Eradicating the Current Cultural Consensus of Mental Illness by Mary Clista Dahl

Changing her own perception of what was happening for her emotionally helped transform Mary’s existence as a labelled ‘mental patient’ to living a joyful life as the energetic Soul she knew she was; and consequently, more able to heal in ways that have been helpful to her. Here Mary shares her journey from ‘dismal diagnosis to spiritual emergence.’ 

“You may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.

– Billy Joel

Mary Dahl

In 1998 I was given the label “Bipolar Disorder,” after a perceived psychotic episode.  I was frightened, engulfed by stigma and compliant to the existing mental health system because I was terrified of losing custody of my two young children.

I lived episode-free until 2016 when I was hospitalized after traumatic events for a stress-induced breakdown.  After release, I noticed that the antipsychotic medications I was placed on made me feel sicker than when I had arrived.  This time I emerged from the experience not fearful, just curious, with a new attitude toward my “illness.”

I asked myself the question, “How is it that I, someone who is diagnosed with a “serious mental illness,” has flourished for thirty-four years in a career guiding thousands of college students (accumulating 1400 sick leave hours in the process)?”  Add to that raising two children as a single Mom while earning my college degree, authoring four books and converting my home to a certified National Wildlife Federation habitat.  My answer: In reality, I am not the least bit ill or disordered. As a matter of fact, I am perfectly well.

This epiphany and much historical, scientific, social and cultural research prompted other important questions:

What if…
…”Mental illness” in all of its forms are the body’s natural defense mechanism to re-establish the mind-body-spirit connection in response to trauma, emotional anguish and information overload from a crazy culture?

How different would life be if…
…We who are labeled stopped thinking that we had an illness and embraced our capabilities instead? 

…We exited that proverbial road to recovery and started a life path to our future by returning to that place of our perfection before someone told us we were flawed? 

…We shifted our focus from what society perceives as “wrong” with us (experiencing human emotion) to what is right about us?

…We simply found a better way to help each other?

The current accepted mental health system in the U.S. has progressed from an intentional helpful entity to a frustrating tangled web of documents, regulations, government and legal policy, insurance and pharmaceutical companies and confused providers and consumers. This system has taken on the definition of insanity that once described the people it was trying to serve.  It is dictated by a collection of diagnoses; scary terms and adjectives to describe human emotions and behavior written in a language that has evolved and become outdated.

In September 2017 I sat down for the last time across the desk from a psychiatrist who was only doing his job when he asked me the routine questions regarding my symptoms, sleep patterns and side effects. After answering, I enthusiastically started to mention my latest accomplishments of accepting an offer for a dream job and sending my latest manuscript to an agent. He interrupted with “You seem too happy; we will discuss increasing your medication at your next visit.” I thanked him, and left with kind parting words knowing I would never return.  I smiled with relief that my journey back to my joyful (manic in his world) loving, compassionate self was complete.

On the drive home, I mentally replaced my Bipolar label with ones more accurate and deserving that others who know me best have bestowed upon me… Inspiration to Your Children, Celebrator of Life, Serving Heart, Optimist, Valued Friend.  I immediately stopped thinking, talking, writing about and acting like I had an illness; focusing my energy on my attributes and passions, choosing to tell a different, more important story filled with hope and discovery.

It’s time to rewrite the language, wiping mental illness out of the vocabulary, telling the gift as opposed to symptom-oriented experience. To reassure each other that we exist as thriving, feeling, living, and not disordered human beings. That we are well and all deserve the chance to shine.

Since emerging, I have shared my story with others who all have a similar one of being diagnosed with a “mental illness” or know someone close who has.  It is time to help each other transform from this epidemic.

This month, I celebrate 20 years since I was labeled.  During that time I came to realize that it was journaling, quiet reflection, and the support of those who cared about and listened to me that were all I needed to realign.  Through my organization, Capture Life Writing, I now use this formula of the power of words, human connection, Myfi (unplugging and reflection) and nature to bring others to emotional and mental wellness, the process that brought me from dismal diagnosis to spiritual emergence and perpetual joy.

I now live the mission to eradicate the current cultural consensus of mental illness.

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Mary’s Blog:  www.capturelifewriting.com

Would you like to join the army of Hope Warriors #EmergingProud and share your story? CONTACT US HERE to find out how…

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“Those who have the courage to own their pain, are actually the ones we need the most” Jeff Brown

“We need the trauma-speakers to save us. Because they are the closest to the truth of all of our lives. Because they are reminders of our misplaced humanness. Because they are the most connected to the feelings that we are all burying – the individual cries for relief, the ancestral unresolveds that thread through each generation. It may seem counter-intuitive in this armored world, but those who have the courage to own their pain, are actually the ones we need the most.” ~ Jeff Brown

YES WE DO!! This is the aim of the KindaProud pocketbooks of Hope and transformation; to all who have, and are, daring to speak out authentically, vulnerably – THANK YOU  You are all helping to create the new gentler world with the strength of your vulnerabilty (the counter- intuitivity that is refered to above)

The KindaProud faces of August 2018…

KindaProud Collage Aug 2018

Would you like to join these beautiful faces and share your story of hope to help others?

Please contact the KindaProud Rep for which your story resonates…

 Nicole Gruel

For Nicole’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through NOTES (Non- ordinary transcendent experiences) 

Please contact us here 

AmyWoods

For Amy’s KindaProud book:

#EmergingProud through disordered eating, body image and low self-esteem

Please contact Amy at: info@soul-shine.org.uk

 

 

MandyHorne

 

For Mandy’s KindaProud book:  #EmergingProud through Trauma and Abuse 

Please contact Mandy at: ambrieleve@gmail.com

 

 

Kelly-Michelle-Walsh

 

For Kelly’s KindaProud book:  #EmergingProud through Suicide

Please contact Kelly at: kelly@positivityprincess.com

 

 

 

VulnerabilityBrene

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Kam is KindaProud that she overcame her eating disorder and now helps others

Kam Sokhi from West Sussex, UK has transformed her life by healing emotional wounds from the past that she was trying to control through food; it was only through facing this that Kam was able to emerge through her darkness which has led to her empowering others to do the same. Here, Kam bravely tells her story to give hope…

Kam Sokhi

I was just an ordinary 13-year old when my older sister and I made a pact to lose weight.

I became very competitive.  My sister, ‘the golden child’, got all the good grades and I felt I’d never match her. My dad would tell me I was stupid, I’d amount to nothing and that I was a failure! The only thing, in my mind, I could do better than her was to lose weight.

Living in a strict Indian household, we were never really allowed out; it certainly was not ok to wear makeup or have boyfriends. If I dared answer back, I’d get a good beating. My dad had no problem exercising his control over us either verbally or physically. Life was all about religion, our family and our education.

Now I could control how much I ate and I found I was really good at it. I’d feel so proud I’d only consumed an apple and a litre of diet coke for days. I became sneaky at hiding food and obsessed with exercise. I was getting noticed at school because I was so thin; I was ecstatic.

It didn’t matter that I hadn’t had a period for two years, or that some days I’d swallow a hundred slimming pills AND tens of laxatives. I’d binge and purge. An average binge would last for hours and I could eat 10 chocolate bars, 5 ice creams, 7 packets of crisps, not to mention the rest. I weighed 5 stone at age 15 and was wearing children’s clothes. My bones were protruding and my hair fell out, yet when I looked in the mirror all I could see is was a fat, ugly person staring back at me.

At my lowest point, I considered killing myself. There were times when I self–harmed and the relationship with my father became worse. I began rebelling: smoking, drinking, dabbling in drugs, sometimes running away from home.

Then, I was busted at school. My best friend dobbed me in to my parents; told them I was throwing my lunch away. Things began to change, the doctors visits started, as did a year of psychiatric hospital care with an eating disorder specialist. These interventions inevitably brought my bulimia and anorexia to an end.

But in the years to come, my obsession with food and exercise continued. I felt I was never perfect and continued with strict eating regimes. I’d categorise foods as good or bad and if I ever ate anything from the bad list then I would ricochet into self-loathing. My laxative abuse was still prevalent, as was the occasional habit of taking slimming pills or going on detox diets. I was in my thirties now and still very self-conscious about my body image, not ever going swimming or dancing in public.

The pivotal moment in my recovery was meeting an iridologist who told me I had to give up sugar. She’d explained, I’d been replacing the sweetness of life with sugar, though if I started to love myself the weight would drop off! I had no idea what she was talking about and it would be ten years till I fully understood what she meant.

As I was a chef I thought I’m creative, I’ll just create some new recipes and I’ll be fine. In fact, a whole new world opened up. I started a clean, healthy way of eating and even started a Facebook page, sharing recipes. I started experimenting, making raw desserts. For the first time ever, guilt free eating with no self-loathing afterwards; it really was a revelation!

I also suffered from food allergies. This was yet another challenge. Being vegan as well, you can imagine how regimented and strict my life was around food.

Through the IPE eating psychology coaching course I’ve found the healing I’ve so needed. I discovered that being fast, rigid, strict and militant in my eating habits, is a reflection of how I conducted my life in general. I learned that weight gain is a form of self-protection and that self-confidence isn’t going to magically appear once I’m thin; after all, being skinny made me just as miserable. Being happy in myself and with my body image by healing the emotional wounds from the past, is the key.

Now, it’s time to give back, to help other women find freedom from the guilt and shame felt around food. My commitment is to empower you to become the best version of yourself, to find confidence and peace within, no matter your size and transform your view of life, yourself and your relationship with food. I’ll guide and support your weight loss journey and help you sustain that weight loss while being healthy, respectful and loving to yourself physically and emotionally.

What a great gift is that!

Warmly, 💕

________________________________
Kam, Eating Psychology Coach
CHEF-NLP-NUTRITION
Empowering women to become
The best version of themselves
🌺🌽💖🍅🌷🍄🌱🌞🌈🍎🍒
_________________________________

Does this subject resonate with your own experience? 

Would you like to share your story along with Kam for Amy’s KindaProud book,

#EmergingProud through disordered eating, body image and low self-esteem? 

Please contact Amy to find out how by contacting her at: info@soul-shine.org.uk

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Sue bravely shares her ‘blooming’ inspirational journey through trauma and abuse to spreading seeds of Warrior hope to others.

The Warrior Awakens

SueIrwin

If we plant a seed in a desert and it fails to grow, do we ask what is wrong with the seed? No. We must look at the environment around the seed and ask, what must change in this environment such that the seed can grow? (Deegan, 1996)

I’ve written this piece essentially as a survivor of repeated childhood abuse; abuse that left me with intense feelings of fear, powerlessness and shame; abuse that seemed to infect the very essence of my being (my soul) and abuse that almost succeeded in annihilating my sense of self and left me feeling worthless, unlovable and that I had to apologise for my very existence.

There’s been an endless debate going on in my head about where to begin this particular piece of writing – at the beginning would be the obvious place which for me might be the day I came into this world as an innocent & helpless tiny baby. But my story of healing really began on the day when the warrior within me, my spirit, woke up.

Being a keen gardener, I like to compare that warrior to a seed, a seed which over the years, had been bruised and beaten and denied the sustenance it needed to grow. At times it had gasped for breath, and searched desperately for water so that it might at least remain intact, but the environment around it was often barren, and yet somehow it had managed to survive those years in the wilderness.  That brave and resilient seed had waited patiently as it held on to hope, held on to a dream that one day, given the right conditions and with the right help, it might take root and start to grow into a blossoming & colourful flower.

Of course, a seed doesn’t just turn into a beautiful flower overnight, and most cannot begin to grow without help. This is where a gardener is necessary, to nurture the seed, so that it will blossom and flourish. The gardener must pay attention to its needs, plant it in the right soil, water it and ensure that it is fed – basically love and care for that seed until it has spread its roots and is able to love and care for itself. A gardener must also have the courage to take risks, to perhaps place the young seedling outside, away from the warmth and comfort of the greenhouse, despite the risk of a frosty night or insects which may destroy it.

Over the years, I had existed and survived by looking outside of myself, too frightened and ashamed to delve into what lay beneath my skin. I had grown up in an ordinary family, the youngest of three siblings. I’d attended ordinary state schools, gained average grades in exams and  travelled for a while in a few other countries. I gained a degree in European languages, found employment and got married. I gave birth to two beautiful and unique daughters and at the age of 35, I became pregnant with my third child – to the outside world (and to me) then my life would probably have appeared straightforward.

But, I had a secret, a secret from childhood that I shared with only one other person. I was made to believe that the consequences of sharing this secret with anyone else would be devastating, that no-one would believe me, and that I would be seen as wicked as well as crazy and so whenever I was asked about my childhood I became so overwhelmed with terror and shame that I remained silent – or rather, I was silenced.

Somehow I skilfully managed to hide that secret until the age of 35 when I gave birth to my 3rd child (a son) and where, during labour, an ordinary internal procedure would be the trigger for those memories from childhood and that secret to rear their ugly head and manifest themselves in a truly distressing way. Shortly after my son’s birth, and in need of some support I came into contact with statutory mental health services – and a journey that was to last 18 long and at times desperate years began. And so, I write this piece also as a survivor of the Mental Health system.  I specifically choose to use the word survivor here, because at the end of those 18 years, above all else, I felt re-traumatised, my sense of shame had risen to a toxic level and I felt I had been silenced once again.

I feel this way, because instead of helping me to explore, make sense of and understand the reasons and causes of my intense distress, the psychiatric diagnoses and labels I was given simply left me feeling that the very core of me was being questioned. I felt my experiences of abuse were being ignored & somehow irrelevant, I felt more ashamed and guilty, and I felt I was to blame for responding to trauma in ways that were judged as negative, irrational, inappropriate, destructive & harmful. Although from my perspective I felt I was reacting sanely to an insane situation.

By the time my son was about to celebrate his 17th birthday I had become one of those infamous revolving-door patients – I was simply a set of numbers from the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. I had slowly become dependent on doctors, nurses, locked wards, cocktails of medication and ECT and believed that this was the only way to keep me alive and existing.

What I didn’t realise during those 18 years however was that the power imbalances that exist within the MH system especially those between doctor & patient, mirrored the powerless situation I found myself in as a child and over the years, misuses of power had posed a very real threat to me – to the extent that in childhood I often feared for my life.

My responses to that threat manifested in ways such as almost complete disconnection both from myself and the world around me, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and attempts, the abuse of alcohol and cannabis, anger and at the same time meekness and submissiveness as well as an intense need to please others. And rather than seeing those responses as sophisticated coping mechanisms that I was using in order to survive, they were seen as symptoms of an illness, a disorder or a syndrome, symptoms that needed to be got rid of with the use of medication and electricity, by a mental health system that seemed intent on medicalising my distress.

And so after almost two decades of being caught in the MH system the abusers words seemed to have come true – I believed & felt that not only was I mad but I was also bad.

By November 2013, my spirit felt completely broken, I felt disempowered, dehumanised, re-traumatised, hopeless, isolated, ashamed, terrified, guilty and angry, but most of all I felt desperate. I believed the time had come to leave this world for good and I put together a solid plan to end my life – I chose the method I would use and a comforting place where I would spend my final moments. I did my best to write a meaningful letter to each of my children in an effort to explain my actions.  I organised my finances so that my family would not have to worry about the cost of funeral expenses and I wrote a will.

But that warrior that seed – essentially the essence of me – would not allow me to carry out my plan.

On the 6th November 2013, it was decided that I should come off, overnight, the cocktail of psychiatric medications I had been taking for 17 years, and my world was turned upside down. Whilst this rather brutal decision was made for me and I had no choice in the matter, it proved to be one of the most defining moments in my life so far. Little did I know it at the time, but the moment had arrived where I would now have to search for a gardener and the right environment where that seed could be nurtured.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

(Albert Camus)

 Four years later, it turns out that the head gardener was me, and although exhausted, I am grateful that I am still here to tell the tale. I am now living and not just existing, I remain medication free, I parted company with statutory mental health services three years ago, and am slowly managing to confront and deal with the damaging effects of that toxic secret with the help of a private therapist.

It has taken every ounce of courage, strength, determination and passion that I possess and I am gradually finding ways to nurture that seed within me, allowing it to spread its roots, to grow and to flourish. But I haven’t done it alone, there have been “other gardeners” (my children, my friends, my work colleagues, my peers and my therapists), whose courage, strength and love have created an environment around me that has helped me to feel safe, empowered and connected.

There is one more gardener who I must not forget to mention however – without her courage, strength and love I would not be here today, writing this piece. That other gardener is the little Sue who kept that seed alive with her bravery, sheer stubbornness and outright bloody-mindedness, and managed to survive the abuse she was subjected to.

**********************************************************************************

Does Sue’s inspiring story resonate with your own? 

Would you like to share your transformation story for Mandy’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through Trauma and Abuse? 

Please contact Mandy to find out how by contacting her at: ambrieleve@gmail.com

Poem:

 Stay strong through your pain

grow flowers from it

you have helped me

grow out of mine so

bloom beautifully

dangerously

loudly

bloom softly

however you need

just bloom

(Rupi Kaur, 2015)

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References

 Deegan, P. (1996), “Recovery and the Conspiracy of Hope”, A Keynote Address at the Sixth Annual Mental Health Services Conference of Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, 16 September.

Rupi Kaur.  (2015), “Milk and Honey” Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, Missouri.

Does Sue’s experience resonate with your own? 

Would you like to share your transformation story for Mandy’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through Trauma and Abuse? 

Please contact Mandy to find out how by contacting her at: ambrieleve@gmail.com

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Our first ‘Support Source’ women’s retreat in beautiful rural Norfolk

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To book CLICK HERE

Find out more about the venue HERE 

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#EmergingProud through domestic abuse

This brave and insightful article is anonymous; that is the impact of such prolongued trauma, but the Author has graciously given her permission for it to be shared in the hope that it will reach those it may need to.

“There were no fists, or boots, or trips to A&E – so it took me years to properly accept that I was being crushed by my relentlessly controlling partner.”

Abuse

On Valentine’s Day 2008, with a clarity that was long overdue, I left an abusive relationship. The hearts, the flowers, Barry White on the radio – they all brought things into sharp focus. For three years I’d been paralysed with doubt. That’s the insidiousness of it. By degrees, like a frog being boiled – before you know it, you’re soup.

When it’s good, he’s charming: holds your hand in public, and lets you share his sweets in the cinema. When it’s bad: the constant criticism, the sulks, the explosive rages, the intimidation, the isolation – it’s so relentless, lonely and bewildering, you start to doubt reality. “Maybe it is me?” you think. You say sorry. Try harder.

It took time to see how scared I was, to realise how my sense of self had disappeared. The shame was awful. I lost my high-flying job due to “stress”; and worse, I lost my confidence. I was financially dependent, utterly confused. “Couples therapy” turned into two against one. I’m not sure what was more traumatic: being shouted at by the therapist, or the huge rows that ensued when we got home.

“Why doesn’t she just leave?” is an ignorant question. There is a pattern to abuse: how it starts, escalates, and how it messes with your mind. My ex never hit me (threatened to, yes), but abuse is not just physical violence. According to Refuge, it is, “the repeated, random and habitual use of intimidation to control a partner … If you are forced to alter your behaviour because you are frightened … you are being abused.”

In the UK, the police receive a domestic violence call every minute; every three days, a woman is murdered. Maybe you work with one of these women, or say hi at the school gate; maybe she’s your friend.

My friend’s worst beating was with her newborn baby in her arms. Thrown down the stairs, her head bounced off the patio doors, her nose exploded from the force of his boot. She now helps other survivors (she helped me more than she knows), and is happily engaged to a good man. Her ex still threatens her, using access to his son to harass her. She logs everything with a solicitor; she has taken her power back.

Here’s what I’ve learned since I left:

Constant anxiety is not because you are neurotic, it’s called FEAR – listen to it.

Telling yourself that “all men are bastards” will keep you with the bastard you’re with – “all” men are decidedly not bastards, most are decent, some are really special.

Minimising his outrageous behaviour with: “all relationships have their ups and downs” will keep you in the shitty relationship you are in.

Charm is integral, look out for red flags – coming on too strong; using words like “always” and “forever”; calling all the time; turning up unannounced; keeping you so busy with romantic surprises that you don’t see your friends; bombarding you with presents; buying you a new phone (to check where you are, or even to track the GPS); picking out your clothes. We’re conditioned to see this as romance, but it’s control.

There will be one significant, early red flag, so at odds with the nice man you thought you were dating, it won’t compute. Mine? He sent me a barrage of abusive texts late at night in fluent Spanish (I don’t speak Spanish). By the time I got up the next morning, his apology was already in my inbox. Anyone telling you to “detach with love” and “work on your boundaries” or to “stop playing the victim” is not your friend. You are being victimised. I’m all for boundaries, but they are futile against a bulldozer.

Many people, including professionals, will collude with his excuses. But he’s not doing it because he’s drunk, stressed, insecure, had a terrible cheating ex, is mentally ill, or because his mother dropped him on his head when he was a baby. He’s doing it because he feels he has a right to do it. This is because he has certain beliefs about women which are fully supported by our culture. He’s a misogynist – simple. Millions of men are stressed, heartbroken, insecure, bonkers, and addicted, some even have really awful girlfriends, and they don’t abuse people or hate women.

Your real friends won’t tell you until it’s really bad; they will listen to you endlessly complain, agonise, and cry. They will watch in dismay as you smooth it over, or worse, get engaged. If you are extremely lucky, one of them might eventually say, “you sound like a battered wife” (do I?) and blast you out of your paralysis.

All those fears you have that you’re unlovable, stupid, useless, ugly, fat, unemployable, and too sensitive are not true. They are the consequences of living with a woman-hating wazzock who will only resort to violence when his other tactics start to fail. Many men never use their fists; they don’t need to.

You are not alone. According to a poll, 33% of women go through this – it’s nothing to do with your background, your socioeconomic group, or your religion: it’s because you are a woman. Being a woman is not a crime, unlike domestic abuse. Remember that leaving is the most dangerous time; he’s likely to up the ante. Get support. Many men are extremely persuasive after you’ve gone; be prepared for promises and threats, for the friends he’s enlisted to tell you they’ve “never seen anyone so cut up, he really does love you”. You need a plan.

It’s called a “breakup” because it’s broken. The beautiful, liberating, wonderful day is coming when you’ll have him out of your system; you will wake up one morning and feel happy and free.

I still don’t know what love is, but I know it’s not warm and fuzzy feelings – it’s actions, it’s what you do. I still like men, I love male company, I have some great friends. I still want to love and be loved. There have been new relationships since I left, but men scare me a little. It’s going to be a special guy who takes my guard down – who will be patient as I flap about in the big blue yonder, and panic. I hope I meet him. But I’m not a half, looking for my whole. I don’t need looking after. But to lean in a little, we all need that. The way I see it, any man worth my time is already a feminist; he may not think of it that way, but he is. Decent men respect women, have got that whole macho v masculine thing figured out. I take heart from my favourite Maya Angelou quote: “I’ve been female for a long time now. I’d be stupid not to be on my own side.”

Refuge has a 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247

Does this subject resonate with your own experience? 

Would you like to share your story for Mandy’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through Trauma and Abuse? 

Please contact Mandy to find out how by contacting her at: ambrieleve@gmail.com

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Introducing Support Source Community Sharing Circles initiative; a follow – up from the Emerging Kind

Press release: August 2018

Norwich Charity to support launch of Lottery- funded local mental health project

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The Support Source Community Sharing Circles Project, spearheaded by local residents *Katie Mottram and **Linda Allen, has received £9,995 funding from the Big Lottery Awards for All fund, via ***The Missing Kind Charity.

This innovative Peer training and supervision project will run over one year from September2018, and provide opportunities for knowledge growth, skills development, sharing and supervision sessions that will help to establish local Community Sharing Circles as a community outreach resource across Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

The trained Community Sharing Circle Facilitators (CSCF’s) will aid reciprocity for people to better resource their own and each other’s wellbeing. The CSCF’s will each have access to specialist training, guidance and ongoing support, to enable them to independently hold a safe space for people who have shared themes of emotional distress; such as loneliness, eating or other disorders, bereaved by suicide; parents/carers of children who self-harm; family health issues (physical or mental health), men’s mental health, survivors of trauma and those struggling with difficult family dynamics.  (Shared themes of distress may extend beyond these examples mentioned.)

Support Source is built on pilot work and public consultation the team have facilitated over the last 9 months as part of our Emerging Kind Project, delivered with support from the ***The Missing Kind Charity. This work included supporting the traineeships of 17 volunteers and engaging over 120 people in conversations about community wellbeing initiatives, on what mental health resources they would like to see locally. 62% of respondents confirmed they would like to have better access to local peer support, listening, and sharing groups.

The Community Sharing Circles project is aimed at meeting this demand by providing support and hope of recovery to people in distress, and marginalised groups who may have been pathologised or disadvantaged due to their psychological struggles. There is sound evidence to indicate that those suffering from distress may find talking to a professional difficult, and that many people benefit more from sharing their problems with trained Peers in an informal, non- hierarchical environment.

Testimonial from a pilot project trainee;

“There has been a profound shift in my sense of well -being, after many years of feeling disconnected from the world and feeling suicidal, I find myself really wanting to live. I am starting to think of the future with optimism for the first time in over 10 years. I am learning to trust my intuition around my own self -care and through this I am slowly building my strength and resilience to be in the world again.”

Should you be interested in finding out more about taking part in this project, or for information on similar bespoke packages for your organisation, please email Linda or Katie at:

linda@kindalistening.org / emergingkind@missingkind.org

Ends

Notes to editors

* Katie Mottram Background – Katie Mottram is an Author, Speaker and Project coordinator

She was one of the Founding Directors of the International Spiritual Emergence Network, providing a collaborative platform for the global networks that exist to support people going through the spiritual emergence process. Her personal story is featured in the publication by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice: Stories of Mind and Soul2016, and in her own book; Mend the Gap, 2014.

Katie founded the International anti- stigma campaign in support of those experiencing spiritual phenomena, #Emerging Proud: http://www.emergingproud.com and the Emerging Kind; a project training Peers to hold ‘Safe Space’ support groups for those going through a difficult transformation process.

**Linda Allen Background –  Linda is the Founder and Trainer of the KindaListening project – a programme that develops deeper listening and empowering conversation for greater connection, wellbeing and community building. It is a foundational part of the Community Sharing Circles training to support individuals to resource themselves and each other by creating a safe space to evolve wellbeing.

Linda works as a Wellbeing Consultant, Coach and Trainer, supporting individuals (and their carers/family) through crisis and beyond, consulting with and delivering training and coaching within organisations to empower sustainable resilience, wellbeing and leadership; supporting emotional wellness for young people in schools and as a therapist at the Breathing Space Norfolk.

*** The Missing Kind charity (registered charity number 1156133) works in partnership with individuals and organisations to provide sustainable solutions to today’s social and environmental problems. The Norwich based charity is a non-sectarian organisation that wants to put the missing kindness back into community and business. Find out more here: https://www.missingkind.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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