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Who are my true friends?

The group said that the qualities which made a good friend were loyalty, that means that someone can be trusted to not repeat what was shared in confidence. People enjoyed common interests but also different interests in friendship. A good friend would be understanding, encouraging, and able to tell you hard things even though its difficult because they care about you and what is in your best interests.  Good friendships are encouraging, growing, equal and mutual which means support is given both ways when needed.  Boundaries are understood and respected, as are values.  Honesty, authenticity and being genuine were seen as important qualities in a friend.  We also discussed ‘the eggshell factor’ meaning that there was balance in the relationship about being to directly tackle ‘anything in the room’ and an ability to break tension and awkwardness and the freedom to be honest and not having to play games around each other, able to have a dialogue about what is going on.

Good friendship qualities are being discreet, kind and fun and sharing humour. It was highlighted that the importance of friend relationships can be a bit underrated in society because there is such a focus on dating and marriage when actually friends are so important and no less necessary even  if you are in a relationship! Some of the group recognised that sometimes a lack of friends is to do with circumstance and not an individuals ability to make friends. We may look at how to make friends in a future group, as this can feel difficult in some seasons in life, for example moving to a new place, following the breakdown of a relationship or having low confidence.  A shared history was also seen as a good contributor in a friendship, and especially shared values as people thought it would be quite difficult to be friends if someone had extreme views which conflicted with closely held values. 

Things which people thought were not indicative of true friendship were abuse, control, belittling, sarcasm, not really caring but exploiting and taking advantage and someone who is not genuinely interested in how you are but is all about their own self interest.

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Expressions through poetry

In this group we talked about poetry. What is a poem? Maybe it rhymes, maybe not but it probably has a rhythmic quality, and perhaps it will use symbolic language; speak to us in metaphors and veiled imagery, maybe it will be able to talk about difficult and taboo subjects in aesthetic and acceptable ways. An ordinary topic gets made mysterious, or a difficult one becomes beautiful, emotions can run, flow more easily into wistful, torrential linguistic expressions.

Some members shared poems which they had written, others remembered poetry from childhood and we looked these up. And together the group wrote a poem:

Ups and Downs

What’s the difference between up and down?

We come from all over the town

We might wear a smile or we might wear a frown

What’s the difference between up and down?

Up is light and down is shite,

Mixed emotions, spinning head

I’m glad I got outa bed

Come to the group and deal with all the things inside ma heid

Or suffer Paul’s bad jokes instead

Or was it better staying in bed?

Liz’s calm meditations led

It’s great to see our Thursday friends

‘cos my week’s been driving me round the bend

If I miss three weeks I make amends

Why does the darkness precede the dawn?

We offload all our thoughts and grief

Feeling better as we leave

After check out we can breathe

Feel strong to tackle the week ahead

Now it is time to get fed

Posted in Weekly Blog

Fear Of Failure

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At today’s group we looked at the fear of failure.  Although our fears come from a protective place they can ultimately leave us feeling stuck and unfulfilled in parts of our life. If you’ve suffered disappointments in life it feel such a risk to try something new and it not working out. To avoid these disappointing feelings people may decide it safer to stay in the situation they know. In this case the fear of failure can feel more powerful than the possibility of success. It can feel so scary to take that leap of faith into the unknown. Group members gave examples of how they overcame fears and how it became the making of them. The thing to remember is that even if you try something and it does not work out you can always try something else. This of course does not take away the feelings of disappointment but it certainly does not make you a failure. We are learning all the time, particularly in the hard times.  If we think back to being a toddler and learning to walk we do fall at times but we get back up and gradually learn to walk. Below is an inspiring video of people who have faced disappointments but managed to keep on trying new things.

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

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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

What Musical Pieces Mean For Me

 

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Today at the group we returned to a popular group topic ‘music’.  We have mentioned many times in the past how music can provide an outlet for our emotions.  We wanted to do something a wee bit different this time by focussing on four different emotions and the music pieces people felt appropriate to that emotion. Below is an example;

BE942CF5-E0D6-4EEF-BCEF-B946EDC7220F.jpeg From the songs that make us happy, to the songs that make us sad people realised that indeed some songs could easily overlap into the other categories depending on how they felt.  Most people had quite eclectic tastes which was fascinating to see. This proved to be an emotional experience for all concerned!   Below are some songs that were chosen;