We learned to think by reason rather than by feelings and imagination.
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August 2015 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

Mischievous Minds

Step 8 of GROW’s 12 Step Program is “we learned to think by reason rather than by feelings and imagination”. This piece was submitted by Irish blogger, Dave Cal.

It’s easy to get sucked into our chaotic inner world, the isolated place where our imaginations run riot and our feelings are easy prey for thought processes that might not always have our best interests at heart. They’re not always wrong or ill-intentioned, but these thought processes need to kept in check if we’re to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Thankfully, as humans, we have reasoning abilities which are still out of reach for even the most advanced supercomputers out there. With this in mind, it should be comforting to us all to know that we each possess our own secret weapon against the misleading and unhelpful creations of our occasionally untrustworthy minds.
GROWers from South East celebrating Con Keogh Day in Courtown

Still, many of us are guilty of justifying extremely counterproductive decisions. Beginning with, for example, a nagging feeling that we won’t enjoy an outing with friends, we’ll often invent very creative excuses for avoiding social occasions. In the short term, we’re happy with our decision and feel as though it’s 100% justified. On what have we based our decision, someone might ask us when we explain to them why we chose to isolate ourselves yet again. I don’t have to tell you that, more often than not, the answer is feelings and imagination.

These justifications begin at the back of our minds, and it is there, in the dark corners of our thinking machines, that feelings and imagination seem to take control and dictate to us how we should run our lives. A feeling of inadequacy might creep in and tell us we won’t contribute anything useful to the outing with friends. This notion that we’re inadequate is likely to be the consequence of rigorous self-analysis after previous social engagements. It’s also likely to be a feeling we’ve cultivated for quite some time, and long-held feelings/beliefs like these are curious beasts in that they often have no basis in reality. In fact, if we examine them and apply reason to these examinations, we can debunk piece by piece most if not all false feelings/beliefs.

Read full article...

Working 9 to 5 on the GROW Journey

A GROWer from the South East region submitted this interesting poem which illustrates the changes which can happen once we start attending GROW meetings. We have only included the first two verses so please visit our website to read the full version or indeed other poems.

Sighing rather loudly I enter the deathly quiet office, “Good morning” says I.
“What’s good about it? Shur isn’t it a horribly rainy day!” says she.
“‘Tis true for you, it’s a terrible day” says I.
“And it’s going to be worse later,” says a small, sad, little voice in the corner.

“That man is on the phone again and he still complaining about everything” says I.
“Oh no! Not that awful so-and-so from yesterday!” says she.
“He will ruin our day” says I.
“I will tell him ye are not here” says the small, sad, little voice in the corner.

Read the full poem on our website...

News from the North West Region

There was a walk in memory of Marian O’Connor in Sligo in June 2015 which raised €1,500 for GROW. In July about 30 members went on the regional summery bus trip to Glenveigh National Park and New Mill Flax Donegal and some staff and members attended the official launch of the Connecting for Life Donegal initiative at LYIT. Regional area co-ordinators, Maria and Marian, attended the Life Long Learning Roadshows in Castlefinn and Killybegs in June.

Church Gate Collections are planned for August 15th and 16th in Donegal and there are plans to attend the "Lets Go Mental" event in the Letterkenny Town Park, Co. Donegal, on 27th August.

News from the North East Region

During July, GROW members from the North East region went on their Summer Bus Trip. Some members also attended the Suicide Or Survive Wellness Workshops in Ardboyne Hotel on 15th July (sponsored by Lions Club).  GROW as also well represented by members who attended ARI (Advancing Recovery in Ireland) Meetings in Drogheda and Navan.

News from the Midlands Region

The Midlands annual summer outing took place on Tuesday 21st July.  A day of glorious weather was enjoyed by all as members headed by bus to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.  There were pick up points in Portlaoise, Mountmellick, Tullamore and Birr, with members from other areas also joining the tour at these points.  The outing  was subsidised by the region with members each contributing towards the cost.  Members spent the day enjoying the sights and sounds of this renowned tourist attraction.  At 2.00pm the group went to the Bunratty Castle Hotel nearby and had lunch together.  They were joined there by Christine Fitzgerald, GROW National Programme Co-ordinator who hails from nearby Limerick.  Tired and happy after a full day the group left the Folk Park and headed back to the midlands.  The members were accompanied for the day by their Area Co-ordinators Assumpta Lyons and John Farren.

News from the Mid West Region

Many thanks to all GROWers, and especially Eric, from the region who turned out in force during June and July for collections in Limerick City, Raheen/Dooradoyle and Nenagh which raised a total of €2,500.  The GROWer Creative Writing sessions, lead by Tim, which take place on Thursdays in Limerick are very popular. Unfortunately we had to put our Monday night Young Adult group into recess for the summer, but in its place a series of talks and workshops by GROWers and for GROWers took place, and these were very well attended.

Sharon and her team continued to host the last Friday coffee morning in Limerick and the numbers attending are increasing.  These informal drop-in sessions provide an ideal opportunity for newcomers to find out a bit more about what GROW has to offer.

News from the South East Region

Groups from the South East held an event in Courtown, Co. Wexford, on 24th July in remembrance of Con Keogh (founding member of GROW).

"Little Lantern" is the name of the house where GROW meetings are held in Dungarvan. Richie, one of the GROWers from the region, composed a song describing what the place means to members and he sang this at the South East regional weekend earlier in the summer. We have included the first verse below but you can read the full song lyrics on the GROW website.


Another GROWer from the region, Amy, bravely shared her story in the Wexford People: Road to Recovery with GROW.

On the Airwaves

Josie, a member of the GROW/Ceart Group in Kilkenny, featured on the "Living Word" programme on RTE Radio 1 from 29th June to 3rd July. If you missed it, you can listen to the podcasts here, in which she recalls her Kilkenny childhood and how GROW has helped her to deal with long term pain and illness.

Josie, along with Christina from the North East region, are due to be on the Sean O'Rourke Show on RTE 1 some time soon. We'll keep you posted on that.

Meanwhile, over on Newstalk FM, there is a new monthly Mental Wealth Podcast. Coincidentally, the first installment about Depression featured John Moynes who was also on the Living Word the week after Josie.

Matt Cooper had author Brian McNulty from Limerick on his show on Today FM recently to discuss Brian's new book: Embracing Sanity: One Man's Footsteps - well worth a read if you get a chance.

Derry O'Malley, who is well known to GROWers nationwide having given many talks and workshops, has his own Headspace Show on Sundays on Limerick City Community Radio ( Podcasts from recent shows are available on-line. Derry most recently interviewed John Downey director of The Samaritans in Limerick and Tipperary.

John Lonergan Talk in Waterford

GROW Patron, John Lonergan (former Governor of Mountjoy Prison), is giving a talk entitled “nurturing happiness and contentment” in Brook House, Cork Road, Waterford on Wednesday the 19th August 2015 at 1:30pm.

Everyone who is or has been in contact with the mental health services along with their friends and family members are invited and encouraged to attend this public talk.

Tea and coffee will be served to those in attendance. Very special thanks must be extended to Peter Kelly, Assistant Director of Nursing, who has provided a wonderfully positive and consistent support to GROW and to Caroline Crotty, Area Coordinator South East. Further enquiries to Caroline 086 467 3239.

Sow a thought and reap and act...

In GROW, we are very familiar with this verse: -

Sow a thought and reap an act
Sow an act and reap a habit
Sow a habit and reap a character
Sow a character and reap a destiny

Pauline shares some of her thoughts on this... Change is slow and practice makes perfect.  If one wants to change something in yourself or learn a new skill, they say that a little practice often is better than one to two chunks of practice in the week. The week before I did my driving test - which I passed - my driving instructor advised me to go out and practise for about 20 minutes four or five days.

For about 6 years now I have being doing yoga, and I find now that, first thing in the morning, I automatically put my two feet on the mat and get started. We are all creatures of habit, so practising regularly makes our behavior automatic.
Keep doing what you are doing and you'll keep getting what you are getting. Change some little thing about yourself and you'll be surprised at how other things change as well.
Character is necessary to sustain us in difficult times.  By chipping away at something everyday, we eventually achieve our goals. For example, the sculptor who is chipping away the 500th, 700th, 900th chip, and finally at the 1000th chip it appears - the figure that he or she had been search for.

Coca Cola Staff Cycling for GROW

The Commercial Products Supply Division of Coca Cola has 3 sites in Ireland: Athy, Drogheda and Ballina. This month, on 22nd August, staff from the three plants are staging a charity cycle in aid of GROW. A group of cyclists from each of the three sites are heading off and they plan to all meet up in Athlone, which is approximately equidistant from each plant. These events form part of Coca Cola’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.  We wish them the best of luck on their travels and hope to have a full report in the September newsletter. See full details in the Kildare Nationalist.

Odds and Ends

  • Mental Health Reform recently published their 2014 Annual Report, which highlights some of their achievements to date, and challenges which lie ahead as we move into 2016, the 10th anniversary of A Vision for Change..
  • It's great to see the HSE/NOSP #LittleThings Campaign appearing on TV & Radio stations nationwide and on social media. The campaign's key message is that we all experience difficulties from time to time but there are "Little Things" we can all do which have a positive impact on our wellbeing and which help us to cope.
  • Suicide Prevention Week is fast approaching (7th-13th September) and Cycle Against Suicide has a new initiative this year, Events Against Suicide, so no doubt there will be many events taking place nationwide and we will endeavour to highlight these in our September issue. Console are hosting their annual World Suicide Prevention Day Conference on 10th Sept in Croke Park.
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