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Starting Something on the Community Level


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Hi all,

 

So I've been thinking. . . And thinking some more. And one thing I simply can't put to rest is the idea of how unfair it is that there is no support network in my local community. No group for H+ locals to tap into for support and advice. The nearest support group to me is 4 1/2 hours away!! This makes me sad. There must be others within my community who could use this. I CAN'T be the only one here who feels like this!

 

So my question is.. Where to begin. I've never done anything like this before. I see a need and with all my heart I want to fill it. Has anybody else on here done this before?

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I will put this to @Adrial's attention ... he has a group where he is ... I haven't started a group here (I am trying to downsize some other things I do in other communities before I take more on!) but I know he can help. I would also reach out to that other group ... they may be distant but I am sure they can help you with ideas and suggestions. ;)

 

I sooo LOVE this ... as I just heard again:

 

Each one, teach one

 

Bless you for taking this on!

 

(((HUGS)))

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I used to attend a support group years ago. You will need to find somewhere to hold meetings. Ours where held at a hospital. They usually have conferance rooms that are not in use during evening hours. The group I attended also had a medical advisor. He was an ob/gyn and would come to a meeting once or twice a year. Hopefully a doctor in your area would be willing to donate some time.

 

Look up The Herpes Resource Center. They should be able to provide you information on how to form a group. Good luck.

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Hey there, ShaeShae!

 

Congrats on wanting to take the plunge to help others, to support! I know that for me, the second I started leading my local support group many years ago, the more and more I was truly able to heal. Because then healing was happening in COMMUNITY. And in community, healing can move much quicker. (Which is why I then created this forum, too.)

 

There are a few things to consider here. One is the logistical side of things. Like people have mentioned previously in this thread, find a space that can be donated to you and your group. Locally, our Planned Parenthood gives our group their space since it's after hours. Then you'll want to create a group on Meetup. That way, if people search "herpes" on meetup, they can find your group. You'll want to manage the settings so that others on meetup won't be able to see that your members belong to the group to honor privacy/confidentiality. So all those pieces are basic stuff that would need to happen if your planning any sort of regular gathering.

 

The other piece is by far the most important piece. The container that is held. Now, the term "container" means the set of agreements the group holds. Healing happens in a container where there is no judgment, in a safe space. A safe space to feel whatever feelings are here. But also a space that is honoring themselves and one another. One of the things that can show up in any support group is that *what* is being supported isn't clearly defined. So sometimes what ends up being supported is the negativity, the loneliness, the self-judgment, the sob story that we are destined to be alone forever, etc. It's a fine line between honoring everyone where they are and also supporting each person in being who they truly are, without the story that's holding them back.

 

A few agreements to start with would be Confidentiality (what happens here stays here), Honor self (no self-judgment, self-shaming allowed), Honor other (no judging or shaming others in the group), Everything is okay (catharsis, crying, and any other authentic emotion is welcomed).

 

And hey, this may be the hippie in me, but the most important ingredient in all of this is Love. Which, in other words, is acceptance. If everyone who walks through those doors can be accepted exactly as they are, then healing happens automatically. The most detrimental thing that happens with herpes — or anything that can trigger self-shaming — is that the person doesn't love themselves and doesn't let love in. So a group that is guaranteed to be supportive and a stand for Love is automatically a healing group. (That's what these forums are run on, too. Love is our #1 sponsor.) ;)

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • This content is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis. I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

Helpful resources:

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lol adrial the hippie. get a haircut boy!!

( fyi, my hair is almost to the middle of my back)

 

shae, there are groups on meetup but as adrial said they are private, passcode needed groups. I belong to 2 locally but they are more about normalizing than commiserating. we meet at local places for dinner, one member holds a pool party at her house ( I laugh at how the stigma would make some mouth breathers feel about jumping in THAT pool). its good and I feel in some ways better than meeting and crying ( im sure that happens for some in private). nothing like sitting at a table with 10 other people who you know all have herpes and having a blast, laughing your arses off and might I add, getting checked out by the neighboring tables, oolalala. or having a member bring their new SO who doesn't care about h at all and embraces everyone as a friend.

 

so, good luck with this endeavor, look around a bit more as there could be a group already around just under the radar. and above all else, have fun!! and if your ever in the Clearwater fl area call me up for a cup o joe.

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Ha! I knew I'd get flak for that one. ;) Aw seeker, you know you're a softie at heart. Admit it.

 

And I think there is a happy medium between the kind of group that's all about commiserating and crying about it and the kind of group that's all about hanging out and not talking about it at all. Especially for the people who just found out about herpes, they tend to want a safe private space to ask questions and talk about what's going on for them. How our group has bridged these two extremes is to first hold a private meeting at the Planned Parenthood from 6-8p where a safe container is created to share, and then whoever wants to go out afterwards heads to a local spot to hang out and shoot the shit like the normal people we are. :)

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • This content is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis. I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

Helpful resources:

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kids and dogs are my soft spot.

sounds good. one of the groups I belong to has a monthly support group but its almost 2 hrs away and on a weekday at 6 so no go for me, plus it could be one of my overnights with my kid and that does far more for me than any meeting could. I imagine some of the people talk amongst themselves, ive seen it after a get together. having now almost 5 months post diagnosis im into the " I want to be normal ( as much as I ever was) again" phase.

 

but I think its great that shae want to try to get something going where she is. massive support vibes going out.

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Thanks guys! This gives me a lot to work with!

 

Unfortunately Meetup was a bust for me. My community is small (about 30,000). So there were only 3 groups in my area! But that gives me a clean slate to start with. I'll contact my local pregnancy resource center and hospital for some resources. And I'll tap my doctor as a resource too since she's a good friend.

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