The president of the NAMI group I went to from the next county over wrote to me with three suggestions for starting a support group. Her first suggestion was to start a NAMI group in my town as an extension of her group. She said that there would probably be guidelines that I would have to follow and that she would find out more if I was interested, which I am. If I could find a meeting place, it would be the ideal solution. I told her I'd be willing to ask around at the local churches or the town hall to find a place. Her second suggestion was to start a non NAMI support group for students with mental health problems. She said that a college in her town had started a group and that it was part of a nationwide organization and that she could find out more information about that as well. I told her that that was a good suggestion, but that I was more interested in having a meeting that was open to both the schools and the surrounding community, if possible. Her final suggestion was for me to lead a support group in her town, just for those with mental illness. She wants to split the meeting she has now into two groups-one for family members of those with mental illness and one for people with mental illness because the two groups have different needs. I told her that though I would love to lead her meeting, that her town was too far away for me to commit to being available on a weekly basis. I said that since I became ill, I have become anxious about driving, especially in bad weather and at night time, which is why I would much prefer starting a meeting in my town. I live close enough to town that even if the weather was terrible, I could walk to the meeting place and hold a meeting every week. Still, I feel honored that she considered me, since she only met me once. At the end of her email she asked if we could get together for lunch to talk about the possibilities and I replied definitely yes.
I am so pleased that she was thoughtful enough to think of these suggestions and contact me. She is a busy woman with a full time job as well as being the NAMI president of her county and I am grateful to her for reaching out to me. I am hoping that NAMI higher ups will give her permission to let me start a group in my town. To be under the wings of such a major national advocacy group can only be a good thing and give the group even more credibility in this community. For me, personally, it would be a wonderful introduction to my own community service and would boost my self-esteem a great deal. I am so excited by the prospect of it, but will know more after I meet with Ms. Stanley. I have lived in such isolation from others who suffer from mental illness for over a decade, but now, all because I reached out to this woman, I may finally get to meet others like me and form some long lasting bonds and do some good for others in the process. God willing. The main thing is that now I might be ready to actually take on some responsibility, which is such a good sign of progress in my recovery from schizophrenia. It's amazing how having the support of even one person has given me such a boost to get out there and make a difference.
A Recovery Blog
This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.