In general, it's a nice feeling to be supported. In fact, "supportive" is something of a buzz word that we throw around as a desired positive attribute in everyone from our spouses to our friends to our co-workers or superiors. So it stands to reason that we could all use a little support when dealing with incontinence as well. The problem, of course, is that having a misbehaving bladder isn't the kind of thing one broadcasts to everyone they know - and it isn't reasonable to expect people to be supportive about an issue they don't even know exists.
So, where do we turn to for support? Well, websites like this, for one. The internet in general is a great tool for finding support. As long as I've been interested and involved in the field of incontinence the internet has been widely used, so I can't really imagine how much more isolating incontinence must have felt before this fabulous and anonymous resource. In addition to the SharePost feature here, there are also some active message boards at some of the industry and nonprofit websites (try Googling "incontinence support" or "incontinence message board").
While there aren't any widely-available in-person support groups that I know of in the US specifically for incontinence, there are some other, more creative ways to find in-person support. For example, the Simon Foundation is currently offering a free seminar about incontinence within the Chicagoland area titled "I Will Manage" (contact email@example.com for more information). While the seminar is more of a lecture than a support-group format, it's still nice to have an in-person chance to ask questions and simply to see that you aren't alone with this condition.
In many cases, incontinence is caused by another health challenge such as diabetes, prostate cancer, or multiple sclerosis, and there usually are support groups for these conditions. Even though they might not be talking about incontinence right now, you could always ask the facilitator to schedule a talk specifically about incontinence, since chances are that a number of group members are also experiencing some degree of leakage. Also, if you're not finding the answers you need at online message boards about incontinence, don't be shy about trying the same question on the online forums for these disease-specific groups.
And don't forget the golden rule: treat others how you'd like to be treated. When we're in person having a face-to-face conversation, it's generally very easy to remember our manors and do a little "give and take" - we generally wouldn't sit down at a support group meeting and then proceed to fire out all the questions without giving some feedback and support to others. Remember those same manors when in an online setting: each time you ask a question of the group, try to also post a comment, suggestion, or feedback to someone else's post.
Published On: February 07, 2008