Normally when I start writing my blog, I’m not short on words or what to say, occasionally though, I find myself completely stumped! Although without wishing to appear naïve or too opinionated I thought about writing: “It’s ok for everyone to give and receive love” – enough said!
Well that would have been my shortest blog ever! BUT and it’s a big but, whilst to me that sentence is very clear, I understand that for some people it really isn’t as simple as that. In fact, it is laced with pain, anguish, shame, guilt, abandonment and the list could go on.
June is Pride Month, this is in celebration of the LGBTQIA community. This is a positive time to promote self-affirmation, gender identity, gender expression and sexual diversity. Let’s be absolutely clear here, it’s not all about the sex, but more over, we need to be mindful that actually it’s about the emotional and physical attraction to a person.
People seem to automatically start thinking about what the LGBTQIA community gets up to in bed. When two heterosexual people get together in a relationship, I’m not convinced that people start thinking about what they get up to in bed, but maybe how connected they are as a couple.
This is just one of the many challenges that you as part of the LGBTQIA community face as being part of a sexual minority and the impact on your mental health can be very real. Lack of understanding from others including discrimination can lead to depression, anxiety, and/or low self-esteem that may affect your well-being.
You may be trying to understand and make sense of who You are, you may feel confused and not know who to talk to, because you don’t really know what to say. Maybe saying ‘it’ out loud could suddenly feel very real and you may not feel ready for that, or indeed ready to say ‘it’ whatever ‘it’ is for you out loud. To be able to talk to someone who is not a friend or family member, may make it easier for you.
Maybe you have come out and yet you still feel like you have a weight on your shoulders, or are bewildered by the reactions that you received from others. You know how life is impacting on You! To do this on your own can feel very lonely.
It may be that as a family member or friend, You may be finding it hard to support a loved one who is part of the LGBTQIA community. You may not know what to say for fear of getting it wrong or appearing to lack understanding. There are lots of books and the internet has ample information but it may be, that you would like to talk to someone about how You are feeling. Being able to talk to me in my confidential private practice enables you to speak openly, process and make sense of what is going on for You.
To ensure I am the right person to talk to I offer a free introductory session in my private practice in West Sussex. Why not contact me and see where it takes you.
“To give and receive love, is a right – not a privilege!”
Who are you? Now that may feel like a big question, or even intrusive.
Ok, breathe… and smile!
This month’s blog is aiming to link in with May being ‘Self-Discovery’ month.
To try and keep this user friendly and keep you engaged, ‘Who Are You?’ is really time for you to think about You. To give yourself some time to consider yourself, no-one else just You. Self-discovery, is You thinking about what makes you tick, try not to confuse this with, “oh so-and-so likes it when I do x”, because this is about You, not how others like to see you behave, etc.
Sometimes life becomes busy, challenging and generally leans towards routine, we can become ‘absorbed’ in the form of a wife, husband, partner, mum, dad and take on that role. I’m not saying discard your role(s) or abandon routine, but what I am encouraging is how about turning up the volume a little bit to our inner voice?
Our inner voice may be barely a whisper, but it’s still there cheering us on to do things that we may have always liked the idea of doing. This could be absolutely anything like starting a new hobby, going back to an old one that you used to enjoy. Basically, ‘Who Are You?’ is about reconnecting with yourself, dusting yourself down and having a bit of a spring clean to decide what you want to keep and maybe what you would like to change or introduce.
I feel this also links really well with counselling too. Your inner voice may be prompting you about concerns that you have and the impact that this is having on You. You may have anxiety or panic disorder and feel beholden to these feelings and have surrendered to ‘that’s how it is for you’ – but it doesn’t have to be. Together we can look at the anxiety/panic disorder and work towards you being in control and not feeling that it is the other way round.
You may have relationship issues that you feel are holding you back from being You but don’t know where to start or, even that you want to. The concept of change and potential upheaval may feel overwhelming. Yet when you have the time and space to talk it through in a confidential setting, this may seem a little easier for You.
Try this; first of all, make sure you are sitting comfortably and have approximately 5-10 minutes available with potentially no interruptions, oh and turn your mobile off – actually off, not on vibrate.
Ok, here goes… close your eyes, concentrate on being aware of your breathing, you don’t need to change it, just become aware. Your mind will wander, acknowledge where your mind wandered off to and come back to your breath.
Now as you start to relax, I would like You to think about where you are now in your life and then imagine where you would like to be, if you could change one thing that your future self would thank you for, what would that be?
Now return your mind back to your breath, slowly open your eyes and stay seated for another minute or two.
So, how was that for you? Did you know, even before you closed your eyes, what your future self would be like, were you surprised with what came up?
Sometimes it can be hard to imagine to not live with ‘a thing’ that may have hampered us for quite some time, it may feel that it has almost become part of who you are, but I am sure you may be able to remember a time before you had ‘the thing’, so I feel that it could be possible for your future self to not have ‘the thing’ too.
I will offer you a safe and confidential space for You to talk about whatever You wish.
I absolutely believe your future self deserves to know “Who You Are”.
You’ve been betrayed or you are betraying a loved one. Where do You or where can You turn to when You find yourself in this situation? For the first time in a long time, You may feel alone, unsure who You can talk to. Not sure who you can trust and who won’t judge You.
If we were to look at the person who has betrayed; Were you open about your betrayal, or were you found out and if you were found out was it by the one you loved and indeed may still love, or was it by a third party which has now added to the already complexity of the situation.
Right now you may be feeling a whole host of feelings, including guilt and shame, which whilst I feel are little bully words that pick on people when they are not in a great place. Guilt and shame may feel like they are towering over you with big pointy fingers, neon flashing lights and megaphones shouting out to the world what you have done or are doing.
BUT, and this is the big and most important part, BUT whilst it is You that have betrayed for whatever your reasons were or still are, actually this is about You, what you led you to be where you are today and how You are feeling. You may feel like no-one will understand, that no-one will see it from your side, because you may feel that everyone will see you as the person wrongdoer.
At this moment in time your feelings do matter and who you can talk to matters also, because it may be helpful for you to have some space to understand what happened and why, to try and make some sense and to have some respite from the imaginary and maybe not, big pointy fingers.
Counselling can provide you with exactly that, a safe and confidential space for You.
If we were to look at the person who has been betrayed; Did you find out for yourself, did someone else tell you or did the person who betrayed You tell You to your face? Any of those ways have their own pain attached. Each way will be covered in shame and with that shame, You may feel unsure where to turn and indeed who to turn to.
You may have lots of different feelings, including scared or panicky or you may just want to run or hide!
You my have 101 questions going around in your head, you may have suspected something for some time but hoped that ‘things would get better’. You may be wondering where do You go from here, what options do You have?
One of your questions may be, ‘What is it that You want’, not anyone else, BUT You.
And that is the important part, this is about You. You may feel that what you want ‘others’ will judge or disagree, ‘others’ may have already told you what they would do, BUT, and this is Big and most important part, they are not You.
I wonder how it might feel for you, to allow yourself the space of counselling and the time that this space allows for you to say everything and anything that you may feel you ‘shouldn’t’ say out loud?
By now, if you have read any of my previous blogs you will probably be aware that I like You to visualise what I am talking about. And this Your Space Today blog post is no different!
I would like you to imagine that you have met up with a friend, family member or someone that when you ever you see them, generally afterwards you feel a lot less perkier than you did before you met up with them. I am expecting you to go straight to that particular person.
Ok, so continue to imagine, you are sitting in your lounge, or a coffee shop or bar and they have started to offload (hint: their rubbish), you listen politely and by the end of your time together you feel the weight of their ‘stuff’ burdening down on you. If you are lucky, in the last 10 minutes before they had to dash, they may have asked how you are. You leave with what may feel like your arms dragging on the floor and that’s because (wait for it), You have taken their rubbish!
Now, You don’t ‘physically’ have their rubbish but that is the transaction that has just happened between you, they have spouted off all that’s going on for them and when they leave, I expect they have a spring in their step and why wouldn’t they, cos they have unburdened all their non-recyclable rubbish onto you unfortunately without them realising.
We are going to look at how to politely pass the rubbish back, but before we do that, the first thing is for You to notice when you have taken someone else’s rubbish. To start with, when you have said goodbye to the person that you met, ‘check’ yourself with how you are feeling. Imagine running a scanner from the top of your head down to your toes, ask yourself do you feel the same as you did when you first met your friend or do you feel slightly negative? This won’t happen with everyone and like I said earlier you will know the one or ones that has this affect on you.
Now that you have realised you are not feeling as perky as before imagine, two large bags of rubbish look around and spot a bin. Imagine placing them beside the bin for the refuse collectors, say to yourself in your head, ‘its not your rubbish’. You may ‘check’ yourself for rubbish when you get into your car, again, do this before you start the engine and if You notice You have a bag of their rubbish open the car door and imagine placing it outside of your car – it’s not real rubbish so your not fly-tipping!
Once you have practised this a few times, you can then move on to giving the rubbish back to their rightful owner at the time of the event. Before you are about to say goodbye ‘check’ yourself for any unwanted rubbish. As you are saying goodbye imagine handing back the bag(s) of rubbish and saying ‘lovely rubbish, but it’s not mine, it’s yours’.
I wonder how You feel now as you walk away? Hopefully as perky as you did when you first met up or maybe slightly more?
Sometimes You may have taken other peoples rubbish for years and so it takes time to (a) realise that in fact, it’s not your rubbish and (b) to work on not taking their rubbish.
This is where Your Space Today may help. In my private practice in West Sussex, I will offer you a safe and confidential space for You to talk about whatever You feel you would like to talk about.
Either way from me to you, thank you for ‘trying out’ the rubbish challenge.
As You read that question, I wonder what the first thing is that pops into your head? Is it one word, several words, a picture, a colour or something completely different. Whatever the word or image was, was this how You see you family now in the present, how it was in the past or how You would you like it to be in the future? Or maybe, you are comparing your family with someone elses?
I am aware as I am firing off all these questions and by You reading them, you may well have gone on a very rapid journey through your thoughts and feelings about your family or a family that you are now connected to in some shape or form. I wonder where you ended up?
The word family may feel big and encompassing, along with what may seem like such demanding expectations! Sometimes ‘other’ peoples families expectations may impact you and how you see your family. By other, this could be on Social Media, Peers, Friends, Colleagues, Neighbours, basically anyone you come into contact with. You may be judging yours with theirs.
The one thing for sure, is that families do not come with an instruction manual, You cant just press reset, even if You wanted to. It isn’t as easy as unplugging a computer and leaving it for 5 minutes, hoping that the computer will go back to working again, once its had a ‘break’. However, sometimes walking away from a family situation for 5 minutes can sometimes help You (or the other people involved) see it from a different persepctive.
Some families may feel like they come with a ‘Rule Book’, a kind of, how we do things or behave in this family. Which You may find easy to follow or feel the need to detract as these ‘Rules’ don’t sit comfortably with you. Or you feel like ‘you never get it right’! Relationships can be difficult, full stop!
The important part here, is about how is your family affecting You? Do you want to address a concern and feel unable to which may lead you to feeling depressed, or indeed talking to your family may cause you to feel anxious?
In my private practice in West Sussex, I will offer you a safe and confidential space for You to talk about whatever You feel you would like to talk about.
You may be feeling that a member of your family could benefit from counselling and reading the Support page may be helpful and provide some information. If you still have a question, you can contact me, I may be able to help or signpost you to alternative support, if required.
Sometimes, acknowledging to yourself that something is causing you concern, can be helpful and whilst you may not have the answers or know where to start, acknowledging is the start.
Whatever your thoughts and feelings are, they are yours and You are important. Sometimes, giving yourself the space to talk about what is going on for you with someone that isn’t your family may feel easier for you.
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