Blogs

Transgender People

in South Tyneside

Bea Groves-McDaniel has written a thoughtful, insightful and inspirational article on the issues faced by the Transgender community and calls for a ‘common strategy’ to address these issues.

We, collectively aim to provide somewhere which is nurturing, social, informative, campaigning,  relaxed and energising  for and with ‘trans folk’ in South Tyneside and need your help.  Get in touch if you would like to get involved in developing this safe space.

Make yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and have a good read.

Click here to open Transgender People in South Tyneside by Bea Groves-McDaniel May 2022

The Black Dog

 

I am blessed and cursed to be owned by 2 black dogs.  One is called Joey and he’s a 10 year old black Labrador Retriever,who makes me laugh every day (except when he’s stealing my sandwich!)

The other ‘black dog’ is the one I share with the late Winston Churchill.

 

Now, if you know me, you’ll probably say I’m a bright and happy person.  Well, that wasn’t always the case and still isn’t, to some extent, today.

In the year 2000 I was made redundant from a job I loved, and my marriage was failing.  I’d found new employment, but it wasn’t the same as my old job.  I found myself crying in the office one day, just because an office junior was borrowing my desk.  I realised this was fairly irrational behaviour and went to the GP.  This is where my relationship with anti-depressants started.

Over the years that came, I finally received a diagnosis of EUPD too, but it was the depression that was causing havoc!

Many of us who’ve been on medication know that it’s not always easy to find the right drug (s) for you.  I suffered as I was titrated off one med and eased onto another.  I certainly wasn’t anywhere near ready to work – I was pretty much operating like a computer in ‘safe’ mode to be honest.

Luckily, with the help of my psychiatrist, I was put onto a combination of three anti-depressants that keep me (relatively) stable today.

Let me clear something up – anti-depressants are not ‘happy pills’ – they don’t magically make you happy.  For me, they kind of level off my moods, so I don’t feel desperately sad, but it’s not often I enjoy a real ‘belly laugh’ either.

During the few weeks since I started writing this blog, the ‘black dog’ returned good and proper.  With it came depression’s partner in crime … anxiety.  If you’ve suffered from depression and anxiety, you’ll probably not be able to say which one is worse.

So, what did I do when the depression re-emerged?  I licked my wounds so to speak, then got a phone appointment with my GP.  That went ok – although I’m on the maximum dosage of anti-depressants, there wasn’t a magic pill!  I got blood tests taken, which all came back showing I’m a healthy person.  So I started thinking about lifestyle:

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Connecting with other people and even sharing with people how I was feeling

And this is where Kind Mind Community’s new Depression Peer Support Group comes in – the 1st session was this Monday and it felt ok – it felt more than ok.  Sitting round the table with other depression sufferers, knowing I’m not alone, that others feel the same.  It’s not a depressing group, either.  There

’s something about experiencing the illness alongside other people – getting hints & tips from them, sharing empathy and building strength and resilience, together.

The group isn’t meeting on Bank Holiday Monday, but is back on every Monday from 9th May, from 12-1 pm at Big Local, Jarrow.  I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone but, if you do have it, you’d be very welcome at this Peer Support Group.

Just to end on a quick thought, next time you ask someone how they are and they say “I’m fine”, just bear in mind they may be wearing a ‘mask’ – us depressives are good at that 😊

 

Kaleigh’s Top 5 Ways to Wind Down This Weekend

Heyyyy everyone and happy Friday!

Since the weekend is upon us, I thought it would be a good time to think about winding down and consider the different ways in which we all choose to relax at the weekend. I don’t know about everyone else, but after a busy week of this and that, I love nothing more than a little bit of ‘me time’.

So, what does link worker Kaleigh do to wind down at the weekend? I hear you ask. Well, here are five things I often do as a form of self care on my days off. Some of you may do similar things to relax and feel good, or you might find that your own self care and winding down routines are very different to mine and that’s great! No matter how you take that time to love yourself, if it leaves you feeling more relaxed and healthy, it’s worth doing!

Go Walkies

One of my favourite and most therapeutic wind down activities has to be taking my super cute dog for a walk. I think it’s safe to say that during lockdown, we all learned that spending time outdoors can be a super important factor in keeping both our body and minds healthy. I’m pretty lucky in the sense that close by to my home is a beautiful woodland and there’s a wonderful walking trail going through the woods that takes about an hour to complete.  It’s the perfect place for me to dust off  the cobwebs, get myself and my dog some exercise and just be at one with nature. This time of year is particularly beautiful as everything has began to bloom and the plants are once again beginning to flourish. I even managed to forage some wild garlic recently! But, even if you don’t live close to a cute little woodland like me, don’t worry… I’m sure there will be a beautiful green space close to where you live too. It might be a local park, a community garden or even a football field. You might be even more lucky and live by the coast. Wherever you go for a spring time stroll, enjoy the moment and take in that fresh air. I often walk around observing the trees and plants and just noting to myself how absolutely beautiful the world and nature around us really is. By the end of my walk, both myself and my super cute dog are always in better spirits.

Pamper Night

Another favourite self care activity of mine is just a good old pamper night. Picture this: Bubble bath, candles, face masks, healthy nibbles and some soothing music. I mean, what’s not to love? And anyone can do a pamper night, no matter what your age, gender or candle scent preference, you too can make your home feel like a 5 star spa! Face masks leave my skin feeling super smooth which in turn makes me feel fresh, glowing and confident.  A nice hot bubble bath is just sheer bliss and a chance just to let those stresses melt away. There are other ways to pamper at home of course and if you’re super lucky, you might have a special someone who can even give you a massage! Some people like to go all out and give themselves a manicure/pedicure, a nice feet soak… The pamper options are endless but the outcome is always the same… By the end of my pamper night, I always feel wholesome, fresh and relaxed.

Read a Little

Look, I’m no Matilda… I don’t read every day or even every weekend but, there are some occasions when reading feels like the perfect way to wind down. Reading has always been a form of escapism for myself and when this world seems a little too much, picking up a good novel and getting lost in a whole new world can be a great way to ‘switch off’. Disclaimer… I am a self confessed nerd so that world often turns out to be none other than the wizarding world of Harry Potter. I do love a good travel adventure as well though! Whatever your choice of book, taking time out to sit down, relax your body whilst exploring an exciting new world full of interesting new characters can truly leave you feeling inspired.

Call for a Catch Up

Is there anything better than spending an hour having a good old chin wag with a friend? I think not. My best

friend lives in Newcastle, and I’m here on the other side of the water so it’s not always easy to see each other face to face. That’s why, on the weekend, we always make a thing of calling each other for a good old catch up. We laugh together, we cry together, we reflect on the week we’ve had and just  be there for each other. After a phone call with my bestie, I always find myself feeling lighter, chirpier and connected. Will you be reaching out for a catch up this weekend?

Cooking up a Storm

Yes, that’s right… Cooking for some may feel like a chore, but in my house, it really is our ultimate wind down activity. Sundays are the best days because, well…. Sunday Roast! Now I can’t take all the credit here, my other half is a top cook and I’m more like, top sous chef. But still, spending a few hours in the kitchen creating a delicious Sunday dinner in my opinion is that much needed slow Sunday activity with the most delicious reward at the end of it (giant Yorkshire puddings are LIFE). Of course not everyone loves a roast dinner (though it should be the law, if you ask me), so choose something to cook that you truly enjoy devouring. Just remember though, if you decide to bake a cake, the team at  Moving Forward want a slice too!

 

I hope this gave you a little inspiration for your weekend ahead and some things you might want to do to take care of YOU.

Do any of you spend time doing any of the same winding down activities as myself on the weekend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from a Social Work Student

This week we’d like to introduce you to Emily, who is studying her Social Work degree with Northumbria University.  Emily is with us on placement for a few months.

So, Emily, what’s your favourite thing about Kind Mind Community?

I’d say the diverse people it attracts and the opportunity to co-facilitate courses.

 

What sort of roles have you undertaken in Kind Mind Community?

Co-facilitating and planning courses

Talking to students on the phone

Completing enrolment forms

Attending the Friday Drop-Ins

Being a peer supporter on courses

 

Did you know what a recovery college was before this?

I had no idea.  I wish everybody knew about them and the wonderful things they do.

 

Do you know what you want to specialise in when you complete your Degree?

I’m looking at mental health social work, or children & families.  I have to say though that

this placement has made me think about specialising in mental health. 

 

You leave us in a couple of months – what else do you want to achieve?

Leading a course in front of my Practice Educator. 

Seeing the difference in students between the start and end of a course.

 

On a lighthearted note, what do you like to do when you’re not at Kind Mind Community?

Go to the gym! 

And we all know how good physical exercise is to our mental health wellbeing, don’t we 😊

Thanks very much, Emily, for all of the hard work you do within Kind Mind Community and we wish you  the very best of luck with the rest of your studies and your subsequent career.

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Monday

Monday 17th January- the most depressing day of the year apparently. The festive season is over, that early Christmas pay is now withering away (if it hasn’t already), and all those unrealistic new year’s resolutions have been well and truly been shelved right alongside those size 10 gym pants you swore you were going to fit into and the long list of to-dos dating back to 2019.

 

Let’s change this pattern we slip into every year, make blue Monday no more! Let’s let the world in instead of shutting it out, lets reach out instead of bottling up. Do ONE thing, just one thing that you wouldn’t normally do, whether it be a 10-minute walk in the fresh and crisp January air, calling that friend you’ve been meaning to check in on that you’ve been putting off, or sorting out that dreaded cupboard that you haven’t seen the floor of since you moved in. No matter how big or small it seems, if it’s an achievement for you, it counts.

Here are some more great examples of things you can do to make blue Monday no more:

  • Start that book you’ve wanted to read.
  • Have a self-care day, wash your hair, shave your face, moisturize your skin- anything that makes you feel good.
  • Make a meal from that cookbook that you’ve never tried but always wanted to.
  • Grab a cuppa and a piece of cake with your favorite person, whether it be face to face or over zoom.
  • Sign up for that group you’ve been thinking about joining.
  • Reach out for help if you’re struggling.
  • AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…………………Be kind to yourself, you’ve made it this far, you can make it one more!

Lauren

 

 

 

 

 

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