Derek first attended a Shared Reading group in Outlook South West, a psychological therapy service in Cornwall, and now comes to a group every week in the library. The group facilitator asked him what Shared Reading meant to him:
How would you describe yourself and your needs before joining the group?
I have OCD – it’s a fight for me and I was a little depressed.
What made you come to the group?
I saw a notice at Outlook South West and thought it looked inviting. I’m not well read and I wanted to find something to help me over a bad period – I also have skin cancer.
What was the group like for you?
It was an awakening – so many interesting people and it was so varied – we can learn from each other. The pleasure of having someone not as a teacher but who was clever at bringing you into a story – it’s a new awakening.
What makes you keep coming?
I’m really happy to quietly enjoy – you can get involved or you can sit and quietly enjoy yourself. I’m sorry it’s come so late in my life.
Because it’s important, I feel, there’s so much enjoyment there – you learn so much from other people. I never knew poetry could be so enjoyable – I hope it continues, it’s so good – It’s a friendship.
How would you describe its effect on you?
It’s helped a lot – my wife has seen the difference ( you should really ask her ) and I’ve got her involved with it at home.
The facilitator did ask Derek’s wife if she had noticed a change in him since he’d joined the Shared Reading group:
Oh yes, it really has helped. He gets so depressed about his OCD and can’t cope if things don’t go right. When he’s been to your group he’s a different person, so cheerful and full of it all, talking about the stories and poems. He looks forward to it so much – meeting different people has been so good for him. I’m so pleased he’s going – he won’t let anything get in the way of it.
*Please note all Reader Stories have been anonymised