Fighting the darkness

Many people don’t understand what it means to be depressed. At times they may feel frustrated with those that are. Not understanding they aren’t getting daily tasks done. Feeling frustrated because they think people are ‘not helping themselves’ or ‘trying to get better’. At times those that don’t understand depression can be dismissive and take a ‘pull yourself together’ approach.

Can you imagine how painful that is if you are literally drowning????

 

 

 

 

 

Depression is real. It is all consuming. It is powerful and it is lethal. It takes away a person’s self-confidence. It destroys their self-worth and self-esteem. It tells them daily– that they aren’t good enough. They aren’t loved or cared about. And on top of that – it tells them they are weak. It shouts at them. Screams at them even. What is wrong with you? You should be able to handle this. Why are you so weak?

Depression is cruel. It isolates people and it cuts them off from friends and family. Before they know it, they stop talking. They become more and more inward. And when they do engage, they lash out. Angry, frustrated and hurt. Depression makes people feel unwanted and unloved and cared about. It causes paranoia to increase and insecurities to rise. It makes people doubt those they once never did. It causes arguments, stress and tension.

Depression impacts enjoyment – its loves to steal joy. What people once got pleasure out of – they now find a huge chore. What they once enjoyed doing – they suddenly can’t face or make time for. The smallest of tasks feel huge. Being around people feels too much. Being with people feels exhausting. Depression is exhausting. Its relentless. It tires you in a way you can never explain – yet you cannot sleep. Because when you try – the thoughts don’t stop. The chatter is never quiet. The self-doubt rises. The insecurities creep in – your head won’t let you rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depression leads people into dark places – and those dark places include addictions – alcohol, drugs, nicotine, eating disorders – they all get worse with depression. They begin to spiral out of control and take away a person’s personality. Bit by bit that person becomes lost and they also become dependent. Dependent on the substance of choice. And in turn that makes depression ten times worse.

Depression impacts people’s ability to work, to perform, to be productive. It takes away the ability to do things well. It leads to mistakes being made; things being overlooked. It causes people to feel inadequate and to often miss what is right in front of them. Forgetfulness, lateness, absent mindedness, a struggle to concentrate. It is all real. It is all happening – you see. Depression. Not so easy to just get over is it???

The biggest thing with depression is patience. Be patient with someone who is fighting that battle. Be kind, be compassionate and understanding. They don’t mean to lash out, or forget, or dismiss. They don’t mean to be critical or absent minded or to not be able to do things. They are hurting. They are lost and they are overwhelmed. It may seem simple to you – but to them it is so complicated.

There are things however that can help. So if you or someone you know is struggling with depression – try to slow down and make some time for these –

• Talking – simplistic but true. As hard as It can be – share your feelings. No matter how irrational they may feel or seem. Talk about what’s going on.

• Write things down – from small manageable to do lists- to a keeping a journal of thoughts and feelings. Its amazing the difference it makes.

• Wind down – take a bath, light candles, read a book. Slow down and make some time for you.

• Exercise – moderately of course. At first it can feel so hard to make that change. But introducing exercise – even a couple of times a week – can make a huge difference to emotional wellbeing.

• Make sure you are eating properly. Even if you don’t feel like it – implement the structure of three meals and three snacks a day. Ensure your body is getting the right fuel that it needs.

• Work towards getting enough sleep – its easier said than done – but wind down before bed. Relax as much as possible. Journal if you wake up at night.

• Stay away from electronic devices as much as possible

• Limit your time on social media – it isn’t a healthy place to be when your feeling down. It can make you feel even lower at times.

• Find space for creativity – drawing, colouring, painting, making things – whatever suits you. It calms the mind, its very therapeutic an improves mindfulness.

• Work on mindfulness in general – being in the moment is such an important thing to be able to work towards and achieve. We get stressed and anxious when we worry about the past or the future. Focus on the here and now and things will feel so much easier.

• Slow down – rest when you need too. Take time for you when you need too.

• Make sure you are working to stay away from any additive behaviours. Things like alcohol will only make you feel lower and more down.

• Say no when you need too – you don’t have to agree to every commitment or say yes to every social event. Take some time out from the world. Things can wait.

• Take things step by step – bit by bit. Work through them gradually – one step at a time. The key is not letting things build up.

• Start seeing a therapist – counselling can really make a positive difference.

• Above all – remember you are not alone and remind yourself that you can get through this.

Moving away from toxic relationships.

A toxic relationship is a very unhealthy one. It often leaves people feeling worthless and insecure.  These types of relationships can be so destructive and they can severely damage a person’s self-esteem.

A toxic relationship causes people to question everything about themselves.  They find themselves doubting everything they do and feel and consequently they are unable to relax and be themselves.  In addition to this they spend more time worrying about the other person and about what is going on for them, rather then focusing on themselves.

This can lead to people feeling very lost, and struggling to express the things that are important to them.  It is hard for them to get there needs met or to think about themselves.

ms2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship doesn’t only mean a romantic or intimate one.  While people can have toxic relationships with their partners, they can also have them with their friends and family members.  It is really important to take stock and actually look at the relationships in your lives.  In order to evaluate who in your life makes you feel good about yourself, and who in your life causes you pain and heartache.

Pain and heartache doesn’t only come from the obvious things such as physical or emotional abuse. Toxic relationships can also be a lot more subtle and there can be other signs that you are in one.

A toxic relationship is one where you never feel that you are good enough.  The person that you are in this relationship with will often put you down, laugh at you or make jokes about your personality or the things that you do.  This can all be done in jest, but it is a way of putting you down and making you feel inadequate. The way that they speak to you can leave you feeling paranoid and judged.  The relationship can also leave you doubting yourself and questioning any decisions that you make in your life.

RBLOG3

Another major sign of being in a toxic relationship is that you are never truly able to relax and be yourself around the person you are in the relationship with.  If people feel unable to be open and also feel on edge when they are with someone, then this is a sure sign that the relationship is destructive for them.

This could mean that a person puts on a totally different persona when they are around this person – to such an extent that they don’t even recognise who they are (and nor do other people).  They find themselves behaving in a way that isn’t them – just to connect to this person and to relate to them.  They may even start questioning the things they normally do or believe in, finding themselves thinking that this person is always right.

Other signs of a toxic relationship are when a person always makes everything about them.  If they permanently focus on what they want and they need, and never think about what you want and you need, then this is a definite sign of a toxic relationship.  Perhaps they get envious or jealous when things go well for you, or they can’t handle it when you are in a happy or good place.

If a person tries to bring you down, if they question what is good for you, or if they mock the things that make you happy, then these are all definite signs that you are in a toxic relationship. A relationship that is destructive and brings you down can impact on your self-esteem, your confidence, as well as your physical and mental wellbeing.  It can bring you down, and make you feel very lost and low.

Frog A toxic relationship doesn’t allow you to grow and develop. It doesn’t enable you to move forward or to invite positivity into your life.  Instead it pulls you down, and holds you back.  People often have a sense of feeling stuck, and disempowered. And they may also doubt their own capabilities or decision making.

 

 

All of the above outlines relationships that are abusive, negative, unhealthy and destructive.  If you can recognise yourself in a relationship like this, then please be aware of the damage that this can be doing to you and your life.

If you are aware of a relationship that tries to hold you back that bring you down, that makes you doubt who you are or if you know that you’re in a relationship that causes you pain or stress, then maybe it is time to question things and make some positive changes.

Below are a list of things that can really help –

  • Putting some space between you and this person is the first step to making a change in your life.
  • Talking about the impact they have on you to others can also help.
  • Be mindful of how you feel when your around them and how you feel when your not.
  • Write things down to help you can clarity – this way you can look back at the things they have said and done.
  • Become more aware of the damage that they do – awareness is the first step towards active change.
  • Gain insight into who you really are.
  • Learn more about your identity.
  • Spend time doing the things that you love.
  • Increasing your self confidence and self-esteem.  The better you feel about yourself the more strength you will have.
  • Surround yourself with people that make you feel good – those that you laugh with, smile with, feel at ease with, talk openly with etc
  • Finally start counselling if you can.

Counselling can really help with all of this and it enables people to break destructive patterns.  It also helps them to value who they are, and to believe in themselves.  It gives people the opportunity to start to follow their dreams, to recognise what their hopes are and to be aware of when someone is trying to pull them down or put them down.

Counselling allows people to focus on what it is that they want or need, and to make positive changes in their life.  Sometimes this can mean ending these toxic relationships and moving towards people that allow them to be themselves, and those that make them feel good about who they are. It enables people to start to value themselves more and to not allow these toxic relationships to destroy the good things in their lives.

Here at your counselling service we are dedicated to offering a great counselling service, and to enabling people to believe in who they are.  Our therapists work hard to allow people to feel good enough and to ensure that they don’t let other people (and their negativity) bring them down.

Pic Blog

 

How can I trust you?

How can I trust you?

When life has taught me not to trust.

How can I depend on you?

When life has shown me that people let you down.

How can I believe you?

When I have been told many lies.

And how can I have faith in you?

When I don’t have faith in the world around me.

RBLOG3

I need to feel safe. Yet I don’t know how too.

I need to feel secure. Yet that’s never been easy for me.

I need to trust you. Yet I’m terrified that If I do – you will let me down.

Trust.

Such a simple word.

Yet such complexity behind it.

We are born into the world dependent. We rely on our caregivers to take care of us. As babies all our basic needs – they are met by the adults that look after us.

But what if those adults let us down? What if they are unavailable to us from the outset? What if our modelling is absent parents – what do we learn then? Well we discover that our needs can’t be met. We grow up as children knowing that it isn’t ok to ask for what we need and that it isn’t safe to express how we feel.loss 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In childhood if trust is broken it has such a lasting impact. If the people you turn too for care and guidance lie to you or let you down in some way. If they don’t meet your needs. If they continue to disappoint or hurt you. Even worse if they abuse you. What do you learn then???

ms 1

That in some way you are not good enough. You are not worth loving, you are not valued or cared for. You don’t deserve respect. But fundamentally above all of that – you learn not to trust. You learnt not to depend. You learn that you – yourself – you are the only one you can truly rely on.

This carries on into adulthood – if as a child you never trusted or felt emotionally or physically safe. How can you then be expected too as an adult? How can you rely on or trust friends? How can you form healthy romantic relationships? How can you choose partners that will be there for you? You don’t know how too after all. And as a result. You find yourself repeating cycles. Ending up in toxic relationships or being with people that let you down in some way. That hurt you. That break your trust even more – and that’s so painful when it was hardly there in the first place.

If as an adult your faith and trust is damaged even more – then you can become even more fragile. This is where people often develop negative coping mechanisms. Dangerous relationships with food, alcohol, drugs – the list goes on. This is where people begin to neglect themselves and to turn towards patterns of behaviour that aren’t good for them. After all – why would you want to try and let someone in – when all they will do is hurt you? It becomes ‘easier’ for many people to keep others at bay. It is far to scary to let people in when you have been so hurt. To step out of a comfort zone is frightening and it takes a massive leap of faith.

Pic BlogThe scary part is stepping out – trying something new. Learning how to be with someone that won’t break your trust. Listening, communicating and giving chances. That’s tough. That’s scary. It feels far less scary to stay in a comfort zone. To retreat and turn to default positions. To lean on behaviours and coping mechanisms that you have used for years.

But if you think about it – this leaves you trapped. It leaves you stuck. Never really being able to let someone in. Never really being able to give things a chance and never really being able to move forward. Small steps – tiny ones even – in the right direction. They can make a real difference and open the possibility for real change.

Trusting is scary. But honestly – if you never try – you will never know.

  • Communicate – no matter how difficult you find it – all talk about how you feel.
  • Open up – as hard as it is share who you are and what you have experienced.
  • Express yourself – even if you feel afraid. It’s so important to express your emotions’
  • Accept re assurance – the right person will offer it to you. If they want you to trust them – they will continue to re assure you.
  • Ask for what you need – letting someone in isn’t easy. But if you ask for what you need it is far healthier.
  • Talk to those around you – if your struggling lean on other people that you feel safer with.
  • Take time for yourself – make room in your life for the things that you need.
  • Self-care – make your own well being a total priority.
  • Be rational – lack of trust can lead to insecurities and irrational thinking. Try to calm yourself down when things get overwhelming.
  • Seek therapy – if things get too much and you’re really struggling with trust – go and see a therapist. It can make a huge difference.
  • Above all – remember to value who you are.

 

Learn to sparkle.

 

How much time do you spend worrying about what others think ?

How often do you question yourself?

How often do you wonder if you are doing the right thing?

How often do negative thoughts and feelings to take over?

If you break it down and strip it all back  – does any of the above really matter ?? Is it all truly important or are we simply giving too much of our time away. And more significantly giving it away to the opinions, judgements and viewpoints of others. And actually – what they think of us doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.

Pic Blog

I love the quote – you were born an original – don’t die a copy. This couldn’t be more powerful. Too much time is spent trying to conform, to please and to be what we feel we ‘should’ be.

 

 

I have learnt a lot over the years personally and professionally and there is one thing I know for sure. There is no such thing as should. Life is too short and too precious to spend it conforming to what everyone else wants or believes in. After all other people always have their own agenda – and it is our path that truly matters in the end.

I do a lot of work with clients around building self esteem and learning about self-worth. Once people have over come many challenges in their therapy and addressed a lot of issues – there is often a theme. A theme of learning self-acceptance. Of learning to value and appreciate themselves. This is part of the journey of therapy – enabling people to grow, to develop and to learn to be ok in their own skin.

Women embracing in rehab group at therapy

 

 

 

 

 

 

But for me it is bigger than that – it is learning to sparkle. To shine and to know just how amazing they are. Individuality and being unique – it is what make’s people so special. The colours people love, the clothes they embrace and wear as a part of their identity. The music they listen too, the books they read, the hobbies they have. This is all a fundamental part of identity – and when these things get lost – a person feels truly lost. They don’t know who they are any more and then they need to begin to the journey. They journey of finding themselves – and truly learning to sparkle.

RBLOG4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step back for a moment – look around you. What makes you who you are?? Do you have favourite flowers? Buy them for yourself. Do you have favourite feel good music? Make a playlist. Do you love candles? Light them. Favourite books? Read them. Do you love yoga – make time for it. Do you love pictures? Print some – when di you last frame some of your favourite photos?? Do you like to draw or paint – make it happen?? Do you love writing?? Blog, write, journal – keep that diary! If you are a runner – run again. Enter an event. If you like to kick box then make time for it. Perhaps you’re a swimmer. Go get in the pool. When did you last buy yourself something to wear? Go on – treat yourself. But make sure there is some colour. Colour represents our feelings – get some brightness in your life. But also choose what makes you ‘you’. I could go on – the list is endless. If your friends make you feel good – make plans. See them. Make it happen. Invest time wisely. Give it to who and what makes you feel good. Enjoy your favourite foods and drinks. Stop thinking about the should in life – and go for the sparkle!!!! Find yours. And I promise you will feel so much happier.

Trauma

Trauma.

What do you think when you hear that word???

Something traumatic?? What do you understand by that statement??

Donna in abito bianco pensierosa, solitaria, texture retro Its defined as something disturbing, shocking, upsetting, damaging, horrific, awful, alarming, terrifying – the list goes on.

Ultimately trauma is relative. And it can be different for each one of us. What we as individuals define as traumatic is individual and unique to each of us. We all have different thresholds. We all experience things differently. Some people bounce back from certain events more quickly, while others take a long time to heal. There is no right or wrong. Sometimes people avoid things – while others face them head on. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how you recover or cope. What matters is that you find peace in the end.

The list of traumatic events is endless –

  • Domestic violence
  • Rape
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Natural disaster
  • A serious car accident
  • Sudden death of someone close
  • Bullying
  • Violent attack – mugging, assault etc
  • War
  • Political violence/unrest
  • Divorce
  • Relationship break down
  • Infidelity
  • Redundancy
  • Supporting a loved one with a long-term illness

These are some of the many things that people find traumatic – but realistically there are many more. Even change can sometimes be very traumatic for people.

Frog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are key signs when someone is traumatised – they may have upsetting or disturbing memories, they may have frightening dreams. Children suffer with these a lot and they may also act out the trauma through play and appear to be experiencing it as though it is happening right now.

People may get very upset or distressed when they hear certain noises, or if they are faced with reminders of certain things. They will naturally also want to stay away from conversation that relates to the trauma and find themselves trying to avoid any feelings associated with it.

Naturally when people are traumatised, they begin to lose interest in the things they once found enjoyable. They isolate themselves more and more. They may show less emotion and not want to be around others. Or at times extreme emotion and go through phases of blaming others or even blaming themselves.

Sleep is one of the first things that can be impacted when someone is traumatised. They may also lose their ability to concentrate and find themselves easily startled, nervous and jumpy at times. Some people often become very reckless and dangerous as they act certain behaviours out and lose a sense of caring about what happens to themselves. Anger can also come out very frequently and often in different directions.

ms2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children can become more fearful of strangers and seem clingier. They may regress and act younger in their behaviour and often talk about physical complaints such as stomach aches and pains. They may show fear around being separated from a caregiver who they feel safe with. And they may struggle to concentrate and have outbursts regularly. Mood changes will be common – as well changes in appetite.

Once you understand and recognise why a person is acting the way they are – then you can really begin to help them.  Once you see past the behaviour and understand how traumatised they are – then you will be able to see their vulnerability.

You will be able to understand the pain they are experiencing and learn about the things they are doing their best to try and block out and at times suppress. Often people need to experience compassion, kindness, care and understanding. Even when it is hard to do so, and you feel tested and pushed to the limit – it is important to try and remember what a person is going through. To try and understand the place they find themselves in. And in turn to be there for them.

Hope pic

There are many types of therapy available to help someone that is traumatised. Whether it is cognitive behaviour therapy, play therapy or an analytical approach (to name a few). It can have a positive impact and will help people of all ages.

 

However, there are also things that can be done at home and around someone who is traumatised in order to help them. You can also apply these to yourself if you are the one who has experienced the trauma.

  • Offer a calm and structured environment
  • Develop some important routines
  • Think about expectations and limits – what is reasonable for someone going through this ?
  • Pay attention and listen to someones feelings
  • Remain calm when someone else is anxious
  • For young people plan for any transitions
  • Focus on the hear and now
  • Look at identity and learning about a sense of self
  • Take care of your own needs
  • Be aware of reactions – yours and the person dealing with the trauma
  • Incorporate regular exercise
  • Make time for relaxation
  • Focus on a balanced diet
  • Make sure sleep is a priority
  • Focus on having healthy relationships
  • Aim to manage stress
  • Make sure you talk about your feelings
  • Focus on a good support network
  • Get a doctor and medication involved if you think it’s necessary

None of us can undo the trauma that someone has experienced, and we cannot take away the pain they have endured and continue to overcome.

We can however help them to make life more manageable for them and to learn how to live with the things that have happened to them, without them totally taking over.

All of the above can really help people in moving forward and finding a healthy way of manging and coping with things.  And in time true healing can take place and a brighter future is possible.

 

 

 

 

Letting go.

Without realising it we often hold on to the voices and the experiences of the past. It is after all understandable. If things have had a major impact on us or caused a lot of pain or distress, then they are bound to stay with us. It takes time to fully process things. Holding on to them however – can really hold us back.

RBLOG3

The past doesn’t define us. It contributes to who we are – and fundamentally we learn from it. But if we continue to live in it, or to worry about it, then we will never fully be able to embrace the present or look forward to the future. Anxiety, worries, and negative thought processes – they will continue to repeat and fundamentally, they will continue to hold us back.

If you think about the negative experiences in your life. Whether these relate to family, friends, romantic relationships, jobs, etc – if things haven’t worked out how you imagined and have caused you pain, then it can be easy to believe that these experiences will be repeated. It is understandable to doubt when previous pain has been caused – but if you live in a world of doubt, then you never take a leap of trust and you never embrace the idea of a different possibility.

Pic BlogJust because things happened the way they did in the past, it doesn’t mean that they will happen that way again. It is very scary to trust someone, or to trust something, when pain has been something you have experienced so much before. But if you allow that pain to dictate, then it will hold you back and it will sabotage your present and your future.

Letting go is not easy. Letting go is scary. Letting go can feel overwhelming at times. At other times it can feel liberating, exciting and cathartic. Perhaps it is worth considering that there is always a flip side. Life doesn’t have to follow the same path – change is possible and a different way of being is also possible for any of us.

It is not healthy or good for us to carry around the demons of the past with us. But it is understandable why so many people do. Sometimes we can get trapped in a vicious cycle, or caught up in the negativity that once surrounded us. However taking a leap of faith can open up a world of possibilities and can allow a brighter and better life to happen.

Pic blog 2It does of course involve risk – but if we never take a risk, then we never know.  We may feel safer in our own cocoon and we may feel less anxious with our defences up. But we may also feel trapped, stifled, alone, suppressed and pulled down by a very heavy weight on our shoulders. Isolated in a prison – a prison that can at times feel comforting but that comfort also stops us from truly living.

I often talk to clients in recovery about this – the notion of letting go. It doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships, friendships, jobs, homes, dreams etc. It also applies to eating disorders, addictions and any other forms of self-harming behaviours. To recover and walk away from these is terrifying. The not knowing – the fear of what’s on the other side.

ms2The questions. Will I be ok? How will this be? Who am I without this? Yes of course those questions are all valid. They are real. Change shakes our identity and that is scary. But change is also exciting and liberating. Imagine the freedom of not being stuck in those negative thought processes. Imagine not being dictated to by someone or something. The ability to be you – and all the beauty that is you. How special could that feel?

This process is not easy and it involves a lot of soul searching, an openness and willingness to start to heal and let go. Therapy comes in here and it can be the most healing experience you could have. It offers the chance to begin to move forward – to let the experiences of the past go and to not allow them to define you. It is ok to be you and it is ok to be happy. You don’t have to be dominated by what once was. There is something better and brighter if you can take the chance and trust it.

Hope picTake a leap of faith, begin to let go and learn to trust. It might be scary but all change is, and ultimately it is through change that we truly grow and become the best person we can be.

 

 

Improving life with your partner.

We often end up taking for granted the closest person to us.  It is also common to take things out on that person, not make enough time for them or not make them a priority. This seems pretty ironic when you think about it.  The person we love and care about more then anything, and the person we are closest too – often ends up at the bottom of our priority list.  Here at your counselling service we do a lot of couples work, and we recognise the importance of nurturing a relationship and prioritising your partner.  If you and your partner are struggling then here are some useful tips for improving things –

1. In your busy week organise a ‘date night’ or a ‘date day’.  This is one evening or day that is solely for the two of you. No phones, no interruptions (Including things like television).  If you have children it is worth investing in a baby sitter.  It doesn’t have to be an expensive date. A walk, a drink in the pub, perhaps cooking for one another.  The importance is quality time.

2. Remember to communicate.  It sounds simplistic. But is often the main issue for a lot of couples.  Communication breaks down.  Talk to each other, ask how each other is feeling – and really listen. Pay attention to your partner the same way you would if you were catching up with  friend you haven’t seen for ages.

3. Express love and affection. This can often stop after people have been together for a while. But it is so important.  It can be a kiss, a cuddle, telling each other that you love each other or just reminding a person of how much they mean to you.  Simple ways to do this can be through notes and messages during the day.

4. Respect each other.  You are two different people , with different thoughts, feelings, families and lives. You need to be mindful of this and respect each others differences.  You wont always agree.  But the key is having a healthy discussion instead of an argument.

5. Be honest about your feelings.  So many people don’t tell each other how they really feel.  Yet its so important to be honest about feelings. You may feel sad, insecure, stressed or let down in some way by your partner.  Even if you feel that its illogical you need to tell your partner how your feeling.  If you need something more from them don’t be afraid to ask.  They may not even realise that they are doing something to upset you.

6, Work on intimacy. Having a healthy sex life is very important in a relationship. And something that is unique to each couple. However intimacy isn’t just above having sex. It is about doing other things such as taking a bath together or giving each other a massage etc. Make time for this and learn to ask for what you need from each other. It is so important.

These are just some of the useful things that you can try in order to improve things with your partner.  If you find that you are doing all of these and things aren’t changing then you may wish to come and see someone for couples counselling. If this is the case then please call 07590 663938 or e mail info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk  We would be really happy to help.

 

When the mirror lies to you.

Many people will often speak negatively about the way that they look. Being critical of our appearance seems to be something that comes far more naturally then speaking positively about ourselves.

But what happens when it becomes something more serious? When it starts to take over a persons life? And when what was once a negative comment turns into a full blown destructive thought process?

RBLOG3

Body dysmorphia. A very serious and debilitating thing to live with. Can you imagine the pain of seeing yourself in the mirror and hating what you see? Day in and day out?? Can you imagine what it feels like to get ready and to actual believe that you are larger then you were the day before? To compare pictures all the time and convince yourself that you have grown in size? To find the smallest flaw in your appearance and to focus on it obsessively? To scrutinise your face in the mirror all the time? To examine photos in depth and always conclude things negatively ? To feel as though your clothes are tighter all the time? To be convinced your stomach, or your thighs, or arms are growing consistently ? To see your face as larger and larger every day ?? Torture. Non stop – the voices whirl around and around in your head.

It makes no sense to everyone else. How can it ???

What your seeing isn’t real. What your feeling isn’t real. Yes – to you it is. Right in that moment – you see yourself exactly that way. It takes over – it pulls you in. You feel like you might break at any moment.

ms2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet everyone around you tells you how great you look. How amazing you are. People give you attention and comment on how attractive you are, or how lovely your outfit or hair is. Yet you don’t feel it. Any of it. Deep inside your consumed. Your thought process is raging. Your emotions are taking over. You feel awful. The voice is loud. It’s taking over. And you hate it.

It isn’t easy at all – but remember – that voice – it’s lying to you. It’s putting you down. It’s telling you things that aren’t true. It wants to keep you in a low place. It wants to drag you down and convince you that you aren’t good enough. It wants to point out every slight possible negative thing about you – so that you feel worthless. So that you feel disempowered. So that you hate yourself and feel so low you can’t even begin to start the day.

RBLOG1 It’s like a controlling partner – who wants to dominate your life and to take away your power. Its like an abusive relationship or toxic friendship – where your constantly kept in this vulnerable position – feeling not good enough. Feeling empty, low and worthless. Body dysmorphia – it wants to take you down. It wants to destroy you. Any chance of happiness you might have – it wants to take it away. Anything good – it wants to sabotage. That’s the irony – things might be going well, something positive might happen. You might be feeling happy with something – and there it is – ready to pounce. Ready to destroy. ‘You don’t deserve this’ it whispers. ‘This won’t last’ – it says. ‘You can’t be happy’ it repeats quietly in the background. And instead of allowing these vulnerabilities to be explored, it focuses on the physical – pointing out the negatives and drawing your in to a world of self-hatred.

Its also there when your very stressed, when your run down, tired and overwhelmed. Things might be getting on top of you – you can’t cope with it all. BOOM – there it is. Telling you how awful you look. How massive you are, how disgusting your body and face are. Its ready – it wants to take you down. You feel awful – it wants to make you feel worse.

endings 1

Fight back!!!! Try not to listen. Talk about it. It’s so hard. But say it out loud. The voice doesn’t want you too. But say it. Then it loses its power. Tell someone close to you what you are feeling. Articulate your worries and concerns. They can help to reassure you – and while they can’t take it all away, they can focus on grounding you.

Write your feelings down – get them out of your head. Don’t let them take over. You can beat this. You don’t have to listen to every negative thought in there. Your worth more – write and write until you can tell yourself that.

Look after yourself – simplistic but true. Good positive self-care makes it all easier to manage. If you are eating properly, sleeping well, getting enough down time and calm time – then you will feel so much better in general. And the voice won’t have such a chance to take over.

Spend time with those that make you feel calm and at ease. Be around those that make you feel good in yourself. Limit your time with toxic people or those that drain your energy and take from you. There is only so much of you to go around. You need to focus on what is good for you.

And don’t forget – there is also therapy. Counselling can really help when it comes to fighting the battles of body dysmorphia. It helps people to understand the root causes of what is going on and change day to day behaviours. It helps to put coping strategies in place and to move forward in a more positive way.

Pic blog 2

When its time to forgive.

It goes without saying – there are certain events that happen in people’s life that they feel are totally unforgiveable. People cannot always find compassion or have understanding for everything that ever takes place.

Life is not about always making things ok – and it is of course ok for any of us to say when something has truly upset or hurt us. We have the right to express every emotion we feel – including anger.

endings 1

But what happens when our pain eats us up? When our anger makes us bitter?  And what happens when we hold on to the things that cause us nothing but hurt and upset. There may not always be a place for total forgiveness. But there is a place for healing. There is a place for letting go – and there is a place for moving forward. And to fully be able to do that – we need to be able to say to ourselves – this happened – but I am ok. Its ok. I am moving forward and I am letting go.

If we don’t do this – we remain stuck. You will see it – many times. People get caught in a vicious cycle. One of pain. One of anger. One of bitterness. Sometimes a path that is full of addiction – alcohol, drugs, sex, food, exercise, work – the list is endless. People find many ways to avoid the things they truly feel – and many ways to escape the thoughts in their head.

Young person

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fundamentally however – real healing comes from facing those thoughts. It come from engaging with your own reality. It is the ability to be able to say – yes this happened to me. And yes it really hurt and it has been beyond painful. But if I hold on to it – if I continue to allow it to dominate – then I will never be able to move forward. Sometimes we all have to say – enough is enough.

Letting go is never easy – however it looks and whoever it involves – it is the hardest thing to do. But once you do. Once you truly do – your mind will be so clearer. It will feel so much calmer and the clarity you find will enable you to engage in your life more. To be more present and focused wherever you are and with whatever you are doing.

RBLOG4

Nothing stays the same in life – and that is ok. While change can be so painful at times and cause stress and anxiety. On the flip side it can also bring possibility, new beginnings, excitement and happiness. Sometimes when a door shuts another one opens. And sometimes change can also being relief. Relief that you are not in a certain situation anymore, dealing with something that you found so hard or facing someone that just caused you more pain the happiness.

Even when something or someone has caused you so much pain and hurt, it is ok to look back and acknowledge that good times also existed. Even when letting go of someone is so painful – you can also smile and think of the happy times you once shared. This is called inner peace. Calmness. Let it in if you can. Because when you do – you have healed.

Hope pic

 

 

 

 

 

We can forgive but not invite someone or something back into our lives. We can find empathy and compassion even when it feels impossible and bleak. We can search and find understanding and in that understanding we will feel better in ourselves. But none of this means that we lose our right to be angry about what has happened to us or to someone we love or care about. We just make a healthy choice – to not allow that anger to eat us up. To let that anger go. To forgive perhaps – but not forget.

But then we remember – that difficult situations always teach us something. The lesson isn’t clear at the time – it isn’t always straight forward at the time. But over time we look back and we acknowledge  and see the message that is meant for us. Overall – our aim is to simply let go.

Finally – there is also the important area of forgiving ourselves. None of us are perfect. We are all human. And at some point we all do things that we could easily come down on ourselves about. But no good ever comes from beating ourselves up. We all make the best decision we can in any given situation. And that is what truly matters. Don’t spend time being hard on yourself. Learn to forgive yourself. To trust yourself and to be yourself. Remember you deserve to be happy.

Pic blog 2

 

 

Believe in yourself

How often do you hear people putting themselves down? Speaking negatively about themselves or expressing self-doubt? It is more common to find people questioning themselves, second guessing themselves or feeling insecure, then it Is to find people speaking highly about themselves, or trusting that they are always doing their best.

Isnt it sad that we live in a world of self doubt. That we are surrounded by critical voices, judgements and opinions. Often ones that people don’t need to hear. Ones that don’t make people feel good about themselves, and ones that do nothing but feed negative thinking.

Of course this isn’t always the case – there are those of us that empower. Those of us that speak highly of others, that compliment people and build others up. And there are those of use that encourage people to do everything they have ever wanted too.

But we do live in a world of comparison. We do live in a world where people place high expectations on others and where they are so quick to form opinions and judgements.

RBLOG3

I often say to clients – it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. What matters if what you think. It doesn’t matter how others view your life – it matters how you feel about your life. You don’t need external validation. You may feel that you do. But you don’t. What truly matters is what’s inside. And what’s really important is your own inner happiness.

It is my belief that we can all achieve anything we put our minds too. We are capable of far more then we really give ourselves credit for. And ultimately we are capable of fulfilling any of our dreams. If we just believe in ourselves.

It sounds simple right – after all believe and you will achieve?

RBLOG

Of course it is not always that easy. What if a person is very insecure, or if they are living with an addiction, or depression, maybe they are fighting an eating disorder. Or what if someone generally has low self esteem and low self confidence. Perhaps they have been bullied in the past of they have bene in toxic / abusive relationships.

All of these things knock people’s confidence. They shatter hope and destroy dreams. They leave people fighting demons, trying to overcome battles in their head and they result in a lot of self-criticism and a huge amount of not feeling good enough.

ms2

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always there are many things that people can do tRBLOG4o help themselves get into a more positive place.  Things like using a support network. Communicating and expressing feelings more.  And of course there are several changes that can be made in a person’s life to help them feel better about themselves. Things like positive self care, taking time out for themselves, working on stress levels, journal writing etc. Other areas can be looked at – finding a place of moderation when it comes to things like exercise, alcohol etc. Looking at food in a moderate way is also really important. Generally people can work towards re storing balance in their life and incorporating positive mantras so that they begin to feel better about themselves.

All of the above can really help – but sometimes things like depression and anxiety for example. Well they can take over – and they can leave a person feeling very alone, lost and full of self doubt.

That’s where therapy comes in….

Starting the therapeutic process can of course be daunting. But with the right therapist – in a relaxed and calm environment , real healing can begin to take place.

Therapy can really help people to start to challenge the negative voices in their head. It can help them to unpick the critical and punitive scripts that go round and round. And it can work towards replacing them with kinder scripts. With nicer and more respectful words and thoughtful voices. It can teach people the art of being kind to themselves and it can help them to learn how to like and eventually love themselves.

Hope pic

 

 

 

 

 

Of course it isn’t easy – and the journey isn’t quick. But with a lot of work, time and effort – it can happen. So if you want to start believing in yourself. If you want to gain more self confidence. If you want to learn how to like yourself, to respect yourself and be kind to yourself. Then why not give it a try? You will soon see the difference it can make.

The better we feel in ourselves the more we are capable of achieving anything we put our minds too. The more self confidence we have – the more we can shine and sparkle. Go find the best version of yourself. And if you need help doing that – we are right here.