Talking through tough times
Paulette Nicholas has fought her own battles and now wants to reach out to other women going through a tough time.
The 61-year-old Timaru woman set up the South Canterbury Women’s Peer Support Group late last year and while numbers have dwindled she hopes a meeting on April 16 will help establish what members want and need to talk about.
She said she almost pulled the pin on the group when she was the sole person at the last gettogether but said after posting on social media about putting it on the backburner, she had too many messages asking her not to.
‘‘I’ve decided to have a meeting on April 16 so we can get members together and hopefully we can decide its future and what we hope to get out of the group.’’
The group has come about through Nicholas’ own experiences which include a more than 40 year battle with alcoholism and anxiety.
‘‘I came up with the idea in about October/ November last year.
‘‘I had been reading about other peer support groups on Facebook, overseas and in other towns in New Zealand.’’
She said while Timaru had Victoria House and the Addiction Mental Health Peer Support Services centre, which were both excellent facilities, she thought some people might feel more comfortable being in a group.
‘‘I felt it was important to have a group where peers, who have been in similar situations to one another can offer support to one another.
‘‘It’s good to be able to talk to other people, not be too serious, and have a laugh. Laughing is so important.’’
She began the group slowly’’ in December.
The group had started well with several women attending meetings but then numbers had dwindled, she said.
‘‘After it was just me there I decided to put it on the backburner but then when I told people that, heaps of people asked me not to. Some people have felt
‘‘very anxious about coming along.’’
Nicholas said it is important for people to share their stories. She finds relief in sharing hers.
‘‘I used to be ashamed of my alcoholism but I have no shame about it now. It’s the journey that’s got me where I am today as a responsible citizen.’’
* The meeting will be held at noon at the Isobel Mayman Room at Women’s Wellness Centre.
Paulette Nicholas has set up a women’s peer support group.