This blog is written by Eleanor Segall who has lived with bipolar disorder for 13 years as well as anxiety disorders. Diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder (a mood disorder) at 16, and now in her twenties, she blog about what has helped her in recovery and to help others too.
Nearly a month ago, I started my new job at a big Jewish charity here in London. I work in a small but lovely team in PR and Communications- helping run social media, write and distribute press releases and copywriting. I am enjoying it but its totally different from my other work and I am far less immersed in the mental health world than I was a few months ago. It is a juggling act. Trying to keep up with changes and all that’s occurring though. Hopefully soon I will find time to write articles again for my friends at Metro.co.uk and Happiful.
This has brought its own challenges as I havn’t been blogging here as much either, due to writing my book. My book ‘Bring me to Light’ will be released in the UK on November 5th and the USA shortly after, with Trigger Publishing. The title references going from darkness to light, as I have done with my bipolar and anxiety since I was 16. I have written most of it (50,000 words!) but my very kind editor has extended the deadline for it so I can write everything I need too, whilst also doing my day job and wedding planning (!). I am really excited to see a printed copy and to promote it later this year- the hard work will be worth it I hope. I also hope you enjoy reading it and thank you all for your ongoing support.
So, wedding planning, we are 5 weeks away now until I marry Rob, my fiance. It has come round so fast especially as we have had a year and few month’s engagement, I am counting down the days until I am under the Chuppah (Jewish marriage canopy) and we are officially married in presence of those we love! This week I had my final dress fitting and it was super emotional. I still can’t believe its happening. Rob’s dad is recovering slowly at home but his condition is still serious as he has cancer.
Naturally, you will be wondering- how am I staying sane with my bipolar with everything going on and with Robs dad not being well? Firstly, as we know, stressors can make bipolar worse and trigger episodes. At the moment, my main mood stabiliser Lithium keeps me very grounded and stable. Despite the stress, I am not dipping down into deep depression as I would have done in the past. Yes- there are times when I might feel stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted or tired and just want to sit in my pyjamas watching Made in Chelsea or First Dates. There are also times when I am too tired to cook or do laundry and need support with those. I am lucky to have a very supportive family who look out for me too.
My work colleagues have been super supportive when I have been overwhelmed or anxious and I am finding the flexibility of my work helpful too. I am having less anxious days now I am working too due to exposure therapy and going out a little more (taking the bus and cabs and talking to new people).
For me, I really need self care time, time to switch off and unplug. As we go into Shabbat now is the perfect time to read and be quiet, come off my phone and computer and just be. I really promote looking after you and taking time to sleep and rest for optimum mental health and to feel better again. Sometimes it can help to let others know how you’re feeling too.
I have two weeks to give in my first book manuscript and five til my wedding day. These are dreams I have had for years and I can’t quite believe they’re happening. Staying sane while planning a wedding without a planner can be hard but we have worked as a team. Having a good cry has really helped also at times, when things get too much! But generally happy, wonderful things so not to complain. Everything at once can get a lot for anyone. Life at the moment is hectic but I am pacing myself as much as possible.
If you would like to preorder my book, you can do so on Amazon or the Trigger website and I would love to know if you do :).
Thanks for being there for me and for supporting my work too. I hope we end the stigma against mental health by talking, sharing and explaining.
This week, starting today is the Mental Health Awareness Week by the UK charity the Mental Health Foundation. Its theme is looking at Body Image, how we think and feel about our bodies.
Mental Health Foundation say ‘Body Image can affect us all at any age- during this week we are publishing new research and campaigning for change’ .
‘Last year we found that 30% of all adults have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. That’s almost 1 in every 3 people.
Body image issues can affect all of us at any age and directly impact our mental health.
However there is still a lack of much-needed research and understanding around this.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week:
We will be publishing the results of a UK-wide survey on body image and mental health.
We will look at body image issues across a lifetime – including how it affects children and young people, adults and people in later life.
We will also highlight how people can experience body image issues differently, including people of different ages, genders, ethnicities and sexualities.
We will use our research to continue campaigning for positive change and publish practical tools to help improve the nation’s relationship with their bodies.’
The good news is that we can tackle body image through what children are taught in schools, by the way we talk about our bodies on a daily basis and through policy change by governments across the UK.’
Be Ur Own Light is supporting the incredible initiative from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Sussex- Shout UK, a new text support line in the UK for people in mental health crisis- anyone who is struggling. They have teamed up with Crisis Text line to reach vulnerable people.
I feel privileged to live in a country where stigma is beginning to fall and where mental health issues are beginning to be understood better. Texting would have helped me as an ill teenager with bipolar!
Shout are looking for volunteers too to man the text lines as crisis counsellors.
Thank you to the Duke and Duchesses for the incredible profile they are giving mental health. #GiveUsAShout
When people abuse drugs and alcohol, it is often the sign of a deeper underlying issue. For many people struggling with addiction, the source of their addiction is due to mental illness that often has gone undiagnosed. One of the most common co-occurring disorders seen with substance abuse is anxiety. The following article will outline what defines anxiety, and the connection between anxiety and substance abuse.
What is Anxiety?
In general, anxiety is an important emotion to have. While it may be normal to feel fear, apprehension, and nervousness from time to time, it becomes an issue when people experience these emotions at excessive levels. When anxiety takes over a person’s thought process, it manifests itself into physical symptoms such as the following:
Increased and constant restlessness
Increased and uncontrollable feelings of worry
Anxiety can be grouped into several types of disorders. These can include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, social anxiety disorder, and selective mutism among others. The leading causes of anxiety include work and family stresses, financial worries as well as underlying medical issues. The roots of anxiety can also be traced to past traumatic events that are unresolved.
How Anxiety and Substance Abuse Connect
When people suffer from anxiety, mental and physical symptoms can be very intense and can wear on the body and mind. To get some form of relief, people may turn to substances that stimulate dopamine in the brain to help numb the feelings of discomfort. Self-medicating oneself to take the edge of off anxiety only works in the short-term and can have a rebound effect that makes anxiety worse over time. Without addressing the roots of anxiety, their condition will worsen over time—along with their substance use.
The connection between anxiety and substance abuse can also trace back to the teenage and young adult years. During adolescence, the brain is still developing and forming. If people used drugs as a teenager, it could alter the development of the parts of the brain that govern reasoning and impulse control. Drug and alcohol use early in life can increase the likelihood of anxiety and substance abuse as that person gets older.
Another reason for anxiety disorders and substance abuse connection is because of one’s genetics. Some people may be more predisposed to both anxiety and drug and alcohol dependence through genetic factors shaped by one’s environment.
For those dealing with co-occurring disorders, they must seek specialised help from a dual diagnosis treatment facility specializing in mental health and addiction disorders. The first step in getting help is undergoing medical detoxification. During detox, patients will undergo medication-assisted therapy to help better tolerate the physical and psychological symptoms associated with withdrawal. Additionally, staff will perform physical and mental health evaluations to pinpoint any underlying issues that may impact recovery.
For those suffering from dual diagnosis, treatment will include mental health services in addition to addiction treatment services. Dual diagnosis facilities feature mental health professionals working alongside addiction treatment personnel in creating an individual treatment plan that fits each client’s specific needs.
In addition to therapy, 12-step counselling, life, and coping skills training and other forms of treatment, patients will receive mental health treatment with a focus on ongoing counselling and medication-based therapies that will give them the tools to handle anxiety.
This guest blog was written by Nu View Treatment Center
Frequently asked questions and useful information for you to know:
Low self-esteem and insecurity are common issues that weigh on people’s minds daily. Some people experience harmful effects of insecurity more severely than others and seek various methods of self-help. On the other hand, those don’t know how to safely deal with these emotions turn to more harmful methods of relief.
If you have tried countless self-help fads or simply try to continuously block out internalized negativity, hypnotherapy may be the solution for you.
What is hypnotherapy?
There are many hypnotherapy techniques, but they all involve inducing a state of hypnosis, or relaxed focus, to connect with your subconscious mind. This creates an open and reflective state of mind that addresses negative emotions and visualizes change. In other words, you can use hypnotherapy to bring about an intense awareness and focus for the change you desire in your own life.
Is there any science behind it?
Hypnotherapy relies heavily on the science of brainwave patterns. The brain is always experiencing a level of electrical energy. And when those waves are occurring within a certain frequency range, you’re relaxed, but awake – your subconscious is receptive to new behavioural suggestions. This is when a hypnotherapist can use visualisation exercises to guide you to a more positive outlook.
How can hypnotherapy help my self-esteem?
Low self-esteem is caused by a constant spiral of negative thoughts. These thoughts could be caused by negative emotions culminating from childhood trauma. Thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” and other harmful subconscious judgements will keep you down.
Low self-esteem also causes or increases the side effects of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and internalised emotional blockages.
Hypnotherapy for self-esteem creates new neural pathways that foster positive thoughts and emotions. Use hypnotherapy to rewrite negative mantras, from “I can’t” to “I can.” With hypnotherapy, you can change your harmful thoughts into positive thoughts about yourself and your surroundings. If you are looking for more resources A Time For Change hypnotherapy has incredible resources to help with issues ranging from vocational skill improvement and motivation, to managing unwanted behavior.
Can hypnotherapy cure my insecurity?
Like self-esteem issues, insecurity about one’s self and surroundings is common. Insecurity manifests in a variety of ways. You have insecurity if you experience a daily lack of confidence, have trouble speaking to strangers, or authority figures, can’t articulate what you need from your romantic partner, or experience paranoia that people are judging you.
Although hypnotherapy is not a cure-all, it can significantly turn around those negative thoughts and emotions related to insecurity. Seek out hypnotherapy for insecurity for help in choosing a romantic partner, performing work tasks with more confidence, and approaching life with a more positive outlook.
How many sessions do I have to attend to see results?
Hypnotherapy is a way for you to be in control of your subconscious mind. It helps you connect with subconscious memories, trauma, and negative thoughts in order to break old patterns and manifest positivity.
Some people might notice results within a few sessions, while others will need to work more at length with a hypnotherapist. Patience will lead to a continuation of positive thoughts.
Is there anything else I need to know about hypnotherapy?
Before your first visit with your hypnotherapist, make sure you are ready to see the change in your own life. Hypnotherapy is a powerful tool that is used to change the negative to the positive. However, always ask your healthcare provider for more information if you are dealing with serious mental illness.
This guest blog was written by A Time to Change hypnotherapy, based in the USA
I have needed to write this blog for a while, where do I begin?
A few weeks ago, my father in law to be was taken to hospital with a rare form of pneumonia, caused by a weak immune system due to his cancer treatment. He was very ill and on oxygen as he couldn’t breathe. Thankfully very strong antibiotics were pumped into him and the infection is going and hes now off the oxygen . However, he is still in hospital on a feeding tube and slowly recovering from a bout of confusion (caused by low sodium levels).
This has been really upsetting and stressful for all involved, but we’ve had an amazing amount of support- with food, prayers, charity donations and hospital visits. Its been hard for me as the hospital is not near my home too.
We now have 2 months to go to the wedding and I am super excited but also worried- we really want my father in law to be there with us and well on the day so praying hard.
I start a new job on Tuesday in PR and Communications but will still write and blog on the side. I am also writing my book currently and am on deadline, so its all go here!
My anxiety levels are high in the mornings at the moment, I had chest pains this morning from stress and I am needing to take time for me and relax when I can. I think its because of everything happening all at once and so much to do for the book, wedding and so much change happening.
I do not like change but sometimes change is vital for us to grow.
I could do with a spa day though and some deep breathing exercises, meditation and general management of life stress. I am juggling a lot- and needing a break really.
How do you manage when life stressors become too much?
I love theatre and mental health, so what better than to combine them!
The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, an incredible UK mental health charity are putting on a spectacular Best of Musicals event in London, to raise money for their vital work educating about depression and suicide prevention.
Amazing talent from both West End and Broadway and hosted by Tim Rice at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo!
CWMT was set up in 1997 in memory of Charlie Waller, a young man who took his own life whilst suffering from depression. CWMT raises awareness of depression and other mental health problems, and provides education and training to schools, universities, GPs, nurses and employers, encouraging those who need it to seek help.
Our vision is of a world where people understand and talk openly about depression, where young people know how to maintain wellbeing, and where the most appropriate treatment is available to everyone who needs it.
If you book through me, you get a 15 % discount! Code is ELECTRODEAL
A new start-up based in Camden, London has launched an app to help companies improve the wellbeing and mental health of their staff. The company, yulife, launched last year and uses technology to monitor exercise and wellbeing and rewards employees that take part.
Staff members that download the app will have their daily exercise monitored including how many miles they walk or run and how long they meditate for each day. Every individual that takes part receives yucoin, the company’s digital wellbeing currency, which can then be exchanged for rewards.
The more you walk and meditate, the more rewards you get.
yulife have partnered with several household brands including Amazon and ASOS to provide discounts and offers reserved for employees that are proactively improving their health and wellbeing. Other perks including gig tickets, Avios air miles and gift cards.
The role of employee benefits has become significantly more important for organisations and HR in recent years, understanding that individuals are not a means to an end, but processes must be in place to assist with mental health, physical wellbeing, stress and anxiety.
Accordingly, by addressing an employee’s mental health and lifestyle, it should result in better productivity and engagement.
The yulife proposition offers life insurance for your staff at the forefront of their product offering and this ties in neatly with the wellbeing aspect.
yulife work closely with experts to make their app as useful as possible. One of these experts is renowned wellbeing physician and author, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, author of the 4 Pillar Plan, which is at the core of the yulife app.
Dr Chatterjee commented: “yulife looks at the wellbeing of the whole person – physical, mental and also financial. This is exactly the 360-degree view that I have been urging patients to adopt and I’m excited to be working with yulife to help our members to be their best selves.”
Modern medicine continues to reveal new complementary treatment methods that enhance the health care solutions we rely on every day. Equine assisted therapy is one of the most exciting and versatile treatment methods available. Research published in medical journals support the use of equine assisted therapy as an essential part of holistic mental health treatment for conditions as varied as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and anorexia.
Despite longstanding success in using therapeutic horseback riding and other equine assisted therapy techniques in health care treatment, many people aren’t familiar with the benefits. This information is especially relevant for parents caring for children who have mental health problems. Read on to find out exactly how therapeutic riding can make a huge difference in a patient’s quality of life.
Understanding Equine Assisted Therapy
Equine assisted therapy actually covers a wide range of activities and therapeutic techniques that leverage the unique dynamics between a patient and a horse. Treatment methods are supervised and directed by a medical professional, differentiated from recreational equine activity through a local ranch or social club.
Horseback riding has been shown to contribute to the development of improved coordination and balance, directly aiding the physical rehabilitation process. Additionally, activities like grooming and feeding can help to improve motor skills and problem solving. More advanced treatments may be performed under the direction of an equine therapy specialist.
Equine Assisted Therapy Treats Several Mental Health Issues
This list is by no means an exhaustive account of all the medical conditions that can be treated with equine therapy. Instead, it provides a sense of the how broadly the treatment is already being utilized.
Across the country, equine therapy has already been incorporated into mental health treatment plans for adults dealing with:
Mood and behavioral disorders
Autism spectrum disorder
Trauma and grief
Sex and gambling addictions
Holistic Mental Health Care Through Equine Therapy
Successful engagement with a horse is a physical, social and emotional challenge. That’s why it’s such an ideal complementary treatment for patients dealing with mental health issues. By working through the demands of horsemanship under the guidance of an experience medical professional, patients are able to work to build better habits and develop strategies for managing their symptoms.
Identifying Emotional Triggers
One of the most important benefits of equine assisted therapy is the relationship between a patient and their horse. Horses are extremely sensitive to human emotions, making it difficult to ride if a person’s emotions are running wild. The plus side is that this sensitivity can also be used to identify emotional triggers and help patients discover the root of their mental health issues.
Building Communication Skills
Due to their sensitivity to emotion, herd animal social dynamics, and relatively high intelligence, horses are strong communicators. They can also be easily agitated, making it important for patients doing equine assisted therapy to practice keeping their emotions in check. These lessons in self-control help the patient build skills they will likely rely on for the rest of their lives.
Overcoming Physical Challenges
Even the act of getting into a saddle requires are certain level of coordination. Unrefined motor skills are a very common symptom of a wide range of mental health problems. As a result, equine assisted therapy puts a focus on refining physical skills.
Gaining Confidence Through Goal Setting
Ultimately, becoming a good horseback rider requires individuals to master a long list of skills. The step-by-step process of learning to ride also naturally provides a set of goal posts for patients to reach for and overcome. The opportunity to set goals and achieve them is an important part of the emotional development process and a key perk of equine assisted therapy.
Explore More Equine Assisted Therapy Benefits
Another advantage of equine assisted therapy is that it offers patients an alternative, promoting holistic care. There is a time and place for medication, but I believe that the current cultural climate pushes for treating most conditions with pills and often fails to take a more holistic approach.
About the Author:
Lyle Murphy is the founder of Alternative to Meds Center, a holistic medication tapering and addiction treatment facility in Sedona, AZ. Lyle has dedicated his life to holistic mental health.