At today’s group we wanted to look at how people could show compassion to their younger self. The idea of this exercise was to, as an adult address a child part that is still hurting and to show compassion and understanding for their younger self in a nurturing way rather than trying to change things that had happened in the past. Group members found this experience to be really cathartic and it allowed them to make some peace with the past. A group member mentioned how her painful experiences from the past had shaped her into being the kind, compassionate person she is today. For others increasing self-worth and believing that they are likeable is still proving to be a work in progress. The good thing about this group is that people inspire each other. We also discussed how important good attachments are at a young age for a child’s development. For some people with very difficult relationships in childhood, just one adult who cared for them and provided love, safety and fun made all the difference in a difficult time. In conclusion, today’s session proved to be extremely worthwhile and showed the continued importance of nurturing our inner child as adults.
For some the very thought of having fun may seem such a scary thing. One of the reasons may be that their belief system tells them that they do not deserve to have fun. This may have been formed by the individual’s life experiences. Having fun is so good for our wellbeing and is something we want to promote in the group. In fact the “fun games”session gets requested a lot by group members for the programme. We always feel it is good to provide a balanced programme which can include deep sessions but also incorporates fun sessions. The fun games we played included “If you were on a desert island what three pieces of music and three movies would you take with you?” Examples of the music chosen included; ‘Hotel California’, ‘Purple Rain’, ‘Don’t stop me now’, ‘O Holy night’, ‘All by myself’, ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’. The movies chosen included, ‘Faraway, so close’, ‘Dirty Dancing’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Back To The Future’, ‘Silence of the Lambs’, ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’, ‘Groundhog day’ and ‘Rosemary’s baby’. We then went on to play a game where an individual has to guess who the celebrity is by asking the other group members questions that can only be answered with a yes or no answer. The last game we played was an old group favourite called “two truths and a lie” where someone will make three statements of which two are true and one is a lie. It is up to the other group members to ask the individual questions to determine which one is a lie. This provoked a lot of detective work and good humour! Everybody really enjoyed today’s session which also included welcoming a new group member who was made to feel very welcome. When we have fun it can also heal some pain that we may be going through. Below is a lovely George Michael song which seems appropriate to the group, we hope you enjoy.
In last weeks group people offered their thoughts, feelings and experiences of medications and treatments for mental health issues.
Firstly we talked about the array of anti-depressants, after establishing the difference between these and mood stabilising medications; mood stabilisers are for people who experience very high and low mood whereas anti-depressants are for boosting mood, though some people may need to be on both.
People had experienced some frightening side effects of anti-depressants and considered that the balance was in weighing up the symptoms with the side effects in deciding if some medications were beneficial to use or not. While for others anti-depressants have proved to be helpful. We acknowledged that some people need to be on their medications to stay well all of the time, whereas for others it may be of temporary assistance and not necessary in the long term. It was agreed that probably for the majority of people, a combination of treatments can be very effective such as medication, talking therapies, mindfulness and exercise, some people choose not to take medication. The Rethink website offers some helpful information about medications
Some people talked about more controversial medications and treatments used in mental health treatment, but these had proved highly effective for them, allowing them to live well at home and not end up ‘institutionalised’. This led us onto being thankful how far mental health treatment has come…..and it still feels like it has a long way to go……but we are glad people are no longer just sedated with insulin and locked up in asylums. In conclusion there were no pro or anti opinions about the use of medication with the general consensus being that whatever helps an individual’s health and wellbeing is by far the most important thing.
With a background soundtrack of forest sounds and Himalayan singing bowls we embarked on a relaxation journey of finding some time to breath properly and be peaceful. With our relaxation sessions ever popular, we discovered once again at what a fast paced life we lead, with our shoulders crunched up to our ears and the air not fully filling our lungs. So for a time in the group, we just sat and allowed all of our focus to be upon breathing, that life necessity, breathing in deeply and allowing the air to circulate and the relaxation to reach all parts of our bodies and calm to be around our minds.
We then moved onto some mindful colouring and gentle conversation, the relaxation had opened the way for the conversation to be lighthearted and fun provoking laughter perhaps a little more easily than it comes when we are all bound up with stress filled thoughts and feelings. With the new Trainspotting film coming out (potentially not very relaxing) people reflected experiences of what the story meant for them in their own lives in Edinburgh and the drug culture. But mostly people celebrated and laughed at the pure Barry unique sayings and words of Edinburgh and Scotland especially the word ‘shan’, a favourite in the group.
On a more serious note, we had a discussion about how depression is viewed by mental health services as compared to other mental health illnesses. Obviously hospitals are for people in crisis with serious conditions which are life threatening or with disturbingly active symptoms, and so whilst people suffering in more extreme states are understandably a priority, there seems to be a bit of a loophole for those suffering a bit more invisibly with depression for which there seems to be no half way house for treatment-you access care when in crisis rather than preventative care.
Thankfully more people have started talking about a wider spectrum of things can be really helpful when struggling with bouts of depression and we will look more at these in our session next week. Please click here to find out more about the symptoms of depression. from a BBC website.