Please NOTE there will be no group on Thursday 25th May. The group will recommence on Thursday 1st June.
Today we did an exercise where group members looked at their life experiences (good and bad) from the past and present leading on to hopes for the future. We broke it down into those three sections. Firstly, we wanted people to see how past events play a part in were we are in the present. Secondly, having attained a better level of self-awareness from doing this you are in a far better position to see what could help in your future.
Before starting the exercise we provided some examples;
- Social activities,
Below are the findings;
PAST: Poor health, anxiety, hope, University, prospects, travelling, depression, stimulation, socialise more easily, work, pride, achievement, loneliness, fit, relationships, seeking help, All types of abuse, breakdown, time spent in Hospital, confidence-partying, soulmate, happiness, children-love, escape, bereavement, loss-family, and behaviour.
PRESENT: Caring, angry, worn out, social work, done with being treated unfairly, confused, friends, grandchildren, Isolating from friends, debt, learning languages, tiring, joining in with others, carer, being a mother, debt, effort, focus, Isolation, panic, feel like getting nowhere, lack of money, lack of energy, and confidence.
FUTURE: Freedom, friends, family, children, art, fitness, travel, helping people, survivor, boundaries, guilt-free, feel confident, feeling supportive to kids/relationships, be present-not reading so much, clarity, order, health, energy, be a good dad, relationships, take power back, open to possibilities, make choices, find a job I enjoy, travel, peace of mind, stability-family, and re-create self for good.
Group members seemed to get a lot out of this exercise. By looking at the past and present it enabled people to have a bit more clarity about what their hopes and aspirations are for the future. While people found this to be a very emotional session it gave people a sense of freedom to talk about things which they had previously felt unable to do so and they felt all the better for it.
It has been really encouraging to see the positive impact ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ seems to have had on our nation. From the ‘Heads Together’ campaign coordinated by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to sports people and various other celebrities relaying their own experiences we can see the real difference talking about your mental health can make.
The group wanted to play a part in raising awareness, and reducing the stigmas that surround mental health. The suggestions people came up with were;
- Educating children at school
- Educating people on the impact felt by families and carers
- More support for families and carers
- More safe spaces for people to talk
- Educating people to be empathic
- Age appropriate advertising on TV
- Life skills and talks in High School
- More famous people talking in the media
- Compulsory mental health training for GP’s
While as a society we have made strides forward in changing perceptions around mental health we are under no illusions that there is still some way to go. The vocabulary we use can prove to be really useful in reducing stigma. You only have to think back to 30 years ago to the terminology that was used to describe different ethnicities and how inappropriate and unacceptable those terms are now. The hope is that by raising awareness now similar changes will happen within the way society deals with mental health.
At today’s group we looked at Movies and TV shows and what they mean to us. The exercise we did was similar to the music one we did a few weeks ago. We asked members what movies they were watching at different stages in their lives.
The stages are; 10 years of age, 15 years of age and 20 years of age. Below are the things chosen;
10 Years old:
- Watership Down & Why don’t you?
- Jaws & Starsky and Hutch
- Ghostbusters & TISWAS
- To Kill a Mockingbird & Z Cars
- Batteries Not Included & Cheggers Plays Pop
15 Years of old:
- Psycho & Tales of The Unexpected
- Quadrophenia & The Tube
- Valley of The Dolls & Monthy Python
- Groundhog Day & Noel’s House Party
20 Years old:
- Blade & Taggart
- Alien & Friends
- Pulp Fiction & Shooting Stars
- The American Friend
- Trainspotting & TFI Friday
Like the music exercise, it was really interesting to hear the stories of what was going on for group members at the different stages. Quite a few members yearned for the old-fashioned ‘theatre’ like style cinemas as opposed to the present day multiplexes we now have. Being able to watch this media provided good escapism for people while growing up. They were able to look back fondly at them and see how they provided a good sense of escapism at a time when life may not have been particularly easy. Below are members favourite movies. Tell us what you think by commentating on this post!
It was a real pleasure to welcome John Arthur to the group today as guest. John is well-known around Edinburgh for the work he does in the recovery community. People who know John find him to be an inspiring and caring figure who likes to help and stand up for disadvantaged people in society. With this in mind we thought it would be really interesting to hear about John’s own life journey and what lead him to where he is today.
Upon listening to John’s story it made us realise how different situations in our lives create different paths of which we can choose to take. A good example of this is the film ‘sliding doors’ where it captures the life analogy of one door closing and another opening. While we are living in the present we are not aware of these things and perhaps only become aware when we look back with hindsight. Due to John’s life experiences he has developed a passion for helping others. Below is a list of just some of the things John has achieved;
- Director and forming the group Recovering Justice
- working with young people to involve them in changing services for other young folk
- Founding member of the Serenity Cafe in Edinburgh
- National Director of CREW which is in the field of substance use and harm prevention
- Trustee on the board of the Scottish Drugs Recovery Consortium
- Managing recovery coach training
- Senior Associate working with an Expert Witness Team
- Helping create the first SMART recovery group in Edinburgh
John talked fondly of his recent around the world trip and of the many amazing people he met along the way. From his life journey to his world travel journey it was a fascinating listening experience and made us think about our own journeys and the paths we take in life. we would like to thank him John for giving us his time and passing on his hope and inspiration!