The Un-Pursuit of Happiness?

Rather than seeking active happiness pursuits it would appear far more beneficial to develop a sense of ‘ataraxia’ calmness untroubled by mental or emotional disquiet or as I prefer to see it ‘tranquillity’. I came to this conclusion after reading an article in The Guardian regarding ‘un-pursuing happiness’ – Seems odd – right?

In these times of uncertainty, when we actively seek out happiness pursuits, we can become disappointed as unforeseen restrictions are placed upon us. But whilst reflecting on this, I guess disappointment can happen at any time even without a pandemic.

Maybe we could focus our attention and practise things that allow us to feel more tranquil in the long run. Which brings me on to ‘what things’ we can practice?

Stop taking everything for granted and practise gratitude. As I discussed with my son who was distressing about his fractured and dislocated shoulder – at least your mother is here to make you an omelette and wash your hair and it could have been your foot ‘to boot’. Gratitude isn’t some big new idea – it’s appreciation and being thankful. It’s about paying attention to what we (not everyone else) have and what we know helps us on a daily basis. Simple things like ‘enough milk for my tea this morning’ or ‘You answered the phone when I reached out’.

Become mentally flexible in situations. Riding the highs and lows and not attaching any particular mindset to either – in fact attaching no ‘mind’ would be more beneficial and although we are just mere mortals this can still be achieved by being aware of our thoughts at all times. Trying to ignore negative thoughts/situation doesn’t make them go away and conversely focusing too much on positive thoughts doesn’t allow them to stay forever – we call this life. 

What about developing a ‘problem solving’ and ‘curious’ attitude, even if you have no idea about how to fix a computer issue (I’m talking about myself here). Nowadays, my first thought is normally – ‘Can I sort this? Could I find out how to? It’s being curious about things, which can help when we are striving to adopt a non-fear of failure approach or ‘growth mindset’ – Why did the cream cheese frosting turn out so runny? Add a bit of research and maybe a bit of discussion with others and you might find that you can fix the problem – Ahhhh, if you use less than totally full fat cream cheese and you overbeat the icing sugar (icing sugar likes to become liquidy if overbeaten) and add too much lemon juice rather than zest – you get sloppy frosting and that’s no good if your cake is as dense as lead roofing. 

Experiencing different situations and learning new things regardless of whether we fail or not (as already mentioned – growth mindset). There is so much out there that we can experience, even from our own homes.

Shakespeare
And talking of the Bard

Get online and see what you can experience. I’ve ‘virtually’ been to a classical concert with Philharmonia, attended a few courses from Treadwells, learnt about the history of paganism and learnt how to make my own incense (who knew you could burn household herbs and spices), sat in an audience with His Holiness (or as I like to call him – Wonderfulness) The Dalai Lama, Daryl Edwards, Ruby Wax, Jon Kabat-Zinn and others from Action for Happiness events. I watched two brilliant ‘live’ events by Eddie Izzard (WUNDERBAR) and Russell Brand (Our Little Lives – Shakespeare and Me). And talking of the Bard – I felt very privileged to watch the rehearsals and live dress rehearsal of Henry VI and be an active part of the performance ‘Dream’. Attending some of these functions would never have entered my mind if it had not been for the restraints of the virus and therefore an enforced need to look elsewhere for entertainment. 

Engaging your inner child – although ‘inner child’ has, like a lot of terms in MH, become quite trendy, – It’s simply about being silly and playful and not taking ourselves so seriously. Sometimes as adults we think that we are looked to for those ‘adult’ attributes otherwise we may be less worthwhile members of society. If you think about the characteristics of children, they are really quite perfect. They don’t discriminate or judge (perhaps broccoli), they are very accepting, affectionate and loving – but they also know exactly how to engage with play and take themselves off on adventures. Whiling-away hours building dams and fighting the cause for the greater good and they never complain about what you have dressed them in. Of course, I am talking about kids up to a certain age and those who have not been unduly messed up and conditioned by adults – as Eckhart Tolle says when discussing the negative mind “Negativity is totally unnatural…Have you come across a depressed dolphin, a frog that has a problem with self-esteem, a cat that cannot relax, or a bird that carries hatred and resentment? The only animals that may occasionally experience something akin to negativity or show signs of neurotic behaviour are those that live in close contact with humans and so link into the humans mind and its insanity.” – I think the same can be said for most children. And they love to laugh and part of that is laughing at things being silly and being silly themselves – innocent silliness. Finally, whilst I’m extoling the attributes of children, they do not need a reason to seek out exercise because most of the time they call it playing – Check out Daryl Edwards Primal Play.

Lastly, I’d like chat about the benefits, as I see it, of listening to Solfeggio frequency music (see links below).

I’ve been listening to this music, of which there are many examples on YouTube, for about 6 months. You can listen whilst meditating or not meditating (always our choice). This frequency music has been linked to many mental and physical health benefits and therefore you can choose which ‘frequency/frequencies’ best suit your needs. This is how I tend to approach the music for the day when I meditate. It allows me to get into a meditative state quickly and induces feelings of blissfulness and calm during and continuing into my day. Great – Yeah? Well, something occurred to me not very long ago – Some days the continued feeling (after meditating) of tranquillity and bliss seemed to be drowned out by a petulant entity that seemingly delighted in producing negative thoughts. To quieten this propaganda, I would tell my emotional brain (my chimp) to back off but in doing so I would often be left feeling less tranquil AND irritated that the thoughts had ‘visited’ in the first place. Afterall, hadn’t I just quietened my mind and hadn’t I just been observing my thoughts? Upon reflection (reflecting, not analysing, reflecting) I was reminded that the thoughts were only visitors and that I could use a gentler, loving and kind approach to ask them to take their leave – they are after all my DNA, my Relatives, ME. I think that when we start out or continue on our lifelong learning journey, some days can seem like the first day, and a reminder to be self-compassionate and loving and kind and affectionate towards ourselves on those days will help to ease the ‘no man’s land’ of an obtrusive mindset. However, it is the ‘tools’ the ‘practices’ that will ultimately release us from ourselves and allow happiness to flow.

https://meditativemind.org/benefits-of-music-based-on-7-solfeggio-frequencies/

https://www.naturehealingsociety.com/articles/solfeggio/

Jackie Bean

Director of Operations

Feel Good Fridays – What a Year (and a bit!)

Feel Good Fridays – What a Year (and a bit!)

When our courses were moved online early last year as Coronavirus spread, Deanne discussed with the Impact team how else we could reach out to our current and former learners as the initial lockdown progressed.

One solution was to take advantage of the new technology we had successfully embraced for delivery of the programmes. So, by holding regular catch-ups using the Zoom meeting app, Feel Good Fridays were started!

“Starting every Friday at 10.30 and lasting for a couple of hours. These sessions are all about fun, discussions around health & wellbeing, updates and games! It’s a bit like popping out for coffee with friends and going home feeling relaxed, informed and more often than not, in a better mood!”

Just like we teach on our courses, as the last 15 months progressed many blips/wobbles occurred in our lives, as the country would go in and out of lockdowns and through varying restrictions. We found this regular get-together an invaluable source of Peer-Support, not only for our learners but also for the Impact team!

A good number of former learners, some having done courses 4 or 5 years ago gave us a great opportunity to catch up with their lives, plus occasionally help them review some of the tools and practises which could help with their current situation. After all, as Deanne and Jackie have astutely observed, “So, if you have been hard on yourself for not doing better than you think you should, ask yourself – when was the last time you went through a Global Pandemic?”

It has also proved invaluable for learners who have only met each other online this past year or so. This has extended their social support beyond the course/s they attended, which in a classroom setting may have been limited to their fellow attendees. Occasionally some may admit during Feel Good Friday that for personal reasons things are not going their way. However, the unconditional support, lack of judgement, compassion and love that comes their way from others they sometimes barely know has proved a great source of comfort and strength to them, leaving the get-together with a more positive outlook.

It has been striking how much depth of knowledge there has been imparted between attendees. We’ve all been educated on the most diverse of subjects, from gardening and plant-care, to arts and crafts, plus environmental concerns and solutions that are becoming important issues in our 21st Century lives. Where else would you find out where to get sustainable bamboo toilet rolls and tissues, how to forage for mushrooms and other foodstuffs, or healthy recipes using vegan alternatives…although providing yourself with tea and cake to consume during the session is always welcomed!

What Deanne and Jackie have also found useful about Feel Good Fridays is the opportunities to try out new learning. So, subjects such as Breathwork and improving Vagus nerve function have been discussed, with half-an-eye on introducing them into the Impact programmes. It’s also been useful for our former learners when something has been added recently to a course, as invariably they will be mentioned the Friday after being covered, e.g. WOOP my life!

So, after well over a year, albeit with the occasional holiday breaks such as the summer one just started, Feel Good Fridays will continue for the foreseeable. We will let you know soon when we plan to re-start them, after Impact’s August shutdown. If you’ve already registered for the sessions then there’s no need to register again, just keep the confirmation email handy and use the Zoom link in that each week, after we’ve emailed everyone with a re-commencement date in a few weeks. Of course, if you’re a former learner that always been meaning to join us, but not yet got round to registering for Feel Good Friday, then here’s the link.

Harry Lindsay – Volunteer and Tech Guru!

Planning My 2021 Summer Journey

Planning My 2021 Summer Journey

Summer is here, schools have finished and it’s time for a break from my Impact volunteering.

I’m feeling excited and ready for a break from routine, whilst looking forward to having time for me, lots of adventures, hopefully some sunshine and spending quality time outdoors with the kids. (This is what I’m telling myself but not necessarily feeling!)

Happy and grateful, is how I think I expected to feel right now and perhaps that’s what I think others expect me to feel too?

Not the case, because that is far from what I actually feel right now.

The truth is, I feel anxious about not having my normal structure and my reliable routine that school and Impact bring me.

I’m concerned that I will struggle to find a healthy balance in the daily routine for the kids and myself.

How am I going to entertain the kids for 6 weeks?! I fear the days will just roll into one, without me achieving anything and that I’ll feel guilty our life doesn’t look the same as ‘other peoples’ summer holidays on social media – the neighbours and colleagues with BBQs, holidays, days out, laughing, relaxing and achieving their summer goals. But what causes me the most fear is that I might have a blip in my mental health.

But! In writing all of the above and thinking about the ‘what if’s’, I am already aware of my thinking and emotions. So, I can now put things in place to challenge these thoughts/feelings around, and I start by going head-first into the Impact wellbeing toolbox for positive change!

First, I know I need to focus on me. Not in a selfish way, but in a self-care way because I know when I am mentally well, I am able to give more of myself to my loved ones.

Also, it’s not whole days I need to plan for myself, it’s 30 mins to an hour a day that I need to replenish, refuel and give myself the attention that I deserve.

The first tool I will be taking out of my toolbox is the Impact RAMPS.

I’ve been using it for a couple of years now, but like everything it can end up on the back burner, especially when we are doing okay.

Here’s what I plan to do!

  • My first task is to put pen to paper and plan my daily Impact RAMPS to help give me balance in my day’s, which in turn will help to create a healthy balance in the kids’ days.
  • Im going to take 5 minutes in the evening to plan the different activities for the following day. These activities need to be only for 5 or 10 minutes long, and some of them I would be doing anyway, but it’s making sure I’m hitting all of the RAMPS areas to bring a healthy balance to my day.
  • This summer I’m also going to try it out for the kids, what a great template to use for them. Summer days can easily pass them by on a games console or in front of the TV, and I’m sure there will be a couple of these days over the 6 weeks but it’s an important choice for me to plan a balanced structure for their day too.
  • Next, I plan on sitting down with the kids and deciding on something new we can learn together. I can just imagine what ideas are going to be suggested! Parasailing, Cliff Diving or Parkour LOL. Mind you, that might be for you and if it is, go for it! My thoughts are more, learn a language, begin learning to play an instrument, photography or nature trails. When we\they decide, wish me luck!
  • SMARTS is going to be my next tool. It’s going to be helpful in planning and breaking down exactly what we need to do step by step to achieve it. Whether that’s learning a sentence in another language or a few notes on an instrument, don’t get me wrong I’m not expecting to be bilingual or applying to be a part of an orchestra! But using SMARTS breaks down all the excuses that the Chimp might come up with and makes it achievable because I’ve decided what’s it’s going to be and I’ve planned all the steps I need to make. And if the chimp pops up and throws us off track we can evaluate and go back to the planning. I now actually looking forward to this summer holidays!
Parasailing

That’s my plan for the summer of 2021.

To be honest when I was asked to write something for the newsletter, I felt dread and fear. I don’t like putting pen to paper, publicly, although I can talk all day if required! LOL. But I am so glad that I did write this article.

Getting my feelings and fears out of my head and writing them down with my plans to face and overcome them, has made me feel so much better about the next six-weeks. This is something else Impact encourage their learners to try, as the science is there to back up journaling/planning and sharing our feelings/fears.

Writing or talking about them, gives our logical brain the time to kick in and look at the facts and not allow our Chimp to run with negative/unhelpful thinking and emotions that can sometimes tell us we are not good enough at… or, we are not able to do… or, we don’t deserve… or, we are not worthy of… 

So, with all that said, bring on the next 6 weeks and my Impact toolbox.

It’s not going to be perfect; nothing is! But it’s going to be me and the kids, structure, routine, fun, laughter, down days, and self-care, our way.

Life is a journey, and we can plan it, or not, just like our summer holidays and there will be ups and downs, and that’s ok. In facing our feelings and fears and being equipped with the Impact Wellbeing toolbox, we can learn to be in the driver’s seat of our journey rather than feeling like we are being dragged along.

I’m planning my 2021 summer journey to make sure the kids and I get the best we can out of the next 6 weeks, and I’m relaxed, rested and ready for Impact’s Autumn Term!

Elaine Pestell – Impact Volunteer

A Story Of Success

We love to get keep in touch with our learners and, of course, we love it even more when we know what we do is making a difference.

Here’s a message we received last week from someone who attended the online version of the YOU Programme and The YOUR Recovery Pathways courses.

Please forgive me for not messaging you sooner. It’s just a quick message… a “thank you” more than anything.

Since attending your course at the end of 2019, my life has definitely improved. I think of all the things you taught us, the RAMPS were the greatest help to me. It gave my life a new focus and I began to enjoy things again. Being open and talking about how I’d been feeling was also essential in my moving forward.

I am so thankful that I went on the course when I did… because who knew that this pandemic was just around the corner. Heaven knows where my mental health would be now had I not done the course when I did. So many people will be experiencing some kind of mental health issue, now and in the future because of this.

Anyway, a BIG, BIG thank you for helping me through that very difficult period. Thanks to Jackie and Harry as well, of course. I know you’ll have been helping many more people since I was on my course… so carry on doing your amazing work.

A recent learner

A Thank You Note From A Learner

It’s always lovely to get feedback from learners on completing one of our programmes, specially when it has such positive outcomes.

Here’s one that has really made everyone one on the team smile. 😊

Dear Deanne and Jackie,

A short note to share good news and to thank you both for the support during the courses.

The news is, I landed a job overseas, and I am travelling this weekend to take charge.

And I want to thank you both for the learnings and insights from the course, without which it would not have been possible for me to stay focussed and drive forward to what I wanted to achieve. Thank you both very much for your support, understanding and patience throughout. And thanks a ton for the lessons and tools I am equipped with. Btw, the book is travelling with me to the new job 😃  

Please extend my sincere thanks to Harry and Elaine as well. Our course group is meeting every Wednesday on Zoom to continue to support each other, yesterday was the second meet up.

With lots of love and many thanks once again

A Recent Impact Learner

On The Road With Harry

On The Road With Harry

I’m writing this whilst on a bus journey, something I have got quite used to in the past 40-odd years. Even though I got my provisional driving licence when I turned 17, my life never quite presented me with the opportunity to make use of it, beyond the occasional ID requirements!

However, a recent legacy of my late sister left me with an offer I couldn’t refuse: her car! So, after decades of procrastination and set-backs leaving me emotionally, socially, professionally and mentally unable to cope with such a task, at the beginning of this year I took the plunge and booked lessons.

What was different this time that allowed me to take such action for the first time in my life? Ok, I had the chance to fulfil my sister’s wishes and make a little sense of her passing. Then there was a year-plus of Impact techniques learnt and practiced, to aid and support me in coping with something I doubt I would’ve ever achieved a short time ago.

So, I was able to set myself a long-term goal, plan the steps and short term goals to set me on the path to learning. I worked out what was important and what could be avoided, after all the future of cars aren’t manual gearboxes! Add that fate had transpired my sister’s last car to be an automatic, so destiny was in my favour there…

Using tools to cope with my thoughts and feelings, I overcame my fears in finding an instructor, relying on my strengths in researching to find someone suitable and contact them. I have taken my time, not succumbing to peer pressure to rush though lessons and take a test as soon as possible, it’s not really necessary in my case so why follow other’s targets and expectations.

I recognised improvements every week and took encouragement from my instructor as he also saw them. After a few months I booked my theory test, planning my revision and using online resources to practice. I didn’t see it as a do-or-die situation, if it didn’t work out I was sure I could see what I did wrong. So, coming into an examination-style situation did not phase me and I was relatively relaxed, even when they informed me I passed!

Now the driving became a short-term priority and I was able to cope with getting my car back on the road, taxed, insured and MOT’d, acting on advice from trusted people around me. I have since been using my peer support to help me get experience driving it, preparing me for the big day of the practical test, which is now booked and just weeks away. Even now I refuse to be phased by this target, as I know if it doesn’t work out, I have no doubt that I will pass in due course.

After that, I can look forward to all the new targets I can set, using this major new strength. I doubt I will be waiting for buses in the near future…

Going Forward With Life

Going Forward With Life

I initially found out about Impact whilst I was seeing an NHS therapist in the Bedfordshire Wellbeing Centre.

A Bedford learner

I had hit rock bottom and felt like there was no way out. My mental health was the worst it had ever been.
I felt like the treatment I was getting via the NHS wasn’t helping me at all, so finding Impact was a ray of hope.

I’m 30 years old, I’ve been married for 8 years to a member of the armed forces and I’m a mother to one.

I’ve had periods of poor mental health throughout most of my life. I’ve always struggled with anxiety, depression and insomnia but I also had a period of post-natal depression after my son was born. I was also diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is exacerbated by my mental health.

Growing up I had a difficult childhood. I had very little relationship with my parents and struggled with feelings of neglect. Then, when I was 6, my brother was born and the gap just widened. I felt incredibly isolated and alone. Looking back on it now, I’m pretty confident my mother suffered from Post Natal Depression but at the time I was too young to understand.

As a teenager I was bullied for 4 years. I was verbally and physically abused on a daily basis but because of my home life I didn’t have anyone who could support me through this. When I did eventually reach out to my grandmother about being bullied; my parents removed me from the school and placed me into a new school. I was much happier and I flourished for a while.

I met my husband when I was quite young and we had 2 really fantastic years together before he joined the military. We’ve now been a part of the military for 10 years and during that time my mental health has declined rapidly. I became mentally co-dependent with my husband. Over the years I became incredibly needy and obsessive about his behaviour and we clashed repeatedly about his career. I didn’t realise that my behaviour had become toxic and I was slowly poisoning our relationship. I was always unhappy but couldn’t pin point why. At times I even questioned if our relationship was doomed to failure.

In 2012 we made the decision to try to have a baby. We were in a reasonably good patch and so when I became pregnant it felt like the icing on the cake. I didn’t realise then that becoming a parent would just increase the pressure on us as a couple. Having children within the military lifestyle can be pretty tough and we struggled at every stage. I resented my husband for leaving me alone with the baby to go to work. I felt even more alone and neglected. His career flourished and he was so happy and all the time I was supporting him, I started to hate him.

In October 2018 my husband was due to depart for a month overseas. During the weeks building up to this my son was incredibly unhappy, my dog became dangerously ill and my job was becoming increasingly stressful. I had days where I didn’t eat or sleep at all but in front of others I portrayed this controlled calm persona. When my husband eventually left, I’d had 5 solid days of no sleep and very little food. I managed to get my son up and dressed but whilst I was doing this I noticed a shortness of breath. This then progressed to a full blown panic attack. I knew in my heart that I needed professional help and managed to drive myself to my GP.

I had a desire to tell someone everything. All the things I was hiding from others and ultimately myself. He took some time discussing my symptoms and was pretty confident I was suffering from Generalised Anxiety disorder and Insomnia.

Although this isn’t one of my happiest memories, I now see it as the beginning of my recovery.

When I first attended Impact I had very little knowledge of mental health. I was initially hoping to learn about anxiety and how I could help myself to recover. Little did I know that it would not only educate me but fully equip me on my path to recovery.

I’ve attended both the You Programme and the Your Pathway to Recovery programme.

Within the YOU programme I learned how to use RAMPS to ensure I was helping myself stay mentally healthy. This subject made me realise that I had fully detached and isolated myself from everyone around me, including myself!

I decided to completely overhaul my lifestyle and introduce new routines. Some of which included making new friends and becoming more physically active. I also introduced journaling into my daily routine and started a much healthier sleep pattern.

Once I realised I had better control of my wellbeing by utilising this tool I noticed a real improvement in my mental health.

When the YOU Programme finished I couldn’t wait to carry on with the learning so signed up for the YOUR Recovery Pathway Programme.

During the gap between the courses I joined an aerobics class, started meeting with friends at least once a week and sleeping much better.

I’m currently working through the YOUR Pathway to Recovery programme. It’s been another huge eye opener for me!

I finally understand that my relationship with my husband had become toxic and how detrimental it was to my wellbeing. I knew I needed to make some huge changes in that area of my life and the class gave me the knowledge on how to achieve this.

I had another ‘Eureka!’ moment when I realised that the pain I was carrying from my childhood was severely damaging me and no one else. I needed to allow myself to process what had happened and let it go. With this knowledge and the professional help I have been receiving from a private therapist I’m working towards this.

This time last year I was incredibly unhappy and couldn’t see a way out. Now, with the skills and tools I have learned and the changes I’ve made in my life, I honestly feel like I’m recovering.

I still have periods of anxiety but now I’m prepared and equipped to deal with these episodes.

I am now in a much healthier place both mentally and physically.

A Bedford Learner

My relationships are growing and adapting to my new mentality and I look forward to the future. I now have the strength to deal with my previous issues with my parents and I’m beginning to see the possibility of a relationship with them. Also my husband and I are now working together on improving our day to day life. I feel like I can become a much better wife and mother now.

I can’t wait to go forward with my life.

A Bedford Learner

I Found Impact

I Found Impact

After trying a number of organisations and my doctor to be met with a minimum of 12 weeks waiting lists. My cousin came across Impact through her volunteering with CLI. They immediately offered me a place starting the following week, lucky me ?

I needed help!

After a life with abusive parents I sought a way out and thought I’d found that with my husband who also turned out to be abusive. I ended the relationship with my parents 5 years ago and the relationship with my husband at the end of 2018.

Around this time my relationship with my daughter broke down and my mother passed away in January 2019. I decided to make a big move to a different country in a bid to start a new life. I have suffered with poor mental health for a number of years and have had treatments and been on various courses. When I made the move my husband decided to go full speed with the control and applied for custody of our child. Then it hit me like a brick wall, overwhelmed, depression, no self-worth, anxiety, I felt like I was losing control, everything was my fault… it had to be me! I wasn’t good enough.

I knew my mental health was poor and I needed help. So I reached out to a number of organisations, so many that by the time I spoke with impact I had my story down to a tee. I was almost robotic in saying it, I had said it so many times before. Eventually, and what felt like just in time I was starting the Impact YOU programme.

My Journey on the Impact YOU Programme & YOUR Recovery Pathways

An Impact Learner In Flitwick

My self-worth and confidence were on the floor and the thoughts of sitting with a group and discussing things scared me. I was scared of being judged, put on the spot and finding out that I had brought this on myself!

I turned up despite my fears and was me with a smile and a hug and my fears started to fall away a little.
There was no judgement, no pressure, no being put on the spot. There was nothing only huge understanding, support, great people, lots of tea and biscuits and a wealth of knowledge, which I am proud to say I have taken a great deal of with me.

On the YOU Programme we learned how the brain has 3 parts when it comes to our thoughts and how one part is our worst critic, which when we have poor mental health this is the one we tend to listen to. We learned simple techniques like naming this part our chimp, to be able to distinguish it. Which was a huge moment for me because it helped me understand where all these negative thoughts were coming from and it wasn’t only me who had a chimp! There are studies to prove it’s in all of us, it’s just up to us how much we listen to it and let it affect us.

Impact were straight in there with their box of tools to help us keep our chimp within its boundaries. Simple tools such as breathing, acknowledge our chimp and looking after ourselves more. We were introduced to the Impact tool called RAMPS, which is a great and easy way to remember what kind of thing’s we should be doing every day to help our mental health… even for just a few minutes each day.

This helped me in so many different ways. I started to feel a little lighter, think a little clearer, which in turn makes everything a little easier. The huge bonus was that whilst I was learning all these new techniques I was also receiving fantastic peer support from a great group of people from all walks of life with different stories.

We shared laughs, tears, cakes? hugs and respect for each other. Which continued into the YOUR Recovery Pathways Programme, which was a master class in itself, but definitely did not feel like school or I’d been straight out that door!

We watched talk clips, played game’s (surprisingly good & funny ?) did arts and crafts, had discussions and the knowledge and understanding I got was amazing.

Sometimes straight away in light bulb moments, where I was saying ‘Oh my God’ and for others it might have taken a little longer to sink in and even in a group environment there was never any pressure and everyone moved at their own pace.

We looked into our life expectations, relationships, shame with others and ourselves. Fear, personal strengths, self-nurture, visualisation, ego, mindfulness, goals and my step by step plans to help me move forward to where I want to be. Which has not only given me the confidence and strength but the passion to get to that place.

For me this was the start of my learning and me building myself up to the kick ass b***h I know I can be. I know I’m strong, I’ve got through all of this but I’m imagining what I can now become when I put that strength into positive actions in my life, instead of it getting me through the negative. I know life has ups and downs and I look forward to them because I believe I will never hit the same lows I have before…

My eyes have really been opened to things I can’t un-see and with the knowledge, tools and understanding I’ve been given by Impact and my peers I’m going to grab this beautiful life with both hands and live it to my fullest.

Life’s Burdening Baggage

This is ‘My Story’ … It is written with the belief that, in ‘recovery’, I can celebrate, and by sharing my story it will bear witness to my struggles and how they were overcome… and just maybe by sharing, someone reading this will find inspiration to continue with their own recovery…

From YOU To My Daughter

In response to her daughters growing anxiety about attending a Hen weekend, a former learner from a February 2018 YOU programme, currently attending a Dunstable YOUR Recovery Pathways course; sent her daughter a text…