Dealing with an illness isn’t easy, and going through it alone can make things more difficult. Support is one of the most important aspects of dealing with any disease, including lupus. While family and friends can be a crucial part of your support system, it helps to seek advice from others not involved in your immediate circle.
When I was first diagnosed with lupus, my doctor referred me to psychiatry. I was told that with a diagnosis like lupus I would need an outlet, one that did not include family or friends. Though therapy did help, it still did not provide me with what I was looking for. No matter whom I talked to, I felt as if no one could relate to what I was going through. Yes, they all said they understood, but deep down I knew they never could. I needed the support of someone who had been through what I had, or at least close to it. I started to seek out a support group and quickly found one in my area.
What is a support group?
Dictionaries define a support group as a group of people with common experiences or concerns who provide each other with encouragement, comfort, and advice. Members meet to share coping strategies, to feel empowered, and to build a sense of community. It is a safe space where members can talk openly and honestly about their feelings.
Support groups are composed of others who have been through similar issues, such as lupus. Because of this, members feel more comfortable sharing their experiences and discussing their feelings. With others who have experienced similar situations, most people usually will feel less isolated.
Adjusting to the new ‘normal’
Support groups are beneficial to a patient on many different levels. Most people upon diagnosis feel very alone, and meeting with others who have similar issues may lessen those feelings. It also can bring about feelings of relief when you realize that others have been through what you are going through.
These groups also can help to improve your disease-coping skills and help you adjust to your new normal. You can discuss treatments and advice and compare notes about other resources and options. Members are there to guide each other and to help and encourage other members through their journey.
For me, support groups have had a huge impact on how I deal with my disease. They have given me an outlet that I never imagined possible. The members of my group have helped me through the toughest of times and will be a part of my life forever. They have become my family and people I truly love and respect.
If you have never been to a support group, consider giving it a try. You never know how it may impact you.
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.
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