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The Unexpected Way Group Therapy Helped My Depression

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When I started group therapy, I didn’t know what I was getting into.

When I hear people say, “I don’t know what I’m getting into,” I tend to imagine the stereotypical sitcom reminiscent glance — up and to the right as the harp strings play the “Going Back In Time” soundtrack. In response to myself, I stifle a chuckle and roll my eyes because people rarely go into new situations knowing exactly who, what, when, where, why or how it happens.

Keeping that in mind, I actually did not know what I was getting into when I decided to attend group therapy. I knew where to be at what time and that my therapist would be there. I knew I trusted my therapist because she wants what’s best for me. And I knew I was tired of my depression leaving me feeling incapacitated.

What I did not know:

1. I signed up for group therapy. (I’ll explain below.)

2. That there would be other people.

I acknowledge that I could have done more research on the program I joined rather than blindly following my therapist’s recommendation. I could have asked more questions before going. I could have done this, I could have done that. Regardless of what I could have done, the bottom line is that I did not know that the program I was attending was a group therapy program.

After a week or so into the program, an awareness and understanding caught me by surprise. The majority of the people in my group struggle with depression and other mental illnesses. Worthlessness is a common theme among people who struggle with depression. I personally struggle with feelings of worthlessness, failure and hopelessness. However, I believe every person in my group has immense worth. I believe that every person in my group is capable of succeeding. I believe that every person in my group can continue to get better.

I realized there are people in my program who do not see their worth. Just like they can’t see their worth, I can’t see mine. But, just as I see their worth, they see mine. We see in our group members what we search for in ourselves.

If I believe every member in the program has worth, then I must have worth too.

While correlation doesn’t mean causation, the common trend is enough to give me hope that I have a chance. Everyone in the room is facing a similar struggle to me, yet I believe each person is absolutely great — something I struggle to believe about myself. I see infinite potential among the people sitting by me. I have hope that each and every one of them can improve their quality of life through practice and determination. Every day, their strength and commitment give me hope that I can get better too.

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Thinkstock photo via g-stockstudio

Originally published: June 30, 2017
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