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Support Groups by Myotonic Dystrophy Expert Ann S Woodbury

What is a support group? What are the benefits of attending one? How do I find the right group for me? Will people think less of me if I attend one? Will the other people in the group judge me? What if they do not understand my situation? What if….?

A support group is a “group of people with common experiences or concerns who provide each other with encouragement, comfort, and advice”. Those who attend a group for the first time often feel nervous and uncertain—it is the natural response to being vulnerable and sharing what matters most in our lives in front of others. And yet, the first time a person hears the words, “I feel that way too” or “I seriously understand what just said”, we understand why a support group is valuable.

Support groups are found in a variety of locations, in person, and virtually through your phone or computer. They are most often offered by disease associations and other groups that focus on groups of individuals who share a common concern or focus. For example, the Alzheimer’s groups focus on individuals who have or who care for those with some form of dementia. The Caregiver Support Program focuses on individuals who share the challenge and responsibility of caring for others. Others have groups based on common behavioral needs, such as addiction and recovery, anxiety, anger, or stress management.

Finding the right group for “you” can be done by using a few essential steps.

  1. Accept and respond to your need to find a place to share with and learn from others.