So Thursday turned out to be a very colourful session here at No Panic Sheffield.
We discussed the history of Manadalas, the earliest evidence of Manadala arts dates back to the 1st century BCE, but appeared in the 4th century in Tibet, China and Japan. We're never too old to learn are we!
We had the choice of creating our own teaching or healing mandala from scratch - not for the faint hearted, but we have some really talented and artistic members (I'm not one of them, a 2 year old is a better artist than me). The other option was colouring in pre-printed Mandalas for some mindful art.
We all had great fun, chatting away whilst working on our creations, the mandalas with smiley emojis proved very popular and put a smile on everyone's face.
By dinnertime the room was full of wonderfully colourful mandalas and we ended the sesion very happy and relaxed so, here's to our next session.
Sam's tip for this week - kick back and take a break from all the hustle and bustle.
For contemporary examples of mandala art see @lady_meli_art on instagram, https://www.instagram.com/lady_meli_art/ (this is not an advert). Lady Meli also does zentangles and doodles which we have done in a session (each) before as well.
No Panic is a support group open to anyone struggling with their mental health. Sessions are Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 and Thursdays 10-12 at the Quaker Meeting House.
Each session is given a topic which can be anything related to mental health. For example, there are sometimes sessions on specific diagnoses such as:
Other times there are broader sessions such as:
Topics can be requested by members either after a session or by email. The facilitators plan the session ahead of time and lead the conversation. Sometimes activities can be included as well but participation is entirely optional.
All facilitators are understanding and non-judgemental.
My First Session
My first session was over a year ago now and this last year has flown by. I put off coming to no panic for a long time after first hearing about it because of how nerve wracking I found it. It is totally normal for people to enquire and then take some time before attending their first session. I found that coming with a friend for my first session made it seem much less intimidating and it is totally okay to bring someone along for support if you are feeling nervous.
No Panic has made a huge difference in my life as a member. It is a safe space to talk about things that are often difficult to talk about in society. It can be very reassuring to hear that other people have had the same experiences as you and to get tips on how to deal with symptoms. It is a very understanding environment that has really built my confidence to talk about my anxiety in the group and outside of the group.
Since becoming a facilitator my understanding of facilitators has changed. I always assumed that they volunteered because of a professional interest but in getting to know them I’ve realised that people choose to volunteer for this charity because they really care about helping people. One of my biggest worries was fear of judgement especially from facilitators but anything said is kept confidential and no one will think negatively of you for any of the experiences you share.
Common Misconceptions or Worries
Everyone has been coming to the sessions for years and I will stick out.
We get newcomers all the time and whilst we do have some regular members, different people turn up to every session and new members are always welcomed.
All of the facilitators are clinical psychologists who won’t truly understand how I feel.
Many of our facilitators have personal experiences with mental health issues and those that don’t are committed to helping others. We have a wide variety of facilitators including students, former members, those working in the mental health profession and others.
I will be expected to speak in front of the group.
There is absolutely no pressure to speak during the session. Some new members speak lots and some don’t speak at all. A lot can be gained from listening to the experiences of others and whilst there is the opportunity to contribute it is not expected.
If I don’t like it I’m stuck for the rest of the session.
You can leave the session or take a break whenever you feel overwhelmed. However, it may be too intimidating to walk out. There is a break in the middle of each session so if two hours felt like too much, you could stay for the first hour and leave unnoticed during the break.
What if i find something discussed triggering?
We make it clear at the beginning of the session that people attending no panic (including facilitators) can have triggers and ask that anyone who does want to contribute is aware of this.
Help! I want more information.
We fully understand that coming to a support group for the first time, especially as someone with mental health difficulties can be scary. If you have any specific worries you want to discuss or want more information about what to expect you can email the no panic email and one of our volunteers will be happy to help.
Hi All from Sam. So for our first Thursday session back on 9th January for 2020 I looked at the past & present.
Firstly we took part in the turkey review where members discussed various points from 2019,
●Anything we felt we achieved
●What happened that was completely unexpected?
●Was there anything that we were unable to achieve & why?
●Did we make any new friends/relationships?
●What new things did we try?
●What did we learn from & about ourselves in 2019?
I think it can be nice hearing off other people what you have done, it can be really difficult talking with your friends or family about these things and we are so harsh on ourselves. I thought the discussion was really supportive and it's great hearing what new things members tried in 2019. Remember to try and be self kind to yourself. It's difficult. I don't really get on well with New Year's Resolutions, but I think this is a really good way of going over things.
For the second half we concentrated on thoughts a detox, this helped us look towards the coming year with a positive outlook discussing things such as
●Anything in particular we would like to try to achieve either partly or fully
●Making sure we give ourselves time to get outside
●Letting go of anything negative from 2019, it's in the past let's look at moving forward
●Spending more time on ourselves whether that's hobbies, meditation, time out, visiting our favourite/happy places
●Saying no & keeping things in perspective
Members came up with various tips, ideas & exercises for each other to help 2020 get off to a positive & fun beginning. I liked the bit about saying no and keeping things in perspective, again so valuable in a group setting where you can get that perspective. I'm sure we'll revisit saying no and not taking on too much or particular roles, particularly doing too much for other people.
Sam's top tips for 2020:-
●Be Kind to yourself
●Allow yourself time out
●Do at least one thing every day you enjoy
I'll see you on the next one. We're doing Patience on Thursday 16th January.