Day 40… Lights in the darkness

light-in-the-dark

Well I can’t quite believe it’s Easter Day and that this challenge is at it’s end.

Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to this blog by sharing your story around mental health or wellbeing. You have been both courageous and generous with what you have shared  and a real blessing to those who have read your story. I’d also like to thank all those who have followed the blog in any way; it’s been really nice to hear that you have been encouraged in some way by what you have read here. This blog will of course remain open and I will always aim to publish your story if you feel you are ready to share it. I’d also like to say at this point that it is now safe to subscribe (below) to this blog without fear of a daily bombardment of email from me!! Continue reading

Taboo

taboo

Day 35 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. So I am wondering about getting to day 39 and then taking a break until Easter Sunday. In the meantime I shall continue to collect new contributions (please keep them coming in!) and focus on getting more exposure to the contributions that have already been written. I shall also spend some time thinking about and planning what happens next, since this blog has attracted far more interest than I imagined it would. Watch this space!

Today, I’m going to reblog something simple I wrote a couple of years ago about the Taboo surrounding mental wellbeing… Continue reading

5000 views…?

Day 32 of my 40 (46) Day Blog Challenge. In case you are new here, let me fill you in . I decided to publish a blog around the subject of mental health and wellbeing every day for Lent. Mental health is such an important subject to be speaking about openly, and I wanted to see what would happen if I started this. Very quickly, lots of people decided to join in and write about their own experiences of mental health. It has been such a blessing. And thank you everyone who has participated so far. There are now just 2 weeks left to go.

So now I’d like to challenge you! Continue reading

Mental health first aid

Day 21 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. Thank you to everyone who has supported this blog so far, it is so important we talk about and share our experiences of mental health and wellbeing. Please do keep sharing…you can contact me via the contact box found on the “About Counselling” page on this website.

I read a fantastic article on mental health first aid so have decided to share it today. I really love the points about genuinely listening and being slow to offer advice; we must not underestimate the power of simply being heard. 

Here’s the link: Mental Health First Aid

Pause for thought 


Day 15 of my 40 Day Blog challenge. So I’m two weeks into the challenge, although I should really say we are two weeks in. I have been blown away by the number of people who have already contributed to this blog and what started out as quite a naive idea for Lent, is beginning to take on a life of its own. 
So today I thought I’d pause for thought. We’ve heard a number of stories, most from people I know, and most I wasn’t aware of. 

And that’s the point isn’t it. Most of the time we soldier on, suffer in relative silence and can feel so alone. 

We often hear about the statistic that 1 in 4 of us will suffer some kind of mental health issue. Personally I believe this is more likely the number of people who end up gaining treatment/support for their mental health. The truth is, our mental wellness is very fluid, and even the most resilient of us can suffer poorer spells of mental wellbeing. 

I liken it to having a cold, but mentally. For whatever reason, be it life events, trauma, biology, most of us will experience seasons in our life where we struggle to connect with our sense of self we are so used to. And this can be a really challenging time. 

Some of us will suffer severe and enduring mental health issues such as schizophrenia, personality disorders (an awful way to label an illness), bi-polar etc. I imagine most of us think of these types of illnesses when we talk about mental health. Yet others of us, if not most of us, will go through seasons of varying mental health, and it seems that we still don’t have much of a language to be able to talk about this. 

I am thrilled that through this blog, numbers of people have been able to talk about some difficult issues. Today I’d encourage us to think about our own mental health, to consider those times in our life when we have struggled and also to think about what helped to get you through, how did you get support, what helped things to change?

It is so important that we know the kind of support we need when we are struggling, and it helps us to know this in advance. 

I’m really looking forward to hearing more of your stories, please do get in touch if you’d like to contribute. 

Therapist Experience…

Day 11 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge, over 1/4 way through!

Thank you to the 4 amazing contributions to the blog so far. It is so lovely to hear other’s stories of living through real challenge and that these stories really are encouraging others. I’ve got a number of other contributions lined up, but there’s still plenty of room for more! Do get in touch if you feel you’d like to share your story (doesn’t have to be a new topic, as each story and experience is unique).

Today I’m going to attempt to answer a question, (or at least give my personal opinion) which someone emailed to me recently. It’s actually a really common question in the counselling realm and it’s a very well debated one… Continue reading

Domestic Abuse: Sylvia’s Story

Day 10 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. I am amazed at the vulnerability with which people have decided to share with me on this blog; it has already been such a privilege. If you have been moved or encouraged by anything you read, I am sure the authors would love to hear from you; please do leave a message in the box below if you’d like to show your support.

Today Sylvia talks openly about her experience of emotional abuse.

Domestic Abuse: Sylvia’s Story

The 2013/14 CSEW (Crime Survey of England and Wales) found that, overall, 28.3% of women have experienced domestic abuse since the age of sixteen. I am one of the estimated 4.6 million women in the UK. Continue reading

Prenatal Depression

 

pnd

Day 9 of my 40 Day blog challenge.

Today, Kate has courageously shared her journey through prenatal depression, a condition far less known about than it’s cousin postnatal depression. Thank you Kate for sharing so personally. It would be great to hear from others in the comments section who have suffered with this or similar… Continue reading

Feeling content and really sick 😷!

Day 8 of my 40 day challenge and I thought I’d check in and have a little think about the project so far. 

I do this from bed as I left work early feeling terrible; I think I have the bug my daughter had on the weekend. 

Looking at the challenge so far, it would be fair to say that I started it blind. I knew  I wanted to do something productive but hadn’t given it much more thought than that. 

I’d had a bit of success (for me) with the blog I wrote the day before I started (Brave) and was very optimistic. Then the stats crashed and ironically my post on Self Esteem was one of he least read. This really challenged me. Why am I doing this, is it for my own ego, does it really matter if people have read, shared, retweeted etc what I’ve written? It doesn’t. 

Then something absolutely lovely happened. My wife asked to contribute something really personal (6th March). A friend shared it on Facebook. The stats boomed!  It’s still getting more hits on it as we speak. 

And conversations are happening about the blog, people are talking about their own experiences, and sometimes I am privileged enough to be able to see the threads.  

And now a number of others have come forward, also wishing to contribute and share their own very personal stories. 

I am so thrilled about this. Some are speaking about things publically for the first time which I find amazing and so humbling. 

So if I could ask you a favour, it would be to keep an eye out for these guest blogs. When you see them, please comment, share and encourage both the writer and the other readers who may well be relating to what’s been shared. 

So I’m sitting in bed, feeling physically terrible, but emotionally really content, as something wonderful is beginning to happen with this blog. 

Thank you to everyone who has followed this to date, or who has contributed. I’m really excited to see what happens next. 

Cream Crackered

Day 7 of my 40 day challenge.

January 2016 I posted by best ever time cycling up Ditchling Beacon, over a minute faster than my previous attempt! It was no Bradley Wiggins, not even on par with my peers, but it was my personal best.

A couple of weeks later it was a different story. It was like I had nothing to give, like I was struggling in a strong wind on a still day. Then the flu 😷. So that makes sense. Feeling much better by March but still hacking up some nastiness, I attempt a cycling event with my friends. And that’s when it all started. Continue reading