Beyond Blue

And this blog post/journal entry of Larry’s can be found at

Since I wrote a valedictory to the city of New Brunswick in one of my last posts, I thought I would share another valedictory — the thank you letter I just posted on the listserv of my support group, where I have been a member for a year and a group leader (facilitator) for the last six months.
Just for clarity’s sake: DBSA is not formally a 12-step group, but rather a mutual aid and self-help group. Its meetings do run a bit like a 12-step group, though.
The biggest benefit to being a member of a support group, in my mind, is that depression leaves people so isolated — emotionally, and sometimes literally — that the very act of simply sitting in a room together and hearing the stories of others who are in the same boat can be incredibly empowering.

Plus — and this will shock most laypeople — depressed people can be fun! (What, you don’t think I’m fun? ;-P) The group holds frequent social hours, and I’m surprised some of New Jersey’s famous diners (because how else can you make sure everyone in a big group can eat what they want?) haven’t kicked us out for the roaring laughter and ruckus. Of course, it’s easy to laugh when you rarely do it but then, suddenly, you are in an atmosphere where you feel understood and emotionally safe.
Anyway, if you’re ever riding the Northeast Corridor train through New Brunswick, New Jersey on a Friday night, and you find yourself in need of a support group, you certainly can’t do better than walk up the hill from the train station to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital’s auditorium.
Tell them Larry P. sent you 🙂

Despite being out of work for far too long, in one way this has been the most incredible year for me, since I finally did something I should have done a long time ago — get involved with a depression and bipolar disorder support group.
And for once in my rather unlucky life, I drew a royal flush — THE BEST depression and bipolar disorder support group, Middlesex County’s Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance chapter at RWJ Hospital in my hometown of New Brunswick.
All of you have done so much to lift my spirits when I was down. Many Fridays (including some recent ones) I would walk in the room the lowest of the low and yet feel completely confident I would walk out with a smile — because someone, sometime, would say something that showed others had walked the road before me, and could show me a bit of the way.
I feel especially blessed (if I may use a mildly religious word) to have had the chance to be trained to give back as a group moderator/facilitator. Many of you have been kind enough to tell me I’ve done a solid job for a new facilitator; the truth is, it’s me who has learned so much from the experience.
I think this where I’m supposed to say, “This isn’t goodbye, it’s farewell.” I consider my move out of Middlesex County to be temporary, and when things become more stable, I fully intend to move back to the greater New Brunswick area (hopefully in the city itself, which even in all its contradictions I have truly grown to love) and reinvolve myself 100%. And, whenever I can on a Friday, I will take the trip up from the Jersey Shore to New Brunswick. Even if I can’t, I will find ways to keep in touch regardless.
When the Japanese conquered the Philippines early in World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur said simply, “I shall return.” Famously, two-and-a-half years later, he did.
And once I’ve fought and won the battles I need to (and I will), so shall I.

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