Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Making depression suck less

I'm proud to say that the depression support group I started through Meetup.com is going strong. As you can see in this screenshot, I started it on October 10th and we now have 111 members. Between seven and ten of us meet every Monday evening in Rogers Park and we have members who are managing monopolar depression, bipolar disorder, depression with anxiety, etc. If you know what depression feels like, you're welcome to join us. 
For years I attended a support group provided by the Chicago chapter of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). DBSA is an excellent organization that offers support to people with mental illness and their families. Mental illness is sometimes hardest on those who live with the person with the illness, so spouses, siblings, children, parents, girlfriends and boyfriends need help, too. DBSA provides support groups all over the country and they helped me a lot when I was married.

But this is a new stage of life and I need a different kind of support group. I founded the Depression: Tired of Being You Meetup (DTBY) to be a group of people who support each other in meetings and in between. I want to build friendships among people who understand depression from the inside. We have weekly meetings and have also met for a casual chat over coffee and next Monday we're meeting at a local Irish pub and grill for a nice, festive meal.

We are creating a group of friends, not just people who talk about their pain once a week and then have no contact. I want us to really be a presence in each other's lives so we're all less lonely and isolated and feeling like freaks of the universe. I want life to suck less! That could be the motto of this group: Making Life Suck Less.

This is going to be a good support group for years to come, at least that's my intention. Unlike a therapist or DBSA facilitator, I'm making friends, emailing and texting people between meetings and inviting them to my home. I started this group because I wanted more friends who I don't have to explain depression to and now I have them.