Recently I decided to go to my first mental health support group meeting. By chance I discovered one that's less than a 10 minute journey away from my house, so decided to give it a try. I was incredibly nervous, as I had no idea what to expect. How many people would be there? What would everyone be like? What would we talk about? It seemed like a really big step to take, but one I was as excited as nervous about.
I was really surprised at the age range and variety of people there. Our ages ranged from 20-70+ and we all came from completely different walks of life, yet had so much in common too. Initially I was worried that I wouldn't relate much to the group, as there was more older people than young, but I actually found as we talked more that the wide age range was part of what makes the group special as we all drew on different experiences and perspectives to help one another.
|I dressed up all sassy for confidence (duh!)|
Something I really enjoyed about the group was that we could all be sincere and serious when it mattered, but knew when to joke too. Being around people who have similar experiences of mental illness can be great because we can joke and lighten the situation without stigmatising. Jokes aside, it was wonderful to be able to talk freely and openly and support each other. There's a confidentiality rule, so it's okay to share how you're truly feeling without putting up a front. It really does make you feel lighter to be able to give and recieve support in such a welcoming environment. I did find myself dismantling the patriarchy and capitalism at some points, because boy are they responsible for a lot of peoples' negative thoughts!
A really important part of going to the group for me is to try to make real connections with people, because I really struggle with trusting people not to leave so I push them away first. I really want to start tackling that so to meet new likeminded people is really important for me. I'm already keeping in touch with another person who was new to the group, which is a big step for me. Going to this group has given me lots of hope in recovery, and I'm really looking forward to going back. I'd even love to lead my own sessions one day!