Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Room of Dreams

It's 2:00 AM. I am standing in my favorite convenience store holding a bottle of Gatorade. In front of me is a dingy looking fellow. He fumbles in his pockets after putting a twelve-pack of beer on the counter. My favorite clerk rolls his eyes at me as I stand in line.

"Will that be all, sir?" the clerk asks impatiently as the fellow straightens out a crumpled mass of sweaty and dirty one dollar bills and places them upon the counter.

The man mumbles yes and then leaves with his purchase forgetting his change.

"Drunk son of a bitch," the clerk spits venomously. "You see what I have to put up with all night?"

I nod in agreement knowing all too well. I was once like that dingy fellow with the twelve-pack of beer and the crumpled mass of ones. I purchased my drink and then walked up the few hundred yards to my favorite spot in the little park across from the mill – my quiet place of contemplation. I sat as I mulled over the previous day's events.

My support group went okay. Only three people showed and two of them were me and Rosa. The other lady named Mary is such a kind soul and was very understanding of ours being a fledgling group. I promised her things would pick up over time.

"Rosa, I am worried there are just not enough crazy people in the Valley to support a group like this," I said, driving us home afterwards.

Something about what I said struck Rosa as funny and she laughed.

"Oh, I think there are enough crazy people to go around. They just need to find you and many are in denial," she replied.

In this day of Prozac, Wellbutrin, and atypical antipsychotics, maybe people have found their panacea in drugs. Maybe support groups are passé. It genuinely worried me.

"You know that old Kevin Costner movie about baseball?" Rosa then asked.

"Field of Dreams?"

"Yeah," Rosa said, borrowing from the movie. "You start it and they will come. Just give it time."

I liked that analogy I thought as I swung through town to take Rosa home. I am building my own field or room of dreams. It certainly is a dream of mine to have a thriving group of mentally interesting people coming together in friendship and with a common cause to help each other. Maybe next week will bring more to the meeting. We need some kind of critical mass to build for it to grow. I believe these small groups are intimidating to newcomers. I know they would be for me and my social anxieties.


Pamela said...

If you build it they will come. Keep going, keep persevering, Rome wasn't built in a day. Have you found the National Alliance For the Mentally Ill yet? They offer a lot of supportive expertise and information on starting and maintaining groups. Thank you for being such an advocate for mental illness in the cyberworld. I found you during a random blog search. I lost my only sibling four years ago, at a way too young age, because of untreated bipolar depression/alcoholism. Treatment down't "dure" anything. But until there is a cure, brain disorders can be managed. You write very well. Keep writing. Keep getting the message out. May I link you to my blog?

ANITA said...

"In this day of Prozac, Wellbutrin, and atypical antipsychotics, maybe people have found their panacea in drugs. Maybe support groups are passé. It genuinely worried me."

Worries me, too. That's why I refuse to see a shrink. They'll just put me on pills and sometimes all you need is someone to talk to.

Barb said...

The group provides fellowship and people need that. Stay on your path, and your group will grow, stay strong and focused!


Mr. 4th-how has starting this support group helped you? Is it helping you? Is it helping Rosa?
As kind of a soul that you are, the first stage to growth is helping yourself..and if you're gaining something good from this, it's only a matter of time before as Rosa put.."people will come."
Hang in there.
Remember, memorial day monday when it was Rosa and you and your cheese straws?
I see you're still not sleeping well. :(

Rewinding the African Mind. said...

Hey Andrew, you keep on getting folks to come to your support group. It would mean a lot to a lot of troubled souls, like Sword Inc, he shot himself last night and is in a critical condition in Hospital. His severe depression took over and tried to end it all. He has been ranking you as the number one Shrink the whole world. I appreciate the much you did for him. Doctors said that he will be fine in a couple of months.

kathleen said...

Maybe you could run an ad in the newspaper, or put up posters in local stores or even on telephone poles in the neighborhood to publicize your meeting times and places.

mago said...

I think there are enough "crazy people in the valley". It takes time, one must find the courage to go to such a group. I'm with crustybeef here, as long as it helps you and Rosa it is a good thing to hang on to.

EE said...

Love the analogy!!

Ockham's Student said...

Thank you for your honesty about your struggles, this is very inspiring!
Keep going!

Red Robin. said...

I laughed at the same thing too.

I agree with Rosa as well. If you build it they will come...

Wasn't that said in Waynes World?

Moonroot said...

I think these things always take time and that can be frustrating when you really want a project to take off. Rosa is wise. They will come.

joyous melancholy said...

If I lived near you, I'd come. I think anxiety is making a comeback in my life, and I hate it. It would be nice to have a place where I could talk about it without feeling like everyone thinks I'm just crazy.

VA Friend said...

I know you contacted people at mental health and other agencies before when you were spreading the word about forming a group. You may want to contact them again and tell them that it is started and that you all have met three times now and that things are going well. This may give them some confidence in suggesting the group to their patients.

Just a thought.

Georgie said...

Andrew ... Your site is a jewel among the junk and uselessness on the Web. You are using it to reach others and to help yourself AND you are a very good writer. It's your writing that made me stop and read it as I was hitting "next" on the blogs. My life has been touched by at least two alcoholics and my best wishes go out to you and all those in your fledgling group. Don't give up. That's what it's all about, right?

Michelle said...

The people who might need the group the most are probably the least likely to hear or know about it.

Put the word out in the dark places.

Good luck and don't give up - on the group or on yourself.


Eric said...

There are certainly enough crazy people to fill any size room you chose to hold your group, unfortunately, they either believe that they are not crazy-denial, are so overly medicated, they couldn't understand they're crazy, or they have been told by society that they are ok.

I may have never had a substance abuse problem, but I know I have issues I need to deal with and having others who are willing to listen and help can not be anything but a good thing.

Keep it up.

WhiteJedi said...

You write very well. I hope you are able to get this group going.

Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

"Mentally interesting." I like that.

rfp said...

I'd come if I were wherever you are.