You see so many posts about it being ok to talk and it's ok to not be ok; but one thing that I have found is that it’s really not that easy to recognise if things are not ok. People think they are coping or can manage or it will simply pass. By the time they realise they are not ok, the depression has taken hold, plus they may have a strong feeling of not wanting to be a burden.
Depression is a powerful illness that consumes you and sometimes it sneaks up on you like a ninja warrior. It's mighty and stealthy, and able to knock someone off their feet in the blink of an eye when nobody even noticed that he or she was even there, lurking in the shadows. They have good days and feel like they are getting through things, then without warning, they are just not coping at all. The cycle and darkness consume them, and the battle starts all over again to try to clear the fog.
So how do you recognise when something isn’t right?
The signs and symptoms
Sleep and Fatigue
Has there been a change to the person's sleep pattern? This can be at both ends of the spectrum.
Fatigue, lack of motivation and desire to partake in activities that they would normally enjoy can be a sign that something isn’t quite right. Mental fatigue is quite debilitating when it hits and can be frustrating which only heightens the depression further. Everything they do may feel exhausting to them when previously it never caused them an issue and they will feel sluggish and drained constantly.
On the opposite end of the scale there is insomnia. Waking earlier than usual and feeling unable to rest fully through the night. Do they wake more frequently and not go into such a deep sleep? The lack of quality sleep will increase anxiety for someone who is suffering which simply exacerbates the situation.
Lack of interest
Have they stopped taking an interest in something they previously enjoyed? This could be a hobby or a social activity. Do they seem to be lacking in the ability or desire to feel joy, happiness, or pleasure?
This can also cause an issue for people’s sex drive. The desire is diminished and also the ability to enjoy sexual relations with their partner can also be affected. For some males this will also lead to issues with erectile dysfunction.
Feeling helpless, hopeless and self loathing
Do they have a very dark and bleak outlook on life? They may make comments that affirm a belief that things will not get any better for them, or there is no use in trying with things and that they will ruin anything they get involved in.
People suffering with depression will feel trapped and hopeless and that there is no point even attempting to get out of this darkness. They may compare themselves to others a lot and point out areas where they feel inferior.
Constantly criticising themselves out loud or in their mind can be a huge issue for someone with depression. This results in a feeling that they are worthless, or they may be racked with guilt or simply unable to see past any faults they may perceive they have.
Changes to appetite or weight
Another sign of mental health is also within the physical body. A significant weight gain or loss of 5% or more can be an indication that emotional or psychological support is needed.
Some foods that are higher in fat and sugar can be consumed to try to make ourselves feel better in the short term. That along with fatigue and lack of interest in activities and exercise, can result in a weight gain for many who suffer.
On the flip side weight loss can be experienced due to a lack of interest in food and in things that give you pleasure. Also having a reduced appetite due to stress will create an impact on weight loss.
Irritability and mood swings
A person’s mood can fluctuate when suffering with depression between irritable and snappy, extreme anger and outbursts or deep sadness.
This is a sign many people who are close to someone with depression, will notice quite quickly. Those snap changes to moods and outbursts are a clear sign that someone is struggling to deal with day-to-day life and situations.
This particular symptom can be pretty damaging as many of the activities that they engage in are harmful to themselves or may cause issues for their loved ones.
This escapist behaviour can include substance abuse or gambling; or they could also turn their hand to more dangerous pastimes and activities such as extreme sports. Their driving style may also be affected and find they drive much more carelessly or even dangerously on occasions.
Someone facing depression often will have issues remaining focused on tasks and activities. Their mind will wonder and will struggle to focus on directions and instructions. This can cause issues in relationships, work or education as the distractions they experience are often perceived as a lack of interest or consideration.
Memory can also be affected and the minds ability to retain and process information is altered when experiencing mental fatigue and depression. There are so many areas of the brain that get involved with the creation and retrieval of memories. Disruptions to the mind that involve any of these areas, can affect how you process memories and also impact on your ability to concentrate.
Physical aches and pains
Someone with depression may find they experience an increase in physical aches and pains or ailments within the physical body. These symptoms could include chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain or gastrointestinal problems. Issues with the stomach area are often associated with stress and trapped emotions.
The therapy I use to treat patients works quite often with the mind body connection. The founder of RTT, Marisa Peer once described physical issues as the minds way of screaming and letting us know that there is something that needs to be dealt with.
Physical pain and depression actually have a biological connection. The neurotransmitters that affect our experience of pain and our moods are serotonin and norepinephrine. Dysregulation of these transmitters are linked to both depression and pain.
How to support someone with depression
Understanding the below points are important in supporting someone with depression:
They have no control over it
Someone with depression has no control over the fact that they are suffering this condition. It’s not something they can simply turn off and ignore. Just like having the flu or a virus, it takes over the body and in this case the mind too without the person being able to stop it taking hold.
Anyone can have it
Depression doesn’t just affect those who are not happy with their lives. Someone can have a wonderful, amazing life and seem to have everything anyone could ever want, but still end up with depression. It really doesn’t matter whether someone has anything to be sad about; depression is more than just sadness and it takes over for a number of reasons. The life they are living isn’t always a factor in it developing.
Other actions you can take to support or help someone through a period of depression:
Many of those with this condition will isolate themselves and will drift out of touch with friends and family. Simply checking in with them and showing them your support by reaching out can be a huge gesture and help them to begin connecting and opening up.
Listen without judgement
Try not to feel responsible for fixing a loved one’s problems or feel that you should convince them that these negative and self-loathing thoughts they have are wrong. These feelings are so deep and real for them, your best option is to respect and acknowledge their feelings. This will help them to feel supported and more likely to open up and talk their feelings through with you.
Encourage professional help
There are so many options and treatments available to help people with depression. Not every form of treatment will suit and will be something they will need to choose for themselves. Counselling, therapy (including RTT) and medication are all highly affective. There are a number of charities able to support counselling too if waiting lists are long. If they are unsure where to start, finding the right provider and form of treatment is the best place to start. Help them put a list together of providers and options they can choose from.
Suggest additional connections to help them through this illness. This could be in the form of social support through friends’ groups, community groups or specialist support groups. Social media is great for finding support and groups within your local area.
Healthy eating and exercise can help boost peoples feel good hormones and help to combat depression. Support and encourage healthy living by doing it with them where possible.
Suicide is no joke
Any mention of suicide or hurting themselves should be taken very seriously. I personally have lost two people close to me through suicide, and can honestly say both times was a complete shock. We all think people are not capable of these acts, but in reality in the depths of depression, anyone is capable. If you feel they are in danger call 999 or any of the below:
References: The Link Between Depression and Physical Symptoms Madhukar H. Trivedi, M.D., Therapist Aid LLC·
When on a journey to becoming a parent when you have fertility issues to overcome, it can become consuming and take over every aspect of your life and consume your thoughts continuously. Over time this can make your life and future seem out of control and as a result can create anxiety issues. The more we try to take control of things, the more out of control we end up feeling and the viscous circle continues.
Most of our daily lives we are able to take certain steps and know with all certainty that if we do Step 1 and Step 2, then Step 3 will definitely be the end result. Unfortunately with fertility the outcomes are never guaranteed and out minds find this not knowing quite difficult to handle. It is this lack of safety and knowing that causes anxiety and why so many couples who are trying to conceive suffer for anxiety and/or depression. This can cause additional stress in an already difficult phase and can also hinder the successful outcome of conception. This is why as a fertility coach and therapist we focus so much on mindset and get your mind and body working together to achieve a much greater chance of a healthy successful pregnancy.
But guess what?
You have so much more power within you than you think. The issue is you have been focusing so desperately on the wrong thing. I love reading and listening to life coaches and motivational speakers and something that always resonates with me is a phrase used by Tony Robbins. He once said or wrote that "If you focus on the wall, you will end up in the wall". I believe he used the example of a racing car driver who is in a spin and in order to come out the spin successfully will need to focus on where they want to be heading instead of where they don't want to be. If the driver looked and focused on the wall, that is where his mind would direct his hands to steer towards. Its the same with your journey to parenthood. If you focus on the fact you have been told you are not able to easily conceive naturally and the chances of not succeeding; you will be less likely to achieve a successful pregnancy. When we focus our thoughts on the process and what is wrong, we get stuck in fear. Feeling stuck is very distressing, and it can often make a situation feel even more difficult than it already appears to be. So what can we do to free ourselves from limiting beliefs and fears, and become unstuck?
What steps can you take?
Three steps to taking back control
Once you are consciously aware of your subconscious chatter in your mind, you can then make a choice on a conscious level over your preferred thought and language. Knowing that the choice is available will give an sense of control back to your life and will have a huge impact of your overall outcome. Journalling is a good way to become more aware of your thoughts and internal chatter and will allow careful conscious reflection of those thoughts.
A good way to ensure your day is a more positive experience is to have positive affirmations that work for you to repeat and say out load or in your mind. Affirmations such as "I am going to make an excellent parent", "I am able and ready to conceive". Choose something that resonates on an emotional level, that you can really connect with and repeat this mantra several times a day.
Another good way to shift your mindset to a more positive setting is practice gratitude. Each morning and evening reflect on the things in your life that you are grateful for and give thanks for those things. You can also eventually learn to give thanks to the universe for the less positive things that happen. You become thankful for the universe showing you what you do not want and giving you this opportunity to grow and learn from your experience and highlight what it is you do want. This is gratitude at a more advanced level that does take some practice but is extremely powerful.
For most people, trying to conceive feels very lonely and isolating, as the people around you tend not to understand unless they have been through it. It is important to forgive them for this and not become bitter but thankful for their good fortune. It is also important to recognise who is not supporting you and is having a negative impact on your growth and development on your path to parenthood. Limiting contact with this individuals is recommended or at least discussing with them what topics you wish them to not talk about. Lovingly drawing those boundaries is important to maintain a healthy relationship between you and this person and also the relationship you have with yourself.
On the other hand some people in your support network may be quite uplifting for you and give energy and passion. They may also understand more what you are going through. Its important to ensure you spend time with these people and build on the positive support.
Reflect on your support circle and assess each one carefully. Work out who supports your journey and uplifts you and who doesn't and then work out a plan that will give you what you need.
As a fertility coach I work with both men and women individually but also with couples together. We work on giving you back the sense of control and ensuring a strong mind-body connection to support your journey. If you would like to discuss your needs and what coaching and Rapid Transformational Therapy can do for you, send me a message to arrange a call.
In this uncertain world, we find ourselves feeling more anxious and mental health and self-care has become a huge issue with each and every one of us. Even those who have never experienced any form of anxiety or mental health issues will find they have a need to take stock of their feelings.
The difference between a healthy fear and anxiety
Both fear and anxiety produce a stress response within our physical bodies such as muscles tensing up, increased heart rate and shortness of breath. This is our fight or flight response which is thought to be a key necessity for our survival. One where our body alerts us to danger and we are able to make a choice of stay and battle or run away from the danger.
Anxiety is often a sense of uncertainty or dread and can commonly be a response to an imprecise or unknown threat. It’s a response to your minds interpretation of what could possibly arise rather than an immediate and clear threat. The mind does not seem to be able to distinguish between what is real or imagined/perceived. The difficulty being that our mind is not something that can be reasoned with through logical thinking when emotions are involved. There are many rules that the mind follows and unfortunately in a battle between logic and emotions, the emotions will always win.
What is Fear?
Fear is an emotional response to a definite and certain threat. The focus of the response is therefore very different. Although both are very much interrelated, as when most people experience fear, this fear will cause anxiety and similarly anxiety can cause fear. The symptoms are very much the same as a result, but the root cause is different. When suffering from fear, once definite and certain danger disappears, so too will the symptoms experienced. With anxiety this is not the case.
Physical Symptoms for anxiety
Anxiety presents itself differently with each person but the key is to recognise how it is presenting in your own body and mind. Knowing that anxiety not only affects your mind but also impacts your physical body is very important.
How to help relieve some anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic
I have produced a hypnosis recording that will help you by adding some subliminal programming and strengthen your coping skills throughout this crisis. But there are a number of other ways that you can help yourself and others through this difficult, uncertain and scary situation we are all facing together.
1. Keep yourself informed of the facts, not fiction- the mind can run wild when left to its own imagination. It is therefore crucial to ensure you are only filling your mind with facts and true information. It may mean, limiting how you interact with social media. Not allowing yourself to mindlessly scroll through reports and opinions that are not based on factual evidence.
2. Keeping perspective- the global pandemic is not the only stress factor most will be dealing with on a day to day basis. We may also be dealing with work pressures, financial pressures or grief and illness. Having perspective on all the issues can help in managing them effectively. Likewise, if life was going swimmingly previously and suddenly you are hit with the pandemic, it can feel very overwhelming. It's important to limit this feeling of overwhelm and ensure you keep a solution focused mindset.
3. No comparison- it's human nature to look at others and compare ourselves, although this is really not a healthy thing to do especially in light of the current situation. Seeing all those mums posting their home-schooling success and their lock down fitness regimes. Or seeing your colleagues mastering the working from home routine without seeming phased or disorganised in anyway. The truth is very different to what your eyes may see and especially to what they want you to see on social media. If you are taking care of yourself and your children are happy, you are winning through this crisis. Keep going.
4. Identify your triggers- keep a record of what triggers your fight or flight responses. Noting what is happening around you when you feel at your worst. You are then able to bring back an element of control which is another way to calm our anxieties. You may need to note these at the end of a day and reflect on each moment due to the fact that when an anxiety attack or panic attack is triggered, the thinking brain actually goes offline. The prefrontal cortex of your brain actually begins to shut down.
5. Grounding- to bring your thinking brain back online and break the cycle of anxiety or panic attacks there are several grounding methods that can be used to bring awareness back to your body and then your mind. Some examples of this are:
a.Breathing exercises (there are a number to choose from)
b.Taking your own pulse
c.Standing bare foot on the ground (preferably grass) and imagining grounding energy coming from the earth
6. Don’t shame or blame- feeling others are to blame for any issues you may be experiencing again takes away the control we all feel we need. Avoiding these negative thoughts and focusing on elements of life that we can control will help. Again, having a solution focused mentality. Similarly, shaming others for how they are dealing with or acting is a negative thought you are allowing into your mind. And no doubt you have certain emotions attached to those thoughts that are negative too. You are not able to control other people's actions so allowing those negative thoughts and feelings inside serves no purpose for you.
7. Its OK to ask for help- we are all dealing with difficulties and none of us will be able to get through these times of hardship without help and support from others. Even those that appear strong and able to cope will be getting support in some form from other people. We are definitely in this together and its ok and so important that we ask for help at the moments we need them.
8. Stay connected- technology enables us to stay connected better than ever. We may not be able to give out those all-important hugs to our friends and loved ones, but staying connected is easy with smart phones and internet applications. Recognise those people that promote a sense of calm with you and make an active choice to connect with those people, while avoiding any that bestow a negative energy and suck the life from you.
9. Recognise your stress habit loops- take note of what habits you exhibit throughout the day. Sometimes we can find we feel more anxious when we overeat or when we haven’t yet eaten for example. Noticing your habits throughout your daily routine and how those habits make you feel can be a helpful exercise to take part in.
10. Keep a routine and sense of purpose- your normal daily routine may be very much disrupted but can be helpful to set a new routine to follow during this period. This will bring back a sense of purpose to your day and also that all important element of control over what is happening. You will also find this will create and energy boost and prevent procrastination habits taking over our day.
It is widely known and has been highly researched and tested, that heightened levels of stress can have an adverse effect on your immune system. There has also been extensive research into relaxation therapies and hypnosis and the effects on the immune system.
Research in the area of hypnosis and the immune system indicates that, generally, hypnotic intervention can moderate immune system functioning.
In two studies, hypnosis buffered the effects of stress on immune functions in medical students at exam time, and the comparison of self-hypnosis with and without immune imagery confirmed advantages to targeted imagery for both immune function and mood, and importantly, fewer winter viral infections.
This is vital in the current climate as we experience the COVID-19 outbreak. Trying to remain positive and calm to ensure we have strong immune systems to fight the virus will be essential. It is especially important for those with compromised immune systems at present, such as those going through Chemotherapy Treatment for Cancer or have disease that compromise the immune system.
There are other ways we can help our bodies and fuel our minds. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help maintain optimum function and offer a little assistance with protection:
To help you feel a little calmer, more relaxed and in control of your own body, I have created this immune system recording. This recording will take you on a relaxation journey that will allow you to command your cells within your body and strengthen your immune system. It is based on methods I learned from Marisa Peer's, Command Cell Therapy (CCT).
This recording is available to purchase as an MP3 download for the small fee of £5.00 to enable you to listen uninterrupted and without the need for an internet connection. Simply email your request to email@example.com
For many Mothers’ Day can be extremely difficult, whether its due to losing your mother or due to not actually being able to be one just yet. Trying to conceive is stressful and you are constantly battling with your mind throughout the whole process. Here are a few tips that may help you not lose your marbles…
A lot of the fertility coaching I offer focuses around mindset throughout the whole process. The words we say to ourselves are massively important and have a huge impact on the success at achieving our desired goal. Knowing and constantly reminding yourself that there is no ‘if’ you get pregnant there is only ‘when’ will make a huge difference.
Here are 8 ways a fertility coach could help you during fertility treatment and make a significant difference in your journey:
1. Managing anxiety, stress, depression, expectations
2. Communication and difficult conversations
3. Making decisions
4. Strategies for key moments (before/after embryo transfer, two-week wait)
5. Motivation and commitment to treatment
6. Improving your health for fertility (nutrition, physical activity, environment, habits)
7. Setting up goals, action plans
8. Following up and accountability
Contact me for further information on Rapid Transformational Therapy and Coaching Packages: firstname.lastname@example.org
Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. It's World Suicide Prevention Day tomorrow, WSPD is to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it.
This video is our personal story and experience of suicide. If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please do seek specialist help.
Some other organisations that are useful are:
For further information about how Rapid Transformational Therapy can help, please contact Nadine on tel: 03332 203 081
You remember that feeling, don’t you? That feeling of pure, unfiltered dread tingling your spine, sparked by the horrific sight of your uniform in the morning. Hung up on your door-handle carefully pressed with crisp newness. Seemingly appearing out of nowhere to taunt you, as if to say ‘don’t forget about school’. Even armed with the knowledge that it was thoughtfully placed there by your parents, the feeling always teeters towards paranormality.
No.1 – Prep! Prep! Prep
Like all parents, I’m sure you’re aware that preparation is key. Although mistakes do happen, it’s never a bad thing to actively lessen the stress that is plentiful in times like this. Fridge lists are the old reliable of school prep, and are an effective way of making sure everything’s done, such as lunches and the before mentioned uniform prep. Although do try to be less spooky with it… On top of checklists, practice school runs are a perfect way to lessen the anxiety of the day and allows the situation to feel more familiar to your kids and even yourself. As the saying goes, the first steps the hardest. So actively softening that step will make the day a less stressful ordeal guaranteed. This is especially useful if your child is starting a new school, having just grown out of their last one, or moved from another area. If they’re just starting school, it’s a good practice to take them to the school prior to their first day so it isn’t as much of an unknown entity to them.
No.2 – Talking is key
Even if they don’t identify that they are anxious, empower them with the dialogue that’s now created. Tell them how awesome it’s going to go, and how many friends they’ll make. And on top of all of this, let them know that anxiety at this stage is entirely normal. They’re not alone. This allows them to understand that their anxiety isn’t unique to them, and this understanding is often the largest step to overcoming it, as people are more inclined to talk about situations that people will actually understand.
No.3 – Some physical techniques
Communication is awesome. But can sometimes not provide the adequate help for some children. If this is the case, here’s some neat tricks the help your child physically. The first of these is to focus on individual sounds. A washing machine in use. A distant dog barking at a neighbouring cat (or in the case of my dog, nothing in particular). The beautiful chorus of the many birds. All of these sounds are useful to bring their heart rate down if they focus on just those and try to switch off for a moment to everything else. They can even focus on their feet and the earth beneath it. This will stabilise them and remind them that they are 100% safe. The last of these tips is a simple one. Breath… In through the nose, and out through the mouth. Only the deepest of breathes. If you employ this technique with your kids, they are almost certain to do it wrong. So, prevent their hyper-ventilation and coach them through long slow breathes. Maintaining their physical health will help them mentally prepare for the gruelling first day. To do this, make sure they sleep an adequate amount; not just the night before, but the entire week leading up to it. This way they will be very energised and should not develop any anxiety. Maintaining a strong balanced diet will help in a similar way, so attempt to stay on top of this too.
These tips are useful to lessen the anxiety of the back to school week and prevent yourself from becoming the paranormal presence that you may have had when you were their age. For some it’s an exciting time, but we know all too well that for others, it’s something quite stressful and a cause of worry for the parent and most of all the child.
We wish you all the best for getting your little munchkins back to school.