Putting Myself out There

Its hard being the only bipolar person I know.  I just heard about a group that meets in my area that is supposed to be made up of bipolar people & depressives.  I’m kind of scared to go.  When I went to a similar meeting as a teenager (nearly 30 now), everyone else was depressive.  It hurt because I was going for support but everyone said the manic made up for it.  It doesn’t.  I don’t know if I should put myself out again even though it’s a different group in a different place. Any advice?

It is so hard to go into any new environment, but to go into a new environment with bad experience haunting you makes it almost impossible.  It was so wrong for those people in that earlier group to make critical remarks.  You may have been there with different illnesses, but you were all there for the same reasons.  You were looking for comfort and a safe haven.  They turned it into something hurtful and tainted your perspective on group therapy as a whole now.  It isn’t fair but it happens.  I do understand because I can empathize.

When I was a teenager, I think 19yrs old, I went to my first therapist. At that time I was only suffering from Anxiety and depression and my biggest problems revolved around the abuse I suffered at the hand of my father growing up.  I started therapy with individual therapy sessions but she pressured me into group therapy sessions.  We had covered some of my issues in my private therapy sessions.  In my first group therapy session my therapist insisted on me participating. When I started talking about my issues with my father my therapist very bluntly told me in front of everyone, “This happened when you were a child, you are an adult now, you need to GET OVER IT and move on.”  I was so upset by this I very impolitely gave her my opinion on the subject of me “getting over it” and I walked out.  I thought I would never go to another therapist or psychologist or psychiatrist again.  However, when I started having problems, although it took a few years to convince me, I did end up going to a psychiatrist and I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I had to take that first step and get over some of my fear of the mental health world because I knew I needed help.  Still, when my medication still wasn’t cutting it on its own and my psychiatrist, great man that he is, advised me to see a therapist I vehemently refused.  Until 2yrs later when the day came that I had an episode so bad that I felt like I was literally going to explode and hurt someone so I broke down and called my psychiatrist and literally begged him for someone to talk to, to walk me thru my crisis of the mind.  Because you see once again, I realized, I NEEDED the help.  As much as I had an aversion to therapists, because of what that one therapist had done to me, I realized I couldn’t let what she had done stop me from seeking the help I knew I so desperately needed to feel better about myself.

At first I was nervous….. walking in, sitting down, pouring out my personal crisis to this stranger.  What if she thought I was being silly, or stupid? What if she thought I was just being overly dramatic, over reacting?  Worse yet, what if she told me to GET OVER IT?  I just don’t think I could handle that again…..

But she was great.  She made me feel so comfortable.  She let me talk when I needed to talk. She asked me all the right questions when I didn’t feel like talking. I have a wonderful therapist and I wonder now, what it was I was so afraid of in the first place.

So here is my advice.  Try this new group out.  You never know until you try.  You said it is suppose to be made up of people with bipolar & people with depression, so maybe there is a good balance.  You may find the comfort you are looking for.  It may be difficult at first, and believe me I know it is a little scary, but we must be adventurous or we miss out on life’s great rewards.  Don’t let the one experience you had in your past cause you to miss out on an opportunity for your future.  You may be missing something wonderful.

I hope this has been helpful.

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