I started off with an introduction into who I am. I think most of you know. I have suffered from mental illness for as long as I can remember. In fact sometimes I think I know the illnesses better than I know myself.
To help set the tone for the group, I read the following quote by Dean Ornish, Love and Survival:
Anything that promotes a sense of love and intimacy, connection and community, is healing.
A support group is about those connections, finding the sense of community, of belonging.I then gave the participants a chance to share their stories. I would love for you to use the comment area to share yours. If you'd rather, you can email it to me: email@example.com
I talk about the value of journaling. Keeping a locked journal to help with privacy and insecurities. I offered the suggestion of mood mapping and a daily activity log. It was through my log that I learnt some of my signs. Signs that things are starting to go: I write smaller, I need to sleep with a the closet doors closed and I want to change my physical appearance in some way. I would love for you to also use the comment area to talk about your coping mechanism. Maybe provide some advice for others or those who love someone that is ill.
I talked about needing to fall hard before coming up. Before realizing and accepting that I was forever going to be ill. I think the moment that it truly hit me was my 25th birthday. I had the whole day planned. It was going to be perfect. Well, when you have two little kids and a busy day planned, it will be anything but perfect. I of course was convinced that they had ruined my day on purpose. I was angry. Very angry. I was yelling and saying hurtful things. I went upstairs to Doodles room (he would have been just over 4 years old). I was saying some pretty mean things. I picked up a teddy bear from his bed and throw it across the room in frustration. I then went to pull him into me. I wanted to hold him. Just hold him and cry. As I went in to reach for him, he pulled back and shuttered. In his little mind he thought I was going to throw him the way I'd thrown the teddy bear only moments before. I will never forget that look of fear in his eye. Never. I went downstairs, crawled into bed and I cried. I cried for a long time. I knew then that something had to change. Not just for me, but for also for those I love.Use the comment area or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) your moment of realization.
We talked a bit about medication. The value of listening to your body and finding the right fit. This too is only part of the long journey. We talked about why we tend to self-medicate. The purpose it serves: desire to be healthy, the joy of mania, the need to fit in, the believe that you can do it on your own...Use the comment area or email (email@example.com) your stories of self-medication.
- Stop Walking on Eggshells
- The Depression and Manic Depression Workbook
- The Feeling Good Handbook
- Words that Heal the Blues
That is all until next Thursday. Welcome to the support group.