Today we had a nice big group and it was lovely to welcome back a member who had not been for a while. This group is very much for people to choose when they attend. You may want to come every week, every couple of weeks, or once a month. The most important thing is for the individual to decide is what is best for you. When someone comes back to the group who has not been for a while, they are still made to feel very much part of it. Group members regularly comment on how the group feels like a “supportive family”.
In the group we looked at fear in our lives and how we have overcome some of our fears. In many ways we all have fears, but it is how we deal with them-do we allow fear to restrict us in our lives, or face them to lead a more fulfilling life. Group members talked about fears they had managed to overcome and how they removed power from the fear. Once you have managed to do this it is one of the best self empowering feelings you can get, a real sense of achievement.
Today in the group we looked at different ways that can help our thinking patterns when we feel in such a low, desperate place. Depression and pain can distort our thinking. It seems like we’re wearing very dark tinted “gloomy specs”. Everything looks different to how it really is. Thoughts are thoughts – not necessarily how things are, although it can certainly feels like the thoughts are true. Thoughts affect the way we feel, and thoughts and feelings affect the way we react, what we do. The group exercise was:
1. STOP – Stop and step back from the situation in your mind
2. TAKE A BREATH – Breath slowly once or twice
3. OBSERVE – What’s happening? what am I reacting to?
4. PULL BACK – Is this fact or opinion? What advice would I give someone else?
5. PRACTICE WHAT WORKS – What can I do that will be most helpful? Will it be effective and appropriate?
Group members were able to take the worksheets home with them to use over the week if required.
Lastly, we are in the process of arranging numbers for people who would like to attend the cross party group for mental health meeting at the Scottish Parliament on Thurs 12th June.
We had a really big group today. It was really nice to welcome two new members and to also have someone back who had not been at the group for some time. A lot of group members have been going through really challenging times in their lives and were able to say how they feel. We discussed how despairing it feels while having a “breakdown”. We looked at how having felt at “rock bottom”, that we can use these experiences (no matter how hard) as a learning curve, in some ways flipping it over from a “breakdown” to a “breakthrough”
As it is mental health awareness week we listened to a couple of stories of people’s experiences with mental health issues and how it affected them. We focussed a lot of our discussion after on looking at ways of challenging the stigmas around mental health.
Lastly, we did an exercise where people talked about a piece of music that means something to them, and helps them move from a low mood to feeling a bit more happy. It was interesting hearing people’s music choices and what inspires/lifts them. There was a hint of it, but nobody mentioned the Spice Girls!
Today we had a nice small group where it was great to welcome back a member who had not been at the group for some time. People regularly comment on how safe a group this is and how it has a “family like” atmosphere where the well being of group members is always on our minds even if they cannot attend the group every week. We wanted to give people the opportunity to have the whole meeting to say how things are for them. We felt it was very important to do this, as we have been out doing lots of visits/welcoming guests for the last wee while.
It was really nice to see our group has a section in the “getting help with drugs and alcohol by connecting to recovery” booklet issued by the City of Edinburgh Council.
Today we had the pleasure of visiting the Stafford Centre in Broughton, Edinburgh. It is a resource for adults with mental health issues. The centre opens Mon-Fri 12-4pm. We were really impressed with all the different activities the centre provides. Some of these group activities range from; woodwork, walking, recovery/wellbeing, art and music to name just a few. We were given a guided tour of the lovely building and got to see the woodwork studio, the meeting room, the art room, the music room and in to the basement where the radio station is based. A member of the group was “chuffed” to be able to experience what it is like to sit in a DJ booth! We were able to talk about our group and its aims to hopefully to build up a link for both services which could give people more opportunities. We would like to thank everyone at the Stafford Centre for being so kind and welcoming. It really gives us hope for the future when we see all the positive things people are doing out there to help one another.
Next week the group will be back at Simpson House. while we realise how important it is for the group to do outside visits to promote/raise awareness of the group, we have come to the conclusion that it is best if the group is always at Simpson House on a Thursday, with outside visits being done as an extra on a different day.