Tag Archives: coping

Is a numb life a happy life?

Many of us seem to find life difficult and we turn to what is on offer to help us cope; drinking, smoking, eating, exercise, drugs, gambling etc. It can be easy for us to turn around and judge others for the coping tools they use but if we look closely at our own lives, what unhealthy coping tools are we using?

There is no judgement when I write this because I have been humbled and amazed at what some people go through and they use what they can to cope.

If you had a broken leg but had to move and carry on, you would do what you could to fashion a crutch and take what you needed for the pain. Like I said, no judgement here because if you need something to get through a difficult time, you need it and you are coping in the way you need to, at this moment in time.

If we do stick our heads in the sand, if we do numb ourselves to all the pain, does this mean we are happy? What does that word even mean these days?

Maybe it doesn’t give us happiness but it sure does give much needed break from whatever we are struggling with.

You are doing what you can, what you need to. Just be careful your coping strategy is not affecting your physical health and if you need help, please seek it.

You’re not alone and know that whatever you are struggling with, you will get through as “This too shall pass”.

My Way to help you live life Your Way

I know I have talked about labels before and for those of you who have been with me for a while now have seen the journey I have been on; Family portraits, Healing photography, Counselling and now, a mix of Counselling and Phototherapy and soon, Coaching. This is me trying to figure things out and be more authentic, finding what I am meant to do in this life!

I have worked with the amazing Judith, a loving, no nonsense business coach, and I was so happy to see she had written a book (JudithMorgan.com/book). This book and Judith’s invitation to join her Blogfest ( JudithMorgan.com/blog), has inspired me to write this post.

You see, being in business is not easy, not at all! You have to be the Director to the Cleaner, master marketing and also do the actual work you want to do. Then there are the personal feelings, the massive ups and downs as you try and navigate and learn everything. Really, it isn’t easy, and that is an understatement.

Reading Judith’s book, I was reminded of the core conditions based in person centred counselling; Unconditional Positive Regard, Congruence and No Judgement. These are the simple but powerful 3 things that make a great counsellor, make the relationship with client work and most importantly, help the client to be more themselves.

I feel this from Judith, and she reminded me that I need to apply these conditions to myself. Trust me, from the start of my studying, I have been trying (again, it’s not easy!) but she broke it down into the practicalities, sharing what others have been feeling and saying. In answering those questions, I didn’t feel alone and I felt inspired!

You see, when we start out in life, on a new journey, on a new project or task maybe, we are a clean slate. We start with motivation, enthusiasm and hope. But as we go on, others start judging, we start comparing, we listen to all this and lose who we are and our original mindset.

We respond to the conditions put on us and we try to conform, fitting in so we don’t stand out but the result is we move further away from our True Selves. It is only with Unconditional Positive Regard, or Love as I like to call it we can get back to our True Selves. Love in the bigger and wider sense, pure Love given to another being for simply existing; no judgement, no expectations but full of support and care and compassion.

But being our True Selves with all these conditions isn’t easy – in life or in business, or in any role. It means we have to look at ourselves with the light on, in detail and face what we fear, what we don’t like, what we can’t cope with. Feelings are tough to face, fear of failure, fear of standing out and being visible, not being a ‘Good Girl’ and being judged and criticised for doing it wrong, for not fitting in.

But the only way to move forward is to trust our instincts, we need to create strong boundaries so we can create spaces of quiet. We need to become our own best friends to really hear what we are saying to ourselves through our feelings, especially the negative ones. And worst of it, we need to to this on our own. Sure there are people out there for support – like Judith, my personal counsellor, my supervisor etc are to me, but essentially, this is a journey we do on our own. That is why it’s most important we have Us on our own side, that gentleness, that self compassion and care.

And what can we find in the quietness? Our True Selves, self worth, self belief, confidence and deep knowing of our own truth.

Sounds fab, doesn’t it? I wish it was easy for me, I wish it was easy for my clients but nope, not easy. Then again, life would be boring if it wasn’t easy, right?

The biggest thing I’ve struggled with is finding my voice. I have so many ideas but how to put it across to help others? And I live with depression, so sometimes my voice is like Eeyore, who wants to hear that?

For a while now I have been putting my self care first (especially after some personal traumas) and encompassing all that means; resting, putting my health first and meeting those needs, accepting support from others (why is this so difficult??), letting go of what is not serving me physically and mentally by decluttering and slowly fixing broken things (again, physically (yay, no more leaking shower!) and mentally).

There is a huge element of being still and quiet, finally finding the time and space to actually hear my own voice and learning to trust my own intuition, without guilt or needing permission. I have cut away so much ‘noise’ in my life, expectations, obligations, shoulds and conditions. It feels so nice to create quietness and to simply be, without judgement and with full acceptance.

I’m trying to write something every day, being self compassionate when things don’t work and being brave and putting it out there. I am learning to trust in my intuition and have learned to see that each business I focus on, each area I study in, each thing I do are all stepping stones to where I want and need to be. It will take time but I’ve got to do it my way, at my pace and learn what I need to say. After all my clients need to SEE me to be able to trust me and work with me. This is my motivation, keeping the bigger picture in mind and I keep telling myself, if I only help ONE person feel happier, then I am successful.

I have been a counsellor now in private practice for a couple of years and feel confident as one but I needed more. The counselling world feels limiting and the more I practice, the more I find Me coming through. Introducing phototherapy has been a dream I have had now for 6 years and having seen the simple but powerful results, I am so happy I took that step. I am realising there is time (as Judith says in her book!) and I will be offering coaching packages soon too. I haven’t come across other counsellors offering phototherapy so I feel very much on my own in doing this but the flip side is I can make it truly my own unique way of working, ensuring each client gets bespoke support tailored and developed just for them. Now THAT feels very congruent and energising!

There is still a long way to go, after all (as cliché as it sounds) it is a journey and by no means am I done yet. The only thing I know and have as my strength is that I have to be honest and true to myself in everything I do. It’s the only way I have found to be truly at peace and be content which puts me in the space to be able to lovingly support others.

A lesson really, that when we try to do anything, becoming a Mum, running a business, trying anything new or simply living, it’s got to start from within.

A non post about Momma

“Those friends who have had lovely, gracious, supportive mothers – how I envy them. And how odd that they are not bound to their mothers, neither phoning, visiting, dreaming, nor even thinking about them frequently.
Whereas I have to purge my mother from my mind many times a day and even now, ten years after her death, often reflexively reach for a phone to call her.
Oh, I can understand all this intellectually. I have given lectures on the phenomenon. I explain to my patients that abused children often find it hard to disentangle themselves from their dysfunctional families, whereas children grow away from good, living parents with far less conflict.
After all, isn’t that the task of a good parent, to enable the child to leave home?”
By Irvin D Yalom, ‘Momma and the meaning of life’
Why have I chosen to share this with you today? More and more I am seeing a pattern emerging from my New Mum clients. A pattern I am keen to investigate and explore to understand at a deeper level.
When a woman becomes a mother, her own experiences with her own mother seem to come to the foreground and all sorts of emotions and fears come up;
“I don’t want my child to feel the way I did”
“I don’t want to pass on these family beliefs”
“I don’t want to be like my mother, I need to be better for my child”
So much is thrown under the microscope and there is that panic and anxiety of where to begin, fear of hurting and damaging this new being like you have been.
So what jumps out for you from that passage from Yalom’s book?
His difficult relationship with his mother still haunts him, even after her death. Her voice still so powerful in his mind.
He is still seeking her approval, knowing he will never get it.
He is a trained professional and KNOWS intellectually but emotionally, he still has to go through a process of ‘purging’.
Perhaps it isn’t just the mother, he does also talk of dysfunctional families, perhaps is our ability to cope with our experiences from those first relationships?
It also makes me question what abuse is. We are gaining more knowledge of emotional abuse but what comes under that label?
A mother is the first person we form a relationship with and I hear from my clients that intense pressure to get it right and not harm their new babies. But surely in simply being human we are going to make mistakes? Mistakes that will be internalised and perhaps haunt our children for their life times?
Then there is the last sentence ‘task of a good parent is to enable a child to leave home’. Now that resonates not only on a professional but personal level too, as a mother and a daughter.
What makes a good parent (that eternal question!) and is it to enable our children to leave home, in all senses?
To teach them all they need to know to be able to stand on their own? Physically, emotionally and mentally?
I fear this most is more questions than answers and I haven’t got the answers, which is why I’m putting it out to you, trusting in the process; what did you get from that passage?

Basic Health Info

1S4C3846Good health makes an active and enjoyable life possible as well as achieving what you want in life.

The World Health Authority defines health as:

“ a state of complete physical, mental, emotional and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”

Physical health is the one we all know about; Good physical health can be achieved from exercise and eating well and the signs can be healthy skin, sleeping well, able to exercise, maintaining a healthy weight

Mental health is now becoming more into our awareness. Good mental health is a state of positive psychological well being where individuals are able to use their cognitive capabilities, function in society and cope with everyday life demands.

Signs of good mental health are optimism, self esteem, life purpose, belonging, feeling in control and feeling supported. Sometimes aspects of our lives can have effects on our thoughts and feelings, leading us to experience difficulties and problems which can affect your mental wellbeing such as bereavement, money worries, relationship problems and stress.

Note:  Mental illness:  refers to a diagnosable condition that significantly interferes with an individual’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities e.g. depression, anxiety, schizophrenia.

Emotional health is the ability to express all emotions appropriately, and to maintain a balance of positive and negative emotions. Signs of good emotional health are being able to keep things in perspective, connecting with others, self confidence,  aware of and can manage emotions, being content, able to make good choices…etc

Having good emotional health doesn’t mean you’ll never feel bad. It means being able to recover from the downs and find your emotional balance. Life can be challenging and we may get upset .  We have our ups and downs…but by being resilient we can find ways to cope with, and overcome those challenges is good for our  emotional well being.

Getting to know yourself and how you feel will help you notice the warning signs when you’re not well, such as feeling out of energy, tired, tearful, restless and agitated, anxious, not wanting to talk or be with people, not wanting to do things you usually enjoy, eating, drinking or sleeping more or less than usual.

Absolute warning signs that show you need to get some support are things like; using substances to help you cope with feelings, finding it hard to cope in your day to day life, not liking or taking care of yourself, feeling like you don’t matter – any of these warning signs, it is time to seek support.

You can get support in many different ways; talking to someone you trust can help like a counsellor, support worker, doctor, friend, family or Samaritans.