At today’s group we came back to a popular topic which is well loved by the group “humour”! Group members recounted on numerous occasions that being able to have a little laugh can go some way to relieving some of the challenges they faced in life. Some people found using black humour helped them see things in a different way and took the seriousness and pressure out of tough situations. Although humour is totally subjective, we can all relate to a time when something really made us chuckle. Some of the things that group members found funny were TV shows and movies like; “Still game”, “Fawlty Towers”, “Friends”, “Police Academy”, and comedians like Frankie Boyle and Kevin Bridges and Ruby Wax. Below is a video from Ruby Wax who has suffered from depression but found humour to be a life saver while also giving her the opportunity to raise awareness of mental health in the process!
Some people think that they really want to die. Of those who survive an attempt on their life, many realise that they actually want to live. We listened to a talk by a man called Kevin who survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. He shares his story in an audio clip embedded in an online article . We also listened to the last five minutes of a TED talk: ‘The bridge between suicide and life’ by another man called Kevin Briggs who worked as a policeman on the Golden Gate Bridge involved in suicide prevention.
We listened to these personal stories as a group, and afterwards shared what had touched us. People thought these stories were very moving; the connection that the policeman made with people was life saving. And we realised that for the first Kevin, he still had a mental health problem, he still battles daily with thoughts and voices, so since he attempted suicide his circumstances haven’t changed however he has changed his outlook and he is now able to choose life and we admire him for this.
One group member commented that when a person is ill they are seen as weak, but it doesn’t mean they are not a strong person, but the illness makes it so they can’t get out of bed or do anything. Someone else commented that it is important to make a decision to help yourself, but also to allow yourself to receive help. It’s never too late to do this; a lot of the people the policeman met made this decision standing on the ledge of the bridge, thankfully they made that decision to step back over to safety and give life another shot.
As we thought about ways to take care and try to avoid these crises points, group members observed how important it is to have a good structure, but also to take care not to be so busy that you don’t have time alone. The other end of the spectrum is feeling isolated and not having enough connection with others. This is a crucial factor in the prevention of suicide. If this is you, first of all well done for clicking into this blog, thats a connection right there. Secondly, you can reach out for support, you can do this online, by telephone or in person by accessing services, groups or counselling.
Today the group looked at what inspired them as individuals. Group members were highly inspired by each others strengths and willingness to get through hard times in their life. That shared compassion for one another lead to the group discussing the best way to achieve goals and to make positive changes in their lives. People agreed the best way to do this was to break things down into small steps while at the same time being realistic in the goals we set. If we set our goals too high too soon we may put excessive pressure on ourselves to achieve them. If we were unable to achieve these unrealistic goals we could then undo all the good work we had started, so better to start little and build. Remember, you are never too old or too late to make a change in your life for the better. Below are a couple of examples of videos that inspire hope to group members, enjoy!
Today at the group we looked at what movies were meaningful for them at different stages of their lives. This session was very similar to the group we did on music but now focussing on movies. Very much like music, movies can carry us on a nostalgic journey of what was going on for us around the time of seeing that particular movie.
E.T was an iconic movie memory for people in the group today along with more individual connections to Midnight Express, The Empire Strikes Back, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Riding In Cars With Boys and The Exorcist.
People use movies in different ways; to feel good, to connect with something poignant and meaningful or to have the heebie jeebies scared out of them. The final option is not for everyone!
As we travelled the decades of movie memories we realised we had more memories around what was going on in our lives e.g…my Granny took me to see that film, or that was my first date, or we watched that as a family one Christmas.
Due to the way that movies can affect us on a therapeutic level it would not surprise you to know that there is now a form of therapy called “Cinema Therapy” A form of therapy or self-help that uses movies, particularly videos, as therapeutic tools. Cinema therapy can be a catalyst for healing and growth for those who are open to learning how movies affect people and to watching certain films with conscious awareness. Cinema therapy allows one to use the effect of imagery, plot, music, etc. in films on the psyche for insight, inspiration, emotional release or relief and natural change. Used as part of psychotherapy, cinema therapy is an innovative method based on traditional therapeutic principles.
In conclusion, there are now no doubts of how therapeutic watching movies can really be.