I know many people who would love to go to a local support group, but there either isn’t one in your area or you are not well enough to attend. This is the beauty of online support groups. However, if you are well enough to get out and go to a support group, please consider one. The human interaction can do wonders! Join one even if it is not for the health condition you live with. Before writing off this idea, please read about my experience going to a support group for a condition I do not have and how it has been of benefit.
Over a year ago, I was having lunch with a friend who has dystonia and someone we had both just met who has essential tremor (ET), a sister movement disorder. That day we learned about a local essential tremor group that meets monthly. Even though I don’t have ET, I went to the meeting to support my friend since this was his maiden voyage and he was nervous.
Since I have dystonia without a tremor unless I force my head the way it does not want to turn, I felt like a fish out of water when I first walked into the room. I wasn’t sure I would be welcomed since I had a different condition, even though dystonia and essential tremor are relatives in the movement disorder family.
My concerns went out the window when I was welcomed with open arms. Everyone was so friendly and curious to learn more about me, my condition, and how I manage my daily challenges. What we all discovered is that even though we have a different condition, we share so many similarities in our personal lives, primarily those that affect us psychologically, emotionally, and socially. Above is a picture of some of the group regulars.
Some of the members have very pronounced symptoms, while others are only noticeable at certain times. Regardless, everyone lives with one or more of the following: anxiety, fear, social phobia, shame, guilt, anger, frustration about poor medical care, and of course frustration with daily living by not being able to do tasks that were once so simple. They also have incredible empathy, compassion, and kindness… the qualities I admire most!
We meet once a month and the number of attendees run from about 3 to 15 people. It is such a nice time for us to share what we experience on a daily basis, information about medical advancements, personal stories, and sometimes nothing even related to our health issues; just fun conversations in a safe place.Everyone has a different protocol of treatments, all with varying results. Everyone is eager to learn and excited to be among those who understand. These meetings allow us to let go, where all of our “problems” no longer exist.