We had a really interesting and constructive meeting today. It was nice to welcome back a member who had not been for a while. During the meeting today it became apparent how incredibly brave and courageous people are in dealing with the many challenges that life can bring. Every week we seem to hear more stories of people stepping out of their comfort zone and feeling a massive sense of achievement.
Today we also discussed elements of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the way that people can feel during a flashback or awakening from a nightmare. During times of crisis emotions we looked at ways to keep ourselves safe by creating a “safe card” which we can keep and fill in the details on it. Please see below for the template;
Someone I can contact;
Things I can do to look after myself
What can I tell myself:
How would I respond to a friend who was in a similar situation:
A quote that helps me:
Something I am grateful for:
What is my long term vision of my future:
A lot of people in the group have being going through challenging times but appreciated the fact that they could come to the group to talk about these issues. A common thread that comes up time and time again, is the length of time that people have to wait to see a psychiatrist or psychologist. People are getting really frustrated with how long it takes. Within the group, we are trying to develop techniques and ways that can help people get though this “waiting” period.
We listened to members discussing things they are working on and doing which helps to give them a sense of achievement and fulfillment in their lives. Another way people do this is, consciously doing something nice for themselves everyday.
In subsequent meetings we plan to look at alternative ways of coping with distressing situations.
Today we had shorter meeting due to members of the group going to the Scottish Parliament.
We had some inspiring news of how a group member had overcome some fears and felt a real sense of achievement. This has really helped the member’s confidence, and they are looking to develop this new-found confidence in to other areas of their live.
It was really interesting for group members to go the mental health cross party group at the Scottish Parliament. We went along to observe and to see what goes on in a meeting. It was interesting to hear the talks from “Action on Depression” and “Positive Prison?”. The group can now go away and look at ideas to bring to future meetings. We would like to thank everyone at the meeting for making us feel welcome and giving us an opportunity to make connections with other services.
Today we covered a lot of topics in the group.
Firstly, we looked at what this group means to members. Some of the quotes were:
“It’s my happy group”
“It helps tackle stigma”
“I’m still alive”
“It helps me feel less isolated”
“It shows that there is hope”
We discussed gratitude, and the benefits of it. Some people found it challenging to feel any sense of gratitude while feeling in such a dark desperate place. While you are in that dark place, you tend to look at everything through “black and white” tinted spectacles, thus not being able to see the bigger picture. Being able to feel gratitude is something people would like to learn and develop. Researchers who study gratitude find that it is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people:
Feel more positive emotions
Relish good experiences
Improve their health
Deal with adversity
Build strong relationships
People feel and express gratitude in many ways. They may be grateful for past experiences and memories and for their present circumstances (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes). Maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude is a way people can have gratitude for the future.
Next week the group will finish at the slightly earlier time of 12pm. Group members who are going to the Scottish Parliament will leave the group at 11.30am, leaving the other group members to stay and have some tea and scones at Simpson House until 12pm.