Today we had a really thought-provoking discussion. Some people are still feeling they have a lack of energy but are also aware that they traditionally feel this way in the month of January. Once again the support from the group members to one another, particularly those who are going through hard times was so touching. People commentated on how this group is a lifeline for them and not being sure if they would still be alive without it.
As the group is going to do a presentation in 2 weeks we looked at what we would like to bring to it. We discussed ideas we would like to take to this event that came be made to improve services for people with Mental health/addiction issues.
Today we looked at further ideas for promoting the group and to continue making more ties with different organisations. We are in the process of completing a spring programme which will new guests coming in and outside visits. Some of the outside visits we are being invited to include Charis House (CrossReach head office) and The Scottish Recovery initiative Fund event at The caves. We hope that by attending events such as these we can show what the group is all about to a wider audience.
Finally, we talked about how in a future group we would like to do an exercise on how we can change our “all or nothing” thinking into a more helpful and fulfilling way to live our lives.
We had our first group visit to Morven day services in Kilmarnock (a mental health service). The group had fun while travelling through in a group members car, discussing the latest technology and “what’s the best electronic device to buy?!” We all felt in good spirits by the time we arrived in Kilmarnock. We were warmly welcomed by the people at Morven. We went to a meeting room and met Alan, Dougie and David and they discussed what Morven does and we did likewise discussing what our group does. Morven has a really good system where people can get evaluated on where they are through an exercise called “recovery star”. It is a drop in service with lots of different groups being run to give service users more options. We got a guided tour of the building, getting shown in to the art room, the music room. We got to see a service user playing the accordion in which some of us had a little “jig”! The place had such a warm, accepting, non judgmental feeling which seemed to radiate from all the friendly and warm service users we met. It was so great to see this, as part of what our group is about is trying to reduce stigma and be accepting to all.
In terms of social media, they have an online service user forum which is carefully moderated to keep it safe. They talked about using this through Google+. This is definitely something we would be willing to look at and how it could benefit group members.
The trip was a very worthwhile experience and we learned a great deal from it. We would like to thank everyone at Morven for their hospitality and kindness they showed us, and also a big thank you to the group member who took their car through which enabled us to attend this very worthwhile day!
We had a really thought-provoking group today and was nice to welcome back some people who had not been to the group for a while. Some group members were struggling with the dark mornings and getting back into their normal routine after the Christmas break.
We discussed how we can respond to people who put us down and are very negative to us. We asked ourselves “Are people who do this to us real friends anyway?” We discussed how it is better to be around like-minded people who respect us for being who we are.
Our big presentation today was about food and mood. While acknowledging most foods are alright in moderation we looked at how having excessive intake of some foods can be very damaging to our health. Someone who has excessive amounts of sugar can feel almost hyper one minute then to gradually feeeling low. An analogy of the sugar intake in our mood is a bit like a rollercoaster going up and down. Lastly we looked at how alcohol intake can severely change our mood. When we drink we do not release serotonin (our feel good neurotransmitter) which can leave us feeling very low. Doing this exercise was a bit of an eye opener for people, making us more aware of how we live our lives.
As it was the first meeting of the year, it was really nice to catch up with people to see how they were over the Christmas/New Year period. Most group members were happy they had managed to get through this period safely while still finding it ca bit of a challenge to get back into their normal routine after a break. A group member acknowledged that while it was hard to get out of bed after the break, she knew that it was good for her to get back into her normal routine which keeps her safe.
While people in the group acknowledged how challenging it can be for them at Christmas, they also gained some strength from the plans made to get through the period which have helped make it slightly easier than previous years. The good thing to come out of this is that people can use the experience they have gained from this Christmas period through using forward planning to use it again in future years where it will become almost second nature to them.
The group are open to going out to events/services to talk about what the group does to further publicize and raise awareness of suicide.
Next week’s meeting will be about healthy eating and mood change.