Even Jean-Luc Picard gets frustrated with peer support groups
A brief list of the reasons I hate peer support groups
People. I hate people. They scare, irritate, and bore me… Not you. You are perfect.
Listening. Listening to other people’s problems. [See 1]
Group Time. Why are there so many other people talking? Shouldn’t they be listening to me?
Travelling to peer support groups. I barely have the energy to get dressed let alone energy to get to a group.
Your horrible stories. There is always one person with a 20 minute story of tragedy that distracts from my story about losing my phone.
Boundaries. I don’t want to hear about your kid’s lice, school, sports, and ADHD diagnosis; lend you money or listen to your story of fecal recultivation [See 5].
Boundaries. I really need to ask out that beautiful person who would be perfect and we would get married and be happy forever, but boundaries.
Confidentiality. I know they are going to gossip about me so I why can’t I gossip first. You wouldn’t believe what this guy said about the sex stuff and how he was so drunk he peed on the building and drove over the cat…
Giving away Gold. People should be paying for my brilliant advice.
Groups are too Serious. I hate it when they always miss my ironic rantings 😉
Imagine your biggest worries at age 16…Imagine your biggest worries today. Have things changed? Perhaps, you think about different topics, different people and perhaps you feel things with different intensities. In a recent project (digitaledu at University of Toronto), I was reminded that Everyone Worries and that #worrieschange:
How did we get so many people to share their stories?
Peer support and workplace mental health are powerful when we connect them to stories. The team at the Canadian Mental Health Association in Calgary has produced a video about experiences of peer and workplace support within the police, financial and oil industries. You can be a mental health champion to make changes in people’s lives and the work place.
They are not going to break, not going to turn into sand. They will appreciate you offering your hand
Remember feelings cross from home to work and work to home.
Every day, at coffee shops across Toronto, humans plug themselves into laptops. As writers, consultants, entrepreneurs and other freelancers we have the freedom to work anywhere, but we face less certainty and more isolation. Isolation and financial uncertainty can lead to emotional distress, substance abuse, low productivity and sadness. How many tweets and likes can compensate for this? What role can peer support play?
Freelance workers together, yet separate at a coffee and tea shop – crowded pexels.com Startup Stock Photos
Online support and recognition through social media are important for freelancers because “likes” and “retweets” give feedback about success, respect, and popularity. How many readers or customers do I have? Are they the right people? These self-doubts can lead to (un) reasonable thought distortions and self-criticism. Not everything you write would be applauded in an office so why should you worry so much as a freelancer?
You don’t have to be calm. We will still be there. (“Design by Tim Brown”)
Stay calm. Relax. Don’t cry. Why are these our first instincts when faced with a person in difficulty or crisis? Peer support is all about listening and being with someone in a moment of stress or distress. The peer supporter is not responsible for fixing the peer in distress. The goal is to avoid server and served, expert and client or healthy and sick person. Eliminating hierarchy allows peers to trust, listen, and set boundaries for themselves.
I can ask you questions and you can choose to answer or not. And we can have a good laugh about it, because we can’t fix each other!
Elections are hard. Election losses are harder. Work at campaign offices can be invigorating but often it is a slog. Lots of volunteers come for the cause but stay for the people (and pizza, samosas and my namesake Timbits).
Part of Rathika’s team after the party – still smiling
In the moments after the loss in the 2015 federal election, there were lots of cathartic tears at the Rathika Sitsabaiesan campaign party. Community members, friends and volunteers gave lots of advice and attempted comforting words. But it is hard to know what to say, and the candidate and the campaign staff ended-up comforting the well-meaning supporters. Continue reading →
When we face stress, asking for help can be scary, but it can also be very powerful. Peer support works because the helper and helped share experiences and mutual support and learning. Peer support can help you when you are facing work stress, client demands, family crises, rocky relationships, substance abuse, and mental health distress.
Time pressure can blot out hope
Get it together, get going, and don’t ask for help
Work can be dominated by pressures to get the job done no matter what the personal stress or cost. When problems hit or when you get run down, it is easy to lose track of personal self-care like sleeping, eating and relationships. At work, there is no patience for the guy who falls behind. If you cannot keep up, then get out. Whether the goal is to get the promotion or to survive the day, the work environment makes it hard to ask for help from competitors or judgemental coworkers. Continue reading →