Depression can make you feel very alone. This isolation is just one of a group of negative feelings that can cause you to feel helpless. The benefit of finding a support group is that there will be other people who are and have been depressed in that group. You can use their experiences to develop strategies for managing your depression and, perhaps, even coming out of it.
Thanks to the World Wide Web, it is very easy to find depression support groups. However, not every group is equal. Just because a forum appears online does not mean that you should join it. A better way is to talk to a mental health professional or therapist to find out the groups that he recommends.
Placing yourself in front of a depression support group means making yourself quite vulnerable. Do not make the mistake of joining a fly-by-night group and ending up emotionally scarred. Instead, take the advice of your therapist and join a group that has a more solid reputation.
In general, depression support groups all offer what is known as “talk therapy.” This involves a variety of conversational techniques aimed at helping to liberate you from the claws of depression. Your facilitator leads the discussion, beginning with safer topics in order to build a sense of comfort throughout.
As the group builds a sense of mutual trust and constructs a set of agreed boundaries, every member can make progress, operating within a safe environment. By talking through your problems with other supportive people, you can develop your own strategies for flourishing despite your depression.
There are as many strategies for fighting depression as there are people who suffer from this condition. Some people turn to unhealthy choices, such as drug and alcohol addiction, which creates a need for other support groups. The better strategies that people choose often include setting positive goals to achieve.
Some of the goals are very short-term, while others take longer and need to be broken down into steps. Such goals as completing a 10K race, moving into one’s own apartment, being able to go through a conversation with one’s ex-spouse without degenerating into angry screaming and cleaning and organizing a garage are all examples of goals that can combat depression. Everyone’s situation is different, though, meaning that your own goals do not have to match anyone else’s. Your goals just need to support your own situation.
While many support groups meet in a therapist’s office, and all of the members pay fees to the therapist for facilitating the meeting, there are also meetings available for those with little money. These groups often charge based on a sliding scale that moves with your income. Don’t let the fact that you’re a little short on funds keep you out of a group meeting.
Research supports the idea that support groups can help you cope with your situation. If depression has overwhelmed you, get on the phone or the Web to find a professional to refer you to a group.