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Worldwide, self-help groups are becoming increasingly popular. They are effective in providing mutual support and are good resources for discovering information.

 Support groups are a place for people to give and receive both emotional and practical support as well as to exchange  information. Support groups don’t work to a manual. They are not a pity party, nor are they treatment or therapy.  Support groups can help us in our journey back to a fully functional life. Meetings can be quite liberating, and no one will  say “You’re crazy” or “I’m going to increase your Seroquel.”

At a support group meeting you will hear about experiences of others who are struggling with denial, medication, side  effects and how they are generally coping with bipolar. Often this may be the first time someone has had to discuss their  illness honestly amongst people who actually understand.

Rarely are support group members surprised by what they hear. You may hear other member’s relate experiences such  as how they flew into a road rage, or went on a crazy shopping spree or had a relationship breakdown.

If only our illness were as simple as popping pills in our mouth! We know it’s not that simple, so we have to work on  winning back our lives in as many ways as we can. Attending a support group can be one of these ways. Fortunately, in  the course of living with the illness, many members have picked up a range of coping skills and tips that they are very  happy to share with the group.

It’s often hard for people with bipolar disorder to get out that door to attend a support group meeting and join a group of strangers for the first time. But you won’t know until you’ve taken that difficult and courageous first step!