I’ve had quite a few people asking for more details about this group, so I thought I would write a little something about it here.
Aim of the Group:
The aim of the group is to create a safe space for those harmed by a PD Label to share their truths with others who can relate. I have seen examples of times where people have got together with a primary purpose of wanting to educate Mental Health Professionals, but I’ve not seen examples of a space for people to get together just for peer support – a place just for us. It is my hope that this group can grow to become that safe space that is needed, to help us all know we are not alone, and for us to feel free to share our truths without worrying about what any Mental Health Professionals might have to say about those truths. It is hoped that this will become a space for YOU. (Mental Health Professionals who also have experience of personally being harmed by a PD Label are welcome to this group though. Anyone who has been harmed by a PD label is welcome to this group)
A bit about me:
My name is Donna and I’m a Childhood Sexual Abuse survivor. I was referred to the CMHT for some help back in 2011, but I soon regretted it. Instead of getting support to cope with the aftermath of abuse, I was blamed for the way I was coping, and for how I was surviving, and no focus at all was placed on what actually happened to me. I didn’t realise until a while later that this was because my diagnosis was apparently Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. I was harmed by this label, and I know there are lots of people out there who can relate. I was treated like shit by Services. It was abusive at times. I also became aware of how my treatment would differ, dependant on what each individual team or professional thought my diagnosis was. For example, PTSD or Bipolar meant I was treated with care and compassion some of the time. But EUPD meant I was always treated no better than shit on someone’s shoe. As the years have gone by, I have realised that this didn’t just happen to me and that there are actually lots of people who have similar truths to share. You can find me on Twitter over at @MummyDonnaJ
A bit about the Group itself:
The group had its first meet at the beginning of this year. I think about 14 attended at its busiest point, but on average I think there were around 10 people including myself. During this first meet, we decided that the group would meet on a monthly basis, so we have had two meets so far. The group is new and it will be very much user led, so as time goes on, the group might decide together that we want to meet more often or less often, at a different time, for longer or shorter time, etc. But at the moment, because of my life situation (I have two toddlers!) it is easier for me to set aside some time to facilitate the group on a Saturday at 3pm, once a month.
There is no obligation to have your camera on, nor is there any obligation for you to share. It is totally OK to just listen to other people sharing. There is also a chat function, which gives people the option to write whatever it is they want to share, if that’s easier for them.
What do I mean by “share”?
People can share whatever they want to share about how a PD Label has harmed them. In the two groups we have had so far, people have shared their own personal truths. For example I’ve spoken about the Mental Health System and how a PD label led to me being treated poorly. People have shared their own personal experiences of that as well. Maybe you have a poem that you’ve written and you feel it might be cathartic to share it? Or maybe you just want to talk about how you’re doing right now? Maybe you want a big rant? Whatever you want to share is OK.
As the group is still quite new, I ask people to “raise their hand” on Zoom if they want to share, and I explain how to do this at the beginning of each group. There tends to be at least one new person each time the meet runs, and so I want to make sure that everyone who wants to share gets the chance to do so. Sometimes it can feel intimidating to just “jump in” when you sense a quiet moment, so the raise hand function lets everyone know that if they raise their hand, I will definitely invite them to share with the group when it’s their turn. I hope that’s OK. Again, as the group grows and we get used to each other, that might be something we don’t need to do any more.
I want this group to be a safe space for all who have been harmed by a PD label. Hate speech of any kind will not be tolerated, and everything that is said in the group will remain in the group. This is something I will remind everyone of at the start of each meet.
How to attend a meet:
I will regularly advertise the date of the next meeting on my Twitter account @MummyDonnaJ and I will send the new link/password to anyone who expresses an interest in the group. My DMs are open, so you can contact me on Twitter without having to follow my account. I can either DM you a link, or if it’s easier, you can DM me your email address so that I can send you the Zoom details that way. The group runs on a Saturday and I send the links out on the Friday before. There have been a couple of times where I have not sent the link to someone who wanted it (I’m so sorry about this!) so if it gets to Saturday and you think you should’ve got the details and haven’t – please do get in touch and kick me up the arse! I genuinely don’t intend to miss anyone off the list and am hoping to improve the way I keep the list of those who express interest to avoid this happening again at future meets.
Trigger warning ⚠️
This group is for people who have been harmed by a PD label, so by its very nature, the group can become quite triggering for people dependent on what is shared. It can sometimes get quite heavy. It is totally OK to leave the room during a meet and come back later on, or not come back at all. It’s also OK to leave and come back at a future meet. Whatever you need to do for yourself is OK. Because I don’t know what will be shared in the group in advance, there is no way of me forewarning anyone of any specific triggers, so I’d just like to take the time to ask everyone to be aware that the group might be triggering and to just take care of you. I will try to check in with everyone after a meet if it ends up being a heavy one.
I’ll keep coming back to this post to add any further relevant information that I think of myself, or anything that arises in any future meets, but please let me know if there is something I’ve not answered here in this blog post that you want to know about the group and I’ll make sure that I answer it as quickly as possible. You are welcome to reply to this post or DM me privately, or tweet me @MummyDonnaJ