• Bloom: The new online meeting place for chronic illness sufferers

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Bloom: The new online meeting place for chronic illness sufferers

5 July 2022

Why Bloom?

The inspiration for Bloom has come from several places: I originally wanted to create this as a follow-up to my recent talk, Pain As A Messenger, because of the feedback received. But it also something that I wanted to create because of my own experiences and those of my clients that I see at Stillpoint Health.

I have talked a lot about resources as part of healing, and I often mention my garden as a place of great comfort for me.

It continues to be a fulcrum to which I return when I am in need of respite, but it is also an endless place of inspiration! It allows me to connect to universal forces of health and harmony, which inform so much of my work and my creativity.

As I immerse myself in the cycles of nature, I am reminded of the opportunity to change, grow and develop; to flourish and thrive. I didn’t want to create a community where the emphasis was just on hearing about each other’s symptoms and the limitations this brings. Whilst that is undoubtedly an important part of this – being heard, seen and believed – I also want Bloom to be about hope, joy, opportunity and growth.

So these things have become the foundation for Bloom.

The aim of Bloom is to create a supportive community of members who not only understand the experience of living with chronic illness, but who want to commune in a safe and positive place that fosters empathy, education, agency and growth.

There are many factors that sadly become part of life when it comes to living with chronic illness, and these are difficult things to manage when you are already over-burdened with complex symptoms.

Just some of the common issues I see from working with clients are :

+ Isolation and loneliness

+ Fear of the future

+ Being dismissed (or even gaslit) by the traditional medical community

+ Not being armed with the education and tools we need to navigate life with chronic symptoms

Any one of those can create devastating impacts on quality of life and when you heap them all on top of each other, it can be really hard to find the will to move forward.

Bloom is a place to bring these frustrations and emotions, but it will also be a place to experience positive shifts through the learning I aim to bring to the community.

What’s the format?

Monthly, facilitated meetings where we can gather together around relevant topics/themes that are designed to engage and encourage dialogue around real experience.

Meetings will be held on Zoom, on the last Thursday of the month, from 6:30-8:30pm. Our first meeting will be Thursday 28th July.

These themes will also be informed by the community, so I will be encouraging feedback and running regular polls too.

Just a few examples of some of the themes we might explore :

+ Chronic Illness & loss of identity

+ Moving beyond the fear of symptom flares

+ Changing unhealthy habits

+ Learning how to listen to your body & understand symptoms as messages

Each meeting theme will be posted on the associated private Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/groups/bloomhealth) the week before each Zoom, so that we can prepare questions, thoughts and discussion points. This will be via Eventbrite, so that you can receive reminders in the run up to each meeting.

Post-meeting feedback, information, resources and tips will also be posted to the Facebook Group and it will be a place where members can connect, discuss progress and find support between meetings.

How might I benefit?

Just a few of the benefits of becoming a Bloom member :

+ Learning in a group setting provides us with the vital sense of human connection and validation that is the foundation for healing. Our nervous systems are wired for this and it’s even more powerful when we connect around shared experiences.

+ The themes we’ll explore are based on patterns and experiences that I have had to navigate myself on my own health journey, so I will be able to share my personal tips about what worked and didn’t work for me.

+ I will be facilitate the space so that we may meet in a setting of fairness, open opportunity and safety. We will come together at the beginning of each meeting and share an opening grounding and close with an anchoring check-out, both designed to meet nervous system needs.

+ Education around how our bodies work has been scientifically proven to assist in the reduction of symptoms – consider the effectiveness of the placebo effect. There is lots of science to support this that I will bring to the group.

+ Communal spaces are often rich sources of learning because we each bring our unique human experiences and knowledge, in support of self and each other.

+ I will be showing up with all of my training to each meeting; from biodynamic craniosacral therapy, somatic techniques for chronic pain, attachment theory, human anatomy & physiology + my own experience of moving beyond multiple, progressive diagnoses so you can be sure you’ll learn something new at every meeting.

+ You get to choose how you want to show up at each meeting! Feeling tired and symptoms are flaring? No problem, perhaps sit this month out, but catch up on the Facebook Group when you feel up to it. I am well aware of the challenges that this community faces and I will be allowing for these at every meeting.

Cost

There are no ongoing subscription fees in order to join the Bloom community!

You can drop in to as many or as little of the monthly meetings as you choose, and attendance at any one meeting also grants you access to the private Facebook Group and community.

I want to make Bloom as accessible as possible to those who might need it, whilst also honouring my own time investment into making this a safe and (I hope!) supportive community.

The fee for each meeting will be £20, to be paid at the time of registration, which will be posted as an Eventbrite link to the Facebook Group each month.

Make sure you join the Facebook Group following the link here: www.facebook.com/groups/bloomhealth

All further details of the first meeting will be posted there soon.

I look forward to welcoming you!

You Say

" Jo has been helping both myself and my Mum for a while now and we look forward to each of our appointments. Jo has helped us cope with life's stresses - physically, emotionally and mentally and is always ... "

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