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Hi all,

each time I go through an episode I think I learn something new and explore new ways with which to recognise my own patterns, identify triggers and manage myself if the worst does happen. This time I am finding myself curious as to wether a regular visit to a support group may help me to stay stable. I already understand the importance of sleep, meds and nutrition. I now understand the role my tendancy towards substance abuse (alcohol, caffeine, recreational drugs etc) plays in my mental health and I'm beginning to think that frequent discussion with other people of the same dilema's could possibly help me further my management of my bipolar.

What do you guys think about support groups?

What are your experiences of them?

Do you attend group now or in the past?

If you tried and it wasn't for you what were your reasons?

Has attending group helped anybody here?

I'm just curious so please share with me.

Hope your all well and happy today,

your friend and peer,

Chris :)

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I only have experience with AA. For me, personally, it was not a good fit. The whole "higher power" thing threw me off in the beginning. I'm shy around people, so participating was painful. I'm so shy that in the two years I was attending, I couldn't (or should I say, wouldn't) find a sponsor. Had a friendly connection with a couple of guys, but that's a no-no. It was just difficult, and more times than not, I left wanting to drink. 

That's me, though. You sound more outgoing, it might be right for you. 

There's a bipolar support group in another town near here, I've thought of going. Not quite sure what is holding me back.

I wish you luck, I hope you find support somewhere. Sounds like you're really taking charge of your mental health.

 

 

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I personally don't like support groups. I don't feel any kinship with other people with BP, we all have such different stories, and I couldn't relate to them. I was certainly being unfair, because whenever a new person joined, and talked about their illness, I would think, "blah, blah, blah." I just tried again a couple of months ago, and I wanted to bang my head against the wall.

I can definitely be a rather cold peron. And I'm spoiled by Crazyboards, which allows people to be symptomatic.

If you want to try a group, look at NAMI to see if there are any groups in the area. If that doesn't work, look at Meetup.com.

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I went to one for a few years and I thought it helped. It really helped with my self esteem and perspective on my life because I got to know and admire other people with similar problems and I was able to see myself through their eyes and they actually like me. The group I went to was a small one that my therapist put together of people she thought would help each other, so I don't know if that is reproducible.

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1. What do you guys think about support groups?

2. What are your experiences of them?

3. Do you attend group now or in the past?

4. If you tried and it wasn't for you what were your reasons?

5. Has attending group helped anybody here?

1.  Personally support groups don't help me.

2.  See #1.

3.  I've attended support groups in the past for eating disorders.

4.  I really do not like them and won't go to them.  For whatever reason I start to "compete" with others on various issues and I hate that i do that.  So I stay away from them.

5.  See #1.

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Talking to multiple people... in person... about private and sensitive matters. That's nightmare material for me. When I was in the hospital I would lie and make up pleasant stuff about how far I had come just to make my turn end sooner.

For some reason it's okay here because i'm hiding behind picture icon and a silly name. I do still censor much of what I say though.

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It all depends on the group adn the facilitator.  I have been part of groups that were not helpful at all, but I'm currently in a group that I consider invaluable.  Its a small group (7 members) and we have a tdoc as our facilitator.  We basically problem solve and brainstorm.  Sometimes we just share the difficulty of having a chronic illness.  In consider a valuable tool in my kit of things I use to deal with BP.

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Support groups definitely help me. They got me through a pretty bad depression this past spring. I was going to Depression Bipolar Support Alliance meetings, as well as Dual Diagnosis Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I've met a lot of good and knowledgable people through them, and they can instantly relate to what I'm going through.

But as someone touched upon, I think they work better if we open up about our true feelings and share. Which is a hard thing to do, especially in front of strangers, but I recently learned it doesn't really matter if we spill our guts out and talk about our defects in front of others. People really don't give a shit about our problems and our past, and they're more concerned about their own lives. We're there to help ourselves. 

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I went to a voice hearers support group that ran for 9 weeks. It was awesome. It was only a very small group and it was great to meet people who were going through the same thing I am and I felt less weird when I found out I wasn't the only one who has received messages through the TV. Depending on what you're looking to get out of it they can be beneficial especially if you want to meet people who are in the same boat.

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I went to group every day in hospital but apart from that, I consider crazy boards my support group. There's also a lot of people on twitter that I've made friendships with an we kind of help to keep each other in check. It's nice. I don't like to commit to an actual support group though, it's too much pressure. 

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I go. At first I was isolating and it was a reason to get out and be around people. And, it felt good to meet people with similar experiences (I couldn't find "me" in the books). I still go but not as often.

Some upsides:

You meet people, learn coping skills, can relate, maybe learn about new research (depends on the group, the one I go to they don't talk meds)

some cons

If the leader isn't good you can feel misunderstood or worse (sometimes I go away frustrated), It can be hard if you can't relate, some people don't like being there if a lot of people are down (leave feeling worse).

 

You won't know unless you go. Every group is different, too

Now, I sometimes help lead a group. I don't think I am particularly insightful, but some people who come have some good suggestions/input.

 

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I went to group every day in hospital but apart from that, I consider crazy boards my support group. There's also a lot of people on twitter that I've made friendships with an we kind of help to keep each other in check. It's nice. I don't like to commit to an actual support group though, it's too much pressure. 

^^In bold. Me too.  I'm not good following through with commitments, especially when I have to do or go to them, like in a group.  I was in one inpatient at one time, and I didn't always go to it, and was eventually told I HAD to either go every time or not go at all, because the others in the group needed consistency, or something along those lines.

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