Posted 2/7/2016 9:58 PM (GMT -7)
There is a local support group that I discovered in our area (east coast of Canada). They meet monthly on a regular evening for 2 hours (in a free meeting space made available to the community in a large grocery store). The rough format for the meeting is local / regional / national lyme news (e.g., there will be a conference to work towards a national strategy on lyme in May), a feature topic (could be a video or someone local speaking on a topic), one individual telling their lyme journey, general discussion of lyme experiences in the month amongst members - followed by planning and discussions for improving awareness, advocacy, support locally.
I've found the meetings much like this site - exceedingly helpful as I become educated about lyme, learn about treatment options, and seek supports about issues as my son (and me, as I start treatment soon) works towards wellness. The added benefit of a local group is there is sharing of information on how and where to access local resources and supports, which would not tend to find its way onto a forum like this.
I find the lyme battle very isolating or lonely because no one really understands how challenging it is each day - and that's the beauty of this site, as we've all experienced; as you get to know folks in the support groups, there is a similar feeling of a growing strength and less isolation in numbers. And, like here, the group really are there collectively and / or individually when you need them.
Finally, I'm astounded almost weekly by the number of local people I meet who have health issues where they should be aware of lyme as an option - and they aren't learning about it from the physicians here. What I hear again and again is: "I had no clue that it even existed here." So the most critical role of a local support group is that as the collective grows the existence of lyme becomes more recognized locally, the word spreads, and stories are told, and - in time - one hopes there will be a greater number of people who are diagnosed and treated, properly, in a timely manner - instead of the years and years that most of us experienced.