What I Initially Got Wrong About Group Therapy
To be frank, when I was told I would have to attend “group therapy,” I was pessimistic.
It sent my anxiety into overdrive. The idea of sharing my personal experiences with strangers was petrifying. I was told if I refused to attend these sessions, I would be taken off the pathway and wouldn’t be able to see my therapist anymore. I thought it was ridiculous to be threatened like that, but I really was given no choice and had to go.
The first few weeks were awkward and difficult as you can probably imagine. Once people started to come out of their carefully constructed shells, we ended up being able to have a laugh. It became easier and easier to share my experiences, and other people did the same. The best thing about being in a room with people with the same disorder as you is that for the first time ever, I felt like I wasn’t struggling alone.
Don’t get me wrong. We may all have the same diagnosis, but we are all different. For example, I’m a bugger for impulsive spending, but others don’t have that problem.
Sharing my personal experiences with people who have the same disorder relieves so much stress for me. Some of the people there are like, “OMG, I know exactly how you feel.”
Do you know how wonderful it is to hear that? To talk to people who relate to you like only people with BPD can is an amazing feeling. We laugh, joke and sometimes we’re sad. Yet, we are getting through this therapy. We are getting better. We are recovering.
I’m 20 sessions in now. I can honestly say I enjoy the time I spend at group. I won’t go as far as to say I look forward to it each week because group means I have to get out of bed. Ugh! Yet, it is totally tolerable.
The most valuable thing I’ve learned so far is therapy isn’t meant to change our personalities. Our personalities are totally fab. Therapy is giving us the skills we need to get through life. It is teaching us to be strong.
I can, hand on my heart, say that without the skills I have learned from group therapy, I wouldn’t still be here. It has taught me how to get through hard times. It’s taught me how to have better relationships with people. It’s taught me my personality isn’t bad or broken. It’s taught me I’m totally freaking awesome.
My advice to anyone with BPD is to get involved in any sort of group sessions available to you. It’s really scary at first, but it becomes so rewarding.
Image via Thinkstock.
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