#Holly_Willoughby on #This_Morning on Friday spoke of her sadness when her cat died recently. Pets can be an important part of our lives, family even.

The relationship with a pet is unique. They greet us with joy when we come home, they love us unconditionally no matter what mood we are in. As a dog owner I have been privileged to have a loving dog who has put its head on my lap when I have been in tears, who has become distressed for me/with me at times. He was my protector, friend, comfort and yes, I am not afraid to say it, my fur baby.img_0005

I waited all my childhood for my first dog, and was in my 20’s when I got him. Our relationship went through ups and downs, when he behaved very badly and I was screaming at him. But he was there when my marriage failed and I was on my own. That period terrified me and the thought that if I could not raise a mortgage it might mean that I would lose him as well almost finished me off. Thankfully I managed to keep him, and the house, and we were together another 11 years before he finally died.

When he died I finally realised the depth of my love for him. I was distraught, could not keep food down, could not speak to anyone of him. The house was so very, very empty and quiet. I no longer wanted to come home. I could not move on or even book a holiday because there seemed no point to it. My partner who had been with us for 10 years at that point was equally distressed. We did not know what to do and could not speak to anyone about it, because people said ‘it was only a dog get another’ or ‘why are you so upset, its only a pet’

In my world, and many other’s. PETS ARE FAMILY. In fact sometimes they are nicer than the human family you may have.  They live with you for 10+ years unconditionally loving us, despite all our foibles and moods, they do not judge us, argue with us, or let us down. The relationship is unique and very special.

When a beloved pet dies, it has an impact on us, it is an important relationship. So do not be surprised if you grieve in the same way you would for another human being. This is normal, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, there is nothing wrong in this grief.  Moving on may mean getting another pet, we did, this does not mean that you love the previous one less, you are not replacing it.  They are all unique little individual personalities and will come with their own challenges and memories.  I cannot imagine living without a little companion in our life.

Perhaps you’ve lost a pet recently, and need some advice on how to move on. Maybe you’re worried about how to tell your children, or are worried about asking for time off work. Or is your pet ill and you don’t know how you’re going to cope when they finally pass.

If I can help you to move on from grief of any kind then give me a call for your FREE CONSULTATION 07900 352324

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I have recently been in a position where I have had to make a decision to distance myself from a very toxic relationship. This decision has not been easy to make as it is a close relative. But when you get to the point of exhaustion, despair and depression things must change.

Believe me, I am a therapist after all, I know all the signs, but when a healthcare professional decides you are more of a health risk than the toxic person, and describes it as abusive relationship, then things must change, you owe it to yourself and those who care about you.

Letting go is a bit like a bereavement I have discovered, I have felt sympathy for the other person, anger at them for making me so unwell, and so unhappy, grief for the loss of them in my life, and most of all guilt, for what I don’t know, I am not feeling guilty for all the pain and hurt they have caused me, or the continuing erosion of my life as they take it over for their benefit, but it is grief nevertheless. letting negative people go

What I do know however is that these feelings are normal, natural and they will resolve. I will be using all the skills I have as a professional therapist, and seeking help from an independent therapist in order that I can move on with my life in a nurturing, sustainable way, letting go of all the negativity I have spent my adult life living with and setting free the strong, resourceful person that I know myself to be deep at heart.

So if you are in a toxic relationship, even if you know it deep at your heart, and your intuition is screaming at you that something is not right, but you are still denying it outwardly and plodding on, coping as best you can. Know that you too can be brave, seek help, move forward and live the life you deserve. Letting go is hard, sometimes one of the hardest things you will ever do, but for your own development, and of those who love you and care about you, it is something you should do.

The best advice I can give you, other than talking to someone independent, is to let those who love you help and support you, giving up controlling people is not a weakness it is a choice. It is very easy in a toxic relationship to keep all others at a distance, perhaps because they remind you of how bad things are, or because you are protecting them, but give yourself permission to embrace those who care, let them into your life and become your cheerleaders as you move forward positively with your life, leaving the toxic people behind, after all they are usually never happy, and you can never get it right for them, so make the decision to get life right for you instead.

How do you recognise you are in a toxic family relationship? Here are a few indicators

  1. If they constantly tell you what you are doing, or saying, is wrong, even if it is what they have told you to do.

  2. Perhaps they criticise you on your appearance, belittle your intelligence, and hate all your friends.

  3. If they actively have a drama that needs your full attention on them whenever you have made plans to go out, meet friends or do something for yourself.

  4. If everything they want has to be now, immediately and if you cannot do it then they have a tearful no-one loves me you are horrible moment.

  5. If they tell you something and you remind them of it, then they accuse you of being a liar or making it up.

If you recognise yourself in this relationship and need someone to talk to in order to move forward please do not hesitate to contact me to make your appointment.

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Wonky Cake

Its my birthday YIPEEE happy birthday to me.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I decided that as I have food intolerances, including gluten, that it would be better to make my own cake this year, rather than face the dry, tasteless, but perfectly decorated gluten free options in the supermarkets. Don’t get me wrong it is great that they provide gluten free celebration cakes, but having tried them I knew I could do it better.

This is the result of my labours cake 

You may notice that it is a bit wonky, with not quite smooth royal icing. It is not perfect in any way. It definitely did not turn out the way that I envisaged it when planning my lemon icing, butterflies and daisy decorations. But do you know what it tastes great.

To steal a phrase from Forest Gump – “life is like a box of chocolates” (or home made wonky cake) You really can plan all you like, but it does not always turn out how you wanted.

Perhaps you feel that you have failed in some way, came out a bit wonky like the cake. But do you know you are perfect as you. The difference between you and my wonky cake is that you can choose to grow and develop (I definitely need to think about cake decorating classes). It is when you give in and do nothing to help you develop that you truly ‘fail yourself’.

This world seems all about having the ‘perfect life’ perfect body’ ‘perfect partner’ ‘perfect children’, but what is perfect. In my opinion the healthy attitude is that there is no such thing as perfect, we should always be growing and developing as individuals becoming the person we were meant to be, rather than our media driven perceived vision of that perfection. People who try to be perfect are generally never happy, always trying to be ‘better’ even more ‘perfect’. It is an unattainable never complete vision. Ask yourself, do you really want to be a perfect clone of someone else? If you are so busy trying to reach the media’s idea of perfection what you are really doing is not taking time to look at your own life and embrace the differences between us.

Pretty much everyone, including all these people leading perceived ‘perfect’ lives has trauma, loss or a feeling of overwhelm at some point, this is the cycle of life.

I guess what I am really saying is be like my wonky cake, accept your imperfections life can still be delicious.

If you feel that you would benefit from finding direction in your life why not contact me for your free consultation to see how I can help you to celebrate being you, with all your wonderful uniqueness.

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Is there anyone out there?

Human beings by their very nature look for connection with others. From the baby seeking out his mother’s face for comfort, the child crawling onto a parents lap if they are afraid, to the couples who hold hands. There is another kind of connection however that is often overlooked and neglected, which the connection made during conversation.

So many people nowadays spend their lives looking down at various electronic devices fretting over ‘social’ network connections, that they miss the opportunity to connect with those actually around them. It distresses me to see couples sitting side by side both in their own electronic social world. I often wonder if they are using ‘it’ to ‘talk’ to each other whilst they are sitting side by side. No wonder the world is full of lonely, or anxious people when connection to a real person seems difficult to find.

Just the act of looking at the world around you and smiling at a stranger can make a difference to both your and their day, having a moment of connection with another human being.

I had occasion today to have to go for a medical test. When I walked into the room there were six or so other people waiting in absolute silence, all avoiding eye contact. As I walked in I smiled, and said hello to everyone and asked how they were, making general conversation and connecting with them. By the time I left the room was full of people talking and laughing, what a wonderful thing to experience, just by making an attempt to connect with others.

How-To-Connect-With-Other-PeopleI am not suggesting that a smile or a small conversation will heal the world of its current anxiety and problems but, perhaps next time you are out you could try connecting with others, verbally, treating them as real people not avatars on an electronic device. As someone recently said happiness is contagious, so why not spread a little by connecting with others. Go on, see what happens.

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Anxiety can happen to us all at some point in life. Whether it is sitting exams, or dealing with divorce, there can be many triggers to activate anxiety, and a feeling that life is spiralling out of our control. In these situations it is both normal and understandable to feel anxious.

When it becomes a problem is when it does not stop. Does not give you any peace. Stops you from living your life, or enjoying the company of those you care about. When it takes away your enjoyment in living, your confidence, parallelizing you and keeping you locked into the feeling of helplessness and lack of control.

you-are-not-alonePerhaps you have the British ‘stiff upper lip’ mentality, when you feel that you just have to put up with it and pretend that nothing is wrong. But what if you didn’t have to pretend any more? How would your life improve if you admitted you had anxiety and sought help to deal with it?

The good news is that you can change this, you can change and have that improved life if you choose to.

If this is sounding familiar, what can you do?

  1. Stop thinking that you are alone and no-one else has ever felt this way. There is no need to feel embarrassed of awkward or weak. I know that this does not mean that the impact of anxiety is lessened in some way. It can be the most exhausting feeling you ever have in your life, but it does not mean that you are alone, there are others who will understand and be supportive.

  2. Take medical advice if you feel you would benefit. Do not be embarrassed to admit you have a problem with anxiety. Asking for help is not weak, it is empowering, and the first step towards taking back control.

  3. Talk to someone. Don’t assume that friends and family need protecting from how you feel, or that they would not understand. They are probably already aware that you need something but don’t want to bring the subject up.

  4. If you don’t want to ‘bother’ friends and family with your worries then find a Therapist that you would be happy to work with. Finding someone who is experienced in anxiety can give you a non-judgemental, ‘outside’ view of what is happening to you and help you to make decisions on how to change.

If I can help guide you out of your anxiety and help you to become more resourceful, and learn new coping skills why not give me a call and arrange your FREE CONSULTATION to help you decide if I am the person you want to work with to get the skills you need to have that life you deserve.

What’s stopping you? Take back control of your today and your future. Stop procrastinating now.

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How Are You?

howareyouIt is mental health awareness week, so I am taking the opportunity to ask, how are you feeling?

How do you gauge how healthy your personal mental health is? Perhaps have a think about these questions

Do you tell people you are ‘out of sorts today’ or ‘feeling a bit low’. When what you actually mean is that I could scream or cry?

Do you find yourself avoiding social situations, or not answering the phone?

Do you not want to bother loved ones with your worries?

Do you feel as if no-one is listening to you?

Do you feel that you are unlovable?

Do you feel that you always have to be the strong one to look after others?

Do you over analyse every situation, looking for potential problems?

Do you feel that you are not enjoying your life as much as you deserve?

Bearing in mind this is not an all encompassing list, just some generalised situations.

If you truly answered NO to all of these questions then well done, you are in a good place at the moment.

The reality is however, that sometimes in life we may feel some or all of these things. Usually it is only a temporary situation, but if it goes on and one and is not resolving itself, then perhaps it is time you spoke to someone who has an unbiased, non-judgemental view of you.

As a Therapist it is my job to help guide people through negative emotions and difficult periods of their life, in order that they can become more resourceful, happier, people. If I can help guide you to a place of stronger mental health then give me a call to arrange your free consultation to discuss this further. 07900 352324.

So let me ask you once again, How are you?

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My Hypnosis Experience

I was assisting at a training weekend recently when I was asked did I have an experience of hypnosis before training, and what was the result? Interesting question ……….

In fact, I had already signed up for a course of hypnotherapy when I had an accident when my dog threw herself at me, joyously and playfully, resulting in me flying (without wings) and breaking my ankle on landing. Ouch!

I obediently followed doctors orders, and did not put my cast supported foot down for the next 8 weeks whilst I healed, and eventually the great day came when the cast was coming off. Yipeee.

I optimistically took my, what had been for the last 8 weeks, extra, shoe so I could walk out afterwards. The cast came off, the x-rays confirmed my healing had been completed and I was stronger than before. Fabulous, I am back on my feet and can get on with life again.

However, a strange thing happened…….. I physically could not place my foot on the ground, I tried again and again and it was as if two magnets were being pushed apart and my foot would not make contact with the ground. I could not walk…….. Why???? My darling OH wheeled me back to the car and home again. There was no explanation given by the hospital I was just told to go home and get on.

I am a very logical, rational person (strong minded) and got really quite angry and frustrated with myself, especially over the next couple of days when things were not improving, there were tears and expletives (sorry) as my foot just hovered above the ground and I could not bear weight on it. I could not walk!

Suddenly, I had an inspirational thought. I knew it was me stopping me somehow, even if I did not know how or why. I had met someone on an NLP course who was already training as a hypnotherapist and needed practice, so I phoned her and set her the challenge of getting me to walk again. Thankfully she was up for it and duly arrived at my house for my Therapy session.

I must say now that it was a wonderful, relaxing, experience I was totally immersed in the process for many reasons, I was interested in hypnotherapy, I wanted to walk again, and I like to see people succeed being some of them.

The session ended and……….. I walked her to the door, it was successful, in this case immediately. We were both very happy and I will always be grateful to her for moving me forward (literally and metaphorically) with my life.

A02JAA Man walking dog

Moving Forward

I understand now how powerful the mind can be, even when you logically think this cannot be me doing this, you mind can sometimes be an over protector which is detrimental to what we actually want. In fact it is usually you stopping you from achieving the things you may strongly desire (as in this case I REALLY wanted to walk)

So, if you are experiencing a physical or mental barrier which you cannot understand and it is stopping you from being happy, fulfilled or living your life in some way I can recommend hypnotherapy because I have lived it. It is not usually sorted in one session, I understand this was a unique situation, but moving forward both mentally and physically, starts with recognising you can decide to get help and then making that phone call.

If I can help you move forward with your life call me on 07900 352324 for your complementary consultation to discuss how hypnotherapy and I may assist you on your journey to the life you deserve.

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