Queers & Peers: A Virtual Peer Support Group for LGBTQ+ High Schoolers in Connecticut
TurningPointCT’s Peer Support Specialist, Quinn, is hosting a virtual weekly peer support group for LGBTQ+ high schoolers in Connecticut. The group is held Friday evenings from 6:30-8pm on Zoom. Participation is free, voluntary, and confidential. Participants will have the opportunity to talk openly with their peers about mental health, identity, stress, joy, community, and more. To register, click here. Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive the Zoom link via e-mail.
Queers & Peers is a space for teens to build connections, to learn together through mutuality, to receive validation and understanding, and to support each other in moving towards their goals. Together, participants will create a set of group agreements to ensure the space is safe, supportive, and meets their needs.
This group is absolutely free and open to all CT high schoolers who belong to the LGBTQ+ community. For more information, contact Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text (475) 999-2605.
CT Hearing Voices Network Support Groups
The Connecticut Hearing Voices Network (CTHVN) is designed to enhance current opportunities for people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual sensory perceptions to find and build supportive peer communities through support groups and community education. CTHVN offers free supports groups to those who need a space to discuss their experiences. Use this link or call (860) 952-4050 for more information.
Alternatives To Suicide Group
Positive Directions is offering a new, free Alternatives to Suicide support group that starts this Tuesday, 10/4/22 at 7pm.
CT SMART Recovery Groups
SMART Recovery support groups for teens and for young adults and SMART Recovery Family & Friends groups are popping up all throughout Connecticut! Find out which ones are near you and check them out with a friend!
Our TurningPointCT staff are running a SMART Recovery teen group in Fairfield and about to start one in Norwalk. To find a SMART group near you, click here, or to find other cool spots to check out in your area, visit our map here. Join in on the conversation here.
So what exactly is SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery is a peer support group run by trained facilitators. It is for people seeking support with any struggle they may have: substance abuse, anxiety, depression, bullying, fighting, etc. But it’s more than your average support group–it also helps you develop coping skills by analyzing your behaviors, triggers, reactions, etc. When our TurningPointCT staff got trained to facilitate SMART groups, they tried the skills out on themselves–and the skills worked! Check out our “What We Like About SMART Recovery” discussion about it on our Videospage.
So what exactly is SMART Recovery Family & Friends?
SMART Recovery Family & Friends groups help those who are affected by substance abuse (drug abuse, alcohol abuse) or other addictions of a loved one. If your boyfriend, sister, parent, friend or child is dealing with any type of addiction, this group will not only give you social support from people who have been exactly where you are, but it will also help you develop skills, based on the CRAFT model, to help you handle their behaviors better and also to help you get them into treatment.
This week I have been thinking a lot about the different stages in my life.
Luz posted something on the forum about changing your expectations of yourself, and reaching goals you may have never thought yourself capable of. She talked about what her life used to look like, and how she once did not believe she was capable of achieving “normalcy”. That made me think a lot about my past; where I’ve come from, where I’ve gone, where I’m at now. And most importantly, how I got there, and here. What did it take to go through each age and stage of my life? Where did I go (both good and bad) that I never imagined myself going? How did it change me?
Then today something else happened that hurled me years and years into my past.
I met someone- well didn’t meet, more met again. When I introduced myself she instantly remembered me- we were roommates and friends in the hospital together when I was 12.
That was over ten years ago, and the first time (of over 15) I was put in a psychiatric hospital. At that point in my life, it was one of the most profound experiences I’d ever had. So much happened in those 7 months (it was technically 3 separate stays, but with only a few days of being discharged in between) that shaped and transformed me.
I cannot help but find myself entombed in thoughts and memories. Reminiscing about a time in my life that was both incredibly painful, scary, and difficult; but also comfortable, safe, and sometimes even very happy. These memories are similar to falling in a rose bush. I’m surrounded by beautiful flowers, and covered in wounds. I feel a small light in my stomach, but enclosed within a deep pit full of sadness.
And then I begin to think about what happened after I left the hospital.
From there my life fell apart. From there my journey with mental illness began; and has not ended since. And from there I grew and changed in many ways- both good and bad.
From memories of my first hospitalization, come painful memories of all that ensued afterward; essentially my entire family falling apart both separately and together over a period of 5 years. What each tragedy encompassed. How it felt, and I don’t just remember the feeling, I experience it.
I am once again a 14 year old girl stuffing 200 pills down her throat.
Then, I am 16 years old, saying “no” to a 24 year old man, who was too high to listen. I am 17 years old and waking up from a coma after a suicide attempt I don’t remember making, because all the seizures that resulted from it damaged my memory. Again and again I am experiencing the traumas I left behind years ago.
And it’s like being beaten with a bat. I cannot catch my breath enough to beg for it to stop.
Where am I in time and how do I find my way back here?
How do I accept all that’s happened and the place I’m at now when all I want to do I reject it and bury my mind in a deep pit of sand?
It’s so strange how things continue to change at such a rapid pace. It’s all the time and we have no say as to whether or not it happens. Against our will we are under a constant transformation that will only cease to exist when we do.
How do I swallow the fact that I once wanted to die? That many times I tried to kill myself? That I hurt myself every day for years? How do I move forward knowing at one time in my life I would cry thinking about how much I hated myself? And that at one time I was a teenager and watching my life crumble before me; terrified and powerless.
I ask how do I do this because really, it wasn’t that long ago. And really, I’m still the same person.
Except now I have a daughter and life and set of responsibilities that I was never supposed to have. I was never supposed to be here. I don’t think I ever planned on being 22. Yet against my own will, transformations occurred. And somehow, without my knowledge or consent, I began to get better.
What about the times that that old, familiar dark place seems most comfortable?
It’s funny how small things can begin large, unmanageable spirals. Like hearing a song, or smelling something vaguely familiar. And how simple things, like writing this blog post can begin to bring me back into realignment- even if it’s without my consent or intent.
I come back to a place of normalcy where I remember that sadness is not safety. And that I’m no longer a child, and no longer without control or power.
And most importantly, I am responsible for a little girl. Who needs me and wants me. And it’s my job to be there for her, and be good to her. And I promise to her, and myself, and the entire universe that I will not fail her and I will always try as hard as I can to be what she needs.
SMART Recovery Teen Group In Fairfield, CT
Join us for a free SMART Recovery Teen Support Group on Friday’s in Fairfield, CT!
Learn ways to gain control of your life and sort through it all in the company of your peers, run by trained TurningPointCT young adults.
This is for anyone struggling with anything: stress, school, peers, family, self harm, mental health and substance use disorders, bullying, fighting, etc.
Snacks are provided and monthly social activities with peers (that you get to help plan!)
We can help with transportation.
Starting Friday, February 16th from 3:30-5:00pm
First Congregational Church
148 Beach Road, Fairfield CT
Need more info?
P.S. if you are a high school student that enjoys mentoring or a social work/psychology student and see this as something you would like to get involved in, please contact us!
Here’s your chance to share what young adults in CT NEED most!
Please join DCF and other young adults in a community conversation to learn about and provide your input on a development of a new approach for young adults opioid use problems.
$25 stipend for those who attend and light refreshments will be served!
JUNE 21st– @ Beacon Health Options, 500 Enterprise Drive, Rocky Hill, CT
Register by June 14— Young Adult Session: http://mdftmat-youngadults.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138911773
See you all there!
Young Adult Connection Group, Guildford, CT
NAMI Young Adult Connection Community is proud to start up another location in Guilford, Connecticut!
We will be meeting from 6:30-8pm at the 510 Village Walk Plaza on the first and third Tuesday of every month (bi-weekly).
This NAMI group is facilitated by young people for young people ages 18-29 and it’s FREE!
Some activities we do at these groups include, but are not limited to, music, art, games, talking, meditation…and so much more!
Snacks will be provided.
If you have any questions, please contact Val @ (860) 266-0366.
"This is who I am!"
Is coming out as transgender (maybe bisexual or pan-sexual) in the LGBT community, coming out at all? Or is it just an affirmation of the trust that one has for the same community? Or just about a mixture of both?
A hint of reality: I’ve learnt that coming out as transgender to your gay friends can be just as nerve wrecking as coming out as gay to your straight friends.
“We are at a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say this is who I am.” Laverne Cox.
“I first had to come out as gay, then I could finally have the courage to say, yes I am really transgender.” Hearing that from a friend is breathtaking and I have had the privilege to to be among friends who are transgender and who have been able to come forward to their friends, families and community and say, “This is who I am.”
In perspective, one still faces an ordeal when coming out in the LGBT community, you never know what to expect, Its a journey of probabilities: acceptance or rejection. I can only imagine the thought process that it requires leading up to that moment when you boldly make that Facebook post or wear your first dress or suit before everyone.
That is inspiring!
The hardest part for me, and I have to admit, is getting use to the new pronouns. Having known a person for a very long time, it does take time before you can fully embrace that person’s new identity. But as I reflect on this, I realize that your friend (whomever he/she is) requires your enduring assurance to affirm their presence for whomever they are.
As humans, one way in which we remember names is by associating a person’s name with certain essence of their personality and as such navigating new identities can be difficult (that’s human) but when you get it right – it builds mutual trust and enduring relationships.
We can always remember that “Its the same person, but different pronouns.”
Taking from fictional Albus Dumbledore but just as real, “It doesn’t matter what someone was born but what they grow to become.”
Growing up, the concept of being transgender was especially foreign to me until I learnt about Laverne Cox, a few years later, that has changed. Today, it is just a part of who I am as my transgender friends – more so my brothers and sisters.
Recently, I came across one of my schoolmates from high school online, who transitioned a few years ago. For a Jamaican, or any nationality for that matter, it is revolutionary!
She is not only out to her family but to the country. She shared her story through her YouTube videos and though now living in New York, she is an active LGBT activist for LGBT youth throughout the country.
I reached out to her just to let her know how I feel about her passion and her response was just as heartwarming. These small moments are inspiring and the unprecedented opportunity to transcend social standards and expectations is incredible.
To see my friends come out on Facebook and luckily, the support that they receive proves so much about the spirit in our community. Sometimes there are hundreds of hugs and kisses just waiting to embrace you for simply saying the words:
“This is who I am!”
Child Advocate Identifies Abuse At DCF’s Locked Juvenile Facilities
Have you guys read this article? It’s really messed up. The mistreatment of these juveniles in these facilities – who mostly have mental health issues – is really disturbing to me…Just totally excessive force and a misuse of power..
Curious to hear what you all think about it or if YOU’ve had any experience with the juvenile system.
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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