GROW – ‘Much More than a Weekly Meeting’

This very moving piece about GROW has been penned by a Wexford GROW member in the run-up to Christmas.

I have been in GROW almost three years now. When I first joined, I was isolated within my own life. I had stopped working a few years earlier due to my illness.

This made my life much smaller. I found it hard to stay in touch with people I no longer saw daily. I also realised that the main thing we had in common was work.

As time went on, the conversation got more and more difficult and, of course, dare anyone mention the word ‘DEPRESSION’.

I also began to isolate myself from my other friends. It was just something I found difficult, as often I wasn’t in the form for a conversation. My friends eventually stopped inviting me to events as they always got some excuse not to go. This just increased how bad I was already feeling.

Isolation in honesty felt good a lot of the time but deep down I knew it wasn’t good for me. I heard about GROW and said I would give it a go.

For the first few weeks, I wasn’t quite sure. I was eventually given the task to go along to a 12 step outing that the group were undertaking.

12 step is a social meeting and the group were going to the cinema. This was doable as I knew I wouldn’t have to make much conversation. I was very nervous going, but as it was my task I said to myself I would “Go by what I know not how I feel”. I came home that night feeling 10 feet high.

Meeting for coffee weekly became part of my week, and the conversation really flowed. I loved that the conversation was left light – we kept our problems for the actual GROW meeting. I began to look forward to the weekly meet up outside of the meeting.

Christmas was very hard in the past. Everyone seemed to have somewhere to go, and something to do. I looked at the fancy clothes in the shops and thought what’s the point as I’m going nowhere.

I came to GROW to help me with my depression. Little did I know that I would get this whole new social life and work on building new real relationships, with no mask on. I am so looking forward to the events coming up in December. I feel part of the community this Christmas and really enjoyed last year.

This year, we have our annual Christmas party in a lovely hotel in Courtown in Co. Wexford. We have our own private room, a fabulous meal and are guaranteed to go home with a lovely gift, as everyone brings a small  wrapped present. This really adds to the atmosphere, along with the music and Christmas crackers, of course.

We also are doing carol singing this year on December 14th at the Gorey train station for Focus Ireland. I am so looking forward to this, although I can’t sing.

I look forward to the craic and the rehearsal. I love that we get to help another charity, along with giving out information about GROW.

Last but not least, Christmas can be so long, I love that we meet up every year around the 28th of December. It’s great to get out of the house, and meet with a great bunch.

I can’t thank GROW enough, for not only giving me the tools from their programme to help me with my depression, but to have also given me back part of a life I had lost, and now I don’t dread Christmas like I did in the past.

Thank you GROW.

A grateful Gorey member