Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

Tonight is the support group I attend at the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).  It meets once a week in the larger city near my home.  I have been attending since I was discharged from the psych hospital after a near fatal suicide attempt in 2004.  When I originally saw the ad in the paper I thought this group would be 6-8 women who were gathering together to bitch and moan about their lives.  I WAS SO WRONG!

I arrived and was welcomed right away.  I was so overwhelmed but one of the group leaders sat with me.  There were between 40-45 people there that night.  The first hour was a large group that was educational and the second hour was split into small groups with everyone getting a chance to share.  The group was a variety of people who were everywhere on the mood spectrum from severely depressed to quite manic.  I was accepted with unconditional positive regard which has continued to this day.  It taught me a lot about Bipolar Disorder when I was first diagnosed as I was misdiagnosed for several years with major depressive disorder. (I never got treatment in hypomanic or manic episodes so no saw these as a problem.)

Our group is the largest in the state of Michigan.  We still run about 30-35 people per week on a regular basis.  Sometimes I have had ex-clients attend and then I have discussions about boundaries, limit what I say in large in large group and make sure I am never in their small groups so they don’t feel like they have to take care of me and I feel comfortable to share.  we have a strong confidentiality rule in each group and everyone is reminded of these rules at the beginning of each group.  “What’s said here, stay’s here.”  I cannot stress enough how important this group has been to my recovery.

If you’d like to learn more about the DBSA organization (It’s a large national organization in the U.S.) and there are many DBSA support groups across the country in addition to their huge amount of resources on their website…their website is http://www.dbsalliance.org

 

 

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