When its hard to see in colour.

There are times in life when things feel so dark. When we find ourselves consumed with negativity and we stop noticing any of the positive things around us.

There are times in life when a darkness starts to take over. When it creeps in and begins to eat us up. When we feel so low that the smallest of things become so big. When we feel so confused that the simple things get forgotten, and when we feel so afraid that everything suddenly feels unsafe or scary.

Depression sets in. Bleakness takes over. Colour no longer exits.

Dark thoughts can be scary. They can be overwhelming. Suddenly it becomes hard to sleep, to eat, to focus – people find themselves feeling anxious in places they once found easy to be in. People find themselves feeling overwhelmed with the most basic things. And before you know it energy starts to fade. Moods start to sink. A fragility exists that wasn’t there once before.

Some people find that they can’t stop eating, while others don’t eat at all. Some find themselves wanting to sleep all of the time. While others develop severe insomnia. There is no set description of depression – it impacts everyone differently.

Many people become extreme when it comes to the use of alcohol or drugs. Addiction kicks in. Some people feel like they can’t do anything at all or face anyone. While others become obsessive about things like exercise or extreme cleaning. All of this behaviour is exiting. Exiting your reality. A reality that feels black and heavy. Avoiding pain and moving more and more in themselves.

The reality is however, that all of this makes everything so much worse. Isolation creeps in. Loneliness takes over. Paranoia starts. Confidence decreases. Suddenly small things feel huge. A person starts to lose their sparkle. And where you once saw an aliveness in someone you now she a deadness. Depression. It’s there. And it can take over.

The key to living with depression is to start by acknowledging that you are going through a very difficult time. Name it. Say it. Own it. Right now. I am really struggling. It doesn’t take the pain away or make everything better. But it can make people feel calmer – and start to allow themselves to feel the way that they feel.

Give yourself permission to be – right here. Right now. However you are feeling. It is ok. And it is natural. Allow your thoughts and feelings to come to the surface. Sit with them. Experience them. Have faith that they will pass. As will this challenging time in your life. But know that it is ok to feel down sometimes. It is ok to feel overwhelmed sometimes. And it’s ok to be who you are. At any given moment.

Fighting depression isn’t easy. Because that darkness is exhausting in itself. It is however possible. It isn’t easy but its doable. Make sure you start with genuine self-care and self-love. Be kind to yourself always. Start with the simple things. Make sure you are winding down before bed and trying to get as much as sleep as you can. Give your body a chance to recover and to deal with things. Eat. Again it sounds simplistic but eat. Try to stick to a basic plan of three meals a day and three snacks in between. Keep in mind moderation – everything is ok when its balanced. You need energy to fight depression off. Not eating makes everything harder.

Keeping with the theme of moderation. Apply this to other areas of life such as exercise, alcohol, socialising etc. It’s easy to turn to extremes when you are in a dark place. To find yourself drinking more, or turning to fitness obsessively. Either way these things won’t help or do you any good. The same goes for going out all of the time and avoiding things or for throwing yourself into work all the time and again avoiding things. The key is creating balance in your life. And ultimately facing up to the things that are pulling you down and challenging you.

Expressing emotions and dealing with them can really help. Therapy is a great place to do this – counselling has a huge benefit when your feeling low. In addition to this things like yoga can really help the mind to feel calmer too. Talking is a great thing to do. Letting your feelings and emotions out is so therapeutic and positive. So think about your support network. Reach out when you can and talk to people. Never suffer alone or in silence. As hard as it can be. Take that step to ask for help when you need. If people can they will.

Take the time that you need for you. Whether that is going for a walk, reading a book, keeping a journal – it can all help. Work on your ability to be mindful and keeping present in the moment. Focusing on the here and now can really help. Surround yourself with those that bring out the best in you – not the stress in you.

Finally above all say no. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Don’t feel you have to say yes to everything. It is ok to put boundaries in place, and it is ok to say no. If you are exhausted and overwhelmed don’t attend things. Give yourself the time that you need to rest and recover. The people that really love you and care about you will totally understand.

Fundamentally it is all about being kind to yourself. So start right now. Do what’s right for you and the rest will follow. You can beat this. Slowly, bit by bit, colour will return.

A part of me died

Sometimes pain is so huge it leaves us feeling numb.

Sometimes we hurt so much that we lose sight of who we are.

Sometimes loss is so huge that it feels unbearable.

Sometimes devastation hits us – and its though a part of us dies.

Life throws hurdles our way. Life sends curve balls when we least expect it. Life challenges us. Life breaks us. Life confuses us and at times it totally overwhelms us.

While there is so much positivity in the world – there is also so much pain. And while there are so many good things that can happen – there are also tragedies that hit. And they hit any of us at any given time.

 

Pain is manageable – to an extent. Loss is bearable – to an extent. Darkness is beatable – to an extent. You can live with depression – for a while.

But what happens when the magnitude of what you have experienced totally takes over? When you feel so lost that you don’t know who you are anymore?

Suddenly you find yourself anxious doing the things you once loved. You feel like you can’t breathe being around those you love. You have a sense that you can’t trust anyone – paranoia takes over.

You find yourself lashing out at people and not even knowing why. Tears come frequently. Everything hurts – and nothing seems to take the pain away. Your functioning – just. But you are not truly living.

There are moments in life when the world totally changes. Sometimes we hear something and we know things will never be the same again. Sometimes we lose someone so close to us or something so precious gets taken from us.

A defining moment happens – one that is so painful. So unbearable. And before we know it our sparkle has gone. That ‘thing’ that makes us who we are. That bit that makes us who we are. Its missing. The smiles faded. The laughter’s gone. The hope has vanished. The pain has taken over. Part of us has died. And life suddenly now feels empty, vacant, painful and we remain a shadow of who we once were.

Some people notice – others don’t. Perhaps the mask we wear is very good. Maybe it hides the scars. There are many ways of hiding. You find yourself going about your day – existing. But deep down there always feels this deep sense of emptiness. A hole that can never be filled. Direction seems to impossible to find.

What would it be like to stop looking? To stop trying to find a way though it all? To end your search for an answer or a solution. To stop trying to fix the things that can’t be fixed.

What would it be like to accept the here and now? That doesn’t mean accepting exactly what happened – but it means trying to let go of the pain attached to it. And allowing yourself to be in the moment.

Maybe the moment won’t feel as good as life once felt. Maybe today doesn’t feel as full as life felt before this happened to you. But if you keep looking back you will never be happy with today.

Of course you want things the way they once were – of course you want to be able to go back to a time when things felt good, when they felt easier, fuller, brighter, happier – you name it. But if you spend all your time and energy looking back you will never allow yourself to move forward.

There are things that happen that mean life will never be ‘exactly’ the same. They do change things to such an extent that they leave deep pain and heartache. But while we can’t fix these things, we can learn to live with what has happened and to heal. Healing is a huge part of the process – and enables us to let go. If we don’t heal, we remain stuck.

Today – right now. That’s what’s currently important. It might not be as things once were – and you might not be as you once were. However it is your reality now – and the important thing is finding peace, clarity and enjoyment in the here and now.

Yes part of you may well have died. But there are still many other parts of you that are living. And if you think about it you can learn to live with the fact that you have lost that part of yourself. And you can heal and embrace the way you are now. You may never go back to being ‘exactly’ as you once were. But that’s ok – you can be you, as you are now. And start to recognize the beauty that is in that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take some time to embrace who you are now. Take some time to work on your life as it is today and invest in learning how to enjoy the way things now are. They don’t have to be the same to be positive and full. You don’t have to be the same to be happy. And whilst part of you may have gone – the other parts of you can come together to create a new way of being. A way that Is you – a way that brings laugher again. That allows enjoyment and happiness in. That reduces anxiety, worries and stress. And all the time encourages you to be ‘you’ again. Not exactly as you once were. But exactly as you are right now.

The Pressure of New Year

The New Year is upon us which means people are making resolutions. Save money, exercise more, follow a new life plan, drink less alcohol, contemplate a career change, save more money….the list goes on. There Is a temptation to spend January overwhelming yourself with thoughts of change, rules, regulations and also a tendency to lean towards restrictions and limitations.

A lot of the time changes and goals are based upon the expectations of others and we are often driven by a need to conform to societal norms. The problem is we end up feeling disappointed and down on ourselves when we fail to stick to the rules we have set and this perpetuates feelings of failure and inadequacy.

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New Year’s Day has become symbolic as the day to clean the slate. A time to look behind and see what we may have done wrong and now to change it. A time to look ahead and try and change things for the better.  A time to make new promises. But far too often we put too much pressure on ourselves to pull it all together for the New Year.

For many the New Year brings a sense of hope for a better future. It can represent a chance to start something new and to leave unwanted memories behind.  It can also be a difficult time for many people. When it comes to New Year’s Eve people everywhere appear to be happy, smiling and laughing.  This picture often reflects how people think things should be.  But take away the fireworks, the celebrations, the countdowns and the half-hearted resolutions – then what are we left with…ourselves and our thoughts.

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The New Year can be a trigger for what is lost, not just what is surrounding us. It can bring up painful and complex emotions and make us miss those who aren’t with us anymore and reminisce about how things used to be which can be very difficult to deal with.

For people suffering with depression, anxiety or mental health problems New Year can bring up feelings of loneliness, stress and anxiety. Images of other people enjoying themselves, either in day to day life or on social media can create a sense of emptiness. Resolution season can also be particularly hard for someone living with an eating disorder. With so many people pledging to lose weight and eat healthier eating disorder sufferers can feel pressured to do the same. But a seemingly simple resolve to become healthier or lose a bit of weight can quickly become a downward spiral if taken to extreme measures.

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The reality is there are no shortcuts and we can’t escape our feelings or our emotions. It’s ok to find the New Year difficult and it’s ok not to have it all together every minute of every day. Making mistakes means we are learning and living and that is what makes us human. If you are struggling with how you are feeling then try to talk to someone you trust, and seek counselling if it feels right. Finding someone with who you can say how you feel and just be heard without being judged can be very comforting.

So how about for this year you allow you to be you? Let go of the expectations and try to be encouraged by who you are today. Focus on a one step at a time approach and do what YOU want and what makes YOU happy, and above all….. be kind to yourself.

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New Years Resolutions…..

It is the beginning of January and the most common conversation you will hear is people talking about what they are going to do differently this year.  The majority of people feel that they have over indulged in one way or the other over the festive period.  They then get drawn into the notion that January can be the change of that.  The ideas that people come up with, the discussions that they have, and lists that they make, are often well and truly forgotten by the end of the month.

Most people will feel that they have drunk too much over the festive period and you will often see/ hear of people cutting back in January or on a ‘detox’.  This can also apply to food.  People often set themselves targets to lose weight.  They make plans to shed those few extra festive pounds, or suddenly they go from eating lots of chocolate and sweets to living off salad and soup.  This new year’s ‘diet’ is of course not sustainable.

Gyms often become packed in the new year.  Lots of people sign up and start a new exercise regime.  The majority however,  do not stick to it, and do not continue with the plan that they have put in place.  This would apply across to the board to fitness classes, running, new exercise dvd’s , you name it.  They all come from this renewed sense of ‘positive change’, but actually people fall back very quickly into old habits /routines.  This list can go on in terms of smoking cigarettes, taking drugs, but also other addictions, that you may not have thought of.  Such as work addiction for example.

The list of addictions can be extensive.  Work is just one of many.  Exercise could be another. Gambling, pornography, sex, cleaning, stealing.  The list goes on and it is endless.  It is never really about the actual way that the addictive behaviour comes out, but far more about the underlying cause.

Not everyone who over indulges at Christmas has an addiction.  And not everyone who tries to put new year’s resolutions in place is trying to cover up an underlying issue.  However, a lot of people do and will use things such as listed above as a way of coping and managing with feelings and emotions.  It is this that often goes undetected and this that can get missed at this time of year.

Imagine the amount of people that have an eating disorder and set January as the time to go on the next diet? Or the amount of alcoholics that say they are going to detox in January.  They will no doubt, find themselves back in the same place as they were the previous Christmas if they don’t actually get some help.

It would be so much ‘healthier’ for people to pick up the phone at this time of year and to get some help with the issues that they may struggle with.  Rather than focusing on the gym, the detox, the pounds etc.  What a difference counselling can make to people’s lives in the long term, if only they have the courage to take that brave step.

A reason often given for not doing this is not feeling ready.  Yet making the initial enquiry and coming for an initial assessment can often be the thing that turns people’s lives around.  There is never an ideal time to start counselling, however if you find yourself saying that you don’t feel ready , or you don’t feel strong enough, or perhaps your too anxious.  Then it is most likely that you need counselling now more than ever.

The second reason people often give is that they can’t afford it.  Particularly at this time of year.  Here at your counselling service we recognise this and understand that the cost of therapy can be difficult for people.  We are therefore happy to reduce fees to make counselling more affordable for people.  We have a wide range of appointments and we try to accommodate peoples needs as much as possible.

Please get in touch if we can help you.  Don’t sit back and wait until you find yourself hurting again.  And don’t try and use new year’s resolutions as a way of managing things.  If you have any issues that you feel a therapist could help you with, then call us.  07590 663938 or e mail info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk

 

A negative relationship with alcohol

Do you find yourself thinking about alcohol a lot?
Do you crave having a drink?
Do you see alcohol as a reward when something has gone well?
Do you turn to alcohol when you are stressed?
Do you use alcohol to suppress feelings?
Do you drink when you are upset?
Do you get very down or angry when you drink alcohol?
Do you find that you black out or cant remember things?
Do you spend a lot of your time hungover?
Do you find that your work is suffering due to your alcohol use?
Do you feel lethargic and tired a lot of the time?
Do you find that your day to day life is suffering?
Do you find that you forget things regularly?
Do you feel like things are slipping out of control?
Do you feel as though alcohol is taking over?

If your answer is yes to some or most of these questions, then you have a negative relationship with alcohol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes alcohol can be used socially. Sometimes it can be used when having a good time, or on special occasions. There are times it is associated with fun and laughter.

However, sadly, a lot of the time, peoples relationship with alcohol can take a very negative turn. And before they know it, it becomes a crux that they lean on. Something they use to get through the day, to manage the week, and to cope with the every day stress of life.

Alcohol can become very addictive – and like any addiction, that cycle is very hard to break. Often when people feel low, stressed, overwhelmed etc – they use alcohol to self-medicate. They numb the things that they are feeling – they block them out. And before they know it they are dependent on it to survive. And the thought of a night off – well it becomes unmanageable.

At first there is a lot of denial – no one ever wants to admit that something is becoming a problem for them. It is hard to be honest with yourself – or with anyone else. It is easier to try and pretend you have it all under control.

Perhaps you are having a few glasses alone – before you go out or meet up with other people. Perhaps half a bottle has turned into a bottle every night. And before you know it – your opening a second one. Maybe you are drinking at a much faster pace then you ever did before. And your need to keep going is getting stronger. You may be finding it hard to ever stop – ‘one more drink’ or lets have ‘one last round’. You have become the person that never wants the night to end – you even find your taking a glass to bed with you. Waking up in the morning and wondering what happened last night.

Sometimes alcohol can lead to black outs and forgetting part of the night. People can try to gloss over this – with funny stories of what you did. You become well equipped at laughing at yourself. And at justifying yourself. There are reasons – you haven’t slept well, you haven’t been out in a while, you didn’t eat enough. The list goes on. But if you were truly honest with yourself and with them. You had already drunk a large amount before they even saw you.

Being that intoxicated also leaves your vulnerable and in dangerous situations. You may be fortunate that you have good friends who will make sure you get home ok – or a partner that ensures you are safely in bed. If someone is looking out for you that helps – but what about looking out for yourself? Taking care of yourself ? And what happens if you lose the people you are with? If you someone spikes your drink or takes you somewhere? You are so vulnerable when you are that drunk. Its not funny anymore – its dangerous.

There is such dangerous side to this relationship with alcohol – not only can it lead to emotional outbursts – anger, upset, frustration etc. It can be very destructive for relationships. It can also pull you down into a dark place – depression creeps in. You cant sleep. Your exhausted all the time and may fall asleep in front of the tv. But when you go to bed – you are awake all night. Its hard to switch off. The alcohol might knock you out for a bit but before you know it your awake and your feeling horrendous.

On top of that it can have a huge impact on your health – your liver first and foremost. But how about your memory too, your cognition, your skin, your weight, your energy levels. You name it – your physical health suffers as much as your mental wellbeing. And before you know it your looking in a mirror seeing a pale version of yourself. A tired version of yourself. A bloated version of yourself. A depressed version of yourself. You feel low, you feel down and you realise you have been neglecting yourself for quite some time.

I often say to my clients – you have to hit rock bottom before you can climb back up again. And this really is true. One day you make wake up and be so upset and realise what have I been doing to myself? One day you may think what has happened to me? One day you may go so far and then realise how out of control things have got. And on that day you make a decision – you make a decision to sober up. To take real actual care of yourself and to change things. That’s the hardest decision in the world – putting alcohol down. It means facing up to everything around you – it means dealing with all that stresses you out and addressing it. It means facing up to the things that are hard and it wont be easy. But once you do it – it will be life changing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working towards a healthier lifestyle – physically and mentally. Emotionally getting on a better path – that’s not easy. Not easy at all. But remaining the same is destroying you – you become a shadow of who you once were. The following is a useful list of how to try and change things.

• Talk to the people closest to you about your feelings
• Ask them to help you as you work towards changes
• Find some useful and positive distraction techniques
• Make time for exercise – in moderation
• Work on a way of de stressing – breathing techniques, mindfulness practice, yoga etc
• Improve your self-care – make time for a walk, a bath, a book
• Keep a journal
• Get to bed at a decent time each night
• Try to wind down before going to bed
• Start seeing a therapist
• Write a list of all the positives without overusing alcohol
• Set yourself realistic targets – certain nights off, certain amounts etc
• Put away the money you were spending on alcohol each day – for something positive
• Invest in things for you instead of alcohol
• Find other activities to do that don’t involve alcohol
• Do things with your friends / partner / family that don’t involve alcohol
• Realise you are worth so much more
• Learn to love and respect yourself
• Work on the relationship you have with yourself
• Slow down and focus on what’s in front of you

The stressful side of Christmas….

It is the time of year when Christmas is approaching.  Christmas can be a very exciting and happy time for people.  It can be something to look forward to and something that families enjoy and cherish.

However, it can also be an incredibly stressful time for people. The pressure that people often put on themselves can be immense.  This can include things like buying presents, seeing people, hosting or equally isolation and loneliness. Stresses such as money, bringing families together, managing expectations as well as time with loved ones, can all bring about their own difficulties.

As a result people can often feel very run down at this time of year, struggle with sleeping, or perhaps coming down with various illnesses.  It depends how people cope with stress. More extreme versions can even be depression, sadness, anxiety, lack of motivation etc.

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Eating and drinking can also be a very difficult thing for people to manage during this time.  People often find that they can over indulge and this can bring about its own difficulties and emotional ups and downs.  But in addition to this for those in recovery it can be really hard to cope with Christmas.

Imagine if your living with anorexia, and being faced with the prospect of a full Christmas dinner, or if your bulimic and surrounded by loads of food.  Or contemplate what it feels like to be an alcoholic facing so many social functions where alcohol is the focus.  All of this is incredibly challenging.

It can also be a time when people can feel sad, upset  or alone.  If people have lost someone they love, or were close to, then a void is apparent and the pain of the person not being there can be extreme. Sadness can take over the happiness that people feel they ‘should’ be experiencing.

Grief can be really painful during this festive period.  Grief can also apply to relationships that have broken down, or perhaps those that are breaking down.

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It is important to think about how you can support yourself during this period.  Self-care is crucial during this time. Try and put some healthy boundaries in place. This can mean not saying yes to everything, or not putting too much pressure on yourself to keep everyone happy or to be ‘perfect’.

Keep an eye on how much you are doing, and try to slow down when possible. Take some quality time for yourself, when you need to.  Do the things that make you relax.  This is different for everyone. It could include a yoga class, reading a book, going for a walk or taking a hot bath. However you relax, make it happen.

Try to remember the word moderation. Apply this to food, to drink, to sleep, etc.  Aim for a balance in your life.  You don’t want to be exercising every day but then you also don’t want to never exercise.  Work for somewhere in the middle.  It is achievable.

Make sure you don’t bottle everything up.  Speak up and let people know when you are feeling anxious, stressed or when things feel too much.  Other people can help you, and they can support you.  In addition to this, don’t try and do everything by yourself.  You don’t have to do it all, and you certainly don’t have to stress yourself trying to do it all.  Remember how important you are, and value yourself.

Here at your counselling service we recognise the stresses and strains of Christmas time, and so we run our counselling service during this difficult period.  Our counselling doesn’t stop for the holidays.  So if things feel too much and you would like someone to talk to then please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or drop us an e mail. (07590 663938 or info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk)

December can be a difficult and challenging time, as well as a wonderful and exciting one.  We are hear to help if you need us.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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???

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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.

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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.

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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.