News from Befrienders Dublin
… My two befriendees, are in a very different place now to when i first met them. Both were characterised then by a nervous, apologetic approach to dealing with others and very lacking in confidence. This is where the matching service. i.e. yourself and the others in the Befriending team, showed great judgement in pairing them with an ‘assertive’ (ok, bossy is the usual description) chatterbox like myself. I discovered from the preparatory course at Goirtin and the initial joint meeting with each befriendee the importance of encouraging both women to see how ‘normal’ they were and to point out any successes they had achieved, however minor. Above all, I learned after many ‘coffee and a chat’ afternoons with my befriendees, that they just needed reassurance that the world made sense again and that having a laugh and sharing with others was still possible.
The importance of that regular commitment on both sides to a particular day and time was key, particularly in the early weeks; as was the setting of clear boundaries and negotiated goals, however small … by refusing to accept their frequent doubts about what they were capable of – I was able to add a building block or two as they built up their self-belief.
A big plus was that whenever I felt inadequate, or the inevitable back-sliding into negative thinking or actions occurred with my befriendees, I was able to call on you and the team for advice, back-up and follow-through.
The ultimate proof of the impact and importance of the Befriending Service for me was [when a service user’s friend], who you may remember enquired about the service, and got as far as the initial joint meeting stage before retreating from the idea, began to ask if she could try again, given [my befriendees] enthusiasm and noticeable increase in confidence.
… I cannot begin to express how satisfying it is to me to know that I have contributed in some way to the transformation of two fantastic women challenged by mental health issues who have turned into a confident solo traveller taking a full part in family life again, and a successful student respectively.
Many thanks for your support over the years…
Befriending Service Volunteer
(Text edited to protect privacy)
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