Moving Forward Into 2023. Happy New Year!

(image: girlwithdreams)

Tonight I was sat with Rob and our friends at their home, enjoying a dinner together. We ate good food and just loved being together. We then watched the beautiful fireworks on TV as Big Ben (the clock) tolled in midnight.

And as I watched the colours take off and swirl in the night sky over London, wishing our friends happy new year and looking at Rob, I thought about the year that has been.

At the end of 2021, I created a vision board for this year and what I wanted to manifest. Amazingly, a lot of it has and I am hugely grateful for so much that this year has brought (some parts though weren’t so good, and thats absolutely ok.. we are human and life isn’t always perfect).

There are some dreams that I hope will come true for 2023. Good health and happiness of course for us, family, friends and everyone at the top of the list.

2022 was a year of many ups and some downs. For now, I would like to keep my resolutions and hopes to myself until I feel ready to share them but want to wish you all a happy, healthy new year. May it bring only blessings and may all our hopes and wishes manifest for the good.

Thank you for reading and supporting this blog in 2022 and always! In March, it will be 7 years since I started blogging!

Heres to 2023!

Love,

Eleanor x

What Is EMDR Therapy and How Can It Help You?  by Brooke Chaplan

Those with post-traumatic stress disorder undergo a wide variety of symptoms that can interfere with their everyday life. EMDR therapy is intended to help reduce the effects of PTSD on the body. In fact, there have been positive clinical outcomes showing this therapy’s effectiveness for treating addictions, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and even OCD.

What is EMDR Therapy? 

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. This extensively researched therapeutic practice has been proven to help people recover from trauma and PTSD-related symptoms. It’s classified as a psychotherapy method and is notated as an effective treatment offering by the NHS, American Psychiatric Association, World Health Organization, American Psychological Association, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and so many more. 

What Makes EMDR Therapy Different? 

When you look at the treatment options for traumatic disorders like PTSD, many require in-depth conversing with a licensed therapist. Many patients will spend hours talking about their distressing issues and even complete homework between their therapy sessions.

EMDR therapy doesn’t work like that. Rather, it’s specifically designed to allow the brain to resume its natural healing process. However, it does include an element of talking therapy to help heal.

EMDR Therapy and Your Brain 

The human brain has a natural process for handling traumatic memories and events that happen in our lives. It utilises communication between the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. The amygdala is the brain’s alarm for a stressful event. The hippocampus helps the brain to learn and share past memories regarding danger and safety. Lastly, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for analysing what’s happening and controlling your emotions and behaviours. 

Who Can Benefit from EMDR Therapy? 

EMDR therapy can be beneficial for a wide variety of patients, including both children and adults. It’s been known to treat individuals who have the following conditions (and more): 

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating Disorders 
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Personality Disorders 
  • PTSD 
  • Sexual Assault Victims 

Basically, anyone who has experienced a traumatic incident in their life can benefit from this particular type of therapy treatment. In fact, most individuals are able to overcome their symptoms in just a few EMDR sessions as compared to ongoing psychotherapy sessions. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic incident, it may be difficult to move on with your life.

Fortunately, EMDR therapy can be a great solution to help your brain and body successfully process the incident and move on.

EMDR therapy is recommended for all types of patients, regardless of age or gender. 

This article was written by Brooke Chaplan, writer.

Anxiety And Climbing, Not Carrying Mountains. by Eleanor.

(image: Quote CC)

This week was a good week. Generally, my bipolar has been stable for a while. I am able to go to work and hold down two jobs somehow and I also passed my probation (in the words of Borat, Great Success!). But there are times when things are overwhelming and I feel like a wobbly mess. Like today.

I achieved my goals that I came up with when I was in the middle of agoraphobia a few months ago. My panic disorder reset itself to a healthy level thanks to therapy and things improving at work. As such, I have been able to see more people face to face and this week I was able to go to Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club with my Dad to see Natalie Williams and Soul family Motown show (my Chanukah present). We have been before over the years and love going to see them and going with my Dad makes me feel safe as he drives us.

However, I often find that something like that is followed by a day of needing to slow down and look after me as I can feel a little depleted and more anxious. Its just a bit of a pattern my mind goes too. The cold and dark weather also do not help with this and I start just wanting to stay at home. I have also been putting myself under too much pressure and end up exhausted.. any other perfectionists/achievers do the same?

So, I couldn’t go to see friends and some family this weekend and had to cancel arrangements which wasn’t great. However, my baby nephew was born last week and had his Jewish naming ceremony yesterday which was special as Rob and I carried him in on a special pillow. We then hosted my mum and step dad for shabbat (Jewish sabbath) lunch- so I am seeing that as a big achievement despite everything. In the past, I wouldn’t have even been able to attend it- so I know I am in a better place. However, I also had to cancel other family plans which I don’t feel good about.

I think I have just been trying to do way too much as I always do when I feel a bit better and I am sorry to those I have had to let down due to increased anxiety. I know its not my fault, its an illness, but I still feel bad.

One positive, at the ceremony I was able to see my two aunties who I hadn’t seen for a while (which was one of my goals too) so that made me so happy.

Overall, I am doing well but I am still dealing with the panic and anxious thought patterns at times… and its learning a) what the triggers are b) what I can do to help myself when it happens. I have had about a month off from seeing my therapist so probably need another session soon. I think I just need a quiet day watching Netflix.

(image: Grow Together Now)

Rob and I are getting away over Christmas so hopefully that will be a good time to recharge and reset my batteries after a very busy year for both of us.

My sister said to me today to remember to be kind to myself, so that is what I am going to do. Though I do feel a little bit sad at having to cancel plans. Though I look back at the past few weeks and realise that I have done a lot in terms of seeing people- so maybe its all just too much and I need to plan less.

I am mostly healthy and life is generally good. Heres to climbing mountains, not carrying them all the time- and not feeling guilty if I can’t achieve something.

Love,

Eleanor x

It’s Not Just The Therapist or Psychiatrist Alone: Why Treatment Centres Matter in Mental Health.

(Image: David Travis at Unsplash)

It’s not just the therapist or psychiatrist alone. The treatment centre/hospital matters in mental health.. It’s not that therapists are bad or unimportant; they can be critical in helping people with mental health concerns start on the road to recovery. However, sometimes treatment centres can have a huge impact on mental health and well-being, as a whole.

Lasting Impact of the Environment

First, the environment in which individuals with mental health concerns receive treatment can have a lasting impact on their mental health. Is the institution warm and welcoming to visitors? Or does it feel sterile and cold? Does it have adequate resources to meet the needs of its patients? Or is it underfunded and overcrowded? All these factors can have a significant impact on recovery, as they may create feelings of anxiety or alienation in the patient. For example, if the institute has Knightsbridge Furniture and a welcoming waiting area for visitors, it may make people feel less anxious about their treatment, because the furniture is designed to provide comfort.

Supportive Staff Members

Secondly, supportive staff members are paramount for mental health recovery. Not only do staff members need to be competent and knowledgeable about the latest treatment techniques and practices; they also need to be warm, welcoming and supportive towards their patients. They should be able to provide a safe space for individuals with mental health concerns to explore their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or punishment. This will help foster an atmosphere of trust and healing at the treatment centre/hospital.

Accessible Resources

Third, centres should strive to make resources accessible and available to those in need. Mental health concerns can often be complex and multifaceted, so individuals may require a variety of services. Treatment centres should provide access to everything from basic mental health services such as counselling, to more specialised resources like crisis intervention teams or support groups. If these resources are not readily available, then individuals might not get the help they need when they need it.

Appropriate Levels of Care

Fourth, treatment centres must provide appropriate levels of care for the patients they serve. This includes ensuring that each individual gets the right combination of treatment and support based on their specific needs. For example, a patient with severe depression or other severe illnesses may benefit from both medication management and psychotherapy while someone with mild anxiety may only require weekly therapy sessions.

A Holistic Approach

Finally, centres should strive to provide a holistic approach to mental health care. This means taking into account not only the individual’s diagnosis or symptoms, but also their lifestyle, environment, and social support system. Taking these factors into consideration can ensure that individuals receive the most appropriate treatment for their unique needs. Additionally, it can help facilitate long-term recovery and prevent future issues from developing.

It is clear that when it comes to mental health recovery, a treatment centre/hospital plays a vital role in helping individuals achieve positive outcomes. From providing supportive staff members to making resources accessible and offering a holistic approach to care – institutions must strive to meet the needs of those they serve in order to ensure the best possible outcomes.

So, while it is important to have a skilled therapist or psychiatrist, never underestimate the importance of a supportive and well-resourced treatment centre as part of that overall care. Together, they can provide individuals with everything they need to start on their journey to mental health recovery.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Bipolar Minds Matter: CEO of Bipolar UK and Co-Chair of the Bipolar Commission, both reflect on UK Government Mental Health Funding Announcement.

(image: Sway Communications)

Simon Kitchen, CEO of UK mental health charity Bipolar UK, says: 

“Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that mental health will receive £40.2 million in funding is a positive step in the right direction for the one in four adults experiencing mental illness in the UK.

Although the Government funding announcement does not include bipolar specifically, we are hopeful that the high prevalence and the enormous burden of the condition will mean the bipolar research community receives much needed boost from this announcement.

The Bipolar Commission Report we took to policy makers on 8th November, found that bipolar accounts for 17% of the total burden of mental health but traditionally only received 1.5% of mental health research funding. This needs to change.

There are over a million people living with bipolar in the UK and every day one person with the condition takes their own life. Ensuring bipolar gets its fair share of mental health research funding is critical for reducing the 9.5 years it takes on average to get a diagnosis and for improving patient outcomes.   

Bipolar UK is the collective voice for people living with bipolar. Our clear position is that it is vital those living with the condition have as many treatment options available to them as possible and receive greater continuity of care so they can have a better quality of life.

It is possible for everyone with bipolar to live well and fulfil their potential.

Strong long-term relationships between individual clinicians and patients is a critical factor in this and there are currently not enough specialists in bipolar in the UK which leads to symptoms often being missed.

People living with bipolar have a suicide risk that’s 20 times higher than people without bipolar, a figure that could be significantly reduced with adequate funding.

There are more than a million people with bipolar in the UK — 30% more than those with dementia and twice as many as those with schizophrenia. Millions more are impacted through close friends and family.

Re-allocation of the funding that is already available will provide a significant improvement to people’s lives which is why we are asking for bipolar to be seen as a standalone mental health condition that requires its own share of the overall funding allocated to mental health.

People can live well with bipolar, but only if they have access to a clinician who knows them, their symptoms, their triggers, medical history, their family situation and their living arrangements to ensure on-going, effective care.”

(image: Bipolar UK: Simon Kitchen, CEO with this pledge )

Dr Guy Goodwin, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Oxford and co-chair of The Bipolar Commission adds: “I have been treating people with bipolar for more than 40 years. Over that time, I have frequently been astonished by the stories of patients who have been poorly served by services ostensibly designed to help them live better lives.

“Bipolar accounts for 17% of the total burden of disease attributable to mental illness and yet there is no priority given to its specialist treatment in policy documents produced by the Department of Health.

“Instead, since the 1999 National Service Framework, bipolar has been lumped into policy documents as the invisible twin of schizophrenia. Worse still, bipolar gets a mere 1.5% of research resources.

Ignorance of the price paid for this policy neglect is no longer a defence.”

Please go to bipolaruk.org/bipolarcommission to read more about the work of the commission, fighting to get fair funding for bipolar disorder- Bipolar Minds Matter.

Petition with Bipolar UK: Speed up Bipolar Diagnosis to Save Lives. Lets Talk Bipolar by Eleanor

(image: Bipolar UK charity)

Please sign this petition to the NHS to speed up bipolar diagnosis to save lives. As I write in my book, my Dad Mike was diagnosed 9 years after he got ill and just 4 years before me. I believe I was only diagnosed at 16 years old because my Dad received his diagnosis. Additionally, my Dad was pushed to the brink of suicidal ideation (thoughts and plans of suicide) but was able to control this once he saw a psychiatrist finally after nearly 10 years- so many can’t. My Dad was saved just in time. He often says the love for his family stopped him, but for some, they are even more ill and cannot focus on this.

A new campaign by the amazing Bipolar UK charity and the new government Bipolar Commission to tell the NHS:

Speed up bipolar diagnosis to save lives
· There’s an average delay of 9.5 years between people first contacting a health professional about symptoms and getting an accurate diagnosis of bipolar
· 60% of people said this delay had a significant impact on their life
· 84% of people said a diagnosis was ‘helpful’ or ‘very helpful’

A diagnosis makes it possible for someone to get effective treatment and support, and to live well with bipolar.

It’s estimated that at least 5% of people who take their own life have a diagnosis of bipolar. The shorter the delay in diagnosis, the sooner someone can empower themselves with effective self-management and foster a positive circle with fewer relapses in both the short and long-term.

In my own family, myself and other relatives here and abroad have been diagnosed with this condition. It is so important to get correct treatment.

#letstalkbipolar

Please sign here, thank you:

Three Years of My Book ‘Bring Me To Light: Embracing My Bipolar and Social Anxiety’ by Eleanor

💜 Three years 💜

Three years ago my book ‘Bring me to Light: Embracing my Bipolar and Social Anxiety ‘was published by Trigger and Welbeck Publishing Group💜

I hope that by sharing my story (and my Dads too) that it helps you or someone you know going through mental illness. I hope that it shone a light on the dark, gritty parts of bipolar that many will never experience. And I hope that my book also shows the happy parts; recovery, that you can live and thrive again.

Bipolar is a complex and messy condition. It can ruin lives. There is no sugar coating. But you can be well too if you can find the right balance of medication and therapy…which is trial and error.

Thank you to every person who read it, reviewed it and got in touch to tell me their own journey.😍 Please continue to share and gift it to someone who needs it.

If you havnt read my story yet; the book is available in Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith; Blackwells and is available in the USA and Europe.

Thank you to all of you who have supported me – it means the world.

Click here to get yours :

How to Address Issues Harming Your Mental Health.

(image: Unsplash)

It is so important to look after your mental health. Many people struggle with their mental health and with illness that feels beyond their control and often they will need medication or therapy to help them. However, there can be other issues that need to be addressed if they are harming your mental health.

Learning to appreciate the issues that you may have overlooked is the first step to success. If any of the following are relevant to you, address them ASAP. you should find that your mental health reaches a far more stable place.

Untreated PTSD

If you have tried fixing a mental health issue without getting to the root cause, the benefits will be restricted. So, finding the right PTSD therapies that get to the bottom of poor mental health could be the greatest decision you make. It will provide significant direct rewards. Working with a therapist and understanding your personal situation is essential if you want to improve it.

Almost everyone has experienced at least one traumatic experience. So, it’s could be likely that mental health issues you experience will have PTSD, or a similar issue, linked to them.

Worries Behind The Wheel

The knowledge that you are in a potentially vulnerable position can be the biggest cause of anxiety. A car that has experienced problems or required frequent trips to the garage could be causing anxiety if you rely on it to get to work and travel independently. There may also be finanical worries for you.. A professional service like Edmunds can help you appraise your current car and upgrade to a better model. This could make you feel more comfortable and reduce anxiety.

Financial Worries

Money problems are the most common source of stress. So, it could be the underlying reason why your mental health continues to hit hurdles. While there is no magic spell to suddenly make the problems fade, you can at least feel a weight is lifting from your shoulders. Good organisational skills are the key. Learn to trim the fat from your ongoing expenses, and you’ll see a big impact.

Not Enough Daylight

Spending more time outside in the fresh air can work wonders for your physical and mental wellness. Experts like Raleigh Bikes can help you find a new hobby that encourages more time outside. The fitness benefits are also supported by enjoying improved air quality. As well as vitamin D, serotonin, and experiencing life. It’s an issue that many people struggle with. Thankfully, you no longer need to!

It’s especially important in the colder months when it gets darker to try and get some exercise to help your wellbeing.

The Wrong Network

Your support network can have an impact on your life, in relation to your mental health. The right people will build you up and guide you through tough times without leading you to poor decisions. Sadly, the wrong friends cause you to make regrettable choices. Likewise, they may pressure you to support them, potentially financially. This could drag you down even when you’re in a good place.

So make sure you look after each aspect of your life and self care, in order to improve your health and overall wellbeing.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

The Anxiety Train: A New Year by Eleanor

(Image: Unsplash)

Hi everyone,

I had been amazed over the summer by how much better I was doing with certain aspects of my anxiety and panic. I had a few panicky moments/ days but I was able to pick myself up and feel better quite quickly after.

At the moment though I can feel myself dipping back into anxious patterns. I had a panic attack in bed a few weeks ago, triggered by certain life stressors. Since then, I wake up flooded with anxiety and not feeling able to face the day/ feel like a doormouse and want to hibernate or hide. Sometimes this happens if I get triggered by something eg life stress or it can happen as the fluctuating rhythms of bipolar disorder. I am usually OK by late afternoon/evening but the mornings can be hard.

Change in seasons with less light, feeling extra pressures can lead my mind to try and protect me from a perceived fear due to past traumas (fear of judgement, fear of feeling exposed). This can mean that seeing people. going out a lot etc can become very difficult- welcome to social anxiety again. However, I know that this will not last forever.

This week, I had a good session with my therapist who advised me to try and take more time in the mornings to write, practise breathing and think about whats going on for me, with the aim of reducing anxiety. I do find this really hard as my default can be to shut down to look after myself (and hide away/sleep)- as my brain (subconscious) perceives a threat somewhere…

I have been through this before and come out the other side- and so I know I will be OK (and ironically, there is no need to panic over it) but its still stressful… and I just wish it wasn’t like this.

I am a person who loves routine and when I get out of a routine or pause, anxiety can flood in too.

I call it the anxiety train because it feels a bit like riding a fast train/ a roller coaster of ups and downs. It doesn’t stop fully but it can suddenly hurtle me and I have to calm myself. Its based on previous behaviour patterns that served me at a time when my brain thought it needed to protect me as a teenager and although I have had years of therapy and take medication, it can sometimes come back.

I will be alright in the end, you’ll see (Mrs Potts- beauty and the beast). I have lots of support but wanted to be honest about where I am.

We are approaching a Jewish New Year, and I pray that I will be blessed with better health and less anxiety coming (as well as good things and health for my loved ones).

Thanks for reading and allowing me to be honest,

Shana tova and only happiness. If you’re struggling, please reach out to someone you trust/love or Samaritans helpline. My DMs are open too,

Eleanor x

Mental Health At Work: First Aid Products Have Surged In Popularity In 2022.

(image: MHFA England)

Awareness days, weeks and months have helped to familiarise people all over the world with the term “Mental Health First Aid”. Now, first aid retailer FirstAid.co.uk reports a 260% uplift in interest for MHFA products on their site, noting that an increase in work-related stress, depression and anxiety cases each year is the most likely driving force.

The retailer has now sold more Mental Health First Aid items this year so far than everyday travel and motoring first aid kits.

Data from the Health and Safety Executive shows that cases of work-related ill health (of which 50% are stress, depression and anxiety) have risen almost 28% since 2015, despite physical injuries being in decline since 2000.

Their data also shows that 820,000 people in Great Britain suffered from work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2021, compared to 441,000 people who sustained a physical injury at work.

“According to Mental Health First Aid England, one in six people of working age in the UK is experiencing symptoms of mental ill health at any given time.” Says Mike Thakoordin, MHFA Instructor and Suicide First Aid Associate at FirstAid.co.uk“We know that around 81% of employers have increased their focus on employee mental health since the pandemic began, and it is fair to say that awareness days and events are doing their part to sustain that focus. 

“During the first week of Stress Awareness Month in April we had an 85% increase in the number of people visiting our stress-related products compared to 2021, and we’re anticipating a similar surge between Suicide Prevention Day in September and World Mental Health Day in October as individual and business shoppers research items and guidance that can support those who are struggling.”

(image: Unsplash)

While events and awareness days like these play a big part in the ongoing rise in interest around mental health-related products online, it’s the persisting growth in the number of people struggling with poor mental health that is likely the bigger factor at play. Despite several years of employers saying they’re taking mental health more seriously, the reality is that a huge number of people each year still find themselves with too much work, not enough rest, workplace politics issues and concerns over job security – among other things.

“For several years running now, the HSE has reported an increase in the number of people taken ill by work-related stress, depression and anxiety.”  Thakoordin goes on to say. “Poor workplace mental health has knock-on effects in many other areas, and we hope that this increase in people shopping for MHFA materials translates into a greater number of workplaces offering meaningful, consistent support.

“With the 2-day Mental Health First Aid course recently being updated, now is the time to get enrolled and play your part in making workplaces safer from a mental health perspective.”


For information on how to recognise stress in the workplace, and advice on dealing with stress,
visit FirstAid’s Stress In The Workplace page.

This article was written in collaboration with First Aid.co.uk