Medication – do your research


 

56. medication2One of things I like to get clear on from the outset of working with a client is whether they’re taking medication – and if so, what is it and what effect does it have. Whether they’re emotion suppressants (for depression, grief, overwhelm, complex life change), sleeping tablets (stress & anxiety), pain management (migraines, cancer, post-ops), or nausea drugs (eating disorders or addictions)  – every single one of them has a wider impact on a person’s body than simply the remit it’s being taken for.

 

Some years ago I moved my practice from London to Aberdeenshire. Shortly after that I was introduced socially to a delightful and smart woman who, over a period of about 18 months, went from no medication to an increasingly-complex cocktail of at least 8 different types of pills daily – initially to manage depression, then weight gain, addiction, liver challenges, thrombosis, and on and on – until she died in hospital asking to be taken out of there because ‘ … all of this is too much’ (the drugs … not her life).

 

Go back to the beginning of that chapter, her depression began by not having access to her son because she was in conflict with her ex-husband. They had shared custody, however the husband didn’t always allow her the access she was due at weekends; he wouldn’t show up at court when she tried to hold him accountable through the present family law system; and he would speaking critically of the mum to the son further distancing them. In accumulation, this was the driving force for this woman’s stress, which in turn lead to an appeal for medical help and a first introduction to the anti-depressants and sleeping medication.

 

On many occasions I’ve had first conversations with clients that go a bit like this: ‘I realised it was serious when I went to my doctor and was perscribed with anti-depressants. I’m sitting here staring at them and I don’t want to start down this route … can you help?’. Ordinarily these clients will see me twice, perhaps 3 times, additionally-equipping themselves in each subsequent session, and then they leave and move on confidently with their next life chapter.

 

Most of us have an instinct about whether we really need:

  • a weight loss drug – or some nutritional advice and a tribe to exercise with
  • a sleeping tablet – or a meaningful, professional conversation to reduce our stress and work our best first choices
  • a pain suppressant – or some great physiotherapy and some genuine rest from our work or exercise regime

 

I’m not sitting here as a therapist in Aberdeen or as a counsellor in Dundee saying all medication is evil – far from it. I’m saying that in many cases heading to a doctor for advice is a great first step, and in many other cases it’s worth the time and effort to research whether there are alternatives to a pharmaceutical prescription that may help you more convincingly and faster without impacting your physical body in ways none of us fully understand.

 

Most of us at some point have taken time to understand the general nutritional or calorific content of our meals; how much more important is it that we do at least the same with the chemical content of our medication. Or even better, spend a few hours investigating the benefits a great nutritionist, physiotherapist, counsellor, massage therapist, bio-energy healer, acupuncture professional or chiropractor can offer you.

 

In this Human Givens therapist’s humble opinion, the more responsibility each one of us take for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, the more likely we are to live longer, happier, choice-filled lives.

 

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



How do you refer a friend for therapy


 

44. FriendHugIt’s a tricky situation this one. When you notice a friend or family member could do with help or support beyond what you’re equipped to give, how do you suggest to them ‘I think you should see a therapist?’ without hearing expletives come back at you?

 

There are lots of reasons why we can spot things about our friends that they can’t see for themselves. You might see:

 

  • A recurring pattern: dating the same type of controlling guy for example. They’re too caught up in the details of ‘but this guy’s different’ to notice that they’re repeating a life lesson
  • An addiction: could be to alcohol, drugs, sex or a personality type – whatever it is it takes a very aware person to acknoweledge that they’re living with a dependence on something (or someone)
  • A sadness: most people get sad sometimes – it’s part of the spectrum of emotions we’re privileged enough to encounter. The frequency and the depth to which we feel sad can differ greatly and when you’re in it it’s possible to say ‘doesn’t everyone feel down sometimes’ without recognising that you’ve been like that for 6 weeks now – your mind needs help to get back its resilience and bounce-back
  • A destruction: self harming and eating disorders can often be hidden from those at work or others in a house hold. Over time though it’s often the case that family or friends will notice a routine forming or a regular oddity (why does she always go to the toilet after dinner; or why does he always wear long sleeves even on a hot  summer’s day). Often just asking the question is enough for the person to share some extra details – but reason on its own (even with the best of intentions) is rarely enough to transform the behaviour
  • A debilitation: with panic attacks or with anxiety or stress, it can be the case that your friend will begin to retreat from socialising (with valid enough sounding excuses), will have increased sick days, will step down from opportunities they may previously have been front of the queue for.

 

To be helpful in all the above situations you would first have to be able to:

  • spot the harmful changes (being drunk as a one off is different than drinking to excess 4nights a week)
  • know how to confront the topic (to come alongside the person we care about and not judge them or offer simplistic solutions)
  • know the limitations of what can be dealt with as a friend and what should be passed to a professional (plus also, could you recommend a great therapist? – Like a personal trainer there are ones who can talk the talk, and those who can get authentic results fast).

So here are 5 ways you could approach a conversation with a friend or family member so they might hear that you care enough to suggest they see a good therapist:

  1. Ask some questions: you can’t show you genuinely care unless you’ve proved your willing to listen. ‘So what’s been going on’; ‘how have you been feeling’; ‘what are you thinking is going to turn this round’; ‘what have you tried’; ‘what are the consequences if you keep going like this’
  2. Plant a seed: do your research well and tell your friend (child, sibling, parent) that you’ve heard of someone (or some therapy type – like for us it’s Human Givens therapy) who gets extraordinary results fast. ‘I can email you the website or the number if you want to check it out’.
  3. Tell a ‘dear John’ story: like if you’d heard that ‘this friend of mine’s daughter’ had an amazing turn around from her addiction after she spoke to this great therapist.
  4. Don’t judge: a friend doesn’t want to hear a judgement about the tough point they’re going through right now. It might seem simple to you from the outside. It’s not simple for them, so if you’re going to say a ‘should’ or an ‘ought’  – stay silent and count to 10!
  5. Care & invest: if you need to go with them on session one, do it. If they need a bit more support getting into a new routine, be there. Encourage, cheer and love. They’d do the same for you.

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Feeling sad – what you can do about it


 

21. Sad-HappyThere are a remarkable number of people who look happy, hold down jobs, parent their children, do sport and have great friends … and all the time they feel sad.

 

It’s not a flaw in someone’s character, it’s not a thing a person should feel guilty about (which they often do if they have many things in their life to be grateful for), and it’s often not something that needs medication as a ‘fix’.

 

Sadness is on the emotional spectrum like every other feeling. The trick is to learn how to move up or down that spectrum as required and often to learn to observe and accept a particular emotion as being ‘right for now’ without trying to judge it, change it or over think it.

 

From a very young age we are taught to associate certain feelings as being good or bad, right or wrong. So you might have been told that it’s good that you’re happy and bad that you’re sad. Or right to be grateful and wrong to be angry. As our experiences in life get wider and richer, that type of catagorising just doesn’t work for the complexities we start to experience.

 

Think of these situations and possible emotions:

  • first love: happy, energised, confused, scared, jealous, elated, adored
  • bullying partner: nervous, content, on edge, frustrated, angry, self critical, high, low, doubting, questioning
  • high paid, unstimulating job: grateful, compromised, challenged, fearful (stay or go), stuck, glad (of the money & choices), stymied

 

So what can we do about feeling sad? Lots and lots, but here are a first few suggestions:

  • Pay attention: what you think about expands. Pay attention to the thoughts that you’re thinking each part of the day and begin to notice which ones make you feel more uplifted and which ones contribute to you feel deflated. Actively choose the better feeling thoughts. This is a huge skill set – only practice will get results over time.

 

  • Notice your diet: some people can have reactions to certain food groups. Processed sugar (in sweets, fizzy drinks, energy and chocolate bars) can give you a temporary energy high followed by a depressing sugar slump. However there are subtle allergies that our bodies might be reacting to from meats, gluten, dairy or even selected fruits or vegetables. Seek out a great nutritionist. And remember, the high from a night drinking can be paid back with an all-day low (feeling lost, sad, depressed or alone)

 

  • Exercise often: 3-4 times per week minimum if at all possible. Raising your heart rate and releasing uplifting endorphins influences your mind towards positivity. It creates a sense of discipline and control, both of which are life an success affirming

 

  • Edit your friendships: make an assessment of the 5 people you spend most time around. If they live life with traits you find admirable, stick with them; otherwise, dial down the time you spend with them and actively seek out inspiring, positive, encouraging relationships

 

  • Actively up-skill your emotional resourcefulness: lots of adults are trying to achieve happiness in life with an emotional skill-set from their teenage years. Advanced life choices can require advanced communication and navigation skills to be successful. Seek out a mentor, coach or counsellor who has evidenced their results.

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.