A lot of those who have been diagnosed with mental health problems find that they can run to support groups for comfort and healing. They find that as they share their stories in a secure, confidential, and calm environment, their hopes are heightened, their confidence is increased, and their mental illness is alleviated or better managed. Support groups have helped these individuals realize that when people come together with the same ordeal, and with the universal goal of recovery, awesome things can happen.
When you are faced with a challenging problem, the first ‘lines of defense’ that you run to are frequently family, friends, and significant others. However, there are times when they can’t seem to get what you’re struggling with, or perhaps they don’t want to listen because they’re so engrossed with giving you advice. These are times when it’s better to express your emotions to other people who, like you, are facing the same dilemmas as you are – issues that include mental health problems, family squabbles, addiction, or other life circumstances.
How Support Groups Work
A support group’s primary purpose is to allow people to divulge information about their problems and express them through their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. They are not, however, forced to do this on their first few visits. In fact, they are not forced to talk at all unless they are willing to. They are only encouraged to share as little or as much as they want.
Self-disclosure or exposure reminds people that they are not the only ones in the world that are suffering from problems like theirs. Some of those who went through these problems have successfully overcome and thrived amid their devastating challenges. Consequently, people who have a mental illness feel less lonely when they can convey how they feel to others in similar situations.
Consulting The Professional
The first step you might want to do is to search online for a mental health professional, which is a wise step to make. However, there are a lot of groups that don’t find online advertising fruitful, so you can widen your search by finding a doctor or therapist in your area. Like members of a support group, they are also bound to confidentiality agreements that protect your privacy.
Try Several Support Groups
Most of the individuals who have been going to support groups recall that they went ‘shopping’ for the group that they would most be comfortable with, and you can do that too, as it may not be possible for you to immediately find a doctor or therapist that you will like right away. So try a first, second, or even a third support group. Different groups have different members with different personalities and vibes. Get the feel and choose the right one for you.
Participation Is Voluntary
You will find that not one support group will force you into participating. Some people, depending on what they went through, may have trust issues and have difficulty expressing how they feel. That’s okay because it’s almost natural to be hesitant to share your story with a stranger. Perhaps others are just there to listen, as there have been testimonials of individuals who are comforted by stories from different people who share their sadness. Eventually, they will be ready to tell their own stories and, who knows, they may even be strong enough to support somebody new to the group.
It’s Anything Under The Sun
A support group is supposed to be an environment where there is no judgment so that anyone can ask anything too. Many people get comfort from asking what others do about their problems. They are relieved when they know that they didn’t have stupid questions, after all, because the others were curious too. But if for some reason, you don’t agree with other members’ opinions, you are entitled to challenge them in a healthy debate or conversation respectfully.
Are you ready to visit a support group but just too nervous about doing so? Well, you can always bring a family member or a close friend along just to keep you calm and comfy. It’s not actually what you say or does that’s more significant initially – it’s just the showing up. Deciding to go and listening and be part of this small but powerful community may be your first step towards healing and recovery.