I love my support group. It’s called Shelter From the Storm and it’s for bipolar and depressed individuals.  We meet Monday nights at 6:30 in the Delphos library basement.  

I started the group after I interviewed Jen Hanna, who I graduated with.  She’s a counselor, and I talked to her about starting the group.

The group has been great.  We have about 7 regular members, with new people showing up here and there.  We always have something to talk about.  Jen, although not a “member” like I am, is always very understanding, non-judgmental, and helpful in giving everyone feedback.  She is hilarious and caring.  She asks good questions to get everyone thinking on their own, instead of telling everyone what to do.

The group helps me not to feel so alone.  It lets me know there are people out there like me in some ways.  Everyone helps everyone else with whatever problems or issues we’re having in life, whether it be general depression, family members, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.  They understand me in a way unlike other people in my life, even family.  My family will never understand what I feel like as a bipolar person.  My group does.  It’s a great feeling, to feel understood.

The group is anonymous, so I can’t go into detail about who comes or exactly what is said, but I can say this:  I love each and every person who comes every week.  Everyone is so special in his or her own way, even if that sounds trite.  It’s true.  They are all brave souls for even showing up.  There is still a stigma associated with mental illness, and though I wish it weren’t so, I think we can all agree that it’s there.  These people defy that stigma and are trying to get help.  I applaud them.  It’s not easy to admit to having a problem, and they are doing just that, and getting help for it. It’s a safe haven.

I encourage anyone who experiences bipolar disorder or depression to check out the support group.  It will change your life.  It did mine. 

“Come in, she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”