Support Group

Others imply that they know what it is like to be depressed because they have gone through a divorce, lost a job, or broken up with someone. But these experiences carry with them feelings. Depression, instead, is flat, hollow, and unendurable. It is also tiresome. People cannot abide being around you when you are depressed. They might think that they ought to, and they might even try, but you know and they know that you are tedious beyond belief: you are irritable and paranoid and humorless and lifeless and critical and demanding and no reassurance is ever enough. You’re frightened, and you’re frightening, and you’re “not at all like yourself but will be soon,” but you know you won’t.
— Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

One thing that is constantly stressed is the need for a support system, often called a support group. No, I’m not talking about one where you go and sit in a circle once a week, or month and talk about your issues. I’m talking about a group of people that you know, that you can reach out to when you need it.

It’s hard.

First you have to think of who could possibly be a part of your group. Maybe you already have people that are a part of it, and that’s great. But if you are the type that is suffering in silence and nobody around you knows what you are actually thinking or feeling, it’s hard to let someone into that part of your life.

How do you tell someone that you hate yourself, or you wish you would die. How do you first reach out without that fear of them running away? What if they do suddenly drift away from you because they can’t handle that? They’re seeing a side of you that they may not have ever seen before. It’s scary for both of you.

I remember when I had to force myself to reach out to someone. I was on the phone with them, my mind screaming at me to just tell her that I wish I would die. To tell her that I didn’t want to be here anymore, I didn’t want to be me anymore. No matter how much my inner voice screamed at me to say those words, I just couldn’t. I knew that she knew that something was going on with me, but it didn’t make it any easier.

I finally had to hang up the phone and text her. For some reason it was easier to type those words than it was to speak them. It was still difficult, but not impossible.

Your support group is important. It’s important that you know what they expect of you, and for them to know what you expect of them. Can they handle a 2 a.m. phone call when you can’t calm down? Will they know the difference between “I don’t want to be here anymore”, and “I’m going to take my own life”? It helps when they know what to say and how to act. Nobody wants to hear “calm down” while your inner demons are tearing you apart.

Choose your support group carefully, it may be the best or worst thing you ever do.