PEER SUPPORT – what is it?

Thanks to all who have sent messages since our website has gone live. One recurring question seems to be regarding the fact that we call it a ‘peer support’ group. Many seem a little confused as to exactly what we mean by this. Do we plan your withdrawal? NO. Are we trained therapists dealing with withdrawal? NO. Are we linked to a certain surgery? NO. Can we join without a referral from our GP? Yeeeeeeees!                                                                                         What do we mean when we say that our group is a ‘peer support’ group?

Basically, we mean that we are all on the same level. All members of the group are involved in it. They decide how it should be run, what it should cover, how many members would make an ideal group etc.  Added to this, the group will run entirely by means of the contributions from its members. We aim to be self-sufficient by using each other’s support – with such things as creating leaflets, business-size cards etc. to raise awareness of the group meetings.

We believe that by working in this way, we help to build the confidence and self-esteem of the group members. These two matters are often at a low ebb in those who have mental health issues – especially in withdrawal. Being useful and, with support,  reaching our full potential is extremely empowering to each one of us. In withdrawal, it is very easy to get to a state whereby we only seem to be able to think of our negative side.

We believe that by sharing our hard times and pointing out little tricks that have supported us on our worst days we can help others on their withdrawal journey. EVERY JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT but there will be similarities too. We need to hear that others have found successful ways of coping and to have the courage to try them for ourselves if they sound plausible. WHAT SUITS ONE WILL NOT NECESSARILY SUIT ANOTHER person’s withdrawal – but by being in a group of like-minded individuals we get the chance to talk through the ‘WHY’s and ‘HOW’s of the different, possible ways through the worst  of a withdrawal.

By being part of a peer support group, we are able to learn of the latest available knowledge about this journey that we share. We can share knowledge of the work that is being done to improve the drawbacks involved in withdrawal – e.g. the lack of reducing strengths of tablets which could simplify withdrawal if only they were available. The pace of withdrawal is another point that often needs discussion.

Our group runs along the lines of a Hearing Voices  Network meeting. They are groups of voice-hearers who support each other in this way. Being part of a HV group can be found to be extremely supportive for a voice hearer – to understand and come to terms with their condition. More about HV Network Wales at a later date.

To sum up – we are all people WITH LIVED EXPERIENCE of being prescribed antidepressants and in the process of reducing or withdrawing our doses. We KNOW how the journey is for us and are CONFIDENT that sharing the ups and downs will benefit all within the group.

We ARE NOT connected to doctors’ surgeries but welcome any of their patients who could benefit from joining us. We are NOT professionally trained in therapies of any kinds. We simply BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF SHARED SUFFERING LEADING TO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR PROBLEMS! Talking can be beneficial in so many ways – but there is also the need of a LISTENER to complete the circle.

If you find that you feel that you’d like to see how this works, but are not sure if you want to commit to such meetings, then come along for a face to face chat and see what you think.

Next meeting is Tuesday February 12th 6.30, Nant hall church hall Prestatyn. See you there!

Published by SRCooke_29_11-79

Withdrawing from psychotropic drugs

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