The first time I heard about Support Groups, it was probably in passing. A TV show or a movie that showed a scene of people sitting together in a circle and talking about coping with some “great trauma” that they had faced.
The first time I learnt about Support Groups, it was on a call with Shivya, the Founder of WAMH. Over the phone, she described to me the idea of a safe space, where people got together and just talked, shared and were there for each other. The difficulty they were experiencing did not have to be something “earth-shattering”. The topic could be anything that impacted their lives. The conversation could be with anyone who felt the same as they did.
The first time I experienced a Support Group, it was online on a Google Meet call. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t quite sold on the idea yet. But the pandemic had perpetrated this feeling of dissociation and isolation and the topic was on the feeling of loneliness. So I joined this group of strangers that I heard or saw only through a small box on my screen. We started awkwardly and kind of like that John Green quote, our conversation flowed slowly and then all at once. The first time I felt Supported during the pandemic was on this very call. I was listening to people talk about how difficult their experience has been and I could feel every word resonate. I could hear some others talk about how they were coping and felt myself take down mental points to inculcate those methods in my life. I could feel this sense of unshakeable calm when the therapist
moderating our session helped us centre ourselves with these exercises, that I began almost doubtfully and then embraced gratefully.
So if you’ve never experienced a Support Group, I cannot promise to you that you will feel exactly this way each time. However, what I do know is that there is a sense of calm that comes over you when you realise that you are not alone in your struggle. That there are others like you. That you are not different or weird or broken or mad. And knowing that, makes it easier.