“I’ve Come to Realise how Important Being a Part of a Community Is’ – Nicki

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Like many others who fight an invisible battle daily, my adult life has been marked with a once so misunderstood and taboo label, “mental health issues.” 

Stretching further back, continuously alternating between various states of wellness and unwellness, tragedies and circumstances beyond my control, along with misguided attempts to sooth a troubled mind and enough bad memories to keep anybody down.  I didn’t stay down though, at least not for very long.

I was pleased to find I was one of those resilient people with a tenacious fighting spirit.  Even I didn’t know what I was capable of or how far I could get.

So then why did I continue to struggle so much, feel little satisfaction with my progress or blatantly self-sabotage opportunities to move towards the life I had dreamed about?  Where could I possibly have been going wrong?  I know the answer now.  I had believed that I could do it all on my own.

Since joining GROW almost a year ago, I have come to realise how important being a part of a community truly is.  It was the missing piece.  I am still learning how to lower my guard and show vulnerability in front of others.

It’s not easy but I feel safer to do so around the members of the group where there is no judgement but only the sincerest of support and understanding.  The GROW Programme offers a value structure with which to keep us grounded in reality and providing insights into challenging ourselves, our thoughts, feelings and imaginations.

Most of all though, GROW is where friendships are formed and people are free to express their truest selves.

This powerful piece has been penned by Nicki and was also presented at a recent ARI event in Carlow.