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Recommended for group thereapy - want to rip the room to pieces


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My psychiatrist has asked me to attend a week long anxiety treatment program as an outpatient run from the affiliated inpatient facility.

 

She told me quite bluntly last Friday - you are going to be smartest person in the room, by far and away one of the best patients as far as self management she has dealt with - she said, I want you to be honest in how you think you will go with this format.

 

I want to start by saying I have absolutely no issue with getting the treatment, I'm very receptive to it, something though, I feel a hostility that I simply can't explain, a group environment with inpatients..I just have thoughts of launching a relentless muay-thai attack on that person who steps a millimeter over the line.

 

I've never felt anger like this before and I have a lot of things over the past 27 years that I could be angry about but I've never raised my voice and have excellent control over aggression (training in boxing, muay-thai and Jiu-Jitsu over 4 nights a week) never been in a fight, never lost control over my emotions.

 

Every time I think of going into that course, driving, walking down the street - that hostility comes back and I'm just not sure what its representing because I've never felt anything like this before.

 

 

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FWIW, I am yet to see someone here facing the prospect of group therapy who feels good about it. I have seen people feel relieved because they have little other options, but no one yet has skipped off into the sunset relishing the idea of laying bare their pain in a room of strangers.

 

That might be because most of our experiences of social groups are of being judged. So getting into group therapy pushes our buttons:

 

  • What if people judge me to be more ill/less ill/more deserving/less deserving/frightening/crazy/stupid/to blame for my illness than they are?
  • What if when people share, it irritates the crap out of me/they say things that disturb me/everyone is a lot more ill/everyone is a lot less ill?
  • What if I have to work with a leader who pressures me/silences me/shames me/thinks they are better than me/favours other over me?

You started your post by making it clear that you are above group therapy, a candidate with emotional intelligence and self management skills. That suggests that it is important to you to be seen to be dealing with things and as a critical thinker. Maybe you have some preconceptions about group therapy being for people who have given up or who lack self awareness. Maybe you see the suggestion of group therapy as a sort of failure on your part.

 

Maybe you have spent years controlling anger that is specific to some people or some incidents, and you fear that something in group therapy will make you hulk smash the whole room and expose your fear that your anger is huge and will consume you. That was my fear in group therapy. And I have seen many other people start it and battle with a kind of hot, slightly irrational anger at everyone else, they way they breathe, or talk, or dress, or sit. In a way, I think that is part of what group therapy reflects back, how much time we spend defending our private crazy from the judgment of the world.

 

In 2006, I signed up for two years of thrice weekly group therapy because I was batshit crazy and had no better ideas. I was furious about it, for a few months, I loathed it. Since then, I have been in some form of group therapy until 2011 because the truth is, being in a room full of people who can be real and compassionate and who can own their stuff alongside you owning yours is hugely healing. Yeah, I have got the giggles during meditation, there were members who I wanted to punch in the face and some session were dreary. But for the uptight, perfectionist, hard on ourselves crew, group therapy is a really good thing to try.

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FWIW, I am yet to see someone here facing the prospect of group therapy who feels good about it. I have seen people feel relieved because they have little other options, but no one yet has skipped off into the sunset relishing the idea of laying bare their pain in a room of strangers.

 

That might be because most of our experiences of social groups are of being judged. So getting into group therapy pushes our buttons:

 

  • What if people judge me to be more ill/less ill/more deserving/less deserving/frightening/crazy/stupid/to blame for my illness than they are?
  • What if when people share, it irritates the crap out of me/they say things that disturb me/everyone is a lot more ill/everyone is a lot less ill?
  • What if I have to work with a leader who pressures me/silences me/shames me/thinks they are better than me/favours other over me?

You started your post by making it clear that you are above group therapy, a candidate with emotional intelligence and self management skills. That suggests that it is important to you to be seen to be dealing with things and as a critical thinker. Maybe you have some preconceptions about group therapy being for people who have given up or who lack self awareness. Maybe you see the suggestion of group therapy as a sort of failure on your part.

 

Maybe you have spent years controlling anger that is specific to some people or some incidents, and you fear that something in group therapy will make you hulk smash the whole room and expose your fear that your anger is huge and will consume you. That was my fear in group therapy. And I have seen many other people start it and battle with a kind of hot, slightly irrational anger at everyone else, they way they breathe, or talk, or dress, or sit. In a way, I think that is part of what group therapy reflects back, how much time we spend defending our private crazy from the judgment of the world.

 

In 2006, I signed up for two years of thrice weekly group therapy because I was batshit crazy and had no better ideas. I was furious about it, for a few months, I loathed it. Since then, I have been in some form of group therapy until 2011 because the truth is, being in a room full of people who can be real and compassionate and who can own their stuff alongside you owning yours is hugely healing. Yeah, I have got the giggles during meditation, there were members who I wanted to punch in the face and some session were dreary. But for the uptight, perfectionist, hard on ourselves crew, group therapy is a really good thing to try.

 

Really appreciated and right on so many areas

 

The part in bold, that's where I get the feeling of aggression. I can just picture a John Bender in the class and me going all Andrew Clark on him, him being disruptive because he was made to go there.

 

The incite is really appreciated and I'll think about what you said

 

Thank you

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It's not easy sat in a group of strangers chosen because they have something mental illness wise in common. I went to a support group early after my breakdown. It was full of people with twenty years on me, toothless, despairing, sad. It did me more harm back then. Because I was afraid that is how I would turn out.

 

There will be someone who will irritate the living shit out of you. And you will go home and bitch about them to high heaven. But I promise, they represent a part of your own self judgment or a judgment someone put on you. They will push that button because something inside you resents the idea that some people give up, maybe because you feel under so much pressure to get on with life and put a face on it. Maybe you have done all the right recovery things and shown courage and are still ill and that feels unjust, It is. 

 

Think of group therapy as a set of mirrors reflecting stuff back, you can choose what you do with that.

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I think you should give up your preconceived ideas about what it will be like and just go with open-mind. I attend three outpatient groups. There are doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners. I am one of the less functional there, and one with a worse diagnosis.  It's easy when you're going to a mental hospital to assume you'll be the only sane one there, but like me, you might find it's more the opposite, which is worse in a way.

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I do day treatment or weekly group therapy.

I do a CBT group and an exercise group.

I always put on a good face for my groups so I am constantly faking I'm better off than I am.

You may find people in your group that do that too. Every group different.

I say give it a go and see if you like it or not.

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