I found the DBSA community 7 years ago; I was referred to them after, I
“graduated” from an intensive outpatient program (IOP) at a local
behavior healthcare center. My initial reaction was to take the DBSA
literature I was handed and find the nearest trashcan. I would never
consider attending one of “those” support groups.
I found the DBSA community 7 years ago; I was referred to them after, I “graduated” from an intensive outpatient program (IOP) at a local behavior healthcare center. My initial reaction was to take the DBSA literature I was handed and find the nearest trashcan. I would never consider attending one of “those” support groups.
On the last day of IOP, a few of the folks I became friendly with were planning on going to the DBSA meeting that same night and asked me to go along. I hesitantly agreed, but tried to think of just about any excuse not to go.
I can remember the first DBSA meeting I attended on January 9, 2007. I remember the parking lot was full of cars, and I just figured they were hospital employees. The local DBSA chapter meetings were held in the conference room of a local hospital. I didn’t think more than 5 people would be there. To my surprise, I walked into a room of about 25 people.
Like the first day of class, everyone turned to see the unfamiliar face. I remember being welcomed by everyone in the room, and one individual came over and introduced himself as the group facilitator.
It was at that meeting which I realized that there were people just like me.
Although they were experiencing the same debilitating effects of depression, these people had hopes and dreams for the future! What a fascinating concept I thought, experiencing depression, and hope at the same time. Was recovery closer than I thought?
During the following weeks, a fundamental shift occurred. My perspective on support groups for depression changed. I began to look forward to the DBSA meeting each week, not only for the opportunity to share my experience with people who understood me, but also for the opportunity to learn how to live well with depression.
I believe the DBSA community helped me begin the important task of becoming recovery focused and not merely surviving with my diagnosis.
DBSA provided a safe and comfortable environment in which I was able to share my experiences with depression. As the weeks turned into months, DBSA helped me to realize that recovery is a process of personal discovery, of how to live (and to live well) with enduring symptoms and vulnerabilities.
I was determined to give back to DBSA in several ways, as I am now committed to helping others recover from depression. I became active as the facilitator for the same chapter I grudgingly attended several years ago, and I have taken on increasing roles and responsibilities since as a board member, officer, and currently as president of that chapter.
The greatest achievement in attending DBSA was that it gave me the necessary tools that I needed to believe in myself, to feel empowered to work through my depression. In the summer of 2010, I began working on my graduate degree in mental health counseling and will graduate early next year. DBSA played a pivotal role in providing me with the necessary resources that would shape my future.