I wasn’t too fond of the idea of group therapy at first, especially considering that the group would be made up of people who attended my university. I would have rather been in a room full of random strangers than face someone who I would probably see around campus. I would be exposing parts of myself that not even my closest friends had seen. Opening myself up to several people that I might share a class with, live in the same residence hall as, or even have mutual friends with was frightening and incredibly nerve-wracking.
After a few weeks of convincing myself to go, I realized how crucial group therapy was to my recovery process. Not only did it allow me to seek advice from others, it also gave me the opportunity to just talk through my problems out loud. Sometimes when dealing with a mental illness, it may seem like your feelings are a burden to everyone. In group therapy, people want to hear how you’re doing because they genuinely care and most likely will have awesome advice for you because they’ve been through something similar. It’s easy to feel isolated in your mental illness, but allowing yourself to open up is giving yourself the opportunity to let others help you.
Group therapy taught me that it’s okay to let people know what’s wrong. Giving others a piece of myself isn’t as anxiety provoking as it once was. It’s been little things, but it has a lasting impact. Once you hear that first “me too,” things don’t seem as scary anymore. I consider the people in my group a big part of my recovery. They aren’t the scary, daunting people they once were. Now, they are my supporters, motivators, and friends.
Group therapy taught me that sometimes recovery is a long journey, but being surrounded by like-minded people makes it a pretty nice ride.