The Importance of a Support Group

I’ve been telling patients for years, the best thing they can do is join a support group. I always thought that to be true…for other people. For me, well I’m a strong minded person and I don’t need something like a support group. Once again, boy was I wrong! I remember when I was first diagnosed, I didn’t know much of anything about my disease, much less than what to expect. That’s when I decided I would try this support group thing to see if anyone could help answer my questions or just let me know what to expect moving forward. My first support group meeting, I was so overwhelmed with joy that I was in a room full of people that knew exactly what I was going thru and didn’t think I was crazy for feeling the way I did. Everyone was so welcoming to me and encouraged me to keep coming back…so I did. As a matter of fact, I ended up getting so involved, that I am now one of the co-facilitators of my local support group. See, the great thing about the support groups is your with a group of people that support you and what you are going through. I’m very fortunate that my family is very supportive of me, however, they don’t have any idea what it is that I struggle with day to day, and that is where my friends in my support group come in. It’s so important to have a group of people that completely understand what you are experiencing to support you. Especially getting through this mentally!! It can get frustrating, draining and down right exhausting dealing with an autoimmune disease. That’s when you can lean on your support group friends to help you through the tough times. I can’t tell you how many times I text or call my friends from my support group and ask….do you think I’m crazy for asking this but….! The answer is always no, your not crazy, I’ve been there and hang in there cause you will get through it.
Many times when I invite people to join our support group, they don’t want to come because they think it will be depressing. Well, let me just assure you, that last thing that goes on in a support group is sadness or pity! No one in the group wants pity, they just want support. We typically have a speaker every month on the things people want to hear about. Usually it is on things like clinical trials, medications, dealing with and managing stress during the holidays, other approaches to medicine like chiropractic, disease management, etc. It’s a time for us to ask questions and get answers from an expert. The last thing you’ll experience at a support group is sadness, depressing or pity. It is the complete opposite and I can promise you, all it takes is one visit and you’ll be hooked! I have developed some of the best relationships with people from my support group and I value those friendships tremendously! I encourage you to reach out and find a support group in your area. Most foundations have a local chapter, which is where you will find where and when your local support group meets. You can also typically find out from your Rheumatologist, Neurologist or Endocrinologist office more information about local support groups. Please reach out and join a support group. I promise, you’ll be glad you did!!

IMG_1754.JPG (1)

We are the three facilitators of our local support group! Love these girls!!

2 Replies to “The Importance of a Support Group”

  1. I’m so excited about this blog and super proud of you for stepping out to share your heart with so many people!! Love you Lani!

  2. awesome blog…this is very exciting, and your first impression was always the way I intended the group’s atmosphere to be. Love your enthusiasm!

Comments are closed.