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May 25, 2020

Mental Health Awareness Is For Every Day!


Last week was mental health awareness week, and while I LOVE these things for the increased awareness around a particular subject I don’t want things to be limited to only having the conversation at those times and then forgetting about it the rest.


Mental health is something that can and does affect all of us in some way.  Whether it’s ourselves, a family member or a friend or colleague it will have touched our life in some way.


It doesn’t discriminate and it can be incredibly complex.



Barely scratching the surface!


After THOUSANDS of hours of study psychology and the human mind it’s still something I don’t feel vaguely qualified to talk about other than my own experiences.


It’s important for me to be vulnerable and honest in this episode so you can understand where i’ve been and how i’ve got through onto the other side so you KNOW that you can do it too.



Its not me, it's you!


I get so many amazing messages on Instagram and into my inbox about how listening to The Positive Pants Podcast has helped people overcome certain issues that have held them back for years and thanking me for the difference it’s made to their lives, and that humbles me hugely and means the absolute world to me. 


But the reality is, to all of you who have sent me one of those messages, YOU did the work.  I just shone a torch for you to light the way a little.


This is why I loved bringing you the bounce back series too.  


I want you to understand that when things get a little messy or a little dark it is NOT the end.  Usually it’s just the beginning of something great, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the time.


The key messages from my incredible guests on the bounce back series were to TRUST yourself.  LOVE yourself. Show UP for yourself.  Be KIND to yourself.  Don’t make the mistake of not talking and hiding away from things.  Don’t give up!  


When you acknowledge and accept and ask for help that’s when the real good stuff happens for you and your life can change for the better. 



We're all unconscious!


We all have our unconscious beliefs lurking around causing us to self sabotage, causing us to stay stuck.  


We all have our childhood traumas that have shaped our identities and belief systems and then what we consciously want knocks up against it making it REALLY difficult for us to actually get it.


We need to identify it.  


Heal it.


Thank it for keeping us ‘safe’ for all these years and understand it’s not true and it’s not needed anymore.



Keep it simple!


There’s so much information and advice out there that is over complicated and/or fluffy and it’s difficult to see the practical way to apply a lot of it.  Or to find the motivation to because the reason it works isn’t explained to you so you doubt it’s effectiveness and the effort becomes too much and the excuses creep back in. 


So it's important to me that what I provide is not that.  


I ALWAYS encourage you to do your own research and find what works for YOU because we’re all different.


What I share I share as someone who’s been there, done it and got the T-shirt myself.  


I share it as someone who has made the DECISION to heal themselves, then find out what works and WHY so I can help people do what I did.  


It’s thousands of hours of reading, watching, qualifications in transformational coaching, NLP, currently i’m studying to become a hypnotherapist, CPDs in emotional intelligence and positive psychology, Neurocoaching.  The list is ongoing in terms of other qualifications I want to get.  Something I'm FASCINATED by at the moment is the mind, body connection.


I LOVE this stuff.  I LIVE for this stuff.   But understand I’m barely scratching the surface in terms of what I know.


So make sure you listen, most importantly take ACTION, but know YOUR truth.  Know YOUR opinion and find what works for YOU!


And if me sharing all my vulnerable bits helps that….then i’m game!



My turn


I talk about many things I've been through in various episodes but I thought it would be helpful to have them all in one place for you.


I've lost track of the many times and ways I've sabotaged myself in the past. What i'm about to talk you through caused me to sabotage relationships, opportunities, jobs, friendships...pretty much every area of my life!


For me, my main struggle was anxiety at the root of everything.  


I struggled with eating disorders, both Anorexia and Bulimia, throughout my teens that followed me throughout my life in some form or another.  Whether it’s abusing my body with junk food.  Too much booze. Then not eating at all, or throwing up after eating, cutting out entire food groups, yo-yoing constantly!


...along with a little body dysmorphia thrown in for good measure.


I still wonder if what I see in the mirror is what other people see from time to time. 



But the anxiety really was the root of all of it.  


Anxiety around being judged by other people, not being accepted, not being good enough.  


But also general day to day (EVERY day) anxiety where I would catastrophise EVERYTHING.  


I was paranoid, 


I was chronically negative.  


I had CPTSD. My body created trauma responses to keep me safe that actually...weren’t helpful!


It ruled my life and when I look back I can appreciate that for the majority of my life I wasn’t very happy.


I had everything I could need or want but underneath it all I was struggling.  


It was something I felt I had to hide, a dirty little secret.  


I mean some of it was plain as day to see because I was so thin so it was impossible to. 


But there was something I felt a lot of shame around.  It was about control and a lack of it all at the same time.  I felt like I wasn’t ‘normal’ and couldn't understand why I had to struggle so much.


I felt like the world was against me in so many ways.  People and the world were always trying to trip me up, it was like some sort of universal conspiracy. 



Reality check


The reality was I was creating pretty much all of it for myself. 


Not in an ‘it’s all in your head’ kind of a way because of course it all feels INCREDIBLY real. But the REAL reality is that I didn’t understand it so couldn't see how my thoughts and beliefs were leading to behaviour on my part that were creating my results.


I was taking no responsibility and allowing myself to be a victim.  I created my very own little prison in my own mind.


I didn’t understand what it was, how it was happening, why it was happening OR that I could do something about it.  That I could CHOOSE to do something about it and for it to be different.  We don’t understand our own power,


That’s the thing with unconscious habits, thought processes, beliefs and behaviour...when you don’t know you can change it how can you expect to?  


When you keep repeating the same patterns and running the same programming day after day after day and somehow expecting different can see the issue there right?


That sheer frustration when things aren’t changing, the constant cycle of beating yourself up when things aren’t how you want them.


It’s not a fun place to be.  I get it, we all have our stuff and we all have different experiences.  But the less we judge ourselves and each other, the more we accept and encourage the better things will be.


The more we understand how much control we have.  


The more we understand that it can and will change when we make the decision.  However that happens.  



Don't expect it to be straightforward


It’s never a straight line from where you are to where you want to be, more of a higgledy piggledy wiggle of ups and downs. 


There may be days where it’s one step forward, 3 steps back but if you just keep going and keep the faith you WILL get there.  There are days where you find the root of something and in that INSTANT it’s blown that belief out of the water and it’s just not there anymore to hold you back.


I’m proof that it’s possible.  This was 30 years of programming I had to undo!  You can’t do that over night, but you CAN do it!


I’ve worked with a lot of other mindset coaches and even we have our major blind spots.  The things that we can’t see.  Something that comes up a lot is this belief that we have to be perfect all the time, always in a good place, but it’s complete rubbish!


There is ALWAYS another layer of something to get through.  Always.  Doesn’t matter who you are, what you do or what you know there will always be another unconscious layer of behaviour and beliefs to get to. 


BUT, that’s the magic.  Getting comfortable with that is the magic.  People come to me with this ‘one last thing’ that needs to be sorted...and I've been guilty of it in the past too until I realised this.


There is always more, and that’s not just ok...that’s GOOD!  It’s a GOOD thing, it’s exciting! Everything you blast away is another level up.  But we have to be honest about it.


Once you know how to solve one thing it’s easier to work on the next but when you can approach it with curiosity rather than judgement it gets really freaking interesting.  It’s fascinating how we work as humans.  We’re so unique.  


But it’s being able to take the step back from it being something ‘wrong’ with us on an identity level (Spoiler’s not!) to understanding it’s a bunch of ways our brains and body have been trying to protect us and that we can CHANGE’s incredibly empowering and liberating.  We look at it so differently, with less emotion, less frustration.


So how do you even start?!


You start small!


The things that helped me and all my clients are ALL the things I talk about on The Positive Pants Podcast.  


They are how I live my life now.  


On the daily.  


I can always tell if I’ve let something slip a little bit because I will FEEL it.  


This is why i’m always harping on about routine and doing the basics, it’s often the most simple stuff that can make the biggest difference.  


You’ve got to be aware of this stuff so you can catch it before it takes hold. 


So some things are more short term than others but there are some FUNDAMENTALS for me.  


The basic non negotiables are my morning and evening routine.  


Meditation, reading, walking, journaling (I’m bringing out my EXACT method in The Positive Pants Planner so make sure you get on the waitlist!) being in nature, self care!


I told you they were simple! 


When there’s something in particular that I want to work on I'll immerse myself in it.  I’ll read books about it, listen to podcasts, watch youtube videos or videos from Gaia on it.  I’ll get all up in that issue and give it focus and I do the work.


If an issue is being particularly pesky I will have some NLP or hypnotherapy...maybe even go down the woo route and get a little energy healing! (Acupuncture, Reiki, Kinesiology are some of my favourites)


All you need is awareness of the issue, and a determination to change it. 


These issues I've had are not issues anymore, sure occasionally they may rear their ugly heads from time to time in some way, shape or body and my mind remembers them...BUT I have the awareness to catch it, get curious as to why it may be showing up and deal with it.


They don’t define me.


They are things I've dealt with, not who I am. 


Whatever is going on for you doesn’t define you either.


Give yourself some credit for the power that you have. 


Take action.  


Whether that’s reaching out to someone like me for guidance, or a charity or mental health professional, or even a friend or loved one.  Whether it’s going to events, learning more, reading books...however you choose to start your journey towards change...just start it.


If I can do it, YOU can do it.