Men’s groups…growing faster and faster!
I will never forget the very first Face It Men’s group we offered. It was a few years back on a cold Tuesday evening. Bill had gone to great lengths to welcome the guys with food and a clean office, while I had prepared and practiced my “welcome” about 50 times in my head. There were 6 guys signed up and I was panicked not a single one would show. And actually I might have even been a bit more panicked that I would not be able to help them.
One by one they began to arrive. Each looking a bit distraught, each with the pain of depression in their head and soul, and each looking to the guy next to him for some answers. I began slowly lecturing the guys about the “ins and outs” of depression and I was weighing each word carefully so as not to say the wrong thing. I was talking about exercise, I was talking about negative thoughts, I was answering questions about medication, and the whole endeavor felt stale and unhelpful.
After about 45 minutes of this it was as though we were all slogging through the mud together. So I took off my clinical hat and put away my knowledge of the depression textbook and I started to talk from my heart. I told the story of the night I wanted to die and I shared the “ins and outs” of all the things I had done to find myself in this place. I began to be a real person and the guys responded. They asked questions, they shared their own feelings, they revealed their own insecurities, and they began to connect. It was pretty cool to watch.
Fast forward to today and I just filled the last spot of our 5th group meaning we now serve 50 men! Prior to that cold Tuesday back in 2012 there were no peer support groups for men with depression in Minneapolis and now there are 5. Starting tomorrow I will have to figure out how to launch a 6th group.
It’s true that no one has ever been cured from depression because of a Face It Men’s group. It is also true that Face It has no special insights into depression that others don’t have as well. BUT what is really true about a Face It Men’s group is that they are unique each and every week. These groups offer men an opportunity to be with other men and share freely and openly about their fears, mistakes, regrets, and efforts to get better. They create a place where friendships are started and relationships strengthened. And do you know what else is true…Face It Men’s groups have saved and changed lives!