Whine and a Moan: My foray into support groups.

I have been to many support groups either through work, as a support person to someone attending or for myself and I am tell you that most of these meetings I am sitting in my hard plastic chair in the basement of a church drinking a crappy cup of coffee listing to people wax unpoetic. All the while I am thinking to myself:

“Lie. That’s a lie. Don’t care. Whatever! Lie. Another lie. Sooooo don’t care. Lie. When are you going to stop talking??? Wow, yet another lie nice work James Frey.”

Despite the passive aggressive demon voices in my head I am now, and hopefully always will be, an eternal optimist. So, when I saw the posting for a support group meeting for parents of kids with Tourette Syndrome(TS) I envisioned a dynamic group collaboration ending in us discovering the cure for TS. There was much cheering and celebration for my contribution (the true unsung hero of the group with all the best ideas). sigh

To say that most support groups are little more than a regular opportunity for people to have a good whine and a moan about how tragic their particular situation is would be as accurate as saying that the OWN network is little more than a 24/7 Oprah Winfrey show. I do not leave the house, drive in the freezing cold that IS Canada in January for a whine and a moan. A wine and a scone? Maybe. . .

Let us all remember here that this is a support group for parent’s of kids with TS. I would be far more understanding of people experiencing actual tragedies. But after the third parent started to cry because “it’s really hard.” I wanted to stand on the table, smack each one smartly across the jowls and say “Your kid has Tourette Syndrome!! Seriously, get over yourself.” Finally, they asked that if I didn’t have anything to say could I please get off the table and take my seat.

Round and round the table we went. “Can you tell if my baby has TS just from lookin at him? Like, I know I asked that already tonight but could you all just look at him and see?”

Demon voices: “Oh, I can see it totally!! That baby has TS big time. They are probably going to be like super Tourette-y (Tourette-esque??). It’s probably the glowing red eyes that gives it away. Sorry about your luck buddy.”

Just as we were about to hear from sad single dad one more time and I was carving my suicide note into the arm of the chair with a bent paper clip I heard my name. “Jude do you have anything you would like to share with the group?”

“Ummm, well I don’t always take the labels off my recycling. I know you are supposed to but you know how busy life can get sometimes.” Crickets. I mean not one person cracked a smile. Change of tactic, abort wit and attempt to lighten things up.

“Well, I was really hoping to come here to talk strategies with parents who are living with TS.” Then the seething looks begin. I am obviously not practicing the respectful listening and no-judgement rule of support groups and I am thankful that the janitor is sweeping her broom just outside the door to let us know that she would like us to get the hell out. (I am with you sister! Get me the hell out of here!!)

Needless to say I will not be going back for “support”. I do plan to go back to perform CPR and administer a bitch slap on the group and hopefully bring about some change. My son has TS and there isn’t a cure but he is who he is and I wouldn’t change him for all the Pillsbury tube cookies they serve up at those meetings. I am going to silence my passive aggressive alter ego, return to optimism, count my blessings every day and channel my inner agent of change.

no one was harmed in the writing of this blog. I may have hurt some feelings but you’ll get over it.

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