The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

ARTICLE: 8 Signs You May Not Need a Support Group For Your Illness


8 Signs You May Not Need a Support Group For Your Illness
by Lisa Copen

When the diagnosis of an illness arrives, it’s very common for everyone, including your doctor, to recommend a support group. Studies have shown that support groups are in fact very beneficial and can impact how well a person copes with his or her illness. However, it’s not uncommon for people with illness to have no desire to attend a support group.

Just as with any kind of group, there are some support groups you will connect with well and others that you will not. Don’t conclude all support groups are the same; just because one doesn’t seem like a refreshing place to be, doesn’t mean there aren’t any groups for you.

But the question still arises. Regardless of whether you are looking for a colon cancer support group or a endometriosis support group, the real question may be, do you really need a support group at this time in your life? Many changes occur while we live decades with illness and there are seasons in our life when an illness support group may hold our very best of friends, and other times when we have no need to attend whatsoever.

Here are eight signs that you may not need a support group right now:

1. You are managing your illness on a daily basis without any trouble. In fact, you are so busy with other things going on in your life, you don’t really have time to analyze just how well you are coping with illness.

2. You have a trustworthy group of people who influence you in positive ways. Friends or family members appreciate the magnitude of the choice you make to live your best life possible, despite your daily pain.

3. You don’t feel resentment, anger, or bitterness toward people who don’t deal with chronic conditions. Your relationships with others aren’t tainted by you comparing your abilities (or lack of) with others entering your thoughts.

4. You can easily carry on conversations without mentioning your illness. You don’t feel it’s such an integral part of who you are that you need to tell every stranger you meet about your disease.

5. You don’t watch others with envy. You feel you have overcome any annoyances you may have previously felt toward people who have their health, but who do not seem to be appreciating it.

6. You have found that when you sit around at support group meetings talking about the highs and lows of living with illness, you rarely leave the meeting feel better. The support group you are in is more depressing than refreshing and talking about your illness doesn’t seem to be helpful.

7. You feel confident in how you are able to be a good advocate for your health and illness. When more information about symptoms or tips about living with your illness are needed, you believe you are well prepared to do the research.

8. You have formed a friendship with at least one other person who has an illness. It’s important for you to have someone with whom you can vent openly and share your vulnerabilities with in regard to how you live and cope with illness. And contributing your own ideas with another person who understands the details and “language” of illness will be helpful too.

If you could relate with all of the signs above, chances are that you don’t need a support group at this time in your life. But guess what? You may be an excellent leader of an illness support group. All of the signs above that explain your coping skills, can be part of your outline to write a proposal for starting up a support group.

The most successful support groups are those led by people who have overcome the daily aggravations and animosities that occur during the first years of being diagnosed with a chronic illness. Since you have coped with the initial rollercoaster of emotions and have survived, a support group of people still struggling with them would benefit from your experience and expertise.

If leading a support group does not seem to be part of your calling, that’s a typical reaction! Go enjoy other activities you feel passionate about. And don’t forget that there are amazing people in support groups who will be there when you feel you need them.

Get a free download of 200 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend from “Beyond Casseroles” by Lisa Copen when you subscribe to HopeNotes ezine at Rest Ministries. Lisa is the coordinator of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and host of Hope Endures Radio Podcast.

1 Comment»

  jeisea wrote @

Lisa what a wise person you are. This is an excellent post. Thank you.

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