Ever since we began in 2003, thanks to all of us who have attended Group Hope support meetings for depression and bipolar, we helped each other find relief from triggering pain of feeling judged. We can choose to talk about the painful depression, mania or panic attacks. The group allows us to feel the comfort of being listened to and understood.
As we listen, we get interested in each other while getting help for ourselves. Together, we found gentle and respectful Group Hope discussions easing our anxieties; it relaxes us a bit. We gained good friends, free from some of the draining stress of faking it with people. We learned something about getting along with family and working with counselors.
Together, we are safe people to be with. Group meetings break up isolation; they relieve some of the worthless shame. Thankfully, we can give each other courage against those frightening death feelings. It helps to be able to tell others about how black it is at times, but also when we feel better.
We appreciate people coming in with us to listen and learn about this illness. All of us resisted attending, but are glad we did. How about you?
From Group Hope members and Dr. Charles Smith of Rockford,
A program of the Mental Health Association of Rock River Valley
From the Jan. 8-14, 2014, issue