How to Get the Most Out of Group Therapy

Whether it be after in the hospital, an outpatient program or a public peer support group, these are some of the things that I figured out and people have taught me to get the most out of group therapy. Of course, the hardest thing about group therapy is feeling safe enough to tell your deepest fears and problems to a group of people. I’ve been to group many times in different settings. Every new place makes me anxious. I’ll be anxious the next time I go to a new group even though I’ve already been many times. I am always worried about what other people in the group will think of my problems.

How It Feels to Be an Autistic Savant

I knew from a very young age that I was different. As young as 4 or 5. Besides the fact that I had to go to the doctor all the time, I was clumsy. All the other kids’ parents talked about me. They usually used the r-word. In first grade, I started going to developmental disability services. I was in with all the rest of the kids that had intellectual disabilities. Again, those were not the words used at the time. I went to disability services for the rest of first and second grade.

How I Learned to Control My 'Bipolar Rage'

I used to have terrible anger and fits of rage. I just got so mad so easily. I would break down and start cussing, screaming and stomping. I was losing jobs and friends; making my family hate me. Finally, one day, I decided I wanted to fix this. This is about anger management, fits of rage and emotional meltdowns. This does not include sensory meltdowns.

What I've Learned From Being a Peer Support Leader

I was a 12-step group leader a little less than year into it. I became the recorder for my local public group. I did that for well over two years before I became the organizer for the group. Along the way, I made a lot of bad mistakes and learned a lot of lessons. These are the important lessons I learned in being a peer support leader.

What It's Like Having Hyperempathy as an Autistic Person

When I was first diagnosed autistic, I was diagnosed with a lack of empathy. As it turns out, I did have empathy. My empathy was different though — it was black and white, all or nothing. I thought to myself it might be more than other people’s but that’s conceited. Or is it? Finally, 44 years later, I think they’re finally coming around on theories. I have hyperempathy, or as some are calling it, double empathy.

When Being Autistic Means I Can't Stop Paying Attention

Too much attention. I have been both blessed and cursed with a great amount of attention to pay to whatever I am doing or thinking about. I can’t stop paying attention. I can’t look away. I can’t change subjects or multi-task easily at all.

When I Realized I Needed the Will to Get Mentally Well

I learned in a 12-step program that although I will never be cured from autism or bipolar, that doesn’t mean I can’t live a mentally healthy life. I don’t have to be mentally ill. I can be mentally well. Of course the hardest part of any mental health journey is admitting we have problems. Along with admitting I had problems, I had to be willing to do the things necessary to get well. Wanting to is not enough. Doing the things that I was supposed to do was not enough. I had to have the will to get well.