I am the sister of a participant who has bi-polar. It’s been difficult for her to engage or indeed concentrate on any books or reading. The Toxteth Library setting is particularly welcoming and the concept of talking or being part of a group initially was quite over-whelming for my sister, she would often find a particular reason why she had to leave early or had to be at home. However, with gentle nurturing and guidance from the facilitator Nadia has sustained participation and love of the group.
For her the group can be really inspirational and on one occasion she loved the book - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg - so much she asked me to buy it for her. This group is possibly one of the few interactions she has during the week, and more importantly value her for who she is; she’s not seen as a deviant, or a patient or a nuisance. My sister loves reading out loud and going to the group. She even spoke about the group at her Psychiatric review recently, it’s one constant that gets her out of the house and be part of something that is stimulating.
On the odd occasion my sister hasn’t attended, the facilitator has followed it up and she has felt valued which has impacted on her own self esteem. I really admire the facilitator because she validates everyone’s opinion and facilitates the group which highlights the text and not the person... I think the group is really important for people like my sister and her own self worth, it allows literature to be accessed at the most deprived, vulnerable level, it lets people live in the moment and experience that literary beat. The group and facilitator in particular, have given her a lifeline that has changed her outlook and given her something to look forward to each week.
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