well, tonight I decided to go out on a limb and go to a DBSA meeting, which is the depression and bipolar support alliance.
there’s a central new york chapter and they do weekly support group meetings literally two minutes down the street from me.
I just found out about it the other day when I was looking up resources for one of my clients and so I gave it a shot.
I realized that a lot of my hesitancy surrounding meeting new people (whether it’s making new friends or even trying to date) derives from this fear of exposing others to my illness.
I assume that people don’t wanna hear about it or can’t handle it or I’m like this big crazy burden and will never be able to be open with anyone without them running away when things
really go to shit. so I thought HEY, I bet it’ll be a wonderful experience to meet people going through similar things who I can talk openly with !!! anyway, it was.
it was an incredible experience in every way and I am SO happy I went.
there were like 15 or so people there, all in different stages of recovery, all with entirely different stories and experiences and trajectories.
and I just left there feeling so supported and inspired and full of life.
most of what people shared was downright fucking tragic but the fact that they were all there and listening and sharing and caring for each other,
and the fact that the facilitator kept walking around and rubbing people’s arms and everyone knew when to pass the tissues just made me feel so safe and warm.
there was a woman there who was in her 80s and was so thin and frail, but beautiful and perfectly made up.
she has the hugest blue eyes and the most gorgeous smile and she sat right across from me and keep reaching out to touch my hand.
her husband has alzheimer’s and dementia and she has become really depressed. she told her story with tears in her eyes, but it was so apparent how incredibly strong she was. she was also so.damn.funny.
there was another woman who just got out of the psych ward and didn’t say a word the whole meeting. she just sat in the corner and listened to everyone and cried- no, sobbed.
but she was there with her girlfriend who didn’t let go of her hand the entire time. they said they had been together for 17 years. that made me feel hopeful.
I met this man who was also there for the first time tonight and he was entirely lovely and profound and inspiring.
his story was absolutely breathtaking and tragic, but his perspective was so enlightened and I so deeply appreciated everything he said.
we talked in the parking lot for a half hour after the meeting.
we made jokes about our mania- I told him once I bought six himalayan salt lamps and tried to carry them a mile and a half; he told me that he bought a bunch of crack and almost jumped off
a hotel roof. he wins. those bipolar one people always have better stories. he told me his dream is to do a cross country road trip and write a book about bipolar along the way.
now I can’t stop thinking about that and how beautiful it would be.I’m really glad I went tonight and I am definitely going to go back next week.
it’s so freeing to know that there were 14 other people in this city tonight who brought themselves to that little room.
one woman, tired of everyone asking “how are you?” said, “why do we keep saying good? if anyone was good, we wouldn’t be here.
” that made us all laugh, but I think that’s the power in these spaces. we don’t all have to say “good.
” some guy said, “well I just got out of the hospital after almost getting arrested for being drunk in a walmart” everyone just nodded and handed him the tissues. I loved that.