‘We Took Our Courage in Our Hands and Asked for Help’

The second in a series of reflections from GROW members in the South East discusses Step Tw0 of the GROW Programme:We Took Our Courage in Our Hands and Asked for Help’

Taking my courage in my hands, I attended GROW. I found it hard to relate my story  at first, so it helped that it was recommended to me to just listen for the first few weeks.

The phrase ‘feelings are not facts’ paused my thoughts and slowed them down.  When I did speak, it didn’t matter that my words were jumbled. I felt the support in the room. Talking about the things I wasn’t proud of was the hardest, but learning the Affirmation of Good was a comfort to me. Now I say it almost every day.  The next step was to hope for me. I only realised when I felt that tiny familiar flicker of hope that I had been living without it for a long time.

As the GROW Blue Book says: ‘If there is hope for anyone, there is hope for me. If there is hope for me, there is hope for anyone’.
(Written by Brigid)

It didn’t take too much courage actually. I’d witnessed ordinary people and celebrities sharing their stories on depression. The only courage that was really needed was to turn up at a GROW meeting – similar to going to any meeting for the first time.

(Written by Tom)

So trying to fix my head myself was not an option, but the fear of admitting my mental illness to other people when I had worked so hard and for so long to keep it hidden seemed an equal fear. But in the end out of desperation, I made a move. I found GROW on the internet and rang up to find out about coming to a meeting.That gave me courage and I then went to the doctor and accepted that I needed medication. (Written by Mary)

Seeing the bigger picture required Step 2 – finding the courage to ask for help, both in GROW and the wider community. Funnily enough the times when I most need help are often the times I least want it.  And help comes from unlikely sources. A grumpy family member may tell a home truth – if I can ignore the grumpy source of the message, I realise its wisdom.

Step 2 challenges me to be tolerant:
– Tolerant of my human limitations that require constant maintenance and help
–  Tolerant that my human helpers are flawed like me

We are all imperfect.  Yet we can learn to muddle through together, rather sink into isolated confusion.

(Written by Peter)