Support group support/feelings [anything?]

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Support group support/feelings [anything?]

Post by Kiskadee on Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:54 am

I'm not 100% sure where I'm going with this, so you've been warned that it's probably gonna be a waste of your time.

I've been having a really hard time lately. While I've had depression all my adult life, the last nine months or so have been mostly terrible and among my worse episodes. I'm trying hard to make positive changes and so on, and am quite staying very busy. Like, I think a lot of people don't know I'm depressed because I've been making such a conscious effort to get out and do things, and I'm always afraid people will turn on me or leave if I act negatively.

So I joined a brand-new support group in my city for newly-out queer adults to help find a safe area to deal with some of my problems. It doesn't exactly fit my situation, since I've been at least partially out for many years, but I've been trying to start actively living as gay and dating for the last year and a half or so and failing miserably. I was really excited about the meeting, and even baked cookies for everyone. When I got there, it was a small group of all women, and people seemed nice.

But things went downhill for me at least pretty quick. I have trouble sharing my feelings with anyone but a very select few people, and it's not easy even with them, so I knew it wouldn't be the easiest experience going into it. And I know this isn't okay, but it was hard not to compare my situation with others. One of the leaders of the group had been out for a lot less time (despite being a lot older than me) but had immediately found a girlfriend, broke up, hooked up a bunch of times, and then found a lasting partner. There was a lot of that, with people simultaneously talking about how they had girlfriends now and complaining about people who judged them for having spent so many years dating men. They kept gushing obnoxiously about how everyone understood each other and how wonderful it all was, and when I finally spoke up, one of the leaders went on with some condescending shit about how much further along her path she was. I won't hear that from a lesbian who was sufficiently lacking in self-awareness to get engaged to a man and not come out until like 30. I ended up getting really upset and leaving early.

I was in such a bad place as a result of this meeting that I became suicidal again and resolved to call a hotline if I didn't get in a crash on the way home. Once I walked back in my apartment though, I felt suddenly relaxed to be back home and alone in my familiar surroundings. So I'm much better at the moment and have plenty of alcohol to keep me company, so that's not really why I'm posting. Obviously, this was not a healthy group for me to joining, but I also think that maybe some personalities are just not suited for support groups at all (this is the first one I've tried). Once I got there, the emotional outpouring of strangers was distressing rather than affirming. Anyone here tried something like this?

I guess part of my motive in joining the group had been to help find a healthier emotional outlet: I have a friend who I completely trust and feel like I can tell nearly anything to, but I'm afraid I love her, and want to establish a bit more distance before I get even more hurt. And I guess this was mostly just a rant or outpouring - obviously I started out the evening kind of wanting support or else I wouldn't have gone in the first place. But if you have any words of advice on how you manage feelings or situations like this, that would be great. <3 if you read all that crap.
avatar
Kiskadee

Posts : 65
Reputation : 11
Join date : 2014-10-16

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Support group support/feelings [anything?]

Post by The Wisp on Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:18 am

I have some experiences with support groups, though not queer ones. That does sound like a shitty situation. I'm sorry that happened Sad

I think support groups can be great (the current one I'm in is fantastic) but it really depends on the individual group. If you want to try again, maybe seek out a group for depressed people run by a therapist? These will probably be more supportive given that they're run by a neutral and professional third party. They will definitely have a different vibe than the one you were at. Every group is different depending on the members and who runs it.

That said, maybe you aren't suited to groups. It's hard to say, only you can figure that out.

Whatever happens I hope you find some support, it sounds like you need it (and we're always here if you want to vetn, process soemhing, or ask for advice Smile).
avatar
The Wisp

Posts : 896
Reputation : 198
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Support group support/feelings [anything?]

Post by reboot on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:07 am

I cosign what Wisp recommended. A group run by a neutral third party generally will not let you linger on the positive because that is not the purpose of a support group. It is meant to solve current problems, so although there is space for sharing the good, it is not where a group should linger because it makes it harder to move to the hard stuff and excludes those who are struggling.

I had a similar experience to yours when I first tried to find a PTSD support group. Initially, because I am a civilian, my therapist recommended civilian support groups for survivors of trauma. They ended up being bad fits because I felt impatient (and occasionally contemptuous... not kind, I know, and it is not my place to judge others' feelings) with the experiences of the others and my experiences were too alien and triggering to them that I always was shut down by the leader (a good call for the group, not so helpful for me). Finally, when I was pretty sure group therapy was not my bag, my therapist found a military veteran support group that would let me join and it has been extremely helpful.

Also, I am someone who did not and did not want to talk about my feelings. I went through 15+ years of abuse in a relationship and never told even my best friends what was happening or that there was even a problem. Forcing myself to open up and to learn to talk about my feelings was probably the most valuable thing about group therapy. It was horrible and uncomfortable and I still do not like it, but it is a good skill to learn.

Tl;dr: Shop around for groups that have professional moderation and follow Wisp's advice before deciding group therapy is not for you. Learning to talk about feelings is a good mental health self care skill.
avatar
reboot
Moderator of "Other Relationships" and "Gender, Identity and Society"

Posts : 2514
Reputation : 1005
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Support group support/feelings [anything?]

Post by Kiskadee on Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:38 am

Thanks for your replies and advice! Looking for a group run by a professional makes total sense, but I don't think I'm going to spring for it right now. I don't have the money for anything like that, for one. I'm seeing a therapist at my school which helps somewhat, and I think trying to talk through things one on one feels a lot safer to me. I also don't see the importance of learning to express my feelings to strangers, since there's no purpose to it for me (unless it's just for practice?). I am already making a conscious effort to be more open with close friends and family members.

I also have this completely illogical feeling that I will be the odd one out that everyone ignores in any group I join, which I know sounds silly. But then this just happened to me in a really tangible way, where I got pushed out of a group a friend had started. Kind of a long, confusing story there though.

I'm very glad you two have had positive experiences with these types of groups, though, and it sounds like they have been helpful for you.
avatar
Kiskadee

Posts : 65
Reputation : 11
Join date : 2014-10-16

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Support group support/feelings [anything?]

Post by reboot on Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:55 am

For me, being capable of expressing my feelings to strangers forced me to deal with my jerkbrain inspired shame/anger for being "weak" and made me sort of "stand proud" with my feelings and say, "Yeah. This is me. Deal with it world" YMMV

Also, professionally moderated support groups are often free. Or at least all the ones I joined were. Usually they were part of a community group, but your school might have some too.
avatar
reboot
Moderator of "Other Relationships" and "Gender, Identity and Society"

Posts : 2514
Reputation : 1005
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Support group support/feelings [anything?]

Post by Kiskadee on Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:51 am

Hmm, I didn't know that about the free groups. I will reconsider, but I can't say I'm ready to join another right this minute.

I was just going to quietly not return to the other group, but then I found out one of the leaders fancies herself a "life coach" and wants to do this professionally. Now I feel obligated to give her feedback (which she asked for, for her website)
avatar
Kiskadee

Posts : 65
Reputation : 11
Join date : 2014-10-16

View user profile

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum