Hi all, I’m Firnita, and I’m a (insert a “condition” here).
I have seen a lot of movies and TV series that include scenes of a character attending a support whether for survivors of cancer, alcoholism, addiction, mental health, sexual violence, to the death of a loved one. The variety of these support groups seemed endless, but here in Indonesia, I am having problems finding a support group for my issues.
About a year ago I finally opened up a very personal problem to a friend about my past issue. It turned out we had a similar problem, which was toxic relationship, not just romantic relationship but friendship too. We talked a lot about how we dealt with them, we talked about why we didn’t tell each other earlier about this. We could’ve been there for each other by not letting each other feel like we were the only miserable people in this world. As time passed, we’ve become even closer, talking about triggering events and relapses, and venting during chats that stretched well into the night.
Everybody deserves to have a cathartic release every once in a while. Whether a friend, a lover, a family member, even a pet, sharing could help. If you have someone you can talk to about everything, talk to them. Try to make it a routine. Check in with each other.
Journaling has also helped me, particularly using the stream of consciousness method, which is writing about anything that crosses your mind. No prompts, no topics. You may start writing about your dog, but end the entry musing about how electric shock look like a surprised face.
But sometimes I need more. So I started going to a spoken word poetry open mic to bare myself to the participants. The response was moving. People snapped and clapped, and some opened their arms as the performer come down from the stage. Even if only for a few seconds the hug meant everything. It was like an instant medicine after opening up yourselves and expressing your vulnerability. Nowadays, the monthly spoken word poetry event has served as my support group.
Still, even this is not enough. I tried therapy for some time. It gave me a different kind of feeling, a good kind. The closed doors and intense attention almost gave me the space to speak and process myself. Time slowed down at first. In the first few minutes I was barely able to summon a complete sentence, but towards the end my therapist didn’t have to ask any more questions as I let everything out. It was a big relief.
Now, I don’t go to therapy anymore because I commit to myself to at least trying to get it together. While I have that one close friend I talk to, and some other friends, sometimes friends, and family, are the last group of people I want to talk to because they could be biased. They know my habits, my traits, my tendencies, and my past. I want the getting the support from someone I don’t know, from someone who doesn’t know me.
Support group, is what I am looking for right now – not a stable relationship, not a scholarship for grad school. Because we all need support and we all deserve support.
Illustration by Sarah Arifin