“For many years in my 40’s I endured great physical pain from arthritis and especially from neuralgia of the fifth cranial nerve.
There came a stage where I couldn’t endure the pain any more. My husband brought me on a holiday to the Algarve. The weather was great (30°C) and the hotel was beautiful.
“One evening my husband Jim called me to get ready for dinner. I took a shower, went out on the veranda to dry my hair and looked down on the swimming pool. Children were playing and people were having a good time. I thought ‘If I could jump, the pain would be all over’. I had my foot on the chair when I thought I heard someone say: “God will not forgive you for that. You are better and stronger than that.” I hesitated for a few minutes and the next moment I heard Jim call me. He came out on the veranda and said: “What is wrong with you?” I told him. He put his arm around me and said: “Oh God Nell, what can I do?” We were both shaking from the whole experience.”
Nell is one of several people who share their personal battle with mental health problems and subsequent recovery in a new book entitled Soul Survivors 3 – Stories of Recovery from Despair to Hope.
Soul Survivors 3 is the third installment in the series produced by the community mental health support group network, Grow. In it, Nell and others share their stories of recovery from mental health problems, from their darkest moments to that first glimmer of hope, and onwards to a full and happy life. The book also includes contributions from mental health advocate and former Mountjoy Prison Governor, John Lonergan; Kilkenny GP, Dr Ronan Fawsitt; and co-founder of Focus Ireland, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, among others.
Ruairi Powell, Grow Regional Manager, said the Soul Survivors book series aims to support and encourage people with mental health problems by showing them that they are not alone and that recovery is possible.
“Family and friends are a vital support network for people who are experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties, but it can be really helpful to hear the stories of people who truly understand what you are going through. Sometimes when you are weighed down by darkness, it feels like things will never get better. The stories in Soul Survivors 3 shows that, with the right help, you can get your life back,” he said.
Soul Survivors 3 will be launched on Monday October 6th by singer and entertainer, Trudi Lalor, who lost her own brother to suicide. The event will take place at 8pm at the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise. The event is free and open to the public. For more details contact Mary Hickey at 057 9351124.
Grow holds regular support group meetings in Portlaoise, Rathdowney, Portarlington, Mountmellick, Tullamore and Birr. Meeting times and locations are available at www.grow.ie or by calling 057 93 51124 or 1890 474474 . GROW will also be starting a new community support group on Wednesday 8th of October at 7.30pm at the Parish Centre, Portlaoise. Information will be provided on the night on how to become a member of GROW. For infor call Mary Hickey at 057 9351124.
Meetings are free to attend, anonymous and confidential, and are open to anyone who is suffering from mental health problems or has experienced mental health difficulties in the past. Referrals are not necessary. Meetings focus on providing support and skills to nurture good mental health.