GROW's Step 8 is "We learned to think by reason rather than by feelings and imagination"
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Fear and Change

Step 8 of the GROW 12 Step Program is "We learned to think by reason rather than by feelings and imagination" and the Gorey GROW group have put together their thoughts on this topic.  In order to grow, one has to change, but change can be fearful and that is where rational thinking is so important.
When you experience paralyzing fear in your daily life, your body and mind never rest. You start your morning with a churning feeling in your stomach as you anticipate a day that you’re convinced you cannot handle. Consumed by fear, your life seems unbearable. Your mind ruminates on everything that has happened – every minute detail – and all that might happen. You fear both the known and the unknown...

This fear we experience is often a product of exaggerated thoughts, thoughts that cause us extreme and frequent feelings of dread. With these thoughts, we may begin to actually fear the fear itself, and tell ourselves that ‘I really cannot stand these feelings of panic’. Fear makes you helpless and the joy of living is taken away...

Fear is, after all, a part of life. It is part of a range of feelings, good and bad, that we as human beings experience on a daily basis. As we come to accept our fear, we will find that this fear decreases and becomes manageable; we can bear it. We can truly do as the famous book says: “we can feel the fear and do it anyway”!

The definition given in the dictionary of the word change is to ‘make or become different’. We generally spend our childhood and early adulthood becoming different; we grow taller, make new friends, start working etc. This is a natural type of change, a change that can often happen to us without our even thinking much has occurred. When we look around us, we see that everyone is changing and growing in this manner and therefore we are assured this change is normal and good. This is how life is supposed to be, we think, and therefore we put up little resistance...

Sometimes people may think that they simply cannot change, that they lack the ability to take on such an arduous and major task. Change can seem so big and scary while our daily habits- though they affect us negatively in the long run- seem easy and comfortable. We are afraid of change, doubtful and resentful, and it is all because we presume that we are just too small to accomplish such a big task.

Though our lives remain unhappy and stuck, we continue to resist change. Stuck in a rut, constantly in a state of paranoia, worry, panic and despair, we are helpless as to what to do about it. This is a time when change is exactly is what is needed. Change is more achievable that we think! GROW breaks down change into the three basic changes:
  • Change of thinking and talk.
  • Change of ways.
  • Change of relationships.
Find out more and read the full article...

The GROW in Ireland Newsletter Team

News and Updates from around the Country

Confidence is not a feeling but an attitude of mind

At the recent Western Region weekend in Esker, there were a number of Leaders’ papers, on the subject of Confidence, presented by GROWers. These are well worth sharing and are ideal for use during the “Middle Routine” of GROW meetings (during which there is discussion and learning on a mental health topic). As GROWers will know, confidence is one of GROW’s Five Foundations of Maturity (Understanding, Acceptance, Confidence, Control & Love). Many thanks to the three contributors: Mary, Catherine and Theresa.

Mary: How often we hear people say, “Hasn’t so and so got great confidence”, or “I would love to be as confident as so and so”.  No person is born with confidence, but we develop confidence over time. Confidence is not a feeling, but an attitude of mind. Confidence is the cornerstone of happiness in everyday life. Think positively about yourself. Look for good points both in yourself and others. Read more...

Theresa: When suffering from anxiety or depression your confidence takes a hard knock. Things that came easy to you now seem very difficult. That could be going on journeys; going on a social night out; meeting people; even answering your phone when it rings.  Don’t avoid these small things. Instead challenge yourself, one small step at a time. If you suffer from agoraphobia, make a commitment to take on a small challenge every day. Challenge yourself to get to your front door; then to your front gate; then to walk down the street. “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. Read more...

Catherine: Looking at this at first, it is very hard to understand. Why should confidence not be a feeling? We go so much by feeling. We do not do something, especially when it is challenging; when our feelings tell us we can’t do it or we can’t stand it. We listen to the bluff and end up doing nothing; we end up feeling bad that we did not undertake the project. The more we give in to our feelings that we can’t do something, the more and more we lose control of our lives. Read more...

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdomBertrand Russell.


Race2Glory in Kiltimagh

Shauna Jackson (GROW Area Co-ordinator, Mayo) describes first hand her experience participating in the Kiltimagh Race2Glory adventure challenge.

A wet and misty morning greeted my husband Andrew and me, along with over 150 other competitors in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo on Saturday 12th July for Race2Glory. This was my first ‘adventure’ race. A big deal, as I’d only been back running since March after a few years break and let's just say, I’m no spring chicken anymore! Andrew, a hardened and experienced adventure runner (multiple Gaelforce races and half marathons), had agreed to do the whole thing with me at my pace...

As Andrew and I finished, I cannot explain how happy I was to complete the race. In little over 4 months, I’d gone from being a very occasional runner, to completing my first adventure race and fundraising for GROW in the process. We finished at the back and it didn’t matter- I was so happy to finish and get round without giving up. It was one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I have ever done and with the help of others I had managed to finish. I hope that by completing the race, I can motivate and encourage others that it’s never too late to start something new and that those experiencing mental health issues will be encouraged to continue their own journey towards wellness and recovery. Read more...


Limerick Mental Health Consumer Panel Conference

On 8th Sept Limerick Mental Health Consumer Panel will host a national conference at Thomond Park titled 'From passive recipient to active participant'. We aim to highlight the potential for recovery from mental health challenges to a happy life and meaningful involvement in society. This potential can be awakened, fostered and developed - a number of people on the panel are living testament to this idea. Apart from the speakers (which include Shari McDaid, Liz Brosnan and Micheal Ryan) we invite members of other consumer panels around the country along to share and exchange our experiences in workshops. We also hope to have interested people along who may or may not now be engaged in promoting positive mental health and may wonder how they can help prevent somebody close to them from slipping into the danger zone, and support themselves and others on their recovery journey.

In 2006, the Irish government published ‘A Vision of Change’, the roadmap for improving Irish mental health services which sadly has only been implemented partly so far. Out of this, Limerick Mental Health Consumer Panel was founded - but few people are aware of it.

The panel represents the voices of people who have [had] experience living with mental health challenges, and those supporting them: carers, families and friends, as well as some dedicated professionals. We want to play our part in the planning, delivery and evaluation of mental health services.

Communication and respectful negotiation are key in bringing about change as awareness of issues, as are acknowledgment of the need to adjust and the will to do so. We meet to listen to each other and discuss ideas and ways to implement them. Like everybody else we are struggling with lack of funds and related issues - but our own vision of improving the experience of people looking for support inspires us to hang in there. Our subcommittee meets weekly to plan the conference, and bit by bit we will add more information here.
Recovery tends to be helped by a person’s involvement in their community and groups. Aware, GROW and Shine to name a few well-known organizations reach out to people searching for ways to actively improve their day-to-day lives and develop new ways of coping with difficulties and challenges. In Limerick LeCheile also fosters peer support. Getting together to talk about things is a good way of sharing information and learning from others with similar experiences, and of ‘normalizing’ one’s experience, which in turn helps with self-confidence.
In conjunction with the conference we are running an arts competition - the winners will be announced at the conference. As adjudicators we are inviting experts in their respective field with a strong Limerick connection and the first prize in each category is a master class with a renowned professional.

GROW National Weekend and AGM

The GROW National Weekend and AGM is being held this year in the Clayton Hotel, Galway, from 26-28th September. Booking forms (for GROWers only) have been circulated to GROW offices nationwide. The theme for the weekend is Stigma – Real and Imaginary.  The packed draft agenda (which is subject to change) is listed below.

As per last year, the AGM will take place on Friday evening and this is an important opportunity for GROW “company members” to have their say in how the organisation is run.  There are currently about 100 GROW company members comprising mainly seasoned GROWers. All GROW members attending the weekend are welcome and encouraged to attend the AGM, but only company members can vote on resolutions etc.

  • 4pm Registration.
  • 5pm AGM.
  • 7pm Supper.
  • 8pm Opening Address.
  • 8:30pm Ceili Dance Class/Quiz.
  • 10am Testimonies from Western Region and talk by Poet Rita Ann Higgins.
  • 11:15am Tea/coffee.
  • 11:30am Guest speaker – Dil Wickremasinghe (Global Village Show, Newstalk 106-108 FM).
  • 1.30pm Lunch (packed lunch for bus outing folks).
  • 3pm Workshops - Derry O’Malley & Fiona Kennedy (See Change ambassador and Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers blogger ).
  • 5pm Holy Mary Play (directed by Jayne O’Sullivan).
  • 7pm Mass.
  • 8pm Dinner, followed by Social Event.
  • 10am Testimony.
  • 10:45am Guest speaker –  Michael Ryan (Advancing Recovery in Ireland).
  • 12pm Close/Feedback /Evaluations.
  • 1pm Lunch and Farewell
Around 220 attended the 2013 National Weekend, so we hope for an ever better turnout this year.  For many GROWers, this is the highlight of the year and for some, the only opportunity they might have to get away for a few nights.

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadowSwedish proverb.

News from the Mid Western Region

The Newport Colour Run which took place during the Green Ribbon month of May was a great success and organiser, Ciara McCullough, has another one planned for 3pm Sunday 21st September, this time with funds raised going to GROW. The event takes place in Clarisford Park, Killaloe, Co. Clare. Registration fee is €20, which includes T-Shirt.

GROW is teaming up with Limerick Mental Health Awareness (affiliated to Mental Health Ireland) and other groups in the region to plan an exciting and varied range of events for Mental Health Week (5-12 Oct). Full details to follow in our September newsletter.


South East Region News

GROWers from the Arklow, Enniscorthy, Gorey and Wexford groups took time out to remember Con Keogh at Courtown Harbour in mid July. South East Region also had their Summer Outing Boat Trip from New Ross on 26th July.

Meanwhile, over in Clonmel, there was an innovative See Change initiated Time To Talk event on 29 Jul to 1 Aug. More on how that went in our next newsletter. Hopefully we'll see similar events in other parts of the country.

Michele Kerrigan (GROW CEO) and John Rice spoke to Sue Nunn on her show on Kilkenny Carlow Local Radio KCLR 96FM. You can listen to the podcast here.

Upcoming Mental Health Events

Useful Downloads and Reports

Upcoming Runs

Fancy doing a run to raise funds for GROW in your region? There are a number of events on during September and October. Just register and your local GROW office can assist with a GROW technical running T-Shirt and sponsorship forms or you can setup a page on iDonate.


Editor's Note...

Thank you for taking time to read this, our 12th newsletter. We hope you find it useful and informative. If you like it, please forward to friends and family. Suggestions and comments to

Fear knocked on the door.  Faith answered.  And lo, no one was thereAnon.
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