I'm very fortunate in that I have a great support group that meets locally. Our group is run on the G.O.A.L. (Giving Obsessive Compulsives Another Lifestyle) model. It is my understanding that the very wonderful Dr. Jonathan Grayson is the originator of the G.O.A.L. group. (I am a huge fan of Dr. Grayson as he has dedicated his life's work to those of us with OCD). I love this group because it is such a relief to share my struggles with others and know that they completely understand not only how I feel, but also how I think. The best part is that my support group is not a whine session. Oh sure, we talk about the things that upset us, but we also talk about how to fight our compulsions and how to perform ERPs. Each time we meet we set goals to work on and then we report about our success or struggles when we meet again. (By the way, it was my support group that urged me to wear my jacket the other day.) I am also blessed because I have made great friendships that go beyond the group setting and that is helping to restore a certain normalcy to my life that has been missing for many, many years.
Another important aspect of being part of this group is the feeling that I am contributing to the recovery of other OCD sufferers. As a Christ follower, I look for meaning in everything in my life. Once I finally came to accept my illness and the chronic nature of it, I realized that there had to be a higher purpose. I believe that part of my mission is to strengthen and uplift others who fight mental illness. I'm thankful that God provided this group both for my encouragement and for the encouragement of others. I would highly recommend joining a support group. I do think it's worth mentioning, though, that you may not find the right group immediately. I did go through three other groups before I found the one that was right for me (maybe I'm just picky). The International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation is a great resource for finding support groups (see link under online resources).
Living with mental illness is difficult work and the burden is made lighter when we share the load together, don't you think? I hope you have someone you can share your burden with. I would be honored to be one of your burden sharers, even if it's just through the comments section of this blog. God Bless!