Category Archives: Mental Health

#PrayForParis 13/11/15

Friday 13th November 2015 – another memorable day for all the wrong reasons. A day that sent the people of Paris, France into a state of mourning. It sent the world into a state of fear and immense sadness as we wonder “what next?” We know who was responsible and we know what they’re capable of. It’s a worrying time but it’s beyond our control and all we can do is pray that it all ends soon.

People suffering with anxiety may be triggered by these devastating events. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t be? It’s inhumane and completely wrong. What I would ask you to do is be mindful of your own surroundings. Check out ‘belly breathing’ techniques and practice them for times when you feel it’s all getting a bit too much – especially when all the news channels are full of live coverage from Paris and other targeted areas (I only heard earlier that there were attacks in Lebanon and Baghdad yesterday too. I don’t watch the news so I didn’t know as it wasn’t on facebook).

This is just a mini-blog, showing my support for the victims of the attacks and acknowledging that people may not know how to cope with this level of sadness. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Have faith in God that he will sort this mess out. This was never His intended purpose for the earth and will see that badness is done away with for good. Obviously not everyone shares that view, but find something that gives you comfort and hold on to it.

Much love to everyone tonight. Stay strong and try hard to remain positive in this sad, sad world.

Nicole xx

Look After Your Mind & the Rest Will Follow!

Ok so that might not always be the case. But I’m a firm believer that it has a lot to do with staying ‘in control’.

I’ve had a rough few weeks for various reasons, but mainly because of my mental health. I made the stupid decision to stop taking my meds a few weeks ago because they’d been making me feel sick/nauseous and I didn’t fight the feeling. I just gave up and stopped taking them, which was so irresponsible! Initially, I felt fine. I thought I was control and things were looking promising. Of course I ‘forgot’ that there would be a delay with the chemical imbalance and then all of sudden, BAM! Anxiety hit. Irrational fears, paranoia, stress, panic, eating issues- the works. I knew I felt bad and no longer in control, but I just couldn’t physically bring myself to take the tablets while they were making me feel ill. I spoke to my therapist about it and she strongly recommended I recommenced taking them again immediately in order to allow my body the chance to adjust to them again! We figured out that it was my Galfer iron tablets that have wrecked my stomach, so I omitted them for a week and sure enough, all is well again 😀

While I wasn’t taking my medication, I wasn’t mindful of my eating whatsoever. I lost all sense of purpose and really had no structure. It was a worrying time for me because I realised how out of control I can get when I’m in that state, and there never seems to be a way out. Again, with taking the meds now I am finding it much easier to think rationally, mindfully and make more sensible choices when it comes to eating. Obviously I have a long way to go until I lose a few stone/pounds, and finding what works for me is still very much trial and a lot of error, but it’s better to be aware of my thought processes and coping mechanisms when it matters the most.

If anyone can relate to what I’ve talked about and would like to talk to me about issues you might have or if you’d like some advice, please do get in touch. Never feel like you can’t talk about your problems.

I’d also love some suggestions for things I can review. Would you like health food reviews? Book reviews? (any type), Plus size clothing? What’s missing in the ‘blogsphere’ that I could possibly fill? 😀

Much love,

Nicole xx

Core Beliefs and Self Esteem.

Do you really know who you are? I bet you do! You’re you – you live your life and nobody else can do it for you, right?

I really thought I knew everything there was to know about myself until last week. Talking with someone who knows psychology and who can spot traits and behaviours a mile off is one of the most refreshing things I have experienced to date. I’ve told her pretty much everything there is to know about me and after a few sessions she tells me this – “your core beliefs are shattering your self-esteem.” Those few words just seemed to change everything.

In hindsight it all adds up. Life experiences, daily events, troubles I’ve had – they’ve all been greatly influenced by poor core beliefs; feeling like I’m not good enough and can never be good enough. Now that has been established and I am being shown how to repair those beliefs, I feel like I can ‘cut myself some slack’ and move forward. Of course old habits die hard and sometimes you have to remember the things you’ve learned, but overall there’s that sense of empowerment. Being more in control of your emotions and seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Do you think negatively about yourself on a regular basis? Do you set yourself high standards that you can’t reach and then brand yourself a failure for not reaching them? Taking care of your emotional and mental health will help you to see that you ARE good enough, and it will help you to set realistic and achievable goals that you will have no trouble reaching. It could be something as simple as making sure you do an hour of housework instead of 3 hours – unless you live in a mansion with an east and west wing, it’s highly unlikely you’ll take 3 hours doing the bulk of your work. By setting that higher target, and with low self esteem, you’ll stress yourself out to a point that you may not even get half an hour’s worth of work done. It’s also about remembering that NOBODY is perfect. We can strive for perfection all we want, but we’ll never get there! Strive for your best and accept that.

I have attached a link to a website all about identifying and changing core beliefs. If your self esteem is at an all time low and you think very poorly of yourself for whatever reason, I recommend you have a look. And if anything rings true, please ask for help. It’s time you took control and started believing in yourself again. You are just as good as everyone else; no better and no worse. I’ll be working on it too, right alongside you, so don’t be afraid to contact me for support 😉

Love,
N x

http://pathwaytohappiness.com/writings_falsebeliefs.htm

World Mental Health Day 2015

As the heading says, it’s World Mental Health Day!!!! In my opinion, EVERY day should be W.M.H.D.

If we want to break the stigma once and for all, there should be a LOT more campaigns to raise awareness on a much more regular basis. There are some amazing charities out there (Pieta House, Samaritans, Cycle Against Suicide etc.) who put so much time and effort into campaigning & regularly helping vulnerable people, but when they’re up to their eyes and low on funds, what more can we do?

There are so many charity events running throughout the year – cycles, walks, mini-marathons, full marathons, 10Ks etc. – all prime opportunities for you to contact one of the mental health charities for a sponsor pack. By wearing their t-shirt with pride and raising much needed funds for them, you’re not only a walking/running/hobbling advertisement for the charity but you’re aiding them financially too. It’s so easy for us to take their services for granted, but what we must remember is that without financial contributions they just couldn’t afford to exist.

On a more personal level, we should all try to reach out to those who we suspect might be going through a tough time. They might not be ‘obviously’ depressed, or want to admit it, but just having a chat with them and showing genuine concern might just lead to an admission. Just letting them air their ‘woes’ and confide in you could be all it takes for them to feel a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Acknowledging their mood is low could be the first steps they need in order to gain the confidence to approach their GP for professional advice. Small, caring gestures have the potential to save lives, or at least improve the quality of lives.  Don’t you want to be involved?

I remember the first time I told someone other than immediate family & friends that I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression; I almost whispered it because I was too embarrassed to say it out loud, and even though the lady was lovely, I couldn’t help but think that she was going to judge me. Looking back to that day makes me cringe a little, because I wish I’d stood there and said “you know what, I’ve been diagnosed with Depression and finally it all makes sense. I’m glad I’m getting the proper treatment now.”

I understand entirely that every individual case of Depression is unique. No two people will cope the same, or suffer at the same level – that’s only natural as we all live separate lives. I also understand that some people have had extremely terrible experiences in their lives that have either ‘brought on’ depression, or have triggered it at various stages and some people have it ‘under control’ without medication but require some help every once in a while. There are so many variations that have one common denominator – they have the same illness.

Please, please, reach out today & every day if you can. If there’s someone acting ‘out of character’, ring them or arrange to meet up. A friendly smile & a listening ear (and of course a good strong cuppa) could be just what they need right now.

If you’re one of those people who’s feeling ‘blue’, and doesn’t know who to turn to, just call someone you trust. Tell them as much as you feel comfortable telling them and see how that makes you feel. Letting it all fester inside you isn’t good for your emotional wellbeing and there are people who want to help you. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to family or friends just yet then make an appointment with your GP and he or she will provide you with the care you need.

Remember too, I may be a stranger but I can try my best to help you too. I’m not qualified on paper, but I’ve been dealing with my own struggles for long enough & will try to offer the best advice I can.

Big hugs to anyone who could really do with one today….. xoxoxoxoxoxox

Do Your Best; Baby Steps Is All It Takes…

Ok, so it’s been a very long time since I was able to run for any more than a few minutes at a time. I think I was 11, in all honesty. I was really good at it too, until my hormones found my weak spot (junk food) and that was the end of that. In P.E. classes I’d make excuses not to get involved in anything too physical, which, considering the main gist of the class was to BE physical, meant I was ‘on my period’ or ‘not feeling great’ pretty much every other week. I did like dance & aerobics though, so I wasn’t a total lazy moo! 😀

Fast forward approximately 18 years. Today, I discovered that I’m not as fit as I was in May/June of this year. Back then, there’s no way you’d call me fit, but I was able to walk 10km for charity in just under 1 hour 45 minutes! I’ve been walking regularly all this time and don’t usually have a problem with distance walking, so I figured it was time to push myself to what I consider the next level – ‘Couch to 5K’. I got my feet, legs & knees assessed on this fancy gait measuring machine on Tuesday (I’m pretty sure it has an official technical name) then bought great running shoes that are the correct fit for my feet (Asics GT2000 if you’re curious to know) 😀 They feel AMAZING! Now, I have a little bit of healing to do as I have fallen arches and I’ve done some damage by wearing completely flat shoes all the time, but once the foot is properly healed there’ll be no stopping me!

Anyway, back on topic – earlier I got myself all ready for my first ‘Couch to 5K’. I was motivated and ready to get started. The app on my phone told me to begin with a 5 minute warm up walk. That was perfect. Beautiful weather & no other humans around so I felt a little bit more confident. Then the app told me to run for 1.5 minutes. Wellllllllll, I did about 10-15 seconds of that run and I realised I was fooling myself. I also realised I needed some added support in that area where women generally need extra support… I had set out with every intention of running for 1.5 minutes and walking for 1 minute, repeatedly for 15 minutes, but realised within those opening seconds that I had my priorities all wrong and I’d set my standards too high, too soon. Everything was burning – throat, calf muscles, knees, the foot that’s meant to be healing… So I hobbled home with my proverbial ‘tail between my legs’ and re-evaluated the situation.

I mentioned that I’m not as fit as I was earlier in the year – I’d say I’m approximately 8-10 pounds heavier than I was then. What I need to do (for myself – everyone tackles this issue differently) is focus solely on my nutrition and wellbeing for the next few weeks. Of course I’ll continue with my brisk walks with the dog, but all AT MY OWN PACE! Once I’ve got my diet sorted (healthy, low GI where possible – NOT FAD!), I’ll feel better in myself knowing that I’m being good to my body. Hopefully I will lose the weight I have gained and then when I’m lighter I’ll rethink my ‘Couch to 5K’ goals. There’s no point in me pushing myself beyond what my body & mind can cope with. I want to do this to help myself not only physically, but mentally & emotionally too. By setting standards beyond my reach, and seeking perfection, I won’t last long and will end up adopting all the unhealthy habits that got me here in the first place.

I’ve also been learning, since seeing my CBT therapist, that low moods affect my eating issues – so when I’m not feeling anxious or depressed, I’m more mindful of my food choices. This past few weeks have been difficult for me regarding anxiety, so needless to say,  I’m a textbook case of an emotional over-eater. It’s amazing the things you learn about yourself when you’re in a room with a qualified professional. It seems so obvious now, but when you’re stuck in your own little bubble and don’t know how to cope, it’s refreshing to get their slant on it and suddenly it all makes sense!

If anyone would like some advice about where to start with seeking help, please don’t be afraid to contact me. Remember – “Excellence is not being the best; it is doing your best”

Lotsa Love

It’s OK Not to Feel OK <3

Have you ever tried so hard to be good at something, or to feel positive about life in general, but no matter how hard you try you just feel broken inside like nothing you do or say will ever be good enough? Like you could have all the money/looks/material possessions etc. in the world but it doesn’t change a thing?
I wonder how many people are actually aware of their feelings and what they mean? Can you recognise the signs in others? Awareness & self-awareness is so important if we are to look after ourselves and others properly.
With the huge stigma surrounding depression and other mental health problems, so many of us are too embarrassed or ashamed to admit we’re not feeling the best. We’re so concerned about what others will think of us that we tend to do our utmost to paint on a brave face, smile like we haven’t got a care in the world, then fall apart once we’re back in the ‘safety’ and privacy of our own homes.
We aren’t being true to ourselves. We’re creating a façade and giving a false impression to others that all is ‘fine & dandy’ in our world. But you know that old saying “misery loves company”? I think we’re of a generation who are afraid to look glum or even complain about something as small as a headache in case people whisper behind our backs about how miserable and unhappy we are. We just can’t win! As difficult as it might feel, maybe it would be better for you to be open. Tell people that you’re feeling low. They’re generally more sympathetic than you realise when they know what the problem is, and you’re not just a “moody so ‘n so”. More often than not, you’ll actually open up to someone and discover that they are actually going through something similar, or have overcome something similar to what you’re going through. Automatically you have a connection and someone who you know won’t judge you or treat you like a second class citizen just because you’re battling a mental illness.

Please try it. If you’re a ‘closet’ depression/anxiety/other mental illness sufferer, PLEASE talk to someone. You are so worth it, and remember – “It’s OK Not to Feel OK”.

❤ ❤ ❤