The first Monday of the month meant that it was finally time. Some people may think that sitting in a circle listening to others talking about themselves isn’t exactly something to look forward to, but I definitely was. I couldn’t wait to sit in a room full of people who know what it’s like to be ill. Who know what you mean when you say you’re not having a very good day and when you say you lost a week or two and have to do some damage control.
As I sat in a circle reminiscent of the AA meetings shown in the films, all I could think about was what I was going to say. Where do I start? I already felt like I shouldn’t have been sitting there. I was young enough to be in the youth group and according to my psychiatrist I didn’t have what was termed as full blown bipolar. As the introductions started, so many things went through my head as I tried to create my little personal profile as well as listen to others. Then suddenly it was my turn. And I cried. The well thought out speech became a mix of sobs and broken words. Tissues were handed out and people suddenly looked pitiful. But it didn’t matter. Eventually, I managed to say what I wanted to say and the turn to speak moved round the circle. After that, everything just felt lighter. The session continued and I revelled in the way terms were used without someone having to explain what it meant. Certain feelings were expressed without them being questioned. There was an understanding between everyone in the room.
Once we’d got through the introductions, a discussion took place about whatever questions or topics people wanted to talk about. I gained a lot of insight listening to people that had as much as 40 years experience with bipolar. A few lessons were learnt. This is most likely never going to go away and it’s going to be a continuous struggle with levels of medication and general everyday life. But the main lesson learnt was that I wasn’t alone, nobody is. There’s always going to be someone else out there nearby going through something similar to you and someone usually decides to round them all up and put them in a room together. I will definitely be going to the next one. Dependent on mood of course.
If anyone has thought about going to a support group I suggest you do it. It’s a great way to meet people in the same situation and get information from experience rather than a web page. The group I attended I found through the bipolar uk website: http://www.bipolaruk.org.uk/self-help-group-map.html