Posted in Weekly Blog

Having fun increases our well-being

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While preparing for our group programme in advance we are always mindful of the need to make sure it is finely balanced between light topics and others that are a bit heavier. After having a few deeper sessions it felt nice to mix it up today having a session on fun!  It’s something that is so important for our well-being which sadly at times we can all too readily dismiss as un-important.

We did an exercise using spiritual cards and asked group members to choose a card that meant something to them. People found this useful as it provided an outlet to communicate how they felt. After this we played the card game adaption of the popular game show, ‘Catchphrase’. By the end of the game the scores between the two teams were fairly equal!

We finished with a look at what people’s favourite movies where and why. This evoked a discussion about the emotional attachment certain films held for people. Some of the films chosen were, ‘Cinema Paradiso’, ‘Kung Fu Panda’, ‘Back To The Future’, ‘Riding In Cars With Boys’, E.T., ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’, ‘Mary and Max’ and ‘The Godfather’ It was so nice to feel the passion and energy this brought to the conclusion of todays’ group!

Pop corn with soda and movie shows

Posted in Weekly Blog

Exploring Mental Health Diagnoses

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We posed the question to people in the group as to whether receiving a mental health diagnosis had been a helpful experience. For those who had experienced a correct diagnosis and accessed the right treatment, this was extremely helpful as they could now understand what was happening and what to do to best look after themselves.  For people where it had taken a bit of a journey to make a correct diagnosis, and where treatment for a condition which was not theirs was given, this was unhelpful and distressing and in some cases caused more damage.  We talked a little about the diagnosis of  BPD-Borderline Personality Disorder, this is a bit of a controversial diagnosis; it suggests that there is something wrong with a person’s personality. Using the term ‘disorder’ can leave people feeling upset and stigmatised.  The diagnosis is confusing and little understood; it is a clinical diagnosis based on a collection of symptoms, which are often parallel to the effects of trauma.  However, it is not an actual defined disease or condition, more possibly a reaction to adverse life events, and therefore not a permanent condition or state of being.  

We talked a bit more about how people sometimes felt stigmatised or defined by some of the words used to describe some mental health conditions:

Mental health words

People felt that some of these were quite descriptive, sometimes in an unhelpful way leading to assumptions and stigma and a lack of understanding.  Others felt that the not so descriptive terms could be helpful as they had experienced that if someone genuinely cared and was interested they would ask about the persons mental health condition in a way as to understand how it actually affected them.

Receiving a diagnosis can feel helpful and liberating for some while for others it may be another way of keeping stigma and unhelpful terms used in society alive.

Posted in Weekly Blog

Planting for Spring

spring flowers

 

From March back through November landscapes draped in black and white
As knife-like shadows in the forests pierced the dimming light
And even mighty rivers disappeared under the strain
Of crushing flows of ice after a night of freezing rain

For now the only sounds that crackle out through winter’s hush
Are frozen pods of snow which to the ground from treetops rush
Exploding on the forest floor as from a fearsome hoard
Of Norsemen fighting wildly for their own wintry warlord

And so it is that through the coldest season of the year
We sequester deep within the halls that we hold dear
Waiting for the sunrise and the promise it will bring
That the stranglehold of winter will be broken by the spring

Then finally it happens; ice flows melt and streams cascade
Flowers bloom and fruit trees blossom while the pall of winter fades
Black and white are all forgotten as a rainbow now appears
And the cycle reinvigorates the passing of the years

This poem very much reflects what our group is about, planting seeds which we hope will bear fruit.
Posted in Weekly Blog

Learning To Be Assertive

 

At today’s group we looked at what “being assertive” means for people.  Some said they found it hard to be assertive due to the unknown response they would receive. Low self-esteem and feelings of not feeling worthy enough to be heard can make it seem a scary prospect. If people have grown up to believe that it is safer to not express emotions they could end up feeling irritable with internal anger as it does not have a healthy outlet. As a result of this someone may go on to experience poor mental health and develop an addiction problem.

Confrontation does not necessarily have to be a negative thing it could also create a resolution between  you and another.  Showing assertiveness does not mean being aggressive. Aggression and assertiveness are two totally different things. Being aggressive can come at a cost to you and others and will make it really hard to reconcile things as in the heat of the moment you may say things you did not really mean.  The reality is that being assertive does not guarantee you will receive the response you would like but it does allow you an opportunity to say how you feel in a respectful and healthy way. This is helpful remember while experiencing fears about being assertive.

Posted in Weekly Blog

Stages of change

 

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Today we looked at how people could make positive changes in their lives and ways to do this. This group’s ethos is very much built upon movement and progressing to a place of hope from low points of despair.

For some, the very thought of change invokes a fear of the unknown. This can be really debilitating and make you feel like you are stuck in a situation you want to change but are scared to (C.S. Lewis picture quote above very much captures this). Once you make the decision to change it can feel like you are taking a leap of faith, trusting that you have made the right decision and are able to deal with whatever comes your way.

We used the ‘Stages of Change’ template for today’s exercise with people using the model below;

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e.g.

1. Pre-contemplation – I enjoy smoking, I don’t have a problem with it.

2. Contemplation – Smoking could be bad for my health?

3. Preparation – Evaluating how to stop smoking.

4. Action – Going to smoking cessation group to learn tools and stop smoking.

5. Maintenance – Sustaining recovery and not giving in to a lapse.

In conclusion, we do realise how daunting change can feel but if you plan it out in steps like the above tool you are giving yourself a far better chance of achieving your aims.