Outside Support

The importance of support groups and consistency: the Bridge back to life

I really started taking a major turn in my depersonalization when I started attending support groups. It’s so important that you get a support group with people who have success stories. This is another way of taking the focus off yourself and using these people’s stories to change your thoughts about the hopelessness and despair. Similar to what we discussed above with your body’s fright or/flight mode this will start to put your body at ease hearing stories of people who experienced the same feelings and setbacks as you did and fully recovered. It is important that you find a support group that meets frequently and one that has various success stories. There are many support groups online such as Dailystrength, Yahoo, Google. It is important to find one that suits you best.

What is more important than going to these support groups is consistency. The key to getting out of depersonalization is Consistency and Action. It was very hard at first but when I started going to support groups to overcome by debilitating depersonalization and anxiety, I would go about four times a day! Hearing the speaker speak in the morning, late morning, afternoon and night was a way of breaking up those endless and hopeless thoughts. I would go four times a day when my anxiety was really bad. Depending on how bad your depersonalization is listening to other peoples stories and their stories of hope might almost be similar to an exorcism or an inner fight. However, I feel that this is truly a bridge back to the real world. It’s a way of quieting that voice that constantly asks yourself, “Can’t anyone understand this condition?” “Am I alone in this depersonalization hell?”

What even more important is actions come before thoughts. It’s interesting that we are always taught that thoughts come before actions. Example: let’s say I was thinking that I wanted something to eat. The natural thing would be to think first “I am hungry”, recognize it and then walk or do some sort of ACTION to go to the store and get what you wanted. Unfortunately, for those of us with anxiety and depersonalization our thoughts are so out of whack that you should rarely trust any of these thoughts! I used to look at going to meetings like going to the gym. Your initial thoughts aren’t wanting to go, but if you just walk to the gym and don’t think about it and get on the machine you will feel better. Do this a couple of times a day for a couple of months, Viola! A new you!

So now…were going to reverse things. Rather than thinking first you are going to ACT first and then think. What do I mean by this? Lets say you are on your way to recovering from anxiety. First I say congratulations! You can do it! Next, go to the nearest support group.

Are you thinking? Don’t think. Tell yourself you’ll think later when you’re there. Continue putting off thinking and do everything out of pure actions. The first couple of days will be very very tough. It will be hard to hear people speak because of all the noise in your head. Keep going and white knuckle it. Can I ask you a question? What other option do you have? I can tell you my experience I would go to three meetings a day just to get out of the depersonalization.

Now would be a good time to start asking for help from a higher power. Call 3 people once a day. Call people you trust and tell them that it is hard for you to talk to them. This is why it is so important to join a support group because these people will understand it when you say how you are feeling. They will be able to relate to you. The first three months going to a support group consistently (the more the merrier) is going to be the hardest thing you will do.

Dealing with friends and family that can’t understand:

This is a tough because sometimes family can make being in anxiety, depersonalization or sick with a disease of the mind hard because you well you “look fine.” It is so important at this point to look at that person as “sick and suffering.” We are all a reflection of each other so basically that exercise where I had you look at other people and asking what type of person would do that is exactly what they are doing! But they don’t have the tools like you do.

Also, if this family member is abusive to you its so important to try to look at them like a small child. You might look at them and the fact that they are “in the world” and you’re not as “better than you.” But really they are not doing much better than you and whatever is bothering them could be all about them. You have to ask how you have been hurt by them. Then finally it’s so helpful to write a letter to this person who has hurt you but write it to them as a child and not the way you see them now.

And if there is someone that is abusive to you and they call you and constantly yell at YOU for the bad things that are going on in their lives—REMEMBER that is THEIR misfortune NOT yours. Everyone has their own PUA and path. It is important not to take on other people’s suffering as your own.

I hope this was helpful for all of you. I wish you all health and recovery. Honestly, I know how scary it is and please remember that there are people out there that understand completely.

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