Life can be tough; and sometimes we have to face things we would rather not. Ancient Hermetic wisdom said that life was like a pendulum, swinging backwards and forwards. Sometimes we find things incredibly tough, facing seemingly unreasonable challenges – and then other days are better, even sometimes wonderful.
What strikes me during my therapy sessions with female clients is that no matter how difficult the problems surrounding them, there’s always a thread of strength somewhere within their vulnerability. After all, they’ve got out of bed, dressed and turned up to seek help, and that in itself can take enormous resilience.
As a therapist, I see an excellent psychotherapist myself - and her ability and experience allow me to “download” - taking time out to see my life differently; which is hugely healing. It also reminds me how privileged and valuable my position is to others, when I’m sitting on the other side of the therapeutic fence.
As women, we tend to go through life ignoring our own emotional needs as they become lost in the needs of others. Then without any warning, we find we aren’t coping too; we’ve forgotten to look after ourselves. Women can be stoic and feel that they “just have to get on with it”, but the truth is that you can’t look after others unless you care for yourself first.
You are the most important person in your life, yet so many women run around on empty, never stopping and asking themselves “am I looking after my mind and body?”. Studies have shown that stress has a very real effect on the physical body and our mind-set, our whole well-being. Like a line of dominoes, a lack of self care can lead to depression, which in turn can lead to symptoms such as insomnia, our immune system shutting down, weight gain, addictions, and heart disease.
Many of us find it difficult to link our body to our mind, but we must look after both regularly. You deserve to be happy and healthy too. Here are some tips on how to begin to look after yourself.
Try to spot the signs that you might need help. If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, lonely, sleep-deprived, tearful, desperate, drinking or eating too much, or perhaps overindulging in something that you know isn’t good for you, there is help out there for you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help; remember you can’t be helpful to others unless you are ok first.
Decide what kind of help you’d like; these days there are all sorts of therapies out there and so if one isn’t right for you, you are perfectly entitled to try another. Therapists are trained not to take things personally.
If you can’t afford therapy, talk to your doctor; you may have a medical problem, which should be ruled out first. The menopause, for example, can cause a number of psychological symptoms, including anxiety. You may be also eligible for free therapy.
Don’t suffer alone; find someone to confide in, a friend, your doctor, colleague, the Samaritans or of course us. Take just one brave step forward, you can talk to us anonymously if you wish but we will do what we can to help.
1. Remember there is hope, and that you are not alone in your suffering. Most of us have been through difficulty and we will again, your problem is no less than anyone else’s. You deserve to feel better, just like anyone.