How To Stay Emotionally Healthy During A Divorce: by Lizzie Weakley

(image: Karolina Grabowska: Pexels)

When you are in the midst of getting divorced, you may be surprised at just how much it will drain you emotionally. Whether you have been married only a short period of time or perhaps for decades, knowing you will soon be divorced can be a scary thought that may leave you very depressed, which can result in you making poor decisions as your divorce moves forward. If you want to emerge from your divorce with some emotional health, here are some steps you should take along the way.

Don’t Stay Isolated

As your divorce process moves forward, don’t make the mistake of staying isolated. Instead, stay in touch with your family and friends. If your social network is now cut in half due to your divorce, make new friends by perhaps attending church/synagogue or learning a new hobby- whatever feels right for you.

Don’t Blame Yourself

When couples divorce, it is not unusual for one spouse to blame themselves for the marriage breaking up. Even though there is usually fault to be found on both sides in most divorces, this does not mean you should continually beat yourself up emotionally day after day about your marriage ending. Instead, you need to accept that it happened, plan your future, and try to move forward as best you can. You should reach for support if you need it.

Write Down Your Thoughts

During your divorce, you will be having plenty of meetings with your divorce lawyers and others as well. Needless to say, you may feel a bit drained at the end of the day. If you have plenty of thoughts running through your mind, take some time to write them down in a journal. By having the chance to express your innermost thoughts in this manner, it can be a great way to relieve stress and keep your emotions in balance. Another option would be to talk about your feelings with a therapist when you are ready.

Take Care of Yourself

Last but not least, taking care of yourself physically will play a big role in keeping you feeling ok emotionally. Therefore, you should eat healthily, exercise regularly, and treat yourself to something special now and then, such as dinner at your favourite restaurant, a relaxing vacation, or getting pampered at a day spa. By doing so, you will find many things that were eating away at you will suddenly not seem nearly as important. Self care is vital in the aftermath of a relationship breakdown.

Though you may wonder what the future will hold for you after your divorce is final, looking after yourself and your mental health will pave the way for a new chapter in your life.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer, based in the USA.

PTSD Therapies And Which One Might Be Right for You by Kara Masterson.

(image: Nick Hewings, unsplash)

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is one of the most commonly recognised mental health issues because most people endure at least one traumatic experience in their lifetime. Though it’s commonly associated with war veterans, PTSD can occur from enduring the trauma of an abusive relationship, ill health, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job.

Thankfully, there are many PTSD therapies you can choose from in order to experience healing. 

Prolonged Exposure Therapy 

When people struggle with a form of PTSD, avoidance is one of the most common approaches. After all, no one wants to revisit the trauma. However, that trauma impacts the way a person lives in the future. By facing the trauma and incorporating activities such as deep breathing exercises, you’ll decrease the amount of power that traumatic event holds over you. Exposure comes in a number of ways- but should be done with a qualified therapist. One example of exposure is to record yourself as you talk about the event that traumatised you. As you listen to the recording, you can do a calming activity such as colouring in order to help you cope and heal with the story of your trauma. 

EMDR Therapy 

EMDR stands for “eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing”, and it’s been instrumental in healing people who’ve dealt with traumatic events. Actress Sandra Bullock famously discussed how she used the assistance of an EMDR therapist in order to deal with various traumatic events in her lifetime. By thinking about the event as you concentrate on something your therapist is doing, you can help to associate a positive experience with that traumatic one. Therapists use tools such as flashing lights, sounds, and movement in order to help with the healing journey. In order for it to be effective, consistent sessions for a few months are the best line of action, with a therapist you trust. 

Cognitive Processing Therapy 

Cognitive Processing Therapy is a PTSD treatment method that allows you to sit down and talk with your therapist about the traumatic event (or events) you’ve endured. You’ll need to process how you feel like it impacted your life. Once you’ve talked through it all, you’re tasked with the responsibility of writing it all down. The act of journaling helps to stimulate your mind to ponder on ways you can cope and adjust in order to move forward in the most abundant manner. Your therapist serves as a guide to help you process and heal with the truest version of the story of what happened to you. 

Stress Inoculation Training 

This method for healing your PTSD is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. With this training method, you’ll learn various techniques such as self-massages in order to relax and get rid of the stress that’s associated with your trauma. You don’t need to be in a private space to do this type of training. It can be done on your own or within the safe space of a group. 

As the conversation surrounding mental health shifts, don’t be afraid or ashamed to get help. You don’t have to silently endure the negative impact of PTSD. While therapy requires you to show up and do the work, you can move past your trauma and experience healing. 

This article was written by writer Kara Masterson.

4 Kinds Of Therapy To Consider by Rachelle Wilber

(image: free image)

Therapy can be a great way to work through personal issues, improve your mental health, and make positive changes in your life. But with so many different types of therapy available, it can be hard to know where to start. Many people find that a kind of therapy works well for them, while others may benefit from a combination of different approaches. This overview will help you learn about four of the most common types of therapy to make an informed decision about what might work best for you. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps some people change negative thinking and behaviour patterns. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected. Changing our thoughts and beliefs can change our behaviour and emotions. CBT is effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, so its worth a shot to see if its right for you. 

Group Therapy 

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves meeting with a group of people who are dealing with similar issues. Group therapy can be helpful because it allows you to share your experiences and feelings with others who understand what you’re going through. It can also help you learn new coping skills and gain insight into your thoughts and behaviors. Many people find group therapy to be a supportive and helpful experience- but see how it goes for you as an individual too. 

Interpersonal Therapy 

When we have issues with our relationships, it can be challenging to know how to make things better. Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people improve their relationships with others. IPT focuses on the here and now, helping you to understand and change patterns of behaviour causing problems in your relationships. Several studies have shown that IPT is an effective treatment for depression- so this could be one to try. 

Family Therapy 

Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves meeting with a therapist along with your family members. Family therapy can be helpful because it allows you to address problems within your family system. It can also help improve communication and relationships within the family. Research by experts found family therapy to be a supportive and helpful experience. However, some have said that it wasn’t the right experience for them and their family, so it is trial and error too.

These are just a few of the many therapy types available. If you’re considering starting therapy, talk to your doctor or mental health professional about what might be right for you. Also, remember, there is no “right” type of therapy. What matters most is finding a therapist you feel comfortable with and who can help you achieve your goals. You may also try a few therapies before finding the correct one to help yourself, your relationships and your family.

This article was written by freelance writer, Rachelle Wilber, living in the San Diego, California area, USA. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/people/Rachelle-Wilber/100009221637700/

5 Valuable Tips for Communicating With a Parent/ Person with Dementia

(image: Unsplash)

Due to various factors, including the ageing population, dementia is on the rise. In the future, it could touch the lives of half the population, becoming one of the most common degenerative diseases. 

When a parent gets dementia, it can sometimes be disorientating and upsetting. All of a sudden, their behaviour changes and it’s not clear what’s going on. They just don’t seem like themselves and they can’t take on board what you say. 

Adjusting to this new reality can be challenging, but this article is here to help. In it, we run through some tips for communicating with a person who has dementia so that you can keep your relationship with them strong. 

Give Them Your Full Attention

Communicating with a person who has dementia becomes challenging when you don’t give them your full attention. Misunderstandings are common, so trying to watch TV or do the dishes at the same time as talking to them is a bad idea. 

Instead, address your parents directly in quiet surroundings. Make sure that there is nothing else going on at the same time, including screaming kids and so on. When approaching your parents, use non-verbal cues, such as touching them on the shoulder to indicate that you want to talk to them. 

State Your Words Clearly

Language can be fuzzy sometimes. But when our brains are healthy, most of us can get by. 

However, that’s not the case when your parents are receiving dementia care. It is considerably more challenging for them to understand what is going on and their surroundings. 

Therefore, always state your words clearly. Avoid raising your voice, as your parents may mistake this for aggression unless they are also hard of hearing. 

When you speak, use the same wording. Prepare yourself to repeat what you need to say several times.

Ask Simple Questions

If you do ask questions, keep them simple. Ideally, you want questions that your parents can answer “yes” or “no” to. Refrain from asking open-ended questions, such as “what type of food do you prefer?”

Break Down Activities Into Smaller Chunks

Telling a patient with dementia that they need to go shopping or get ready for the day is generally a bad idea. That’s because these tasks involve multiple smaller steps that they need to go through. To a healthy person, this all seems simple. But for a patient with dementia, it is considerably more challenging. 

For this reason, try breaking down tasks into a series of smaller steps. Instead of telling your parents to get ready, ask them to put on each item of clothing one at a time. 

Distract And Redirect

Sometimes people living with dementia can become frustrated and angry. Many do not understand what is going on. 

Because of this, it’s a good idea to distract and redirect. These psychological techniques make it easier for you to manage difficult interactions. Focus on the feelings they have and offer support, but then if that doesn’t work, offer immediate redirection, such as suggesting getting something to eat or going for a walk. 

It can be really challenging when a parent or family member has dementia- it can affect both mental and physical health. You may find yourself feeling exhausted, stressed and frustrated too- as well as sad that the person you love is being affected so much. Your loved one may also feel like this at the beginning and struggle with any loss of memory or function. Make sure they get the correct support and you look after yourself too- by practising self care and speaking to a therapist if need be.

This article was written by a freelance writer and contains do follow links.

Reasons Why Group Therapy Might Be Your Next Step to Healing by Lizzie Weakley.

(image: Pexels: §§

Accepting help for mental health issues is an undeniably courageous step in the healing process. Individual counseling can provide you with many helpful tools for coping with your issues, but so can group counselling. Here are a few reasons why group therapy might be the next step in your healing journey. 

Groups Are a Sounding Board 

One of the most beneficial aspects of group counselling is that the group can act as a sounding board. Whatever dilemmas you are facing, whatever you’re struggling with in your mind, you can voice it to your group and get helpful feedback. Your group mates will likely come from diverse backgrounds and have had their own unique experiences. Their outside perspectives can give you insight into how to handle difficult situations and emotions. Whether it is, a group can give you guidance based on their own experiences, which can help yours. 

Group Therapy Can Be More Cost-Effective Than Individual Therapy 

Group therapy can be more budget-friendly than individual therapy. And, just because group therapy tends to cost less, that does not mean it lacks any of the quality you would get from individual counselling. Group counselling can be empowering and helpful in the same way individual therapy is, and it is a great option for those who will have to pay out-of-pocket costs. 

Groups Help You Learn About Yourself 

Each of your group’s members will figuratively hold up a mirror so that you can take a deeper look at yourself. You can only learn so much about yourself on your own; having those outside perspectives can make your self-introspection all the more intensive and meaningful. There are things about yourself you might not be able to see that others can help you uncover. 

Groups Can Help You Develop Social Skills 

Social skills are something many of us adults haven’t fully developed, especially as we struggle with our own psychological issues. In a group, you might feel less isolated, plus you will have the opportunity to engage with other people. Here you can learn how to better get along with others and express yourself in a group setting. Studies have found that adventure-based group therapy can particularly help people develop their social skills. 

Whether you choose to do group therapy due to finances or because you want to build your social skills, it is an option that works well for most people. You get a new support network of people who are going through similar things and are also looking for reciprocal support. Allow them to hold up the mirror so you can look in and see who is really there. 

This article was written by freelance writer Lizzie Weakley

How To Let Go Of Hurtful Memories And Live A Happier Life.

(image: Pexels)

Do you ever feel like your past is holding you back from being happy in the present? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to let go of hurtful memories, especially if they’ve experienced a traumatic event. However, carrying around these negative memories can be incredibly damaging to your mental health and wellbeing. That said, this blog post will discuss how to let go of hurtful memories and lead a happier life!

Acknowledge your hurtful memories

The first step to letting go of hurtful memories is acknowledging them. This may seem like a difficult task, but it’s important to face your demons head-on. Once you’ve acknowledged your hurtful memories, you can begin the process of healing. If you’re not sure how to start this process, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor. They can help you work through your feelings and start the journey to recovery.

Understand that your past does not define you

One of the most important things to remember when trying to let go of hurtful memories is that your past does not define you. Just because you’ve experienced trauma or pain in your life doesn’t mean that’s all there is to you. You are so much more than your hurtful memories! Allow yourself to see the good in yourself and know that you deserve happiness.

Also, don’t forget that your hurtful memories don’t have to control your present or future. Just because something bad happened in your past doesn’t mean it will happen again. You have the power to create a bright future for yourself, no matter what your past may hold.

Focus on the present and build a positive future

Once you’ve acknowledged your hurtful memories and accepted that they don’t define you, it’s time to focus on the present. What makes you happy right now? What are your goals for the future? Start spending your time and energy on things that make you feel good. Fill your life with positivity and watch as your hurtful memories start to fade away.

It’s also important to forgive yourself for what happened in the past. Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean forgetting what happened or downplaying its importance. It simply means letting go of the negative feelings associated with the event and moving forward with your life. Remember, you deserve happiness!

Seek professional help if needed

If you find yourself struggling to let go of hurtful memories, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. There’s no shame in admitting that you need assistance to deal with your past. A therapist or counsellor such as from The Awareness Centre, can help you work through your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms. They can also provide support and guidance as you begin the process of healing.

Letting go of hurtful memories is a difficult but necessary task if you want to lead a happier life. However, by following the tips outlined above, you can start on the path to recovery and begin living the life you deserve!

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Our Blog is 6 Years Old Today!

On the 1st March 2016, I started this blog as a way to provide therapy for myself- as I was going through panic attacks, (caused by trauma due to a hospitalisation for a bipolar manic episode). Since then I have had several years of EMDR trauma therapy and my life changed so much too- I met my husband, we got married and moved to our first home. I also found a career I love after many twists and turns due to mental illness. Life is never plain sailing especially with mental health and I still live with panic attacks/ social anxiety at times but am learning to manage them.

The blog has turned into a book Bring me to Light (with Trigger), writing for Metro.co.uk, Glamour, the Telegraph, Happiful, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and other incredible organisations, I have partnered with large and small brands, charities, businesses, writers to create content that battles stigma on mental health. We have been awarded as a Top 10 UK blog by Vuelio since 2018 (thank you) and I love to share my story to help others and educate people about bipolar, anxiety, panic disorders, psychosis, mania and mental health in the workplace (amongst other mental health topics!). I have also recorded podcasts – most recently with Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP, shadow minister for mental health, Daniel Rosenberg at SodsPod and was also interviewed by Penny Power OBE with my Dad Mike (who is a mental health speaker).

When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead and its been the most special, humbling and amazing journey- with so much more to do so watch this space!. I really want to help more people this year and also have a childrens book I would love to get out there to help kids with anxiety.

As always, I want to thank all my contributors and brands (sponsored or not), as well as the digital agencies and freelance writers who provide content too. I hope to keep it going for the next year at least! Let me know what you want to see.

This year heres what we have been talking about (and big thank you to everyone. If it doesnt have a name by it, content has been written by a writer):



How social distancing is affecting social anxiety in the pandemic- Anita Ginsburg

Book Review of the Smart Girls Handbook by Scarlett Clark- me (Eleanor)

Being kind to myself, social anxiety and life in recovery- me (Eleanor)

Self care ideas for positive change in 2021

How to cope with top 4 challenging life events

The Book of Hope launchme

Sending self care packages- a guide to sending gifts

Feel less trapped with these powerful ideas

6 Tips to stay positive and help mental health

Moving to our First Home and mental health- me

How to reach for help and not be ashamed

Whats the connection between mental health and addiction- Jennifer at Mandala Healing

We are a top UK mental health blog 2021- thanks Vuelio- Me

Can you still get health insurance cover if you have a history of mental illness?

The benefits of seeking mental health support and help

The link between debt and mental health

Start Up founders are 50% more likely to suffer from a mental health condition- Daniel Tannenbaum

How can mental health workers cope with the new normal?

Easing the burden of divorce- Brooke Chaplan

Stress and Panic Attacks Part two- Me

How to remain independent and look after your health as you get older

How selfie changed my life and mental health- Kathryn Chapman

The benefits of personal training for your mental health- Life Force Fitness

Recovery from alcohol or substance abuse: benefits of a sober living home

6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Jess Levine

Work in progress- healing from trauma to find the light- me

Is stress affecting your skin? heres how to tell

Prioritising mental health on the world stage, Simone biles- me

Why privacy is critical for our mental health

Goal setting for mental health

Moving house? 5 tips to deal with moving stress

4 Ways to make mental health a priority in your life- Emma Sturgis

What you need to know about post Partum Depression- Kara Reynolds

The Midnight Library book review- me

5 interior design ideas to boost wellbeing

Steps to help aging and wellbeing

How to keep your children in mind during a divorce-Brooke Chaplan

Bryony Gordons mental health card collection for Thortful.com

The Inquisitive-a film on mental health and suicide- Kelvin Richards

Being self compassionate when I have anxiety- me

Keeping things stress free when selling an elderly family members home

7 Bipolar disorder facts everyone should know- Ronnie Deno

Recovering from an eating disorder- Kara Masterson

Wellbeing tips and activities for children- collaboration with Twinkl resources

Building trust in a relationship

How sleep patterns affect your mental health

Choosing life and freedom- my therapy journey- me

Dealing with imposter syndrome

Confidence on return to the office

lifestyles and mental health- Anna Witcherley at Head Hacks

Stress and mild anxiety formula- Nu mind wellness

Mental health problems in the pandemic- Webdoctor.ie

Patient transport helps anxious travellers- EMA Patient transport

How to stop signs of traumatic brain injury- Lizzie Weakley

Looking after mental health in a tense office environment

Dealing with anxiety as a mom/mum- Kara Reynolds

5 Self help books for 2022

Winter mental health and anxiety update- me

Tips to fight addiction- Lizzie Weakley

Lockdown, sleep, anxiety and mental health- collaboration with TEMPUR mattresses (ad)

Helping elderly people to live independently

Getting your loved one help for their addiction- Emma Sturgis

How to support your spouse with mental health issues- Kara Reynolds

Battling co occurring mental health and substance addiction- Holly

Festive season- me

Its Okay not to be Okay by Esther Marshall book review- me

The difference between a therapist and life coach- Lizzie Weakley

Managing mental health over christmas/ festive time- me

Reflecting on a new year 2022- me

Surviving trauma makes relationships difficult- self compassion helps- Taylor Blanchard

Window to the womb launches avocado app for perinatal wellbeing

Where to start when battling addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Mental health new year resolutions

Book review- Pushing through the cracks- Emily J Johnson- me

Depression meals when life gets hard- Kara Reynolds

Jami see mental health campaign blog

Recovering from cancer- the mental health aspect- Rachelle Wilber

Outdoor activities to improve your mental health- Elizabeth Howard

Mental health and eating disorder recovery journey- Emily J. Johnson

Fitness and mental health

Interview with Penny Power MBE, Thomas Power and Mike Segall on bipolar disorder

Self love for Valentines Day- with Kalms (ad)

Being debt free and in good mental health for 2022

Mental health medication- fighting the stigma- me

Overcoming alcohol addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Spiritual tips for helping mental health

Risk factors for post partum depression

Wow! Thank you for supporting me and the blog, for continuing to read and share it and to help battle the stigma around not only bipolar disorder and anxiety- but every mental illness.

Love,

Eleanor x

Book Review: ‘Pushing Through The Cracks: In the Darkness of Her Family’s Mental Illness She Found Light’- Emily J. Johnson by Eleanor

(image: Emily J Johnson)

Pushing Through The Cracks: In the Darkness of Her Family’s Mental Illness She Found Light by Emily J. Johnson is an incredible book. It is a story that I don’t believe has ever been written about before in such a way in the mental health space, I have certainly never come across it. Its a true memoir that occurred here in the UK during lockdown.

Emily wrote to me and kindly sent me a free copy of her book. I was hooked from the first page- this is a story of survival against the odds, of how mental illness can rip a family apart but how healing and hope are possible. Of strength through immense difficulty. Of light winning over darkness.

Four years ago, in the UK, Emily, a divorced mother of two, was living her best life with a new partner and blended family of six. But then addiction and mental illness entered her home uninvited, threatening to tear the whole family apart.

With an alcoholic husband and two teenage sons – one a depressed gambler and the other with chronic obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)– Emily is left to cope alone. And when the Covid pandemic hits, Emily, a ‘serial people-pleaser, enabler and born rescuer’, almost breaks too.

This true story delves into the darkest sides of mental illness and addiction with raw, often harrowing honesty. It shines a light on taboo subjects including self-harm, suicidal feelings, gambling, alcoholism, depression, severe OCD and eating disorders, all exacerbated by an unprecedented global pandemic and dwindling support services.

This is a story of remarkable strength, self-realisation and reclamation of a lost identity. This is a story of finding hope, pushing through the cracks in the darkness. It is also a story that touches on the difficulties of accessing UK NHS mental health services at times, especially CAMHS.

I found Emily’s strength through such severe adversity – dealing with a husband and two sons with severe mental illness, whilst carrying on with her own life when mental illness permeated every part, to be so inspiring. Her marriage falls apart, her children are unable to attend work and education, the family embarks on several different recovery journeys- navigating NHS mental health care and all its difficulties. Her sons addictions and acute OCD worsen and add to the pressures for Emily. How does she as a mother fix it all? She realises.. she can’t fix anyone and its not her job too.

The front cover features a dandelion pushing through the cracks of the ground. Emily describes the moment she hits rock bottom but then saw a dandelion poking through- which symbolised hope and light for her,

‘(image: Emily J. Johnson)

‘I pick up my phone and call a crisis support line…I desperately want someone to listen to me, to ease my pain, to hear my stories…(of mental illness at home)

I throw my phone across the path in frustration… something catches my eye, a beautiful yellow dandelion is growing through a crack in the concrete. Its golden yellow petals cut through the greyness of the broken path and it overshadows the filth and discarded cigarette butts around it. Despite its surroundings, it has found ways to push up through that crack, to have life. it is. not complaining or giving up, it’s surviving and it will go on to finish flowering. One day soon, the wind will carry its dainty seeds somewhere else to carry on the cycle of its life.

Just like that dandelion, I have pushed through adversity and survived. …I close my eyes and raise my face to the sunshine… Even in the midst of all this chaos, this darkness, there is warmth and light. There is hope.” (from chapter Dandelion) (Emily J. Johnson)

This is also a book which exposes the difficulties and realities of living with mental illness. I will add a trigger warning- it doesn’t hold back on the reality of mental illness including self harm, addiction, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts etc- so please read with care.

Thank you Emily for letting me read and follow the journey of your family. I hope your husband and sons are able to fully battle their demons and recover or stay in remission.

Pushing Through the Cracks by Emily J. Johnson can be bought from Amazon and good book shops.


(image: Emily J. Johnson)

Surviving Trauma Makes Relationships Difficult. Self Compassion Can Help: by Taylor Blanchard

(image: Unsplash)

You sabotage your relationships when things feel too calm.

You panic when your partner goes on a family vacation, believing that they’re leaving you forever.

Perhaps you can’t stand hugs or gentle touch.

Maybe you’ve wondered to yourself: “What in the world is wrong with me?! Am I just not cut out to have close friends or a romantic relationship?”

Actually, that’s not the case! You deserve close relationships– everyone does. If you resonate with these scenarios, though, you may have some unprocessed trauma– and that trauma may be making your relationships feel like a rusty, ungreased wheel.

You’re not alone. Here’s how trauma can blow our relationships off-course, and also, how self-compassion can help to ease that struggle.

Trauma Creates Hypervigilance

Trauma is any incident that overwhelms your ability to cope (abuse, neglect, or surviving a natural disaster, just to name a few examples). These abhorrent experiences cause our brains and bodies to swirl with cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.

After a seriously traumatic event (or relationship or childhood), our cortisol levels don’t always return to baseline. Often, the nervous system creates a new baseline of heightened stress response. In short: you don’t go back to being as calm as you were before the storm. Now, you’re hypervigilant all the time. You’re always stressed, always scanning for the next attack.

Unfortunately, relationships can’t be created without vulnerability, and vulnerability can’t happen if you’re constantly scanning for attack.

You might be hypervigilant in your relationships if:

  • You feel uncomfortable, fidgety, and unsafe during social situations
  • You constantly micro-analyse everything other people say to make sure they’re not going to hurt you
  • You constantly micro-analyse everything you say to make sure you don’t say anything “wrong”

Aversion to Intimacy

Trauma, and the excess cortisol it triggers, also creates an aversion to physical closeness. When we’re stressed  (i.e., when our cortisol is on full blast), our nervous systems naturally resist being touched.

Do you find yourself shrinking away from hugs? Do you feel an urge to run away when someone gently touches your arm? That’s likely a trauma response.

Of course, if you’ve experienced assault or physical or sexual abuse, this is a double whammy. Since your trauma came from physical touch, your brain has registered any physical touch as dangerous– on top of your increased baseline level of cortisol. Of course you’d feel sick at the thought of a hug! If this sounds like you, go extra easy on yourself if you struggle with relationships; this struggle isn’t your fault.

So, This Sucks… How in the World Do I Heal?

Yes, it sounds bleak. If this is you, you may feel hopeless. I’m with you; I’ve been there. It’s not hopeless, though. This is healable.

Therapy: Do I Even Have to Say It?

Yes, healing this will probably require trauma-informed therapy. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can begin to shift once you see a therapist who validates your traumatic experiences.

Here’s a hint: Psychology Today’s find-a-therapist tool can help you easily find a trauma-informed therapist. (Make sure to select “trauma focused” under the “types of therapy” menu.)

Now That That’s Out of the Way: Self-Compassion Comes Next

I’m 100% serious when I tell you: you deserve to go easy on yourself.

I say this with firmness, and yet, I forget to go easy on myself most days. Regardless, it helps immensely to stop comparing your relationships to other people’s relationships (both friendships and romantic relationships!).

Yes, it may likely take you longer to learn how to develop lasting relationships, both friendly and intimate. It may seem unfair that making and keeping tons of friends, as well as a life partner, comes so easily to some, while you’re struggling to simply text one person back.

Know what? It is unfair. You shouldn’t have gone through the trauma that you went through. What this means, though, is that you can recognize that you face more relational setbacks than someone who didn’t suffer the same trauma as you did. You’re starting further behind with a ball and chain tied to both feet.

Thus: you can stop comparing, and you can stop feeling like you’re “behind” somehow. Always try to recognize even your tiniest victories, even and especially the challenges which seem “easy” to other people.

Wrapping Up

Relationships make our lives juicy and sparkly, and so, if trauma has impacted your ability to form relationships (I’m with you!), then you’re probably struggling.

Try your best to go easy on yourself. You’ve been through a slog of painful experiences that, unfortunately, can make life on Earth feel like walking straight uphill all the time. Therapy helps. Self-compassion helps.

And yes, I know it’s tiring, but there is help for you out there. Just keep going.


Taylor Blanchard is a freelance mental health and wellness writer for hire. Her lived experience and extensive knowledge on mental health, emotional wellness, and spirituality guide her to create deep, compassionate blog posts, which she hopes will help people to feel less alone in the world. Self-care for Taylor looks like staring at the sky, drinking cacao while listening to metal, or cuddling with her rescue Pitbull mix.

The Difference Between a Therapist and a Life Coach by Lizzie Weakley.

(image: Pexels: Anthony Shkraba)

When you need help solving complex problems in your life, you turn to those who are considered to be “experts”. In this case, that may mean working with either a therapist or perhaps a life coach, which is an option gaining in popularity with more and more people. While working with either of these will be similar in many ways, there are distinct differences between a therapist and a life coach.

Licensing and Credentials

To begin with, major differences exist in terms of credentials and licensing. A life coach may have a college university degree in psychology or counselling and have many years of experience working with clients but is not a qualified therapist. On the other hand, a therapist is required in most cases to not only possess graduate-level training, but also be properly licensed where they practice.

Past or Future

When you work with a therapist, the focus usually is on past traumas that are impacting your current life, such as being abused when you were a child. But when you work with a life coach, these sessions often pinpoint specific problems that are happening right now that are impeding your ability to move forward. For example, you may work with a life coach to discover a new type of career you would find more fulfilling.

Long-Term or Short-Term

When most people begin visiting a therapist, they may continue to do so for many years, or in some cases forever. However, personal life coaching is more of a short-term commitment. In fact, the goal of the life coach is to give you the tools and skills needed to eventually coach yourself, but some therapies also aim to do this too.

Structured or Unstructured

While you may have thought therapy sessions are very structured, they are typically quite the opposite. In fact, therapy sessions are guided by the patient and the type of therapy is used to treat them. While a personal life coaching session has the coach, and you, working on developing goal-oriented strategies that let you experience personal and even professional growth along the way.

In conclusion, depending on your situation, it is always possible you may at some point in your life work with both a therapist and life coach. Whether you have sessions with a therapist to work through unresolved childhood trauma or seek out a life coach to help you achieve a better balance between your personal and professional lives, you will soon learn why these professionals and their services are so valuable to clients.

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio.