What does a typical meeting look like?
Above all, we are a group of very friendly and pretty cool people of all ages.
We exist to support people living with Depression and Bipolar Disorder. We travel from greater Asheville, Waynesville, South Carolina and even Tennessee to attend. Our attendance usually ranges from 20 - 30 on Wednesday nights. If you prefer a smaller group, you may want to start out visiting with us on a Saturday afternoon. We range in age from the early 20's to 92! We are straight and LGBTQ. We are of different cultures, races, and spiritual beliefs. Some of us are parents, some of us work and some of us live on disability. Some of us are spouses, significant others, parents and children of those affected by depression and bipolar disorder. Magnetic Minds does not take a stand on medications. While many of the members find help with medications, we will support you in your choices - with encouragement to never stop/change your meds without the advice of your physician. In meetings, we can offer you names of the practitioners we like. We are also happy to discuss our own experiences with certain medications knowing that each of us is an individual and meds affect each person differently.
We all have one thing in common, our lives are affected by Depression or Bipolar Disorder. During meetings, you may see someone crying, many times people are laughing, and the consensus is people nearly always feel better at the end of the meeting than they did when they walked in.
Each meeting begins with a welcome and reading of the group guidelines (PDF download.) We then go around and introduce ourselves however we wish. Frequently people will say their diagnosis. This helps the entire group know you a bit more and helps us better understand how you may need support. We pass around a sheet for names of attendees that night. This helps us keep track of how many people are attending each evening and helps the facilitator and co-facilitator remember names as we go around the circle waiting to be called on for our turn to speak. We also pass around a new "Ask it Basket" where you can put topics you would like to see discussed that evening into the mix to be voted on. Many nights we complete more than one topic during the evening.
During the initial very quick check-in, you can say if you need time during the meeting to talk. Just so you know, per our guidelines, you are not required to speak at meetings if you do not want to and you can come and go during meetings if you are feeling anxious or just want to take a break. No pressure! After introductions, announcements are made followed by the introduction of a topic. The group members are encouraged to bring a topic for discussion to the meeting or one will be chosen from the very comprehensive list previously developed.
We do not discuss religion or politics - with the occasional exception of governmental changes i.e. bills etc. that affect people with disabilities. We keep all group conversations related to mental illness or issues directly affecting a member. We ask that all communication be kept in "I statement" format. For example, rather than "You should try..." we prefer "I have found..." We don't aim to fix people. None of us are counseling professionals once we pass through the door regardless of who we are in our real lives. Be assured confidentiality is vital to the existance of our group. This means 1. what is said in group, stays in group, and if you meet someone outside of group, don't approach them first announcing where you know them from. This is esp important if they are not alone. We are all keenly aware of the stigma that can come with our diagnoses.
Sometimes we have guest speakers, experts in a field which affects us. We do social things together as a group like going to low cost theatre productions, going out to eat, going to tourist games and even playing putt putt (last summer we were told by management that we are one of the happiest group they see.)
We are also interesting people who sometimes just need more friends who understand.
Come check us out; we would love to meet you!
DBSA Asheville - Magnetic Minds meets weekly!
Saturday, 2 - 3pm
1316-C Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 367-7660 *** NOT an emergency number ***
We are DBSA Asheville - Magnetic Minds. We have existed as a support group since 1993 (with a few years off.)
We are under the auspices of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance in Illinois (DBSAlliance.org).
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit registered in the state of NC.
We exist on donations. MagneticMinds.DBSA@gmail.com for more info on how to assist us financially or in other ways.