I have no idea what will come of this. But it's big regardless.
Last night Dr. Mind told me that I have to find a stronger support system. He told me that he thought I should get involved with NAMI. Although I don't remember ever talking about this with him, it's something I have resisted. I can't do it in the county where I work b/c I work with psych patients. In the past, long, long ago my previous therapist convinced me to talk to them. We were looking for support, but I wanted very much to have support from other people in my situation, people who have severe illness but are working, etc. Per the therapist I contacted them, asking if they had any groups that would address the living very differently than my particular diagnosis suggests. They were unhappy with this (not another patient, it was a nurse who ran the groups) and basically said nobody was better than anyone else. Which isn't what I had asked, I just knew that while in grad school I had been in a sexual abuse group that I hated, didn't benefit from, and rapidly quit because everyone else believed their lives had stopped and they were stuck by their abuse and I just don't believe that at all. So nothing I said fit in and I didn't help anyone nor did they help me. I didn't want to repeat that. So that was the end of that.
Well, I have searched far and wide and can't find a group that I can go to that meets when I'm not working or isn't in the city where I see Dr. Mind but on a day he doesn't work so I couldn't combine the trip.
I was up most of last night because the stupid cyst and a sick cat, and thought a ton. So this morning before I could chicken out because I knew I would never say this, I sent Dr. Mind a letter. I told him I realized how desperately i need support, that it is not available, and asked if he would help me develop a peer support group hopefully at the center and if they can't do it for liability if he'd help find a church. i know that there are other bipolar patients in the agency; back when I was diagnosed it was a much smaller agency, still pretty new, and I was pretty much THE bipolar patient. Over time this has changed and mostly because of success with me Dr. Mind has now gotten some reputation as good with bipolar patients. I don't know how many he has at a given time, but I know that he's not the only one who sees bipolar patients regularly there now, partly because they've developed some effective treatments based on me. (Jen the guinea pig pretty much). So I'm kind of hoping that I can be the leader as needed of a small support group. I need the support desperately, I have plenty of training and practice in group leadership and when I worked in psych I did psych functioning groups so it's not something I've never done, and doing it this way means it will also likely be a Christian group which is meaningful to me. I could never just say "help me and I'll do this", but my letter did. Beats me what he'll think. I suspect he'll help me although I have a feeling it will have to be not at the center b/c of liability. I am thinking of doing this 2 Saturdays/month, earlier in the morning so I can see Dr. Brain when needed, because that's simply the only time i can add in a support group.
So, Monday night we will see what happens.