Our last AGM was held on the 27th July in Sheffield. The business part of the meeting was completed satisfactorily in the morning. In the afternoon, several people joined in a discussion session, which Barbara, a Senior Trustee, subsequently wrote these general comments about in a Newsletter:
“There were about eight of us to talk; some became argumentative. but by the time we had to leave we had begun to know and respect each other, and all but one of us had contributed.
I had a chance to talk to that person later and heard some interesting reports. When we had to go to our trains we no longer were strangers brought together by our depression, but a group who had supported each other, and would be glad to report their experiences.“
A young lady, who attended our 2011 AGM for the first time, subsequently wrote a very appreciative letter, saying how she had to summon up a lot of courage to leave her house and travel by train to get to the meeting. Here is an extract from her letter:
“At the AGM, a gentleman asked me if I had any pre-conceptions about the day – I said no but on reflection I did. I imagined the AGM would take place in a large room with Committee members sat on a stage looking down on rows and rows of people. That we would be forced to talk to our neighbours with ice breaker games and there would be a motivational speaker, who had not experienced depression or anxiety, telling everyone to feel good about themselves and to cheer up it as it could be worse.
With that pre-conception it’s any wonder I did go but I did and was welcomed by a small group of big hearted people. The anxiety I felt about entering a room of people I’d not met before soon melted away as I was greeted with smiles. The group eased itself into gentle conversation until the time came to follow the AGM agenda which was straightforward and informative.
Over lunch, conversation continued in a candid but safe environment as we got to know each other.
After lunch we spoke openly in a group; an environment I’m not comfortable with, as it makes me very anxious, however the group were very encouraging so making a contribution to the discussion was much easier then expected.
Much of the discussion focused on encouraging new members to Depression UK through self-help groups and if they were a good idea or not. I haven’t been to one for groups as the thought of walking through a door into a group of strangers is frightening. But if the experience can be as positive as attending the AGM I will find the courage to go to my local group.
Support was offered to members who may want to set up their own groups if one does not exist in their area. Another form of communication I’ve not been comfortable with is chat rooms (forum discussion ) – which Depression UK have – so another new thing for me to try in time.
For me, letters from other members printed in the newsletter have been so important. Reading someone else’s story brings comfort, another person sharing their feelings helps melt way the feeling of isolation.
Taking my huge leap joining D-UK has made me realise I am not alone. So thank you for being there.“