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Filed Under: Educational, Personal
Finding Extra Support Through Support Groups

Finding Extra Support Through Support Groups

We all need extra support sometimes in our life- especially during trying times. We are not made to do everything on our own and that is ok. There are people here to support you, to care for you, and to love you even when you can’t do that for yourself. It is great to have self-reliance and trust, but sometimes life gets in the way of that and we need to put some of it in the hands of other people to help lift us up together. Let’s normalize letting other people help one another and get comfortable with that fact. It’s ok to need extra help, support, and connection- as humans these things are needed. I know it always feels good knowing that I have a support system, resources available, and something or someone to fall back on when I can’t handle it all on my own. Sometimes it feels like I have multiple heavy rocks on my chest due to my anxiety, my depression and the weight of daily life, and it feels so good even having one of those metaphorical rocks lifted. Learn to feel comfortable with using your resources and reaching out to your support system, and get the support you need because it is out there even if sometimes it seems so far out of reach. 

It is important to note that sometimes even having a support system and traditional therapy is not enough and that is ok too. Sometimes we are looking and even longing for more and that is ok. If this sounds like you, there are other resources out there that you can look into! This is not the end of your journey and if you are feeling stuck at the moment, know that you can work through that stagnation. I remember a time when I was looking for more connection, more understanding, and more support. This happened when I hit my rock bottom. I had people I could talk to, I had a therapist who could support me, but I was still feeling lost and alone. My friends and family did not fully understand or could not fully empathize with what was going on and that was ok. My one hour therapy session did not make me feel fulfilled and that was ok. I would cry after each therapy session and it would leave me drained for the whole day. 

Enough was enough, I took the initiative and accepted the fact that I needed more help in order to grow. I started researching different support groups through Psychology Today, NAMI, and DBSA. Through NAMI, I found a peer-led support group in conjunction with the DBSA. I just wanted to feel that connection and understanding to people who have been through similar things and it felt good knowing that there are people out there that feel the way I do. That connection is unmatched because I felt understood and I felt like I could relate. I felt a sense of community that I never thought I could feel again. Therapy, even in a non-clinical group setting, gave me what I was longing for. Later, I learned that group therapy has changed the game for my mental health journey.. I can further talk about these benefits down the line, but knowing that it has made me feel at peace within the world brings me a sense of comfort that did not make sense for me during my rock bottom.

Overall, I encourage you, if you are needing extra support during this time to look at your local resources and know that you are not alone. There are so many people out there that feel similar to the way you do even if you don’t feel that way at the moment. There are people who you can talk to, connect with, and who can support you in times of struggle.  Not everyone knows about all the extra support out there and it is important to share and bring awareness to those resources. In the future we will be doing more posts about the different steps you can take to further your growth in your mental health journey. There are so many paths I didn't even know about, that aren’t necessarily “traditional” and these paths have been crucial for my mental health journey. If you are struggling or if you know anyone who is struggling, just know that you don’t have to do it on your own. There is extra help out there and support groups for those who need it. 

 

Extra Support: Groups

Finding Support Groups and Education through NAMI: 

https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Support-Groups

Online Support Groups through DBSA:

https://www.dbsalliance.org/support/chapters-and-support-groups/online-support-groups/

Finding Local Support Groups through DBSA:

https://www.dbsalliance.org/support/chapters-and-support-groups/find-a-support-group/

Local Support Groups through Psychology Today:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/groups

 

After Note: 

After doing more research about support groups and group therapy and their purpose, I found that there can actually be a difference between the two. Both support groups and group therapy are great options for improving your mental health and providing the support you may need. Group therapy tends to be more goal based or goal driven whereas support group’s main goal is to help members cope with a difficult time. Group therapy tends to be more structured and more exclusive. The members of the group are usually admitted after an assessment made by a therapist or clinician based on if the potential member’s goals matches the goals of the group. On the other hand, support groups tend to be more inclusive and tend to have a certain theme which members can relate to. Group therapy also tends to be more extensive, intensive and run along a certain program for a set amount of weeks while support groups tend to as needed. Support groups do not have to be run by a trained professional, they can actually be run by like-minded peers. Group therapy is usually run by a mental health professional like a therapist or clinician. In conclusion, both types of groups are great for working through your mental health struggles and providing the support and connection you need. Look forward to our future blog posts further explaining the difference and how you can find more local and online support as needed! 

 

More on Support Groups vs. Group Therapy: 

https://lifestance.com/blog/group-therapy-vs-support-group-whats-right-for-you/#:~:text=While%20both%20support%20groups%20and,some%20connection%20to%20that%20theme.

https://www.hsvpcs.com/the-difference-between-a-support-group-and-group-therapy/

https://www.healthshots.com/mind/mental-health/mental-health-difference-between-group-therapy-and-support-groups/