Weekly counselling

Weekly counselling

It’s a bit weird thinking about all these things that just randomly come up. Things that have happened to me and I have buried to protect myself. I’m getting to know myself finally. I think I try so hard to protect myself that I don’t even know who I am. It’s been therapeutic being able to be somewhere I feel safe to talk to someone about my feelings and my past. Someone who doesn’t know me and cannot pass judgement. It’s odd how trauma attaches itself to your memory and gets tangled up in all past experiences and you don’t even know it.

I’ve gone from going every few weeks to weekly which I think has been quite a shift. A good shift non the less as I’m more trusting and I feel I have a better relationship with my counsellor. She has picked up one of the biggest issues I have is trust. Trusting people to let my guard down and trusting people not to abandon me or hurt me. So I think creating a better relationship by seeing each other more is helping me to open up more. Last week I was actually enthusiastic about going to counselling. When I first came in I barely spoke and felt uncomfortable but the more I’ve gone the more comes out and the better I feel after.

I feel a weight is lifted of my shoulders immediately and I am able to think a bit clearer every time. I’m able to understand why I feel a certain way about certain thinks and how I process situations. Personally I think my childhood has a very big input into my behaviour and thought process. I have spent so long thinking everyone hates me and that I’m the issue when i am not. I worry everyone I love will leave me and I think it’s made me scared and a bit bitter. I am slowly understanding how to deal with my emotions which has been great and I think I might even be able to come if my anti depressants soon. I’m starting to take more time for me and for my family and to voice my emotions instead of holding them in incase j upset someone. I’ve got a long way to go but I’m so proud I’ve stuck to it and kept too a weekly appointment even if childcare can be a struggle. I know I need this for me and will continue trying to make myself better however I can. I have another counselling session today and I’m feeling positive not scared and I never thought I would be here today feeling this good.

Being brave.

Being brave.

To many it would seem I was a loner in a cafe by myself. It would look like I was waiting for someone or I have no friends, but that wasn’t the case. I was quite simply being brave. I’m quite socially anxious when out on my own. Especially since having a child, walking through town with Elijahs become somewhat my security blanket. Even though I would sit in a cafe with Elijah being alone is something that scares me quite a bit. The anxiety that people are staring and judging is just a bit too much for me. I hate waiting for people on my own in public let alone being on my own and I actively avoid going out on my own.

On Friday after counselling I did something I would never normally do, I went to a cafe on my own. I ordered a drink and cake and didn’t rush myself. I sat there and just relaxed into my own company. I felt anxious at first walking in and sitting alone but I soon got to grips with the fact nobody cared and quite enjoyed myself. Small steps are big steps and one day I hope my anxiety will go but for now I’m trying little things to make myself a bit more happy.

My first session of counselling.

My first session of counselling.

Today I went to my first proper counselling session. It felt odd but it was good. We touched on my upcoming surgery and how it’s causing me anxiety. We spoke about how I felt in my pregnancy and after my birth because that’s what triggered my worry about my upcoming abdominal surgery. We also touched on a few issues about childhood and my ability to block myself off and fall out with others.

At first I felt awkward, I found the woman quite condescending and being there stupid. But then I realised I’m defending myself and this woman is just nice and trying to work our why I’m here and help me. As the session went on it was a lot of me talking and her listening. She asked certain questions and it got me to respond and delve in deeper. She allowed me to feel safe and she seemed to give me time to feel, it felt like she was waiting for me to cry but I didn’t. I think I was to tense being my first time to fully let my guard down. I spent a lot of time looking at the door or at my cup of tea to try and avoid looking at her as it made me feel uncomfortable and like I’d cry.

I felt like I had a safe space to talk, I did not have to hide here as I didn’t know the woman. It made me feel oddly like I could open up. I think because I knew that’s what you do in counselling that it helped me. I’m not going to talk in big deal about what was uncovered today or overthought but I know that this was the first step. The first step to recovery is accepting help and I’ve done that. I’ve also accepted today that I have a lot of issues to work through and that I can feel better if I get it off my chest. Immediately after leaving I felt lighter. Emotionally and physically. I felt a bit more empowered. She helped me to decide to cancel my operation till I’m ready again and to allow myself to deal with that. She’s helped me realise that I’m not a bad person and that I’m not to blame for everything that happened to me.

I’m excited to see how the rest of my journey will go and how it’ll help me learn to control my thought process. I’m looking forward to feeling more in control and taking steps to be happy.

Apps I find help my mental health.

Apps I find help my mental health.

When your phone is always in your hand it’s quick and easy to download apps that can help when you’re in a bad place.

I downloaded calm harm first. It’s been the best app ever for me. It’s completely personalised and you need a password so nobody else will open it. It’s made for people thinking about self harming but I find the excercise a are good for depression, anxiety and stress relief too. The activities are short or long and you can stop and change activities and choose what you want to do. I find the distraction helpful and some of the activities relaxing or even quite fun.

The nhs wellbeing is more understanding of where mental health effects the body and keeping a little diary of how your feeling like a free self help journal.

Companion is really good because they’re excercise a for breathing and exercising people talk through while you meditate.

Catch it is understanding your thoughts and changing them. A bit like cbt therapy in a app. You write how you where feeling then access what someone else would say in that situation to your thoughts and can make you feel a bit better.

Sleepio is about activities to help you sleep, it’s okay not the best but it’s better than nothing!

My personal self is basically a personal cbt app with other types of therapy mixed in too. You complete questioners and keep a diary so it is all based around you, you work through modules that help too!

It’s all about finding what works for you. I’ve be. Through loads of terrible apps but these are what I’ve found works for me. Distract yourself how ever you feel works for you!

Things I do to calm myself down.

Things I do to calm myself down.

We’ve all been stressed, depressed, anxious and worked up at some stage in our life and we will be again. Instead of dwelling in your emotions you need to try to separate yourself from these emotions with some self help tools and objects even if it feels impossible. Sometimes just looking out the window and watching how the rain falls can make us feel better just for that second.


I’m not saying colouring in is going to cure your depression because it most definitely hasn’t cured mine but distraction can help even for a little bit. So what do I do to distract myself so I can relax just a tad?


I read. Reading is really great for your mental health. It’s somewhat changed my life, when I’m stressed I’ll start a new book and read till I feel a bit better. My imagination is put elsewhere and I don’t sit there over thinking as I am distracted. I find the kindle a brilliant tool for this as you can buy a book immediately and read it so you don’t have to choose a book you have and you don’t have to wait you can just do it now!


I use my fidget cube. It has different textures and things to do like a switch, buttons and dials. I play with it in my pocket when I’m out and feeling particularly anxious or if I’m watching tv on the sofa and feeling I can’t calm down. The switch on it has really helped my ocd I don’t flip the house switches as much just the one on my cube.


I journal. I have several self help books which involve me talking about my day, what went wrong and can go better. It enables positive thoughts and makes me think. I find the smallest things to be proud of myself for or went right today and try to be “mindful”.


I colour. Colouring is very therapeutic and occupying the mind is too. I’m not talking colouring a basic baby colouring book dog but intricate designs that take time. I have several and my favourite two are my cath kidston colouring book and my swear word one which I do when I’m feeling angry about something. Yes it’s crude but instead of swearing I colour it in and Elijah can’t read yet so I see no issue.

I look back at photos. I look at photos of happier times and remind myself life can be good and I will smile again.


I burn candles. I burn candles and use in sense/essential oils to relax myself. The smells and soft flows can relax me and not feel so over stimulated by everything going on around me.


I watch a film or series. I distract myself watching something new or old and try to commit all my focus into this. It doesn’t always work but sometimes if I don’t feel up for much this little activity is enough to keep me calm.


I practice self care. I’ll have a nice candle lit bubble bath or hot shower. I’ll use my best products, exfoliate and then I’ll moisturise so I’m slippery enough to belong in the ocean. I’ll wear fresh pjs and change the bedding. I’ll spend time doing my hair and if I’m going out I’ll do my make up.


I’ll do housework. Although I mostly hate housework when I’m feeling particularly over whelmed I reach for a cloth and clean. Having everything clean and tidy makes me feel good so I’ll get to scrubbing the house to take out my emotions. I’ve been known to have a cry washing up at times and feel miles better after.


I cook and bake. I love making yummy treats so when I can I like to bake or cook something new which gives me a bit of a boost when it tastes somewhat decent.


I go for a walk. I take myself or my son with me if nobody’s home to watch him and walk through nature. I take in the worlds beautiful views and smell the natural air and it almost always makes me feel more open minded and clear. It helps me make decisions in stressful situations and I work our anger I have built up sometimes.


I buy stuff. I indulge in buying a new ornament or new top or toy for my kid. I love buying new bits and a treat always makes me feel better.
I go out and see friends or family. Something about being around others at times just makes you feel okay again.


I have a hot drink. Warning myself up makes me feel warm and cuddly and it can help me relax into myself and let my walls down.

I sit in the dark and relax. I try to rationalise my thoughts and relax into myself . No stimuli works for me.

I turn my phone off and avoid the news. I avoid negativity, and there’s plenty of that at our finger tips I can feel so much better when I don’t use my personal social media or read news articles on politics or horrible disasters that have happened.


I go out for the day. Staying in can make you feel lonely and horrid so going out for a adventure can make you feel so much better.


I listen to music. Either loud when I’m angry or relaxing music when I’m sad to listen to the music and calm myself down.


I use White noise. It not only helps me sleep I also use it to make myself feel safe when I’m over stimulated or out and nervous about something like an appointment. I also like to watch the rain and they’d why I like thunderstorm sounds the most.


I talk to someone. When I feel particularly bad I speak to someone about it and I feel a load is taken of my chest and sometimes we need help.

it’s all about finding things you like to do that occupy your mind. For example my husband likes playing video games or editing photos he’s taken. He’ll sit there for hours but he always feels better afterwards. Sometimes things get hard and that’s okay. Sometimes you need to be selfish and do things for you and that’s okay too. Just remember that you matter too and you can get through this. Distraction is a short term fix and if your are suffering talk to someone or your gp. As always my inbox is always open.

Unwind

Unwind

Have that bath, eat that chocolate bar and scent your room with candles because it’s time to chill tf out.

Everyday we get ourselves in such a stress and forget to take time for us. To unwind, to get patterns where a certain routine makes us feel calm. So put your phone on charge, close your eyes and breathe. Take a few minutes for yourself. When it all gets to much just have a few selfish seconds because you need it.

Work stress, family and friends, just personal things getting you down and don’t know how to escape it? Switch off. One thing I’ve learnt recently is the need to be selfish. We only get one life so we do we spends our life’s miserable and wanting to stop sometimes. We’re human we feel so much more stronger which is both a blessing and a curse! Sometimes I envy some animals because they seem to have it made!

How to unwind? Well it’s all about finding what works for you. I might say go make a cup of tea and sit down for five minutes but you could a caffeine aversion or it may stress you having caffeine as it gives you more energy. So I’ll give you some suggestions and if you like them try them, If not maybe it’ll give you some ideas into what you could do to unwind.

First of all an easy grounding one. Breathing. If you’re feeling stressed and can’t escape a situation just take a breath. Stop close hour eyes and concentrate on your breathing, feel your body moving and your organs working together. Feel your mind unwind and try to relax into it. Rationalise you’re thoughts and come back to the room. If you’re really up against stress then excuse yourself for a moment and do it in private. Take yourself to a bathroom or staff room if at work or just any room you can to just take a minute to yourself. I found this helpful in my old job when things would get to much I’d take a step back and breath to calm my self and slow my anxious mind. Since becoming a mum I find this one of the easiest tools I use to just take a step back and be calm and rational. Having a screaming, tantrum throwing Grenade that is your toddler can really cause you to get worked up at times. But we don’t want to meet fire with fire and give them the attitude they give us. Of course sometimes things get to much and you might become the “shouty parent”. But how do we stop getting to that stage? I’ve had a few days recently when the tantrums have been constant, embarrassing and heart breaking. I’ve wanted to cry and scream and it’s exhausted me. I’ve found that when he’s having a monumental tantrum because he can’t hold your used tissue or something as absurd as that it can help. I feel the stress, embarrassment and defeat in me so I take a step back. I close my eyes and breath I remind myself he doesn’t understand how to explain how he feels and then think in my head how to explain things to him in a calm way. If he’s been pretty full on all day and the few seconds don’t help then I will leave him watching tv and stand in the kitchen for a minuite I’ll do the breathing and calm myself and come out a new person.

Secondly have some water. Have a nice drink, waters best as it’s healthy and best for you. It’ll refuel you and help you think clearer. Taking the time to just drink and relax can make you feel miles better. Ever wondered why you always accept a cup of tea or coffee when at work when you’re not even thirsty and may have had 16527 cups already today? Your body is starved of water and it always makes you feel better.

Self care is probably the most important thing you can do unwind. When you’re feeling particularly in a dark spot in can feel impossible to want to look after yourself but you must. Force yourself to run a warm bath, shove a ridiculously funky bath bomb in and light yourself some candles. Turn the light of, get in and close your mind of. Don’t take your phone in the bathroom so you can fully disengage. Exfoliate and pamper yourself. Wash and condition you’d hair slowly feeling how it feels as you do it. Sink into the bubbles and just unwind into the warm ness. Warm water comforts us and sitting in a smell explosion tub helps even more. Once out Put a face mask on, moisturise, dry your hair nicely. Put on some fresh pjs and enjoy the feeling. It’s amazing how much just having a wash can help you feel.

Treat yourself, if you can afford to treat yourself every now and then absolutely do it! Buy that cute top! Buy a nice chocolate bar, buy a new book, buy whatever it is that makes you feel happy. Just think about that feeling you get when you first wear/use or eat a treat and how you’ll feel then. Why shouldn’t you buy something if it’ll make you happy!

Turn your phone off when you’ve done what you need to on it. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of instagram, Facebook then twitter. You’ll spend the nights looking through carelessly stressing yourself and it’s really unneeded. Perhaps just turn it off for little time sections and then increase it. Use that time doing something else. I use the time to read. I love reading because it takes me away to a far away place. It takes me out of reality for a little while and my mind and emotions are stretched. It helps me unwind and instead of reading how someone doesn’t like some chocolate bar they brought online my brains out to something better.

Journal. Write down your feelings it helps, whether it’s in a book or like me in the form of the blog sometimes it helps to get the thoughts out from your head and into the real world.

Talk to someone. Try to talk to a friend or family member about your feelings and let them out. Talk about random rubbish and just try to live in the moment. Try to enjoy conversations where you’re not distant thinking of other things switch off because I guarantee the things your thinking odd are not that important.

It’s all about finding what’s good for you but this what just works for me. When I’m in a stressful situation or dark place I try to use these as much as I can and it normally works. Just taking the time to rationalise yourself and disengage is sometimes all we need.

World mental health day 2019

World mental health day 2019

I will always talk about mental health. I will always say it is okay to not be okay. For years I suffered in silence. It all started when I was around 16 but in some respects earlier. I was bullied and because of that I became a very anxious person. Growing up I started to get mood swings, they have been labelled as hormones, a bitchy attitude or just who I was.

As I grew older I started getting into bad places at times. I wondered if everyone would be better without me? I wondered if it would be easier for everything to just stop. I realised this was not normal but I never really felt I could speak to my family or boyfriend at the time. I’ve always kept myself to myself. It wasn’t till I started working in care when I was more responsible to other people where I started to get affected by stress. I became a insomniac and I stared to get severe ocd. It became horrific. I was running on empty looking after others while feeling awfull about myself. I still put on a happy face and pretended I was ok when I really wasn’t. Little things would upset me and I would cry. Everyone would think I was over emotional and a cry baby not knowing the struggle I was going through every day just to exist. I’d get defensive and snap and broke up with my boyfriend at the time and felt nothing. I was desensitised and didn’t give two hoots I’d thrown away a 3 year relationship. But I made the right decision and he was one of the worst things in my life and something I could change easily. He made my anxiety worse and made my depression worse and was never there when I needed him.

I still struggled on but eventually one day at work something set me off and I went to see a doctor. I spilled about everything, how I had spent years feeling wrong, how I wondered why I got out of bed in the morning, how my days of would be spent in bed and I was unable to give my all to a job I should love. I explained how I’d become fixated on doing tasks over and over and I would get a panic attack if not done wrong and hot and itchy. I explained I had started flicking light switches on and off and there was nothing I could do. I explained how I’d have to double check every switch was off and correctly in a room as I left as I’d worry the house would burn down. I explained I had to do certain things as in my head my family and friends would die if I wouldn’t do it. I knew I didn’t need to in my heart but my head wouldn’t let me stop. I was diagnosed with ocd, depression and anxiety. I was offered counselling and tablets. Tablets didn’t work just made me feel shit and I tried so many. I gave up in the end. Sometimes tablets are for you and sometimes they’re not the only things that help are mega strong ones that make me feel even more exhausted. Counselling was ok it started over the phone but when it came to a in person day I panicked. I went in and was basically told by some old man I was too young to feel how I was. I felt so stupid and worse I screamed back how many people have you looked after that beat you for washing them and caring for them? How many times have you had someone scream at you for days on end while you try to help them?How many times have you took a hour to get out the door as you didn’t feel you turnt a light switch off right and sobed? I left feeling horrid and refused anymore counselling. I kind of blacked it out and pretended I was fine for a short while it worked.

I met James and my mental health improved by itself. We moved out and I was the happiest id ever been. Eventually my work pattern changed and I basically worked 4 nights a week and saw James three nights a week and I felt horrendous. Work got really stressful and I had personal things at work where I was made to feel like crap and I ended up having a breakdown. I came home from work sobbing rocking back and forth unable to move I was so sad. I called my doctor and went in and was signed of work. I was due on shift in a hours time and had only had a few hours of since my last two days straight and sleep ins and was due for another that night. I hadn’t slept in days I was exhausted and my feelings got the better of me. My mum came over as I called her as my manger was saying I wasn’t aloud to be of work sick as they couldn’t cover my shift. I wasn’t allowed to. Which made everything even worse my mum came round and told my manger to stop calling me I’m off sick and if she harrasses me anymore she’s be explaining to me how to go elsewhere to complain. She explained I was shaking sobbing in a corner and they expected me to come into work to look after a vulnerable adult when I couldn’t even look after myself. She explained if I’d been hit by a bus I wouldn’t be told to come into work and they wouldn’t tell me I was not aloud to be off work and put the phone down. For the first time I fully allowed myself to feel everything again and had a month of despite my managers telling me I had to come back daily and forcing me to have meetings while of sick and telling my work collegues personal confidential things and doctor telling me not to go back. I eventually felt a bit better and left where I was based for elsewhere in my company, things where a bit better and I was back on medication and just looked online at counselling and learnt to talk to people when feeling down.

I was ok with the odd down stage until I had my son. I was a nervous wreck at first I worried I’d be a terrible mum and I wasn’t like the rest. Everything made me anxious. I was sad and had nobody to talk too. When I returned to work when I first went back I was a wreck. My ocd came back along with my anxiety I was annoying people, questioning things. My arms and hands would be red raw from my hand washing from my ocd and I’d get palpitations. My pulse on shift once went to 144 bpm sitting there relaxed. I cried at night because I knew I was annoying others and felt terrible for it. My insomnia returned. But things calmed down I stopped caring so much.Over time I calmed again. Eventually though I became stressed again and everything flared up. On top of work I was a mum and had all the mum guilt to go with it and worry and decided I couldn’t work anymore. I had that thought again about how everyone would be happy without me so off to gp again and signed off. I decided to leave and concentrate on my family. I have felt better since stopping work. I’m not stressed. But I still have times I’m depressed. I still have times I’m a bit of a mess. I still have severe anxiety and always will. I will always question everything and that’ll never change. I will always have difficulty accepting love and and not questioning everything my loved ones do. But I have found that talking helps. Relaxing helps and taking the time to step back and excuse my self from situations has helped massively.

We need to talk about mental health and normalise it. Suffering in silence is hell and makes everything ten times worse. Sometimes we need a little cry or to go out for coffee and talk. Sometimes we need to know that others have similar feelings and your not just crazy. Sometimes we need a little break and to put our self’s first. Sometimes it’s ok to concentrate on you before others and that’s ok. If you need help or someone to talk to I am always there. But most importantly if you feel not ok, pop to your gp. Sometimes a diagnosis is all you need to start feeling better about yourself. You are important and you are loved. You are not alone and never will be.