24. Support Group

"Hello, everybody, my name's Marvin F. Tabbycaster. I own a mansion and a yacht. My friends call me Frenchy McSnickers. I'm really not a compulsive liar. You gotta believe me, for treal."

"Hi, there. I'm f@ck%ng-John-dammit. Sh*t! I got lickballs-Tourette's-assf#ck-syndrome."

"Hi, I'm Sheri, and I, uh, feel life is an excuse for not dying, and it's shitty. ...What did you say? Sit the hell back down, asshole. You wanna test me?! Well come on, then!"

"Hi. Um, I'm not supposed to be here…. I really don't have a problem…. I just want everybody to die. By my hand. That's perfectly normal, I think. Am I right?"

Support Group assists the Inner Circle in overcoming group members' and others' issues in life.

What would life be without problems, psychological trauma, and pain… deep, h idden, unspeakable pain? Probably a whole lot better than it is now. And that's what the Inner Circle will be working toward: a world free of distress, drama, and issues. Group members will become counselors of sorts. Untrained? Probably. Dangerously unqualified? Sure. But, hey, as long as patients leave with less scars than they started with, it's all good. Remember: every person helped is one less person who can stow his or her stained and smelly emotional baggage next to an innocent's.

The best place for the Inner Circle to begin is to identify one or more targets for counseling. Patients should be willing, because it's nearly impossible to help anyone who doesn't want it. There are sure to be plenty of people with problems near by; just ask around. Fliers advertising support groups are another way to concentrate people of a like issue. Even going to existing support group meetings can be highly rewarding. Not only are they crammed with people who are looking for help, but useful counseling tips can be learned by watching the speaker.

For the Inner Circle's reference, below is a table of 30 different problems and types of disorders that commonly cause people to seek support:
  1. Loss: parent, child, spouse, colleague, baby, pet, lover, bereavement, etc.
2. Speech disorders or impediments
3. General medical problems: cancer, STDs, medical errors, allergies, asthma, arthritis, burns, chronic pain, cleft lip/palate, migraine, alopecia (hair loss), high blood pressure, etc.
4. Family issues: adoption, divorce, marriage, birth control, child abuse/custody/support, domestic violence, sibling rivalry, pregnancy, etc.
5. Syndromes: Aarskog, Marfan, Asperger's, Cushing's, Down, Fragile X, Klinefelter's, Noonan, Rett, Shwachman, Sudden Infant Death, Tourette's, Polycystic Ovary, etc.
6. Three-letter problems: AAD (Attention Deficit Disorder), BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome), SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder), CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), CVA (Cerbrovascular Accident), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), CHF (Congestive Heart Failure), GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome), HUS (Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome), IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), KFS (Klippel-Feil Syndrome), ALS (Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis), AMC (Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita), TMJ (Temporomanibular disorders), etc.
7. Sex-related problems: transgender issues, rape, impotence, infertility, etc.
8. Aging, Alzheimer's disease, menopause, etc.
9. Mental disorders: manic-depression, mental retardation, shyness, schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder, learning disabilities, personality disorders, anxiety / panic disorders, dementia, loneliness, depression, trichotillomania, stress, etc.
10. Injuries: spinal cord, head, amputation, etc.
11. Sleep disorders
12. Self injury / suicide
13. Size acceptance
14. Addictions: substance abuse, sex, online, compulsive gambling, chemical dependency, smoking cessation, etc.
15. Time (mis)management
16. Organ transplant
17. Diseases there are commercials about: kidney disease, sinusitis, sickle cell, leukemia, liver disease, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), lupus, lyme disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Muscular Dystrophy (MD), osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, peptic ulcer, scoliosis, anemia, diabetes, Hodgkins's disease, Huntington's disease, emphysema, endometriosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, autism, cerebral palsy, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia, etc.
18. Post disorder disorders: post polio, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), etc.
19. Anger management
20. Crime victims
21. Financial distress
22. Incarceration
23. Obesity / weight loss
24. Sense disorders: blindness/visual impairment, deafness/hearing impairment, tinnitus
25. Exotic-sounding diseases: tuberous sclerosis, spina bifida, Tay-Sachs disease, lymphedema, lymphoma (non-Hodgkin's), mastocytosis, Ménière's disease, neurofibromatosis, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), myasthenia gravis, myocardial infarction, myositis, osteogenesis imperfecta, ostomy, otitis, Paget's disease, psoriasis, sciatica, scleroderma, hyperlexia, hypothyroidism, interstitial cystitis, von Hippel-Lindau disease, Wegener's granulomatosis, Wilson's disease, xeroderma pigmentosum, alpha 1 - antitrypsin deficiency (A1AD), fabry disease, Graves' disease, Diverticulosis/Diverticulitis, Chromosome 18 Anomalies, Charcot-Marie disease, celiac disease, batten disease, Bell's palsy, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction (CFIDS)
26. Heart attack/disease
27. Dental problems
28. Incontinence
29. Eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating, etc.
30. Support for people who give support and have a hard time dealing with it
The Inner Circle should have little problem locating people in need of support. What matters most is how to help them. Methods of intervention range widely. People with problems often feel like they are the only ones suffering: isolated. A tried and true method of overcoming this is to get people with similar problems together, like in a support group. Oftentimes just talking with someone suffering from a similar condition can be the best medicine, since it may be hard for even well-intentioned outsiders to truly understand (and therefore help). Support groups, however, may be run by people not afflicted by the problem, as this can give attendees a good chance to interact with "normal" people. One-on-one counseling is another option for the group. The key is to let the person with problems feel comfortable, relaxed, and therefore open to confronting (and possibly overcoming) their problems.

Above all else, do not try to fix a problem too quickly or use simple logic to set out a fast (and not well thought-out) path to recovery/acceptance. What people need is time and caring, not somebody to tell them that they shouldn't feel bad about themselves. Of course, there is the camp that believes in being more aggressive; making people face their own problems and "deal with it," but that isn't very nice, is it?

IDEA: The Inner Circle itself becomes a support group for each other. Each member first takes some time and searches within to find out what problems/issues could be benefited by support. Then, even though each person may need support for totally different issues, everyone comes together to lend support however the group can. United, the Inner Circle stands tall, comforted by the fact that they have become closer friends, or at the least have learned new embarrassing new tidbits about one another.

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