If you are searching for help, a type of resource that you may look into are support groups. These are especially common resources for those going through a serious illness or recovering from addiction. Whatever experience you happen to be going through, there is probably a support group for that topic. Support groups can be an excellent place to share your emotions with others who are going through similar experiences and to hear how others are coping with their own situations. However, it is important to find a well-structured support group and to regularly assess whether or not attending the group is benefiting your mental health.
Communication is key in recovery. One of the biggest hurdles is becoming comfortable discussing your emotions with another person. With support groups, it can be comforting to know that the people around you have gone through similar experiences themselves and that they can empathize with you on a different level than someone who is unfamiliar with the experiences. Although they can create a more empathetic environment, Carole Bennett at Psychology Today says that they should also cause you to feel a bit of discomfort, too. Support groups are intended to help you process your emotions, which is an uncomfortable experience. Taking a deep look into yourself, your emotions and your situation can be scary and nerve wracking, but it is a necessary part of the process.
For most mental health treatments and resources, you need to find what works for you. With support groups, there is a narrow window where they are beneficial and they can easily have the potential to do more harm than good. They can become routine and monotonous, which does not help you move forward with your recovery. Also, because of the subject matters, the discussions can become very dark and have a negative effect on your mental health. Some people will listen to others discuss their situations and feel as if their situation is not dark enough to belong in the group, which can make that person feel as if their feelings are invalid. Any or all of these factors can arise at any point while attending a support group and it is essential that you recognize these moments if they pop up.
Support groups have their benefits and I encourage you to look into whether or not they can be a beneficial tool towards your recovery. Just like therapy, it is important to find the right environment for you. If you do begin to attend a support group, I highly encourage you to routinely assess yourself and the group’s benefit (or lack thereof) on your mental health. If you find that the group may have negative effects, then perhaps you should research other groups in your area or look into a different type of resource. There is no one way to go through recovery and it is perfectly okay to try different resources to see what works for you.