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Time to Talk Day 2019…My own experience with mental health issues…

Today is Time to Talk Day 2019 and its all about having an honest conversation and challenging mental health stigma, so in light of this I thought I would share my story about my own issues with mental health.

I always wanted to be a mum, I have always been maternal and I just assumed that I would get to a certain age, have a baby and I would find it easy and enjoyable. Fortunately for me I fell pregnant very easily and was very excited about the prospect of being a mother. Unfortunately during the first trimester I started feeling a bit strange, I was getting very irritable and I started having irrational thoughts, I felt like I was in danger and I started thinking that something bad had happened to me in the past but that it was so bad that my mind had hidden the terrible thing from me. Then I started thinking that I was going crazy and I couldn’t quite understand why I was feeling so scared, I would have an argument in my head about why I would forget something so bad and I would rack my brains trying to think about what it was. I thought it must be a pregnancy thing. I remember I was at the park with a friend and her toddler and I asked her if she felt like she was going crazy during her pregnancy, I assumed she would say yes and that its completely normal, so when she said no, I wondered why I felt like I was.

Things got worse throughout my pregnancy, it got to the point that I was scared to go out anywhere. I remember I went to the local supermarket and I saw someone from school who I hadn’t seen for a few years, I was so scared of them speaking to me that I put down my shopping and ran out of the shop. Another time, I went to a 60th birthday party, a very close friends dad, who I had known all of my life, there were loads of people I knew there but I was terrified of anyone speaking to me, I remember thinking I just wanted the ground to swallow me up.

In hindsight it is so obvious that I was suffering with severe anxiety, but at the time I honestly didn’t know what was happening, so I never spoke to anyone about it.

10 days before my due date I bent down to get the enchiladas out of the oven and my waters popped (still makes me giggle), I phoned the hospital and they told me to come in. At this point I wasn’t scared at all, I was just really excited. We got to the hospital and a few hours later our son was born. It was a tricky labour, his heart rate dropped considerably, I completely lost control and didn’t have a clue what was going on, I had a couple of midwives and obstetricians helping him out and he was delivered by ventouse, my partner couldn’t cut the cord, they cut it and took him to give him oxygen, I then had a quick cuddle and was taken down to theatre for surgery. I remember lying on the bed with tears rolling down my cheeks, the nurses asked if I was ok and I remember just feeling really scared and overwhelmed by what had happened, yet again I didn’t say anything.

I went to the ward with my son and my partner went home (it was early hours by this stage). I remember falling asleep and being woken by the sound of crying and I realised it was a baby, it took me a lot longer than it should have to realise it was my baby and it needed feeding. I tried to feed him but I didn’t know how. I called the midwife and they said they could take him to feed him, I said that’s fine and I went back to sleep. Again, in hindsight, and having had another baby since then I realise that I clearly wasn’t in my right mind at all and I honestly didn’t have a clue what was going on.

We took him home after a couple of days and I remember feeling so scared, I honestly don’t remember much from the first days / weeks / months, but what I do remember is the absolute fear I had around 5pm every day when it started to get dark outside.

That first year was a very difficult one, I just didn’t feel anything, don’t get me wrong I loved my son with all of my heart and cared for him but I always felt like I was on the side lines watching myself, I remember thinking there is nothing wrong with my life but I also didn’t feel like there was anything right. I didn’t want to tell anyone as I thought they may think I’m crazy and take my son away. I googled post natal depression a few times but it always said no bond with the baby and I felt like I had a good bond. It was about a year after when I finally acknowledged that the way I was feeling wasn’t right, feeling numb and withdrawn, having constant irrational thoughts and just generally not feeling myself so I spoke to my aunt and it was such a relief actually getting it out. She had 2 boys herself and knew that it wasn’t normal to feel the way I was feeling. This made me feel so much better and that it wasn’t that I was a bad mum but that there may be more to it. I went to the doctor who confirmed that it sounded like post natal depression and offered me medication. I didn’t want medication so she introduced me to mindfulness which helped but I didn’t really know what to do with it.

Then a friend mentioned Hypnotherapy and gave me the number of a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist. I can honestly say that changed my life for the better. I went for a consultation and she spoke about the neuroscience behind depression / anxiety, etc which helped me to understand what was happening in my own mind. She told me ways I could help myself. She explained that rather than focus on the past all of the time that I needed to focus on how I wanted to be feeling rather than how I didn’t want to be feeling. Over time I did notice positive changes in my life and I started to feel a lot better.

I went on to have another pregnancy but this time it was smooth sailing, no anxiety, no depression, just a straight forward pregnancy and then the most amazing labour. I was completely in control the whole time, I knew exactly what was going on, I didn’t lose my mind at all, I just went with the flow and delivered another perfect little boy, I remember pulling him through my legs up to my chest and just crying / laughing with complete joy and exhilaration.

I look back on my first pregnancy and I feel so sad. Sad that I didn’t realise what was happening, sad that I didn’t feel the joy that I did with my second, sad for my little boy who has, without a doubt, been affected by the trauma he experienced during his time in my uterus and also during the first year or so of his life. But I don’t regret anything, firstly, because I realise I did the best I could with the resources I had, but mostly because it has changed my life for the better, I now appreciate life so much more than I ever did before and I now feel like I’m in a position to really help others.

During my first pregnancy I felt like I was on the verge of a mental breakdown and after the pregnancy I just couldn’t ever see myself feeling happy again but I can honestly say with the right support I have completely turned my life around and I see it as something I needed to go through to get to where I really needed to be.

It was only after my second child that I truly realised the power of Hypnotherapy / positivity / mindfulness / human interaction.

If you feel like you are losing your mind, or that you are having irrational thoughts, or that you have lost your zest for life, or you just don’t feel right in anyway, please talk to someone. I have detailed below some contact details.

White Horse Hypnotherapy, 07775600526, jo@whitehorsehypnotherapy.com

Befrienders Worldwide

befrienders.org
Worldwide directory of emotional support helplines.

 

C.A.L.L. (Community Advice & Listening Line)

0800 123 737
callhelpline.org.uk
Provides listening services, information and support for people experiencing a mental health problem in Wales. Also provides a text messaging service.

 

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight)
thecalmzone.net
Provides listening services, information and support for men at risk of suicide, including web chat (5pm–midnight).

 

Helplines Partnership

helplines.org
Directory of helplines available in the UK which you can search to find support suited to you.

 

Mind Infoline

0300 123 3393 (Monday–Friday 9am–6pm)
info@mind.org.uk
Details of local Minds and other local services, and Mind’s Legal Advice Line. Language Line is available for talking in a language other than English.

 

Mind Recovery Net

mindrecoverynet.org.uk
Publishes information on recovery colleges, including a searchable list of providers.

 

The Mix

0808 808 4994 (Sunday–Friday 2pm–11pm)
themix.org.uk
Support for under-25s including email support and text messaging.

 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

nice.org.uk
Produces clinical guidelines on recommended treatments for different conditions, including guidance about joint crisis plans.

 

Next Generation Text Service

ngts.org.uk
Provides a talk/type relay service for anyone who has difficulty hearing or being understood when speaking over the phone. The cost of making phone calls through this service depends on your telephone service provider.

 

NHS 111

call: 111
111.nhs.uk
Non-emergency medical help and advice for people living in England, and certain areas of Wales.

NHS Direct Wales

0845 46 47
nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk
Non-emergency medical help and advice for people living in Wales.

 

NHS Choices

nhs.uk
Provides information on a wide range of health and social care topics. Provides an online search tool to find GPS and NHS services near you, including day services.

 

Nightline

nightline.ac.uk
Lists contact information for helplines and listening services in universities and colleges across the UK.

 

Papyrus HOPELINEUK

0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am–10pm, weekends 2pm–10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm)
text: 07786 209 697
email: pat@papyrus-uk.org
papyrus-uk.org/hopelineuk
Provides information and support for anyone under 35 who is struggling with suicidal feelings, or anyone concerned about a young person who might be struggling.

 

Rethink Mental Illness

rethink.org
Charity providing information and support for people experiencing a mental health problem, including an online directory of local support services.

 

Samaritans

116 123 (freephone)
email: jo@samaritans.org
Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK
PO Box 90 90
Stirling FK8 2SA

samaritans.org

24-hour emotional support for anyone struggling to cope.

 

SANEline

0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
sane.org.uk
Helpline offering practical information and emotional support in a crisis.

 

Stay Alive

prevent-suicide.org.uk
App with help and resources for people who feel suicidal or are supporting someone else.

 

Switchboard

0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day)
email: chris@switchboard.lgbt
switchboard.lgbt
LGBT+ helpline. Provides listening services, information and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

 

 

Why I became a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist…

I was on maternity leave from my job in Customer Service, with my second child, when I had the light bulb moment of deciding to re-train to become a Hypnotherapist.

Rewind 5 years, and I found myself in a really terrible place, mentally. I was pregnant with my first child and out of the blew I became extremely anxious, paranoid, scared, and a whole load of other emotions. This went on throughout the whole of my pregnancy and well into the first year of having my child. Thankfully someone introduced me to Hypnotherapy and explained that it could help with anxiety and depression. I went along for the Initial Consultation and the rest, as they say, is history.

Hypnotherapy changed my life for the better and I became a much happier, calm person and went on to have a lovely pregnancy and labour with my second child. The light bulb moment came during maternity leave, when I was starting to feel like I wanted something more out of life, and whilst I enjoyed my job and really appreciated the company I worked for, I just felt it wasn’t enough and that something was missing. I had just got home from a friends (who was suffering with anxiety) and I had been telling them all about hypnotherapy  and how amazing it was and referred them to my hypnotherapist (as I always did if ever I came into contact with anyone suffering) and then it suddenly hit me that I needed to do it myself. I was at a point in my life where I was in a position to re-train and due to the fact it had changed my life I knew I was in a position to share it with others, as I had already been doing to a certain degree.

Suffice to say it was the best decision I’ve ever made and I’ve not looked back since making that call to book the interview for the course! 🙂

The secret to happiness! ✨

Guess what…I KNOW THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS! 🙌🏼✨😁💃🏼

The only issue is……….it’s not actually a secret………🤔………….the truth is we all know what makes us happy, we just lose sight of it occasionally. We lead such busy lives and a lot of the time we are not actually very present in our own lives, we have so much going on in our minds…work, relationships, money, kids, that we’re constantly living in the future, wondering what’s going to happen next, then suddenly we get to a point where we’re feeling really stressed which in turn can make us feel really anxious or low and we start to wonder if we will ever be happy again?! 

Well it actually doesn’t take much change to make a big difference in our lives. You just need to remember what has made you happy in the past and do more of it, plus there are a few other things that help us to boost our serotonin production which helps us to feel happier, calmer, more peaceful and boosts self esteem and confidence and makes us braver…these are things that we can take for granted but when you think about it really do play a big part in our happiness………

  • Take control of your thoughts, notice when you are thinking in a negative way, notice if you are constantly living in the future and thinking / worrying what might happen next and rein it in…then start to notice the positive things in your life, the time someone made you smile or laugh, the time someone helped you with something and feel grateful for it. 
  • Be more productive, do the things you have been putting off instead of doing them later and leaving them to be sat at the back of your mind adding to your stress and anxiety…
  • Be more active, take a walk, get some fresh air, do some exercise. Even if you’re feeling really tired, think of it as a mental exercise knowing that you will feel better for it afterwards…
  • Spend time with the people that make you feel good…friends, family, also notice positive interactions with strangers, take time to smile at someone in the street, open doors, help people in need, these may seem small but they really can make a difference. It is believed that acts of kindness leads to elevated levels of dopamine which is the brains natural versions of morphine and heroin, a natural high. Humans are much better as a tribe rather than as individuals, interaction with other humans is essential for our wellbeing….
  • Make a plan, have a goal to work towards, when we have this we have purpose which again helps us to feel better. 

Many people come to me and have lost sight of what it is that makes them happy, at first they feel like it’s impossible to feel better again and even after they make very small changes they can feel like nothing has changed and they aren’t making any progress, but then suddenly without too much actually changing in their lives, it feels like everything has changed and a dark cloud has been lifted. 

Hypnotherapy is really effective for helping people to get control back in their lives. If you are that person that is struggling with life and just needs a bit of help then get in touch 🙌🏼

“Life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by change”

Jo Harris, 9th October 2018

http://www.joharrishypnotherapy.com

Facebook/joharrishypnotherapy

Instagram@jo_harris_hypnotherapy

Joharrishypnotherapy@outlook.com

Changing people’s perceptions of hypnotherapy

The first time I heard about hypnotherapy was during a chat with a manager at work where I was explaining that I had been suffering with anxiety and that I didn’t really know what to do about it. My manager had said she knew a hypnotherapist who could help with anxiety. At that point the only thing I knew about hypnosis was through watching Paul McKenna and the like on tv, I also knew Paul McKenna did self help books and CDs, but that was pretty much it. At this point however I would have tried anything so I booked a consultation.

I didn’t know what to expect from the consultation and I was both nervous and excited. The session started with me explaining why I was there. She then told me how hypnotherapy works. I found it really interesting as the hypnotherapist explained how the brain works in regards to anxiety, depression, etc and how we can help ourselves. She explained that there are different parts of the brain that control depression, anxiety, anger etc but there are also parts that are more logical and rational. She also explained how sleep plays a very important part in controlling our stress levels. As soon as I was given this information I felt empowered straight away as it gave me a new understanding of the brain and made me look at my anxiety in a different way. I was given a self hypnosis CD to listen to every night to bring my stress levels down which would help the process. I was told that I needed to start focusing on the more positive things in my life rather than the negative and that she would ask me about those in the first session. I found this really difficult as at that time I didn’t feel like there was anything positive in my life but I knew if I was to make changes I had to put in the effort. I left there already feeling different, I felt like I had taken the first step in making some positive changes in my life.

I returned the week after and we went through what had been good about my week. I went through the things I had listed down and immediately felt quite good talking about the positive things rather than the negative. We then spoke about how I wanted to feel and what I would need to do in order to feel the way I would want. This was difficult as I didn’t know how to get to where I wanted to be. My hypnotherapist asked me questions in a way that got me thinking about what I wanted and I managed to think of small steps that I could take that would get me working towards my main goal of ‘feeling happy’. Again I felt good that I’d made a decision and that I was already thinking about my future in a positive way rather than a negative. I then had to lay on the couch and we did trance. Now this part I really didn’t know what to expect, obviously I had seen hypnosis on stage and tv and the hypnotist clicks their fingers and the participant drops their head as if they are asleep and the hypnotist makes them do crazy things, so half of me was excited but the other half was thinking what is going to happen to me. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths, my hypnotherapist played some lovely music and then started to take me through a body scan in great detail where I had to start to notice the muscles that were tense and as I noticed these tense muscles I started to relax my body from head to toe. She then basically got me to imagine that I was in a stately home and took me through each room in great detail. At the time I was just waiting for something to happen (as I still wasn’t too sure what it was all about), it was a strange feeling as I was relaxing in body but at the same time because I was almost waiting for something to happen, I was almost disappointed when it didn’t. I was literally just relaxed and that was it. She told me to open my eyes and congratulated me on my first session and we booked in for the following week. It was very strange as although I didn’t really feel like much had happened I couldn’t help feeling different when I left there. I basically couldn’t wipe the smile off my face and I felt like something had changed within me, like I’d almost got some control back. It was very strange.

The next session was exactly the same, however as I knew that during trance nothing strange happens, I just went with it and actually went into a trance. So the only way to describe it is that because you are focusing on the story that the hypnotherapist is sharing with you, you really zone out of everything else around you and you almost feel like you’ve drifted off but as soon as the hypnotherapist tells you to open your eyes your straight back there and fully alert. Its like when you’re sat down looking at your phone for example, and someone is speaking to you but you don’t realise until they talk a bit louder or say your name again and you come back to being fully aware of what they are saying.

So that is it, that is what a hypnotherapy session is like. And it’s exactly what your sessions with me would be. And the reason I have shared this is because so many people still think that us Hypnotherapists have a magic wand and can do things to you that you have no control over, or that we can get into your brains and change everything for you or take the anxiety / depression away in one session. It’s not like that at all, what we do is give you the information about what is going on in the brain, give you different ways of thinking about your life, a different way of coping with certain situations, and let you know things you can do to help yourself, we then get you to think about the ways in which you can help yourself reach certain goals or feel the way you want to feel and then we do trance which is just a way of reaching the subconscious and helping your brain to process the information in a different way. There is no magic involved but by changing the way you think about things you can get an almost magical feeling and get the control back in your life.

Hypnotherapy is a really powerful tool to learn and to use going forward, we want to give you the tools to be able to help yourself throughout your life. Think of it as us not doing anything to you but basically putting a hand on your shoulder and guiding you through the toughest times in your life and showing you that there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Another important thing to note is, like anything, the more effort you put into it the more you will get out of it. Think of it like going to the gym for your brain, you are starting on a journey of changing the neural pathways in your brain, and like building or strengthening your arms and leg muscles at the gym, it takes time and effort to make changes to your brain.

The other great thing about hypnotherapy is unlike other therapies you don’t need a great deal of sessions, we work quite quickly and you should notice a difference in how you feel fairly early on. I’ve even had clients that have felt different after the first consultation.