How could you benefit from either joining for forming a Gastroparesis Support Group in your area?
Support Groups are a great way to connect with others in yuor area who suffer from Gastroparesis to share information about nutrition, how to find Specialists in your area as well as create and build a network of friends that can understand exactly what you are going through. It is one thing to be able to talk with freinds and family about what you go through on a daily basis but at times it can be a wonderful thing to not have to explain everything in detail just so they can try to understand and that is where a Support Group comes in.
With a Support Group you do not have to try to be 'normal' (ie- act like you feel fine) but can just be yourself because they know what you are going through... instead you can discuss what is really going on without the fear that they just do not undertand or fully believe you. You do not feel like you need to justify how you feel and what that does to you emotionally but can instead talk with others who are going through what you are and share ideas and tips on how to survive from day to day.
Your first step would be to contact your Doctor to see if they have heard about any Groups in your area because, lets face it, most Support Groups do not advertise in the yellow pages and with conditions with as little awarenes as Gastroparesis it can be very hard to find other sufferers.
Your next step would be to contact your local Library since many Support Groups use the free meeting rooms in Libraries to hold their meetings.
You can search online using tools such as Google and Bing by typing in "Gastroparesis Support Group" and "your area" (the quotation marks are needed to help focus the search so do not leave them out).
With the latest studies showing that 4% of the population of the US (I am sorry, I do not have the numbers for other countries... if you have those numbers please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and send us the link to the study showing the numbers so we can add that information) it means that 1 out of every 25 people in the US is affected by Gastroparesis so we know that the people are out there... we just need to get the word out to them that we are here.
To start a Local Support Group you will need to first try to connect with other sufferers in your area to see if they are interested.
Talk to your Doctor once again and let them know that you are forming a Support Group and give them permission to give your e-mail address to their other patients with Gastroparesis. It would help if you print up a stack of fliers for them to give out listing the reasons you are starting a Support Group along with a way to contact you. The best way to have people contact you is an e-mail address for innitial contact.
Contact your local Libraries and Civic Groups and check for rooms that you can use free of charge for meetings (many localities have these as services to the public) and bring them fliers that they can post to their Community Bulliten Boards so that people can find you.
Many Grocery Stores and chain stores have community bulliten boards that you can post notices for free services on, so use them. Make up small fliers or index cards that you post your information on and take them with you on your errands and when you go to a store with one of these boards ask permission to post your information before posting. (They always give permission but you must ask first)
As people start to contact you make sure to respond and answer any questions that you can about the Group, keeping them updated as to when the meetings will start (expect to begin small, so once you have five people it would be a good idea to hold the first meeting).
It is important to have a plan in mind!
Before posting your forst notice have a plan in mind for the first five meetings and a vision for what your want the Support Group to do. Make sure that you have found a place that you can hold the meetings as well as topics for the first meetings since they will set the standard for those to follow.
Your first few meetings should be simple meet and greets where you introduce yourselves and get to know a little about each other. Have everyone bring a small notebook to take down phone numbers and names of other members on a voluntary basis as well as any notes they want to take. This will also help when it comes to setting the time and date for future meetings. Schedules can be tough to co-ordinate so it will become important to set the date for the next meeting during the ongoing meeting so that everyone can try to be there.
Keep things positive and try to end meetings with one "I can"... we all have things that we can no longer enjoy because of Gastroparesis (usually food items) but there is a larger impact on our lives than that so it is important to always end a meeting with things that we can do. The "I can"s can be of a serious nature or silly (laughter is a wonderful thing)... the most important thing to remember is to always try to end on a positive note.
We will be listing contact information for local Support Groups here... if you have one already or are forming one please contact us at email@example.com so that we can list it.
The Support Groups will be listed by Country then State/City or Province as we recieve them as soon as we are notified that they exist and kept as current as possible.
If you are looking for a Support Group in your area and do not see one listed you can also contact us and we will keep track of your request and try to connect you with others from your area that contact us looking for a group as well.
Tidewater Area Gastroparesis Support Group- NEW- seeking members contact- firstname.lastname@example.org