I’m attending my first, ever, support group meeting tomorrow night. It’s hosted by a DC area depression and bipolar alliance.
(Michael said it’s a good thing those two joined up. Can you imagine how ugly it could get if they fought? Heh.)
I’m not sure I’m support group material, but it might be nice to meet some local folks who are also coping with a mood disorder. Following the advice of a dear friend who has been living with bipolar I disorder for most of her adult life, I’ve avoided the on-line support groups. She says she has found them to be depressing and hopeless. I’m hoping the live-action version isn’t the same.
In truth, I have a lot of support in my life, right now. It’s felt safe to tell the people closest to me. Michael asked me if this means that I have tiger blood now, and if I can channel my energy into obsessively cleaning the house. Heh. My boss and coworkers couldn’t be any more supportive. And my stepmom (there’s got to be a better word for that role!) has been amazing.
I suppose it helps that it really didn’t come as a surprise to most people. My nearest and dearest already knew that I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life. Friends just said, “Oh, that makes so much sense,” when I told them.
And it’s getting easier to be more open about my diagnosis.
Not that there isn’t a degree of self-stigma I’m still dealing with, but I’m working on it.
I’ve played the shame game for years. And I’m tired of keeping secrets.
And I’m tired of not being authentic because it might make someone else uncomfortable.
If I’m going to make healthier choices for myself–like staying on my meds, and listening to my therapist–I am going to have to remove the shame and the judgment from my life.
- I experienced childhood abuse and have dealt (rather successfully, if I do say so myself) with the PTSD that was a result of that experience.
- I have a mood disorder that is probably equal parts genetics, and brain chemistry, and environmental factors.
Neither is my fault. And neither makes me defective.
I will probably have to remind myself of this, from time to time, but I think meeting fellow travelers might help. As will maintaining this blog.
I can’t speak for him, but I don’t think Michael is exactly thrilled that I am blogging so publicly. He thinks I should keep it private. And I think that is coming from a place of love, and a desire to protect me from the big bad internet that’s full of lots of ugliness and negativity. But I need him to understand that I am not embarrassed by any of this, so really, there’s no need for him to be embarrassed for me.
Whatcha see is whatcha get.
That’s my new motto.