Mental Health Awareness Week: Kindness & Self-Compassion.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme is kindness.  While a lot of the focus will probably be aimed at being kind to other people, I would like to focus on Self-kindness and the positive effects it can have on our physical and mental wellbeing.

In my last blog, Why Now May be a Good Time to Start Meditating, I highlighted how dangerous negative thoughts and emotions, such as anxiety, can be for our health. 

The further we traverse into the uncharted territories that this pandemic is presenting to the world then the more important actions such as kindness are.  As people become more afraid and stress increases, words such as kindness, love and care seem to get forgotten, replaced by anger, frustration and an urge to find someone to blame.

Numerous studies have shown that emotions such as anger and hatred can be a significant cause of premature death.  Dr Redford Williams at Duke University, and Dr Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University have conducted studies that showed how anger, rage and hostility are particularly damaging to the cardiovascular system.  Read more

Strange Days….. Dealing With Self Isolation, Fear & Panic.

“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and going over to the enemy of our imagination.” – Christian Nestell Bovee

The current situation with Coronavirus has probably given a lot of people an insight into panic, and how our brain and body reacts to situations of immense stress and fear.

The well used phrase ‘panic buying’ sums it up perfectly.  As soon as we are confronted with fear, we go into fight or flight; this is our primeval reaction that has been hardwired into our brains during prehistoric times (Understanding Anxiety, Panic & Depression: Part 1 – Anxiety).  This is just another example of where this built-in response isn’t really suited to the modern world.  It is natural to want to protect ourselves and our loved ones, hence why some people have turned to stockpiling food, but this has a negative effect on the communities that we live in. Read more

Is This Why People Give Up?

A couple of weeks ago I contacted the Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service (They offer talking therapies and are part of the East London NHS Foundation Trust) to try and get some additional help for my anxiety and depression.

I was originally given their leaflet by my GP because I asked him about finding additional help; you can self refer, so I said I would contact them myself.  I left it for a while but recently my depression became worse so I decided to see what they could do.

What they offer is limited because the NHS only endorse CBT, counselling and medication as mental health treatments; I am already having counselling (not via the NHS because they only offer a set number of sessions.  I had ten with an NHS therapist who didn’t really seem interested) and I wouldn’t touch anti depressants again, so I guess I was going to be left with CBT, which would be better than nothing.  I had CBT before via the NHS but it didn’t really work because I was fighting my old company at the time, and this hindered any progress, so it was agreed I would stop.  I thought that maybe now it would be more effective. Read more

Walking into the Present……

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past.  If you are anxious, you are living in the future.  If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu

I find that I constantly bounce between depressed and anxious; one emotion seems to feed the other until they create a monster, a vicious cycle that leads nowhere except down.

Sam Darnold, Quarterback for the New York Jets (NFL) was recently heard on the touchline during a game saying “I’m seeing ghosts!”  He was not literally seeing ghosts, what he seemed to be referring to was his state of mind during the game.  There was so much going on in front of him that everything was a blur, he thought he saw someone to pass to but he ended up throwing the ball into empty space, to nobody.  You don’t really have to be a sports fan to understand that this is not good. Read more

Paint it Black….

I haven’t written in a long while because I have hit a blank.  The motivation to do things either physically or mentally is zero.  This blog is a feeble attempt to try and push through it, and it ain’t going well……

It is safe to say that depression has taken a firm grip of my life, and covered it with a dark veil.  I feel like I am wading through treacle, every movement is a struggle, and stopping seems the obvious, easy option.

Read more