It was the longest I have been away since I was in the hospital.
Knowing my schedule was going to be crowded, I got into two meetings the week before. Then I worked eight days straight in order to be off to travel.
And yesterday, even though I was back, I had an appointment with my therapist. This was a great chance to discuss what I learned at the SMART Conference and how it helped me learn more about self-care.
Today was my first time back to my Peer Support Group in almost 10 days.
I felt a sense of relief when I walked through the doors. Everyone still knew my name and was as welcoming as I remembered. There was a chance to visit with some people before the meeting. I was able to catch up and learn what was going on in peoples lives. This was very satisfying and reassuring. There is something different about walking in the door.
First, in my book, everyone there is a hero.
They have superpowers beyond imagination. I am in awe of their courage and commitment to live a balanced life. As I listen to them share their thoughts, struggles, and successes, I am inspired.
Second, I always leave with my batteries recharged.
It is my happy place, a place where I can be my authentic self. I don’t have to question what I am going to say or try to filter my thoughts, so they are “acceptable.” I can share exactly what is on my mind, without shame or guilt.
Now the reality of my schedule is rearing its ugly head.
Looking at the rest of the week, I won’t be able to attend any additional meetings with my support group this week. And knowing how my day job schedule is (even though I won’t have the actual schedule until I get to work this afternoon), it will be the middle of next week before I can get there again.
But just knowing they are there, supporting everyone who walks through the door is comforting.
I can go there in my mind anytime I want. That is a new feeling, that I am not alone, even when I am not in my support group. I can feel their thoughts and their concerns for my recovery as I go through my day. And I hope they can feel the love and respect I have for each of them as they live their lives and face their challenges.
It is possible I can drop in before going to my day job.
It would not be for one of the meetings I attend, but I would be there. And yes, it is 30 minutes in the wrong direction for going to work, but the more I think about it, the more drawn I am to the idea. I have mapped out (thank you Google maps) the route I would take from there to work, and it is only a little further than going from my house. I live at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We are less then 9 miles from Skyline Drive.
This is my other happy place.
Hummingbirds, black bears, deer, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, hawks, fox, weasels, American bald eagles and other creatures all share the land with us. You never know what you will see when you sit on the front or back porch. And this is a great way to recharge. But the energy I get from people is more important.
My self-care includes getting to as many support meetings as possible.
And I am doing that. I am making the commitment. I am going even if it is not as convenient as staying home. I am going even if I do not feel like it. I am going even if my depression tells me it won’t be worth the energy.
The rewards of going outweigh any obstacles for me going. I am so appreciative of the support I receive. Depression knows that every time I go, I move further away from its grip, it’s control over me. So, it hates my support group. Which makes me even more committed to going where everyone knows my name.
Where do you feel welcomed?