauded. It must take some grind to get things going and then keep up the meetings, the support and what must be the inevitable emotional commitment. That last bit is …. scary. It’s scary because when you support someone emotionally you drain yourself and there’s only so much of you to go round. I’ve imploded before so maybe not wanting to get involved is an emotional response, a protective one too ? Lithium++

7 thoughts on “To meet or not

  1. I think the main reason someone would go to a support group like this would be to find someone like them.

    A lot of people who face mental illness is told by their peers or family to “toughen up”, and oddly “It’s all in your head.” When you don’t have a support team of caring people who understand you, you go looking for one.

    As far as you going… it is as simple as are you comfortable going or do you think you can benefit from going? If not… don’t go.


  2. When I went to a support group during the worst of my depression, I found it to be many things; most of them positive.

    I was good to really know and understand that I wasn’t alone, and that I wasn’t imagining all the things I was going through. My illness is real, and unfortunately, others suffer from it. I saw how people were at different stages, and it helped me to gauge the depth of my own illness, and where I was in regards to my treatment regime. I did realise that I was getting better.

    Depression is not what you are suffering from, I know, but I just thought I’d let you know how my experience went. In the end, I felt better for going, and I not only learned about the illness, but I saw some things in myself as well. Each of us takes something with us from such experiences, so it’s just a matter of whether you wish to participate and be willing to accept what may happen. If you don’t expect anything good going in, then it’s likely that you will experience nothing good, so unless you really believe that this would be worthwhile for you, then I would skip it.

  3. I guess at meeting for sufferers you get what you get given. I’m not sure you can find out what value you’re going to get without just simply going and finding out.
    I feel my illness isn’t mental, although it is listed as a mental health condition. I’ve only been to a couple of organised support meetings for it, but from just those couple of times I gained an immense sense of perspective and a couple of friends who were more support than the meetings could ever be.
    Supposedly I’m cured now, although the work on my self esteem and personality goes on, but I know I wouldn’t be where I am now without the two sessions I did attend.
    What do you lose by going?
    p.s. I just force myself to go to everything I do, including work, salsa, band rehearsals and most recently Mexico, but I find that well over half the time the experience was worth the effort.

  4. I attended some ‘we are all nuts’ gang meetings. It was good for me, showed me I really was not the only canoe lost on the ocean of sanity. Oddly, that helped. I have attended support meetings for almost all my diagnosiseses. Some I attended for quite a while, others I only went once or twice.

    In some groups, there will be one or two who try to dominate every meeting by creating (or trying to) a pity party. I hate that.

    I think, in my infinite wisdom, that you should go once, just to see what it is like. Make it a scheduled appointment as if it were a scheduled business meeting. That way you make yourself find time for it.

  5. I attempted the group therapy thing a couple years ago and while it wasn’t too bad, it was frustrating, too. I think most of that was because it wasn’t only bipolars, but a mix of mental health issues.

    I’m struggling to find a place right now to go just to get some medication as I’m having a tough time lately. Very tough. Right now, if it meant going to therapy, I would, just to feel some sense of normalcy again.

  6. I tried ‘therapy’ in various guises and I don’t think any of them worked. Having said that, it was done when I was an alcoholic / stressed close to breaking / fighting demons.
    Part of the reason is because I find strangers very odd. On the very odd occasion I go into a shop I sometimes have an incredible urge to run out and I see the whole situation from a third person perspective – sounds odd but it’s what I see. The other reason – or part – is that some of what I am – and I’ve no clue about how much – is because of how J is and all the meds in the world can’t make that better. We cope by NOT talking about it and it’s something I don’t want to talk about. What I can / cannot do is determined by her health and the very very last thing I want to do is see someone next to me painting the ‘concerned expression’ on their face while expecting me to open up. If I did the floodgates could open. If I did not I would get angry.

    There’s a lot of dynamics involved in a group of people and my life is quite controlled. Consistency is good, surprises aren’t that welcome. (Now I sound autistic !!)

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