The Ramsgate Depression and Anxiety Self-Help Group

The Ramsgate Depression and Anxiety Self-Help Group: helping people in Ramsgate cope with depression and anxiety.

I suffered from bouts of depression when I was in my early thirties. It was a bewildering time as I didn’t understand why I was feeling so bad and what I could do about it. Low mood seemed to come from nowhere, and drain all my self-esteem and motivation.

Thankfully, counselling helped me to understand what I was going through and to make changes to my life. Once I recovered from depression, I decided I wanted to set up a group to support other people who were experiencing what I had been through. I soon discovered that many people with depression also suffer from anxiety, so I called the group the Depression and Anxiety Self-Help group. I called it a self-help group because depression cannot be fixed by medication or by other people. We have to find our own road to recovery. It is very supportive, though, to meet with others who understand what we are going through and can offer encouragement and lessons from their own lives.

The Ramsgate Depression and Anxiety Self-Help group meets in the Perry Room in the hall of St Luke’s Church, St Luke’s Avenue, Ramsgate, CT11 7JX. Just go to the back of the church building in St Luke’s Avenue and follow the signs. We meet from 6pm – 7:30pm on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.

All sessions are free, and the group is open to everyone aged 18 or above.

 

So, what do we do in the group?

Well, we start with a check-in time where each member is given some time to talk about how life has been for them recently. We have a rule that, while one person speaks, the others listen and don’t interrupt. It’s fine if you don’t want to say anything and some members choose not to on their first visit. But once they have got to know other members, they will usually feel comfortable to share something of their life.

The check-in time takes around half an hour. Then for the remaining hour we explore coping strategies. We have a different theme for each session. Themes we have covered so far include Triggers from childhood, Sleep problems, Tips for surviving Christmas and New Year, Anxiety toolbox, Morning routines, Rumination and Confidence. Recently we have started watching some short videos on the given theme, which we then discuss. Members are encouraged to suggest themes for future meetings. We also hold occasional socials. Just after Christmas, we held a Food and Quiz evening, and we are planning a Board Games evening.

This summer we will be doing something different. We’ll be running a course over ten sessions, based on the book Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time by Michael E Addis and Christopher Martell. The sessions will take a behavioural approach to overcoming depression and anxiety so, instead of directly addressing our thinking, we will be looking at changes we can make in how we live our lives.

Here is what two of our current members say about the group.

Pauline: ‘It’s a friendly, relaxed group with a positive atmosphere’.

Willow: ‘A very helpful group with some useful ideas for fresh approaches to unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. A great tonic!’.

 

If you think the group may help you, you are very welcome to just turn up at a session and try it out. If transport is a problem, we may be able to offer lifts to and from the group. If you would like to know more about the group, you can contact me at [email protected] or 07881 582800.

 

Written by:

David Hawthorn, The Ramsgate Depression and Anxiety Self-Help Group

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