What is Mental Health?
Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems.
- OCD- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Panic attacks
- ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The causes of Mental health are traumatic events in our lives
Personal– Bereavement, divorce, heartbreak, abuse, illness of a close one, financial issues, etc
Work– Stress, too much work, tight deadlines, new changes, too much pressure, overwhelmed, uncertainty, redundancy, etc
Trauma from accidents, childhood , rape, sexual abuse, bullying,
Memories resurfacing from past events
What happens when we experience a traumatic event?
Trauma has a big impact on all levels of your being. In fact, any incident where we feel that we can’t cope, that we going to die or are in danger is trauma. Our body will go into fight/flight/freeze in order to survive. Trauma severely affects our nervous system, our beliefs and our emotions.
When we experience a traumatic event, the body’s defences create a stress response, which make we feel a variety of physical symptoms, behave differently and experience more intense emotions.
Body produces stress hormones- Cortisol and Adrenaline
- raised blood pressure
- increased heart rate
- increased sweating
- reduced stomach activity (loss of appetite)
Impact of Trauma on the physical body
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Lower immune system- prone to constant colds and flu
- Change in physical appearance- not interested in how they look
- Cannot relax
- Become agitated and cannot stay still
- Insomnia- sleep deprived
Impact of Trauma on our behaviour and Symptoms of emotional distress:
- Angry outburst
- Reduced eye contact
Unresolved trauma becomes mental health issues and seeks expression through anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and somatic issues like restless legs, headaches, backaches, clenched jaws, flashbacks, bad dreams, and pain and tension in the body. Using trauma-informed therapy that includes mind-body practices supports the healing process. Healing results when the client feels empowered to release the protective armours safely, because the danger feeling that has continued to exist long after the trauma stopped can finally be felt and released.
Some signs are more subtle. It is important for us to recognise a change in behaviour in others
- Act differently
- Not interested in anything
- Lack of interested in socialising
- Impulsive actions
- Cannot focus at work
- Poor memory
- Low energy
- Feeling of helplessness
How do they cope as a result of stress, trauma and mental health issues?
Negative Coping Mechanism- Start smoking, drinking, drugs, workaholic, going to pub after work everyday, porn, self harm, abusing others, violence, and other addictions to numb their pain. It is better to catch them early because in the long term, mental health issues can lead to addictions or even suicide.
Why is it difficult to talk about Mental Health?
- Lack of confidence
- Feel a burden
- Feel embarrassed
- Feel useless
- Feel vulnerable and not too sure who to open up to
- Feel alone
- Don’t know who to turn to
- Also that it will impact their career
Supporting someone who is suffering from Mental Health
- Taking time to talk to them
- Encourage them to contact their GPs, NHS mental Heath, counsellor or Therapist
- Talk to their line managers at work if you notice something is going on
- Be more supportive, compassionate, caring, understanding
- Make them feel safe- not easy for them to trust because of trauma
- Empower them
- Making adjustments at work to help them recover- flexible working hours
- Shift in mindset- normalise conversations about mental health issues
What NOT to say to someone will mental health issues?
- Just relax
- Take it easy
- You are being silly
- Just get over it
- Just breathe and it will pass
- It is not a big deal
- Things could be so much worse
- You look fine
- It’s all in your head
- Be positive
- Laugh it off
- This is nothing! My story is …………..and you go on telling your own story
To heal trauma, we need to restore our sense of safety, trust, layers of protection which we have placed, thaw the frozen feelings as well as integrate our disconnected parts. The good news is trauma healing does not always have to be a long and painful process. It does not always require hours of talking therapy, medication, or reliving the traumatic memories.
Trauma can be resolved. If you have experienced trauma, you don’t have to live with it in your body or impacting your daily life forever. There is hope. By finding a trauma-informed therapist and embracing the full scope mind/body healing, you will be guided along the path towards resolving and releasing the trauma and living a life where you no longer feel stuck. It is possible to come back to a place of connection, freedom, peace, love, happiness and to be in the here and now.
Depression = repressed anger + hopelessness + helplessness
Depression is frozen state of unexpressed emotions and helplessness. It’s not a disease of the mind but it’s a disease of repressed emotions. It is sourced in unexpressed, unreleased, and unhealed pain that is held deep within the physical and emotional body. We can talk about it in therapy, we can medicate it in the hopes that it becomes more manageable, but the real work has to happen physically- deep within the body itself. The frozen material has to be thawed out, processed and finally released. This is why shadow work is so necessary…when we tell our story, we allow what have been repressed an outlet to come out. Unfortunately, we still live in a society that is afraid of shadows. So we avoid it, bury it, manage it with medications and analysis. All of these only perpetuates and concretizes the problem further.
The only way to heal depression is to get to its roots. To get right inside those frozen feelings, and to thaw them out physically. We felt the initial pain in our hearts. We must go right back inside of our hearts to feel and resolve it. No more repressing up of our emotions, no more defenses, masks, hiding and denying.
What I have noticed with my clients suffering from depression is they carry a lot of repressed anger mostly from childhood. As a child, they were not allowed to be speak up and be angry. They were taught to be the good and obedient child. This is the prize they pay for being good! Along with repressed anger, there is also the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. They feel stuck and disconnected…doom and gloom. But it does not have to be this way as healing depression is possible!
Instead, a society-wide acceptance of the fact that we are all carrying pain and trauma. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s part of our collective experience. No more numbing, controlling our emotions and holding back. It is time to heal the past and let go of what is no longer serving us. Time to allow our truth to be heard and time to be true to ourselves. Embrace the invitation to do the real work to heal its deep roots with body-centered therapies. It is time to create a safe societal container to bring those feelings back to the surface. To feel is to heal.
My work with depression includes:
- working with wounded inner child
- allowing emotions to be expressed
- creating safety and boundaries
- breathwork and sounds
- building connection
- moving from frozen/stuck state to social engagement
Plus practical tools and techniques to connect with the body, Self, others and move on in life. Please get in touch