Today I went to meet with groups that we provide psycho-social support (PSS) to, including both Syrian refugees and members of the Jordanian community living in the governorate of Balqa. The groups are divided into ones for men and others for women. I was much looking forward to seeing those groups again, as I have worked with them before through the Voice project that provides legal support as well as PSS. This part of the project was developing as I began working in the humanitarian field.
On the way there, I was enthusiastic about seeing them, but also dreading the start of a new journey with travelers who might not be satisfied. However, my enthusiasm over-weighed that dread as I was looking forward to see them and hear their news.
As soon as we arrived at our destination, the group members started to come in and we greeted each other. They greeted me warmly, and welcomed me like they were welcoming close friends. I was surprised that they still remembered me, as I’m sure they meet many specialists who provide services and try to help them in different ways; especially that we hadn’t seen each other in 3 months!
My surprise didn’t stop there, but grew to happiness as the members responded to my question about the reason that they attend these sessions. I was amazed at the changes that these people had made to their lives and the positive attitudes that they now have; PSS really made a difference to their lives.
One man told us of the fundamental changes in his life and that of his family’s, as when I first met him he was depressed about having to leave his country and was adamant about returning to Syria before winter despite the situation. He told us that the PSS sessions helped him become more optimistic, attain a sense of stability, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. His life has also become more organized as his children registered in schools and were able to adapt to their new environment.
Moreover, there was a woman who suffered from loneliness and isolation from society, living far away from other members in society she was unable to make any social connections. With the PSS sessions, she became closer to the other women members of the group, in regular contact with them, they support her and she supports them in return, and the frown she constantly had now turned into smiles that light up her face.
There are many more examples from members of those groups, and they all hold a promise of improved lives for those people. The changes that the PSS sessions made are incredible, this pushes me to reflect on this service and try to analyze the reasons behind this force for change. Perhaps it’s the positive energy that’s created by the members who now feel that there’s someone out there who cares about them, their feelings, and their pain. It might also be the chance that they get to express themselves and make realizations of what they have to change to improve their lives. Or it could be attributed to the exchange of experiences with others going through similar problems, which helped create momentum towards living again. It is also possible that psychological pressures prohibit us from seeing clearly the solutions that we have, and all we need is a candle to light our way through the darkness of pain.
Whatever the reasons might be, the results of this service are real and tangible. It is all thanks to the efforts of those who can light a candle for someone lost in the dark, supporting them along the way.
-Dr. Lina Al Darras – Psychosocial Support Officer at ARDD-Legal Aid