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Peer Support Group 2.0, when it becomes a one-to-one

Hello Dreamers!

This Friday is a follow up of last week’s ideas on what to expect from the Student minds’ peer support groups, and we will deal with how it might go if you’re the only person showing up.

It’s something to think about in order to avoid a rushed decision. The facilitators will assure you that you can do whatever makes you feel more comfortable, coming back the following week is not running away nor being weak; and staying for a chat is not a mountain to climb.

However, it should be a constructive opportunity. So here a couple of points that are worth considering:

  • If talking in front of other students is uncomfortable, having a chat alone with the facilitators (remember, also students!) could be easier;
  • Being the only person there inevitably makes you feel a little on the spot;
  • For those who have gone through counselling, it can recall those meetings; remember that you don’t have professionals in front of you. It won’t be a questions and answers session, no one will teach you right from wrong.
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Find your happy moment every day. It can be a cup of tea. #closertoDreamingTheMoon

It’s about how the week is going, what’s giving you a hard time and what’s your zen moment during the day. If you’re struggling to handle assignments, exams, internship or projects the far they go with the advices is making sure that you are aware of the support services the university offers; if you have people you trust to talk to; if you’re taking time to rest and relax. Instead, if it’s the eating disorder that is distracting you and distressing the most, they will cautiously suggest you to consider the help services in Cardiff.

Overall, you can’t really predict what is going to happen. However, as any other one-to-one, it is likely to be a bit more emotional than a regular peer support group. That said, every decision is up to you. Take advantage of the opportunity if you feel up for it, and do not think that being ready will mean not having the famous 60 seconds of crisis. On the contrary, it might mean letting the crisis out, because it’s the most natural and healthy thing to allow to yourself. For those feeling prepared, go for it. On the other hand, this is about honesty and transparency. For those who don’t feel comfortable, there is no point in putting yourself in a distressing situation or a difficult position, so:

√ATTENTION

Keep a lookout for the next Safe place next Friday #closertoDreamingtheMoon

 

 

Rocking the Peer Support Groups

Hello Dreamers!

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An advert in a Cardiff Uni’s bathroom

Today is about a big thing: student minds’ support group. It takes quite an effort to ignore them, because their stickers are in every building of Cardiff UNI, Cardiff Met, and the USW. However, if anyone had asked who thinks that peers support groups are a waste of time, because they’re not professionals; and of energy, because you wouldn’t be able to connect to other people’s stories, my hand would have been in the air.

Therefore, your double agent has gone to their last meeting, and come back with a report. Guess what? They are not professionals, so there is no chance of feeling judged; and you might not be able to connect to other people’s stories, which actually takes a lot of pressure off your own.

Still, will they ask questions? how many people are there? do they ask details to track you afterwards? This might keep people from going. Well, the meetings are run by fellow students, who are trained as facilitators. They do not hold truths (finally!); and they do not make your decisions (thank you!). It is two of them, and 4-5 people attending. They will introduce themselves and explain their three safe rules.

imagesKnowing weight, sizes and calories is not that interesting after all. People come first.

Silence doesn’t harmimagesWhat has been said in the room, stays thereimages

At the beginning of the meeting, attendees are asked to introduce themselves, with as many details as they want. Who would rather skip the presentation can says so. The guidelines on Student minds’ website  provide the generic topic of the month, so you can look it up and decide if you are interested in hearing something about it. March is dedicated to the challenges of University life, when living with an eating disorder. In fact, the facilitators started from there. People share what they wish on how the assignments are going; where will the next vacation be; if they rather stay in Cardiff for Easter or going back home; how they handle ordering at the restaurant during the festivities. Eating disorders come up once in a while, and without any pressure.

No one is saying it is easy, nothing about dealing with an eating disorder is; but at least this meeting is not something to worry about, and relief can be a new and cuddling feeling. In one hour of chatting, there was laughter, and a moment of tenderness: although you can be sitting in silence, once everyone has said something, they might automatically turn towards you. The quizzical eyes are not asking questions, just hoping that you’ll say “hello” back. A cautious encouragement more than a push, but we know that courage makes a difference. If eyes start burning, that is fine as well. In 60 seconds of crisis, you might think that coming was the wrong move. Deep breaths and no shame. No one will ask what is wrong, nor will they explore your demons. It will pass in a minute and the meeting will wrap up fine.

√ RECOMMENDED        

Have you ever attended a peer support group? Share how it went, or why you feel it’s not right for you! Next Friday a follow up on what happens when the peer group becomes a one-to-one!  #closertoDreamingtheMoon    

B-eat On! Call Me Brave

Hello Dreamers,

As promised, this week’s investigation has been about B-eat. You might want to do something about your eating difficulty, but you don’t necessarily wish the whole world to know, and talking to friends and family sounds like making your world go upside down.

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Who says you won’t like the new perspective? #closertoDreamingtheMoon

Since this shouldn’t stop anyone from looking for a solution, B-eat can be the right call.

As most of you, I would rather have proofs than be asked to believe to a stranger’s words, so this is what happened: an email was sent to the B-eat helpline for over 18 years old, to let you know how they approach a person with a potential eating difficulty, and what they will suggest. No worries, it is all good news!

An advisor will respond in a couple of hours. It doesn’t matter if it’s 8pm on a Friday, once you find the courage to call, someone will be there. They will take the pressure off and have a real conversation. Even if the email is two detached lines signed with initials, they will call you by first name, if they can figure it out from the address. Your questions and worries are their first priority. They will answer and calm those, rather than push any kind of agenda on you. They will encourage you to continue with any support you are currently using, and suggest to rely on the University peer support groups, if there are any. This is because sharing a difficulty and connecting with others are likely to be easier and more helpful with someone of your same age and lifestyle.

Important point: you need to expect that they gently insist (if you wish!), that you consult your GP. They know how much effort it takes to send them an email, and this proves them that you are worried enough to call for help. Also, it means that you are almost or definitely aware that a problem exists. However, suggesting to see a GP might scare someone off. No need!! They will send you this leaflet to feel prepared and make the call. The most important thing to remember is that you should come out of that visit with the name of a specialist to see.

After responding to your queries, they will let you know what they can do to help. They do not have free consultancies in Cardiff, but they offer several free support services. One of them is the B-eat message board, which allows people to post and ask for advise. Another tool is the online groups, which work as an interactive chat to discuss a particular challenge related to eating disorders. In order to use these services you will have to register, but you can create a username and remain anonymous.

12747251_10205089470550638_7120380205825560344_oLast point before going home: they stress on seeing your GP because eating disorders trigger every person differently. That personal way of living it determines what is best for your recovery. No online chat or peer will know that, and it’s not fair nor safe asking or telling that to anyone.

√ RECOMMENDED

See you all next Friday to talk peer support groups! Comment below if you made the call! Uoh, that rhyms;) #closertoDreamingtheMoon

Welcome Dreamers!

Dear Dreamers!

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The beauty of imagination exists #closertoDreamingtheMoon

Welcome to the Safe Zone. This space is reserved to those thinking, reading or hearing about eating disorders, and holding back because those are very scary words.

The use of online media to open oneself and trust information on delicate topics is vastly known as unreliable, dangerous and not beneficial. Couldn’t agree more! Facing fears and sharing feelings online can create masks, and drag anyone far away from the real world. Therefore, this blog will not provide medical information; it doesn’t intend to be an emotional therapy; it will not give personal advise.

However, it will provide objective, neutral and safe information on different help services, for those who would like to stop having nightmares about dinner, and go back to dreaming the Moon.

559532_3832964916855_480692934_nHere you will find everything you still don’t know about free support services for eating disorders available in Cardiff. It’s a way to start thinking about the possibility of might changing little things. Seems we’re talking about baby steps, right?! Well, we know it takes courage. So, the search on Google you never made, because it feels like admitting something; the telephone call you didn’t do, because someone might track the number; the visit you didn’t make, because they might ask your name and address, I did it for you.

Here it comes the first fact: the Cardiff Vale &University Health Board website is a complicated labyrinth of pdfs, links and good intentions, but it will make you bang your head against the wall at the end of the day, and drop your purpose. However, they offer a useful guide in which you can start looking for yourself. No pressure to open it. It does not prescribe duties nor any word of honor. On the contrary, it is reassuring, because it only asks to think if there is something in your eating habits that you would like to live differently. They divide the moment in a Pre-contemplation and a Contemplation phase.

Big relief: things can go wrong. Everyone makes mistake, and no one has done anything wrong enough to bury the head under the sand. It is called Relapse, and it means that after few hours, days or weeks since you have committed to some changes, you might decide to through everything to hell. Freaks out are allowed. However, panic is never a good moment to make decisions. In that case, distractions of any kind work, and going to sleep early is not depression! It means resting and giving the brain some peace and quiet (also a big step).

Next day, things can be picked up when were left off. We will as well next Friday, with what B-EAT can do to get us closer to Dreaming the Moon.

In the meantime, if dreams do not come true once told, that must work for nightmares as well. Leave a comment with your most recurrent nightmare. Letting things out might not leave inside your head! #closertoDreamingtheMoon