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Stigma, Discrimination and Mental Health.
Postive thinking
Self expression.
Positivity
"Once in a Blue Moon".

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Love

Positivity

 
Buddha; Buddhism: The state of perfect enlightenment through ones own efforts and insights.Fairly recently, I decided that it would be great to send positive messages out to family and peers via a social network.  I had no ulterior motive, I just wanted to share the positivity I had within..........outwardly.
Nothing too heavy, just little things like:
 
  • "Top of the morning to ya."
 
  • "Just gazed out my window and was greeted with a clear sky.  I can see Jupiter, right next to the moon.  It's great to be alive innit? Nite peeps!"
 
  • "Had a great day yesterday!! Here's hoping for more of the same. Enjoy!"
 
 
Responses to my goodwill and happy to be alive messages were interesting.  I got several messages from my brother calling me a "loser!" 
and a couple of messages from others saying "what drugs are you on?"
Fun and jokes aside... the majority of the comments I read were positive and wished me well, however, I did note that a small minority had a tinge of negativity, usually attributed to feeling over-worked or over-tired.
 
My thought processes  are usually positive, hopeful and optimistic.  I'm fortunate to be able to generate 'positive automatic thoughts.'  Although I have always been a positive person, it must also be  recognised that I'm no Mother Theresa and  I do my best to maintain my positive environment.  Put really simply, I tend not to sweat the small stuff because:
 
 
Smiley face.  Denotes feelings of happiness, joy, laughter, fun, ebullience.
  • firstly, it gives you frown lines and
  • secondly, holding onto good stuff generally feels much nicer. 
 
 
 
 
At other times I may utilise certain tools or reserves, such as: 
 
 
Night Sky: Visual interpretation: Peaceful, positive image.
  • Remembering special moments,
  • Watching a clear night sky, decorated with stars, planets and of course,the moon.  (Any opportunity to talk about the moon and I will seize it!...hehehehe.)
  • Listening to great music.
  • Doing things that make me laugh.
 
Individuals whose thoughts patterns are full of worry, angst, doubt and/or anxiety are likely to have a stream of 'negative automatic thoughts'.  Many aspects of their inner dialogue is fuelled by negativity, never allowing any space for positive processes to be filtered through and housed.
 
 
 
Loud speaker.  Visual representation: 'Melody of Mayhem.'Saxophone:  Visual interpretation: 'Sweet Symphony.'When you stop and listen to that inner dialogue that you have within,  what do you hear?  What kind of noises are being played?  Is it a sweet symphony or a medley of mayhem?
 
 
 
 
 
 
Listening to ourselves is extremely important, it helps us to learn and to grow. Talking therapies such as Psychotherapy and Counselling gives an individual experiencing a medley of mayhem, a safe space to be candid about theirthoughts and feelingsAt SW11 Counselling, the client and the therapist work together to explore destructive thoughts.  The aim is to work towards assisting the client in finding and housing their own sweet symphony.
 
Thank you for reading my blog.  Your comments are valuable and always welcome.
 

How are you feeling?

 
 
 
 
Feeling Happy?
 
Feeling Sad?
 
Feeling Good?
 
Feeling Bad?
 
Those  feelings just keep on thriving, living off the triggers we hold within and those that exist outside of us.
 
Now if you are feeling pretty happy and confident with yourself  it could be said that you are more self aware, therefore,  better equipped to express your feelings.  This statement however, can also be applied to those of us that are feeling sad or angry.
 
Feelings, be they positive or negative in their stance are very important  because they are indicators, they let us know that we exist;  For example, these are some of the feelings that I experienced today (in this order too!  Yes! (sighs) Therapist can have anal tendancies too!) :-
Energised, thoughtful, tired, grumpy, pissed off, bored, less grumpy, calm, happy, fortunate, thoughtful, playful, cheeky............etcetera! etcetera!  Now the day isn't over and I am sure that I will experience a whole host of feelings and emotions before my head hits that pillow.  The marvellous thing, however, is that I have access to my feelings; am able to interpret them; understand them and express them. I am fortunate to be able to understand what triggers them, which in turn assists me in employing better ways of dealing with them.  
 
Psychotherapy/Counselling is an important process as it offers the individual the tools  to learn who they are through understanding and being able to express their feelings.  For example, when I ask a client:-
 
Therapist: "How are you feeling?"
 
and they answer
 
Client:  "Ok".
 
I will respond
 
"That is not good enough...You need to give me another word." 
 
(Gosh it makes me sound like an ogre...... I assure you, it's all in the tone!)
 
 
I promise you, I am no ogre.  If you click on the picture above you can read the testimonials clients  made regarding their experiences of therapy at SW11 Counselling.  You will see that being able to express their feelings was a beneficial part of the work we did together.
 
Through my own experiences, those of clients and my professional training I believe using the word ok can be interpreted as a way of saying,
  • "I don't know" 
  • "I don't want/need to share my feelings" or
  • "I am unable to share my feelings".
 
 
What do you think?  Your views are always welcome.
 
BTW, as I end this blog I am feeling
"Content and proud".....
 
...."How are you feeling?"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The top 5 regrets of the dying.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Firstly, I want to thank my 15 year old nephew for posting this article on facebook recently....... "Very impressed dear nephew!"
 
 
The article written focused on data collected by a palliative nurse in Australia.
 
The top 5 regrets are:
 
  • I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life     others expected of me.
 
  • I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
 
  • I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
 
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
 
  • I wish that I had let myself be happier.
 
I found these results particularly interesting for several reasons.
All of the regrets are based on factors or issues that clients have brought to me in therapy.  For example when a client is feeling fragmented or depressed, they sometimes find it difficult to express their feelings, thoughts and ideas.  By having counselling/psychotherapy the client has the opportunity to express their feelings in an environment which is confidential, safe and non-judgmental.
 
 
 
 Imagine it!..................someone has lived their life, are about to die and their regret in life is that they wished they could have been happier!!!  Gwhizz!.... to me, this seems very sad.  There are so many strategies and/or techniques that could enable an individual  to be happier in this world.  Look..... I'm not here to ram counselling/psychotherapy down your throat, but, funnily enough, I do have evidence that counselling and psychotherapy works excellently.  I view them as enriching processes and  excellent tools in which to empower an individual.  If the therapist and the client are fully engaged in the work, then counselling/psychotherapy will help to diminish/eradicate negative thoughts and feelings.
 
I feel that the article in the Guardian,  connects beautifully with a popular blog I wrote back in October 2012 titled, "To Live".  In that blog I looked at the notion of living/existing.  In short, I explored what it would it take for us to live happily,  bearing in mind, that after we live, we die;  The article in the guardian goes to the next step, it explores the regrets that people have actually shared, near their death.
 
I'd like to think that those of us that are experiencing some personal, interpersonal and professional concerns, wouldn't wait until their death bed to explore, assess and treat.  You are alive now! Please don't wait until it's too late.
 
If you knew you were about to die, what regrets would you have about your own life?
 
Your comments are always welcome and thank you for reading this blog.

Christmas

Christmas is a magical time,
Is there any doubt?
But I'm going to need a psychotherapist
To get my anxieties out!
The sugarplums might be dancing,
But they're messing up my mind;
The silver bells aren't doing much
To help me unwind.
Section of a poem by
Joel Bjorling, Gilson taken from: www.theholidayspot.com 
 

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.  Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?
By Bob Hope,takenfrom: quotations.about.com
 
This comes to wish you
joy and good cheer
not just for Christmas
but throughout the new Year. 
 
Christmas is..Christmas is...
What is Christmas?..
To some there is no Christmas..simply because of their religon.
To others Christmas is a time of loneliness because of past events.

By James, taken from: www.poems.md
 

More endings.

93  murdered in Norway.......Amy Winehouse found dead are shocking endings that have occurred over the past 48 hours.
 
As outlined in my previous blog about endings, they can take on many forms; the recent atrocities in Norway and Amy Winehouse's death illustrate endings that were sudden, painful and definitely caused shock waves.
 
This blog could take so many different avenues, such as focusing on the callous nature of, put simply, a sociopath who disguised himself as a police officer to slaughter copious amounts of young people  in Norway; or the addictive behaviour and personality of a singer, unable at times to function to her full potential, as the escapism of  her drug use helped her to escape her reality; the idea of an individual walking amongst us with so much hate and resentment; or the unfair notions that come up when we think about young lives being taken before their time.  These recent headlines encompass the idea of loss....loss of life, loss of rationality, loss of love and empathy.
 
These events will stir up a multitude of emotions and the healing process will be a long long way in the distance (if at all).  My thoughts are with those families that experienced tragedy over this weekend.
 
Your thoughts are welcome.
 

Work it on out.

An Hour Glass, an abstract image of life passing on by.And I, I can let my life pass me by
or I can get down and try
work it all out this lifetime
work it on out this time
I can let it all pass me by
or I can get down and try
work it all out this lifetime lifetime

Maxwell - Now (2001); 'LifeTime' Lyrics (chorus). 
 
There are many of us who can find the motivation to achieve our goals and to live each day as if it were our last.  However, in contrast, there are some of us who find the future a scary place, therefore, are more cautious or tentative; we may have no self-worth or belief, so become frustrated, confused and even more unsure.
 
Listening to these lyrics, as a therapist, I wondered, how many of us just let life pass us by? Wishing for something else....... something different, but, feeling paralysed to do anything about it.  Maxwell's song 'Lifetime' expresses feelings and thoughts of love, loss, depression, hope, growth and change.
 
"I can let my life pass me by....Or I can get down and try".
 
It's true, change is scary and the journey to some form of Self-actualization, has its obstacles, but breaking free from debilitating thoughts and behaviours is achievable and empowering .  We can choose to let life pass us by, but surely we owe it to ourselves to......
"Work it all out this lifetime...work it on out this time". 
 
 
 

St Valentines Day.

 
Abstract image of a love heart.So, February 14th marks the celebration of LOVE ...
ST VALENTINES DAY!
 
There will be some of us getting  excited, waiting for a loved one or admirer to display their undying love, with a series of gifts, celebrations and proposals.  However, there will be others that believe that Valentines day is another commercial celebration, designed to make gullible people spend money unecessarily.
 
St Valentines Day originates from Roman times and is traditionally associated with the Cleric St Valentine.  Emperor Claudius II, ordered St Valentines death when he discovered that the cleric had been performing secret wedding ceremonies.  During St Valentines incarceration, the emperor wanted the cleric to change his religious beliefs, however, Valentine refused.  It is believed that St Valentine was executed on 14th February 270 AD.   It is also suggested that because St Valentine refused to renounce his religious beliefs, he portrayed the idea of a christian love.   St Valentines Day is less likely to be associated with its religious heritage and nowadays is defined as a passionate love.
 
LOVE takes many forms and is culturally defined, therefore,  applying a universal definition would prove impossible.  Emotions such as love interest me on various levels.  For instance, in my role as a counsellor, I have seen clients who were at a crossroads in their lives and questioned their love for partners.  Moreover, I have seen clients who found it extremely difficult to recognise any postive attributes about themselves or others, finding it much easier to negate their existence and that of others.  In short, having no love for themselves or anyone else. 
 
The love I write of here, involves the capacity to form an emotional attachment to another - interpersonal and a positive connection towards ones self - intrapersonal.  Therapy or counselling is extremely beneficial in understanding the issues that may affect you surrounding interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships.
 
No matter what your thoughts of  St Valentines Day, it is connected with the notion of love.  Love does exist and it is complicated, exciting, painful, generic, specific, free, suffocating, puzzling, elevating...................
 
What does LOVE mean to you?