How to Reach for Help and Not Be Ashamed.



It’s unfortunate that even in 2021, there is still a stigma around admitting you need help. There’s a lot of lip service paid to the fact that mental health is important and should be destigmatised in society, but some people react by being a little detached when someone goes through an episode.

That said, there are some norms we can all benefit from discussing and hopefully setting as standard. For one, admitting for help, or simply asking for it, should not be considered something you do when you’re at rock bottom only. It should be a question we can all ask, or an admission we can all make, without feeling like less of a person for it.

Of course, it’s not always easy to do this, because it means giving up the ghost and becoming more honest with yourself, which can sometimes be a painful and quite dizzying process. What does this mean in practice? Let’s discuss that, below:

Consider The Scope Of The Issue

It’s good to consider the scope of the problems you face and to define them. Sometimes, you may need psychologists to help you untangle that issue. However, sometimes it’s best to consider what issues are having the most effect on your life. This might involve a bad habit, or toxic relationships, or just feeling unwell. When you can define the issue, you can begin to find a recovery path or a necessary step forward.

Speak To Someone You Trust

Speaking to someone you trust can be the most effective method of measuring yourself, and of feeling that support when you need it. Sometimes, you might want this person to come with you to seek professional help, or perhaps you just need to get something off your chest. No matter if it’s a family member, a friend, a boss, or even an impartial volunteer listening at the other side of an appropriate charity phone line, being able to articulate the problem in itself can be very freeing.

Find Professional Help

It’s all very well and good to use positive thinking and to recognise that you may need some assistance, but unless you take that step, it’s hard to make progress. From considering talking therapy to speaking to a Doctor, or simply letting your boss know that you’ve been struggling and you may need some extra support at this time, finding the help you need is as important as admitting you need it.

Don’t be afraid to contact a number of professionals to see if they’re suitably assisted to help you. This gives you the highest chance of recovery and to be aided in our struggles, which is something we all deserve from time to time.

With this advice, we hope you can feel more empowered to say you need help when you really do need it.

This article was written by a freelance writer.



Helplines:
Samaritans Uk 116 123

The Book of Hope is Out Now!

I have written here before but I am so excited to say that the Book of Hope, which features my essay ‘Of Hope and Sunflowers’ and put together by my friends Jonny Benjamin MBE and Britt Pfluger is out now!

Happy Publication Day!


It is such an honour to be in a book with so many incredible people in their own fields talking about overcoming their own adversity and mental health issues.

As I write, the book is currently 16th in the bestsellers chart for all books on Amazon.

Hugely thankful to Jonny and Britt for including me in such a great project.

You can get your copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1509846379/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_3VAKJ0JC6HV05ZYMNHW2

How to Cope with Challenging Life Events: Top 4

(image: Andrea Piacquadio – Pexels)

Life is filled with many extraordinary moments that can fill your heart with joy and warmth – there is so much to look forward to and hope for. Throughout life, you will experience many of these life changing events; such as falling in love, landing the job you’ve worked tirelessly for, getting that breakthrough you needed in order to make a success of something – but, sometimes something will happen that is less joyous and more painful; these are challenging times and are a real pain to experience in one’s life.

It is a sad but inevitable part of life. Like a rollercoaster going up and down, making loops and causing your heart to soar with glee, every once in a while, the rollercoaster will tip over the highest point on its way to rush down and, for a brief moment, you’ll maybe feel as if you’re going to die. This is what grief and loss feel like – a pain that is so all-encompassing and overwhelming, you feel as if your body can literally not stand it. But, every single time the rollercoaster has flung you from one side to the other, it stops at the drop off point and lets you off to continue with your life.

The key, therefore, is being able to hold on until the rollercoaster, which is your challenging life event, lets you off the hook. That said, here are four challenging life events that may occur somewhere in your life, as well as tips on how to cope with them and not let it get the better of you.

Losing a job

Something almost every single person in the world will experience somewhere in their life. Losing a job can feel like the end of the world. Before you’ve even left the office, you already start picturing yourself living out of a cardboard box; this is you, being dramatic (and rightfully so) because your mind is trying to process what’s happening and exploring all avenues of options. The mind is a pretty theatrical thing, and with his best friend (your heart), the two of them together are what create the doomsday feeling inside you. Granted, losing a job sucks. But, before you start waddling in a puddle of self-pity, try and ask yourself a few quick questions;

How many times a week did you complain about your job? Was it the job you worked your butt off for, or was it only a means to keep your finances going while you worked on what you really wanted to do for a living? Did you even like your job? Asking these questions may help to shed some light on the situation and the actual severity of it. Yes, you don’t have a job now – can you try and get a new one? How about tackling that thing you’ve always wanted to do but were too scared to or didn’t have the time to do because you had your job that is now gone? Instead of seeing the loss of your job as the end, try imagining it as the start of a whole new chapter in your life. You can do pretty much anything you want – to go out there and do it! In the end, you’ll surprise yourself and not look back for a single second at the job you once had. 

Moving to a new location

They say that moving somewhere new has the same traumatic effect on one’s mind as it does when you lose a loved one. This may be true – seeing as by moving to a new location, you’re leaving everything you once knew behind in pursuit of the unknown, which is what most people are scared of. One can start to miss the minor things that you may not even have noticed while living there, like the cup of coffee you used to get at that cafe near your home. Your brain makes the grass on the other side look much greener, which is something we all do from time to time when reliving memories. Whatever reason you’re moving to a new location, whether it be a new job, or going to college, try thinking about all the new places you’ll see, all the new people you’ll meet, as well as the new things you’ll get attached to just as you did the last time. 

Losing a loved one

One of the worst things that could ever happen to you is when you lose a loved one – that’s the “I think I might die from this pain” type of feeling, and you start to deal with grief. Grief is an intense emotion accompanied by a few others, like shock, disbelief, anger, and nostalgia. Losing someone may sometimes feel like the end of the world; after all, you’re never going to see that person is again, and that’s the one thing that makes it so hard to move on. When losing someone, the important thing to do first is to allow yourself to feel every emotion that your body needs to feel – your mind needs to go through all the steps of Coping with grief and loss in order for you to really deal with it in a healthy way. Yes, burying it deep down and hustling through it may feel like the way to go at first, but ultimately, you’re just delaying the inevitable, which is facing the events that took place head-on. Surround yourself with your closest family and friends in this time, they are there for all the good and bad things that happen in your life, and you will definitely appreciate the support even if, at first, it may feel like you want to be left alone. 

Going through a divorce or breakup 

One of the hardest things to accept in life is when you were wrong about someone. Never let anyone tell you your divorce or break up isn’t that bad or that things could be worse – you are allowed to feel whatever you need to feel in order to come to terms with your relationship with someone ending. It’s hard to put into words the amount of time, energy, and love you invest throughout the course of a relationship and watching it end may feel like it was all for nothing. You may even start to feel like if things didn’t work out with that specific person, then it won’t work with anyone, but it’s not the truth. Even when it’s over now, your relationship was not all for nothing – it taught you many lessons, made you the person you are today, and made you the strong, independent individual you are today.

Remember that time spent loving someone is never time wasted. Odds are, there is someone out there right now, hoping to cross paths with someone just like you. And, if you could love the wrong person that much, just imagine the kind of love that will be shared between you and the right one. Take some time alone, enjoy living life on your own, get happy by yourself, and then when you’re ready, be open to meeting a person that will love you no matter what.

One key trait is crucial to deal with and get through all of these challenging life events: resilience. Your resilience is what will get you through in the end – that, and the unshaken belief that you deserve nothing less than the best.

This article was written by a freelance writer

Being Kind to Myself: Social Anxiety, Mental Health and Life in Recovery.

(image: quotebold.com)

I really wanted to write today because the sun is shining, apple blossom is on the trees and Spring is finally here! I always feel more hopeful and happy once Spring is here but living with bipolar disorder and an anxiety disorder can mean that some days are harder than others.

This week, I have really struggled with low mood and social anxiety. I’m an optimistic person and sometimes I pack too much into my days and end up having a panic attack because I can’t cope. This is what happened to me yesterday when I decided it would be a great idea to pack in too much, including going across London and delivering many Body Shop orders to my customers and friends. My social anxiety was so high (I think largely due to being in lockdown) , I just wanted to hide and I ended up sleeping to escape my feelings and feeling super low. I am lucky that I understand what to do when this happens and I have a husband and family who support me too. I am still in therapy for my panic disorder and it has improved a lot but there are times when it gets triggered like this week.

I have also found that I am worrying more about what people think of me- if I have said the right or wrong thing or upset anyone. Its so silly but due to past rejection I get scared and those fears bubble to the surface.

On Friday, I had a really productive therapy session. There are a lot of worries about the future that I still hold and being able to unpack them in therapy is really useful for me. I am doing EMDR trauma therapy but a lot of it is talking out and facing those triggers one by one. I have a very good relationship with my therapist and having a session often calms my mind.

In positive news, last week I became an aunt to a beautiful baby girl, Cara Harriet who is the sweetest little baby. She is a joy and light in all our lives and I feel so lucky to have a little niece! My sister and brother in law are amazing 🙂

And in other good news, in April, my essay in the Book of Hope by Jonny Benjamin MBE and Britt Pfluger will be published alongside many others I look up to (Dame Kelly Holmes and my friend Hope Virgo). So there are good things as well as bad!

I am doing a lot better- I dont rapid cycle, I havn’t had an episode of mania or hypomania since 2014. My brain seems to like Lithium and Quetaipine (a mood stabiliser and anti psychotic). I have to learn to be kind to myself and practise self care, because my social anxiety is a fear response from the past.

Being kind to myself is of utmost importance. Heres a list of what I do when I am having a bad day: take a nap, have a bubble bath, read a book, hug the guineapigs and Rob, talk to Rob, a friend or family member, put on a face mask, cry, breathe and listen to calming music, watch a good TV show (I have been watching First Dates Teens), book in a therapy session, eat something nice, put some make up on, wash my hair, wear an uplifting perfume.

How are you kind to yourself on your bad days?

Love,

Eleanor x

Be Ur Own Light Blog turns 5!

(image: Peach Blossom)

Be Ur Own Light is 5! I cant believe its been 5 years since I began this as a therapy blog as I was suffering from severe panic from trauma and lost my job. I love this blog and will continue to write to break the stigma around mental illness.

This year, Vuelio awarded us as a Top UK mental health blog again which is just incredible. We were also nominated in the Mental Health Blog Awards 2020.

This year we have worked with some amazing writers and organisations on mental health. Thank you:

OCD and Break Ups- Brooke Chaplan

Pocket book of love and Happiness- Trigger Publishing review

5 Ways Therapy can heal your family- Samantha Higgins

Why people are using weighted blankets- Calming Blanket

How to make your surroundings more calming if you have anxiety- Daniel Tannenbaum

Mental health tips to get you through lockdown- Chantal Shaw

How debt impacts your mental health- Ian Sims

Life under lockdown: by Chloe Walker

Lockdown and mental health by Graham Morgan MBE

Best employee benefits for mental health: Daniel Tannenbaum

We will beat this, it will get better: Jenny Nguyen

Covid 19, mental health and work: Danielle Strouther

5 ways to evaluate body mind and soul: Daniel Torres

5 ways you can reduce anxiety- Samantha Higgins

How to help teens with mental illness succeed at school- Brooke Chaplan

Stuck in self isolation? Useful DIY projects- Brandon Smith

My crippling anxiety floored me, now I wouldnt be without it: Emma Johnson, Worry Knot Jewellery

UK went into lockdown, I went into meltdown- Nicole

How to help loved ones with alzheimers- Hannah Boothe

How to avoid burnout during a pandemic- Jade Mansfield at Worsley centre

Maintaining a healthy work life balanace- Love It Cover It


On DBT, art and healing- Violette Kay

How to protect your mental health during the pandemic- Mary Davis

How managing my space helps my mental health- Poppy Duffree- Organise with Poppy

Relaxing places to visit to calm coronavirus anxiety

Bamboo sheets for less anxiety at night

Self care tips for 2020- Anthony L

Redecorating your bedroom for improved mental health- Rosette

 5 things that could be triggering your depression- Samantha Higgins

Escaping outdoors is beneficial to mental health- Amy Sloane

How to work and be a mother during the pandemic- Miranda Davis 

Overcoming the impact of substance abuse on mental health- Anita Ginsburg

How to minimise stress for the elderly in senior living- Johnny Kershaws

15 Ways to turn your home into a self care sanctuary- ImproveNet

Living with OCD during a global pandemic- Impulse Therapy

Managing emotions for better mental health

Taking care of your mental health when a loved one passes away

Checking in on your elderly loved ones mental health during the pandemic

Identifying the source of your eating disorder and finding recovery- Anita Ginsburg

Self care activities to do for those who love to be alone- Regina Thomas

Out of Office by Fiona Thomas- book review by Eleanor   

Using yoga to improve productivity at home: Daisy Moss

The difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist- Anita Ginsburg 

Moving to another country- are you escaping your baggage?

10 tips to avoid covid burn out at home and help your mental health

How to help others when you have lived experience of mental health

Coping with menopausal anxiety and panic attacks by LadyCare menopause

Home improvements to help mental health

5 ways a relationship can hurt your mental health- Miranda Davis

Life is Finite

The secret signs of anxiety

Digital detox ideas for mental wellbeing

How can you better your mental health?

Developing a new found confidence in yourself for the festive season

How to plan for your future in difficult times

Depression and what you should know

Planning for the future to ease your mind

and I wrote some personal articles too!



Thank you for continuing to read and for the support for so long, it means everything to me.

Lets keep breaking the stigma!

Love, Eleanor xx

The Book of Hope- 101 Voices in Overcoming Adversity by Jonny Benjamin MBE and Britt Pfluger. by Eleanor

To readers of my blog,

(image: Pan Macmillan/ Jonny Benjamin)

I don’t really know where to start! I have been keeping this secret for almost two years.

Nearly 2 years ago, my friends, mental health campaigner/author Jonny Benjamin MBE and author and editor Britt Pfluger, approached me to be a part of their second book entitled ‘The Book of Hope: 101 Voices on Overcoming Adversity‘ (published with Bluebird/ Pan Macmillan in April 2021!).

They asked me to write a piece on how I found hope and recovery after being unwell and my (ongoing) journey with bipolar disorder that I wrote about in my own book Bring me to Light.

I won’t give too much away about the piece I wrote, but it does include my Dad’s story too and talks about life after being sectioned for a manic episode in 2014. It talks about hope, healing, recovery and living with mental illness. It talks about being afraid of the future, but finding light in the darkness.

Heres what Macmillan say about the book which is available for pre order on Bluebird Pan Macmillan website and Amazon. It also contains anecodotes from famous faces including Lemn Sissay, Zoella (Zoe Sugg), Joe Wicks and Dame Kelly Holmes.

There is always hope, even when we cannot seem to seek it within ourselves.

The Book of Hope is an anthology of 101 key voices in the field of mental health, who share not only their experiences with anxiety, psychosis, panic attacks and more, but also what helps them when they are feeling low. Compiled by award-winning activist Jonny Benjamin and author Britt Pflüger, the inspirational contributors in this book range from the likes of Lemn Sissay, Frank Turner and Zoe Sugg, to Elizabeth Day, Hussain Manawer and Joe Wicks; from authors, poets and musicians to charity workers, activists and psychiatrists.

Jonny Benjamin is known for his book and documentary film, The Stranger on the Bridge, which fought to end stigma around talking about mental health, suicidal thoughts and schizoaffective disorder. When his campaign to find the man who prevented him from taking his own life went viral, Jonny was one of a wave of new figures lifting the lid on mental health struggles. In this book, he brings together a range of voices to speak to the spectrum of our experiences of mental health and the power of speaking up and seeking help.”

It is a real honour and privilege to be a part of this project. A dream come true and I am so thankful to be able to share my story on this platform with truly important voices! We all have mental health and our voices deserve to be amplified.

The Book of Hope is available to pre order now and published in 2021.



Self Care Activities to do for Those Who Love to Be Alone: by Regina Thomas

My Image Source: Envato 

Finding ways to spend a little time with just yourself without worrying about the stress of what others are needing of you can be a little challenging at times. There are many ways that you and others can enjoy a few hours of solitude with different activities for those who like to be alone.

There are also plenty of reasons why you may want to enjoy a private retreat where you have your own space to unwind. Perhaps you are just too much of a workaholic or you find your days too hectic. Or perhaps you’re not ready to settle into a committed relationship yet. Whatever the reason, there are many ways to get some time alone.

A Little Private Getaway

You can enjoy your own space without having to make other arrangements to do so, such as renting a quiet place to stay. You can do this at times when you feel most comfortable and if you don’t mind a short nap in between activities. Of course, you can also find homes that are full of amenities that will provide everything you need to relax.

Get Out in Nature

You can take part in a variety of activities such as yoga or other types of exercise that allow you to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the outdoors. Or you might enjoy fishing, hiking, boating, or swimming. Many people even find ways to get involved in activities like taking hikes around the lake, camping out in the woods, or enjoying the ocean.

Whether it be camping in Pennsylvania or enjoying the sunset on Cannon Beach by yourself. Being in nature can also just improve your mental health and lessen the distractions of everyday life for a little while. 

Spend Some Time at Home

If you have children, you might find it easier to relax and have your own space. Many parents find it difficult to leave their kids at home alone so they have to choose ways to make sure that they can be left alone. But, many other times, you’ll be able to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are doing the best you can to keep your family safe and healthy.

In addition, you can also find a way to relax by watching television. A lot of families have a set schedule for watching television and it’s a common practice to have each member of the family to watch a different show during the day while relaxing in the same room. Of course, there’s no set amount of TV you can watch but in some cases, you might find a favorite show to watch on weekends so that you and others can enjoy some quality time together.

It’s a good idea to have a book nearby as well. Reading can help you unwind and allow you to feel like you are part of a world where nothing is really important. Whether you are reading a good book about nature, history, psychology, romance, or any other subject, you can learn a lot of valuable things from reading, while keeping yourself busy.

Take That Time for Yourself

It can be exciting to explore different activities for those who like to be alone. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget how great it feels to be able to just sit back and enjoy the fresh air and let it all pass you by. You don’t have to always have to be an active person to enjoy the quiet and solitude of a retreat – simply taking the time to focus and read your favorite books can be an enjoyable way to relax in the privacy of your own home.

These are just a few ideas to think about when it comes to activities for those who like to be alone. By spending some time doing different things that you enjoy, you can make sure that your mental health and self love are at an all time high.

We are a Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog 2020- Thanks Vuelio!

Today I received the most amazing news that top PR and communications company Vuelio have listed us as a Top 10 UK Mental Health blog for the second year in a row!

It is such an honour to make this list with other amazing blogs- everyone who runs them works so hard to provide content and keep updating them. Congratulations to everyone else on this list 🙂

We are at number 6 and you can check out the list here!

Thanks Vuelio!

Bereavement, PIP, Promotion and Panic by Eleanor

 

 

Hi lovely readers,

So much has been going on that its been a little overwhelming so I didn’t feel able to sit here and type out my feelings. But today, I feel like I can share so here goes.

My dear father in law passed away from brain cancer at the age of just 67 last month. This was expected, after a two year battle, rounds of surgery and chemo and radiotherapy and being told they could do no more treatment as he had two aggressive tumours and they couldn’t operate further. However, it was still immensely painful when it happened (although we were all with him at a nursing home) and we had the funeral and week of mourning (shiva) as per Jewish tradition. I moved in to my in laws home that week to be there to support my husband, brother in law and mother in law.

We will all miss him terribly- a truly wonderful man and it was a privilege to know him.

Despite this sadness in our family, some positive news has followed. I had applied and been awarded a disability benefit called PIP (Personal independence payment) and been awarded it due to my bipolar disorder and panic attacks impacting on my mental health and ability to work outside the home. This greatly helps our situation and means I can work alongside it too in my role at the Body Shop from home and around my writing (my book Bring me to Light is available here) . We also found out that Rob is being taken off furlough and returning to work on the 1st September- he has been furloughed for 6 months and this was a huge relief for us, as you can imagine.

Additionally, a few weeks ago I got promoted to Area Manager of my Body Shop team, team Hope. This means I manage a team of consultants/ manager in training and help them to develop their businesses too. I feel incredibly lucky to do a job that I love from home and be so supported by my manager Sarah and all my wonderful team mates too. I truly love this job and hope to make it my full time career eventually. The products are so good for self care too.

Now on to my mental health. My anxiety has returned with a vengeance these past few weeks. One night I was up til 5am with panic and insomnia (feeling tearful, restless and pumped with adrenaline) so took some prescribed anxiety medication. I also use a lavender pillow mist which helps me to sleep better too. I have had to cancel and reschedule things. I am not good with change and my anxiety is being triggered. I have a wonderful therapist and so I will definitely book in another session with her soon because I can feel myself dipping a little.

The guineapigs are adorable and good for cuddles and I have had a lot of support from friends and family, so thank you for that, and from Rob too.

How is everyone?

Eleanor xx

 
Infographic by Mindful Urgent Care

The Flowers that bloom in Adversity: by Eleanor

mulan1

(image: Roxi Roxas Art)

I have wanted to write this post for several weeks, but so much has been going on personally and I have been really emotionally drained (and launching my new business too). Let start at the beginning.

At the end of May, my mother in law (who is carer for my father in law with terminal brain cancer) was taken very unwell. She was rushed to hospital with stroke like symptoms and put into an induced coma on a ventilator as her lungs were collapsing. We were super scared it was Covid as she was shielding anyway and it came completely out the blue, on the day of her 60th birthday after we had celebrated.

She is the main carer for my father in law and so my husband Rob had to move in to their house to care for his Dad and support his brother. (cue frantic phone calls to the doctors surgery, hospitals, Macmillan nurses and Jewish Care, all done by my incredible husband).

Thankfully, my MIL came off the ventilator to breathe unaided and she tested negative for Covid 19. We think she caught a severe bacterial infection and she then got pneumonia in her lungs. She was in hospital for 4 weeks and discharged 2 weeks ago and is making amazing progress with her physio team and her speech. She is still frail but she is recovering slowly.

This blog post I don’t want to make about my in laws because they are private people. Dealing with all these scary changes has been tough on my mental health (and everyones).

We are slowly slowly coming out the other side, although we know my FIL will worsen in time due to the nature of his illness.

So what flowers are blooming during this adversity?

-On Saturday will be our first wedding anniversary and we will spend it together. Its been a rollercoaster year but I am so thankful to have Rob by my side!

-I am loving my new Body Shop at Home business and my team and incredible managers. It really has been keeping me sane throughout this time of family lockdown and I can’t thank Sarah Cardwell enough for introducing me to the business. The products are so good for self care and healing too, which has been so needed and I have made lots of new friends. It keeps my mind stimulated and earns me income too- I am so grateful.

-Yesterday, Robs kind family member went over so we could spend some proper quality time together (thank you). We went for a walk in our favourite little village near by where there are cottages and flowers and village green and pond- I took lots of pictures of my dream cottages and gardens. Then, we got vanilla chocolate milkshakes (first time in a café post lockdown) and visited family. It was so special just to have US time, so rare in this current time for our family.

-This blog is continuing to grow and turning into a side business and for that I am ever grateful. I am also loving sharing peoples personal stories and hope it is a useful resource.

-Our guineapigs Midnight and Nutmeg are a source of joy and give great cuddles.

-Friends and familys kindness and messages help so much. I havnt had a therapy session in a while but will do.

I am feeling positive but there will be rough days ahead in the coming months. Today though, I am enjoying slightly more calm and peace again before the potential storm, and watching the flowers that are blooming in adversity.