It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Peer Support

The first thought that came to mind when I heard about today's swarm was to write about On Our Own. Although I don't know what to say. I thought I was going to write something more personal, but I'm going blank.

OOO has been offering peer run support groups in Baltimore City/County for almost 30 years, since 1981. Although not all of OOO's board of directors have diagnoses, 100% of the staff does. When we say peer support, we really mean peer support. Actually, I guess I will write something personal.

I never thought I'd be into a support group. I equated support groups with group therapy, and in fact I tried a 3 month stint of group therapy once and it didn't go well. But what I was doing last year wasn't working so I went. That was about 14 months ago now, and I am certainly a fixture of our center.

Peer support shouldn't replace regular individual therapy IMHO but therapy certainly works better with peer support. I joke about how codependent I am with my shrink, but the fact is I'm not anymore. Do you consider txting your shrink codependent? That'd be my definition. But I don't do this nearly as much (I mean, 'I can't remember what time my appt is' doesn't count as codependence), rarely email her (versus 30/week, really that's happened before) and don't call her. I can go a week between sessions now because I have plenty of people who validate that I am a worthwhile human being several times a week. I never had that before. In fact I was even seeing a psychologist who thought it was therapeutically appropriate (motivating) to make me feel like crap.

I can go into therapy now and say 'I was having this paranoid thought in my head over and over the other day, but then I heard Steve [name changed for confidentially] over and over telling me that was a cognitive distortion.' I couldn't have gotten to this place with just therapy or with friends who perpetually focused on my shortcomings. I couldn't have gotten to this place without Steve and Betty and Jane and Tom. I focus on my shortcomings enough, I don't need other people doing it as well.

What does any of this have to do with the intent of the swarm? I think that a sizable chunk of the TAB population doesn't believe that the disabled population is worthwhile. They don't see how sizable our collective power is and I thought I'd highlight one of the many ways this can be seen in action.

Love to all my friends in real life and in cyberspace. We really hold each other up. Even if we can't work or can't be "self-sufficient" (what the hell does that mean anyway?) we're still worthwhile despite what society says. We as people with disabilities are as important as any TAB. We can still change the world one person at a time. I see it everyday.


Barkha said...

What a beautiful post straight from the heart!. Our society needs to have an about face on Disability and the concerns and emotions of people who each day have the spirit to fight it out. Thanks such educating post.

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