Today was THE day. The first day that Luke was going to a support group meeting outside of a hospital stay. I knew he was very anxious all morning but he did well with it and didn't try to get out of going. For that alone I am proud of him. So we left with plenty of time to spare and got there 15 minutes early. The meeting was at The Mental Health Center in Decatur. We had no problem finding it. Once there we waited for the group to start at 10am. It was a pretty decent sized group of 10 people (not including us and the group leader). I wish they would have started with an introduction of who is who or that at least the person leading the group would have done more than ask for our names.
It started with a 15 minute excerpt from the documentary 'Out of the Shadow' by Susan Smiley that talked about her families struggles with schizophrenia. It is a documentary that attempts to fight the stigma associated with severe mental illness and explores the effects it has on everybody. Go to her website http://www.outoftheshadow.com/ for more information on it. I personally thought that the part we watched was very interesting and a lot of the things she talked about hit close to home.
while we were watching the film I noticed that Luke was getting more and more agitated. Next a therapist from that Mental Health Center started talking and that is when Luke was more than ready to leave. So we left. It reminded him too much of the meeting he had attended during his hospital stays and he felt that the people there all had more severe issues than he does. He told me that he would only be willing to go to a different meeting if I found one with more 'normal' people.
Overall, while it might seem like a flop, I am still immensely proud of him for trying to go. It was a huge step for him to attempt this and that needs to be recognized. I am planning on attending next month's NAMI meeting and am hoping that he will go with me. I have gone in the past and always enjoyed it.
Just remember, just because your partner or family member might not be ready or willing to go, that does not mean that YOU cannot go and find support for yourself. I am always just an email away if you need an open ear. My email address is JourneyThroughLifeBlog@gmail.com Feel free to email me anytime.
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