With regard to YourSpace moving forward. We have been offered a temporary home in The Oasis until the end of July 2015. Then we may have to move elsewhere. I explained that this could be a good opportunity, that over the next few months, we can think about how we plan our meetings and consider ways to improve the help and support we give each other. The Let's Talk Service are more than happy to provide any work based material that would be of use to anyone for maintaining their wellbeing or to use as an aid during their recovery.
The Rep then updated me on what has been happening to the Service. One of the models the Let's Talk Service use, alongside CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is Motivation for Change. Our Rep explained that this model is really useful but it relies on the patient doing a lot for themselves. By what I could understand, this model encourages the individual to let go of the past, aspire to change the things that cause them unrest, learning how to change their attitude, planning and organising their daily routine, setting goals and recognising achievements. Although this may not be easy, the Rep told me that this program is proving successful.
The Let's Talk Service have now teamed up with the Nursing Profession who have been sitting in whilst the Patient is undergoing one to one Therapy, or attending one of the Let's Talk Courses. This is to facilitate their learning about the issues faced by individuals suffering from the more lower grade of mental health conditions. The Rep also said that the Let's Talk Service are running at full capacity. This is due to the number of referrals they are now receiving, which is on the increase. They are also seeing an increased number of patients with more challenging mental health conditions and achieving a good success rate towards their recovery too. The Courses have been very well attended and they are introducing new ones, which are not necessarily associated with mental health, such as living with chronic fatigue syndrome. Although the Rep explained that these courses are not there to replace the one to one therapy sessions. However there is a very high number on their waiting list for one to one therapy, so appointments are being delayed.
We talked about some of the things that we have discussed at group meetings. Thoughts, feelings and behaviour being one. So the Rep reminded me of the thoughts, feelings, behaviour triangle, seen here.
I remembered when I began suffering from "anxiety" and the Doctor prescribing me some sort of sedative pill to make me better. It has only been in recent years, that what I described to my GP at the time as anxiety wasn't, it was just a thought! No wonder the tablets didn't work! But it did reinforce the message that I needed something to make me well. Apparently this is common assumption in our society today. We want someone or something to take this awfulness away. But there is no magic pill, we have to come to terms with the fact that recovery comes from within.
The triangle can be useful when trying to manage situations that seem overwhelming. At our most recent group meeting we explored the theory that somewhere in our childhood we may have not had the opportunity to come to terms with overwhelming feelings of heightened emotion. So when faced with any situation that causes us "stress" we have no resource to rely on to help us get over this. The Rep explained that culturally, as children grow up they rarely get asked about their feelings. So when we get older we may not be very practised in saying how or what we feel. Using the triangle above could be a small step in realising what we are thinking and feeling and how that is impacting on our behaviour. Again as a society we also experience a lot of worry and guilt. Compassion is the best course of action when dealing with these types of feelings. Telling yourself the stuff you would say to a friend and being less hard on ourselves. Apparently in the Buddhist faith worry and guilt is non existent!
We also touched on the feelings of being overly aware of ourselves and difficulties when moving on in life after a difficult situation. The Rep said these types of thoughts come from too much introspection. We worry about what people think of us or how we look or come across. Group support is very good for these types of anxiety's as it pulls us into the real world and connects us with others. Self Help Groups can help us to become less aware of ourselves and to let go of unhelpful thoughts.
Something I didn't touch on at the meeting is that it is Mental Health Awareness Week. The subject this year is mindfulness. If you want to find our more The Mental Health Foundation have some info on their web site. See our Info Page. I have also come across some really interesting stuff on resilience, which we may go into a bit at the group meetings so watch this space for more ....
Hope the weeks are good to you all.