Finding the right support group

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A support group can do wonders to help you feel less alone when dealing with a disorder like muscular dystrophy. For some people, traditional support groups are great. These are usually support groups created by organizations that already focus on a particular disorder. For others, support can be found in a variety of places, both related and unrelated to your disorder. Here are some tips about support groups and how to find one that fits you.

Traditional support groups, in my experience those facilitated by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, can be a valuable way to meet others going through the same thing. These support groups also foster social activity and provide information related to the disorder and activities/events outside the scope of a disorder. After all, a support group does not have to revolve around a disease 100% of the time.

Along those lines, sometimes a support group only has to be indirectly related to what you’re going through in order to be effective. For me,  the wheelchair tennis community became a great support group even though that is not the intent behind competitive wheelchair tennis. It’s just a bonus. Being able to see others dealing with disability in a positive manner is incredibly empowering no matter what the setup.

A third type of support group is the group that has nothing to do with disorders or disability whatsoever. This could be an interest group, or a dining group, or a church group. Sometimes the support you need can come from people who aren’t even familiar with your condition. After all, there’s a human element of support that we all need to get along.

Lastly, there’s the online support group. This sort of group can take any of the above forms but you participate in it online only. I have met several people as a result of starting this website and have only ever communicated with them via emails or online postings. This sort of support group can be a nice virtual network to fall back on when you’re just sitting at home and want to be connected.

Overall, finding the right support group is like finding the right pair of shoes. You can try out however many you need to, see what fits, and then go with whatever is most comfortable and beneficial to you.

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