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    (trigger) Looking for honest opinions on support groups
    reneegigliotti posted:
    In general I don't like support groups. I tend to have little tolerance for people who whine and don't want to help themselves. It's a source of aggravation for me. I don't even do well in group therapy. I am extremely guarded. I belonged to a therapy group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse once. The sessions devolved into a competition over who had the worse abuse horror story. I walked out mid-session. It was triggering, traumatizing, and abusive. The "therapist" told me that by leaving in the middle of the session I was being disrespectful to the other group members. I have never been to either another therapy group or support group since. It's been about 12 years.

    I am now considering trying a bipolar disorder support group. This past manic episode made me feel so exposed, unsafe, and invaded that I thought maybe other people who experience mania could relate. If any of you have experience with bipolar support groups please let me know. I'm terrified I might be making a big mistake. I wish I could run this by my psychologist. I won't see her for another week. Her daughter just got married. I know what my psychiatrist will say, "try it, see what happens". He's way more brave than I.
    ddnos responded:
    I think I would have to agree with your psychiatrist - you will never really know until you give it a try. Do you have a particular BP support group in mind in your area? If you do, maybe you could tell yourself that you will give it 3 weeks (or whatever number seems best for you) so that way, you are at least giving it a try, but giving it long enough to time to be able to see if you want to continue or not. You can also, remind yourself that you don't "have" to keep going if you don't want to for any reason, but you just want to give it a try. That does not equal failing - it's taking care of yourself.

    Also, I think that some people really like to and get a lot out of support groups, and some of us don't. I am one of those who doesn't like or get anything out of in person support groups for the same reasons you mentioned; but that doesn't mean they aren't good for everyone.

    Maybe the fact that you are curious to go after 12 yrs means that it will be good for you this time, huh?

    Do you know what it is that frightens you about going?

    Best wishes no matter what you choose to do

    Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
    ssmiddy responded:
    I'm pretty guarded myself. Takes me a looong time to come to ANY level of trust with people. Anywho, I think I understand, and I'd say that it wouldn't hurt to try a session (or if u really hate it just leave during the session), and see what u think & how u feel, and judge it from there. But like others are saying here, if you don't try, you will never know.

    And as far as being disrespectful by walking out mid-session, I think the most important thing was that you were respecting yourself. )

    Best wishes.
    reneegigliotti replied to ssmiddy's response:
    Thank you Debbie and SSMiddy. The support group session is tonight at 7:30 PM. It's a DBSG (not sure about exact acronym) chapter here in my city. I see my psychiatrist at 5 PM tonight before the support group. We have a half hour session since my psychologist is doing wedding things. My Dr. G is a "try it and see what happens" kind of guy. He draws the line at flights to the UK to get hats from the queen and visiting giant bunnies though (I think he and I will be having a bit of a conversation about that... ooops, I hope he has his usual sense of humor tonight). Anyway, I think I'll go to the group and report on my experiences to everyone when I get home.
    reneegigliotti replied to ddnos's response:
    I saw my psychiatrist today for an extended session. We talked about my recent severe manic episode. He had a lot of really good insights. He thinks that my extended rapid cycling phase may be exacerbated by my uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and my new onset of menopause. We are in for a rough road for awhile. I posted a question for Dr.G and asked for his input. I'm curious about his opinion.

    As far as the support group, my Dr. G (very confusing, I know ) said uncharacteristically, "no". He said I'm not ready after just going through a severe manic episode to cope with other people's illnesses. He rarely says "no". When he does, he means it.

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