Our co-facilitators begin by welcoming newcomers and reviewing the ground rules which remind everyone that our meetings provide a safe, supportive, and confidential place for us to come together. We follow with icebreakers asking the group things like: “Share something inspirational,” or “What are some things you do to decrease depression or mania?”
We then introduce ourselves and share if we have depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD, and/or ADD, or if we’re here to support someone who does. New guests are always free to join in the icebreaker session or pass if it’s outside their comfort zone.
Next we move on to our main topic. Every meeting is different and you’ll find that some topics will pertain to you and your situation more than others. We often have guest speakers who contribute greatly to our education and stimulate lively discussion. Occasionally we show movies that also address a topic of interest. Feel free to suggest future topics as this is your support group.
Our goal is always to meet you where you’re at so you may actively participate or choose to sit back and listen. If you have something on your mind that you want to talk about, or if you’d like to receive input from the group, we’re flexible. Simply raise your hand and share. We are continually learning and growing from each other.
To give you an idea of the range of topics covered, here are several we’ve addressed:
♦ Strategies to manage depression and bipolar disorder
♦ How to decrease anxiety
♦ Insight and tips for those who support loved ones with depression and bipolar disorder
♦ The importance of maintaining a schedule
♦ Keeping a journal or mood chart to decrease symptoms
♦ Managing the stress of the holidays
♦ Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
♦ Explaining the physical aspects of depression and bipolar disorder to others
♦ Mood disorders and sleep
♦ Medications to treat depression and bipolar disorder
♦ Stress Management
♦ Bipolar disorder and pregnancy
♦ Disclosing our mood disorder to others
♦ An open meeting where group members talk about what’s on their minds in a supportive and confidential setting