We had a discussion about unwanted and intrusive thoughts and how they can be very overwhelming, causing fear, shame and guilt. We talked about how much energy is required to battle such thoughts. People spoke about what can help; Safe cards, being aware that they are just thoughts, and the mindfulness practise of ‘Thought Surfing’. We are going to do some more work on how to overcome obsessive thoughts next week.
We looked at how people cope when they feel in such a bad place that getting out of bed or leaving the house can be such a challenge. It says a lot about group members that while they often have to wrestle with these feelings they still make the effort to attend the group.
At today’s meeting some group members gave feedback from a conference they had attended. There, they were reminded how helpful it is to get in touch with gratitude and each day to make a list of three things they were grateful for. For example, even if someone was annoying you to still think of three things you were thankful for about them. They also talked about expressing gratitude and saying ‘thank-you’. For example, say thank-you to the bus driver. We feel better when we say thank- you and it can often elicit a good response. They had also attended a session on stress control which they found extremely useful and we may invite the speaker as a guest to the group. It is good to hear that many people are sharing the same messages about finding hope, strength and gratitude as solid ways of managing mental illness. At the conference they were also reminded of the five ways to well being: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice,Keep Learning and Give.
Below is a poem that resonated with the group.
I am going deeper down inside, I am losing a battle and I can’t hide….
Going too slow, the pains starting to grow, it covers my head, staying in bed
No chance to recover needing a break, heading for a different stake, where things are a mess, and I don’t want to dress
My life’s a mistake, the nerves they will break staying at home and feeling alone
(Vincent Johnson from Reflections – An Anthology of Scottish Bipolar Writing)