Stress

Where to go for help with stress: A summary of different therapies

Stress
Stress

So, you are stressed, unhappy, discontented, dis-satisfied, miserable, unhappy, overwhelmed, down, depressed; and it’s been a while.

Your body is now rebelling and you are getting problems with your sleep, stomach, memory, exhaustion and aches and pains.

You’ve read all my stuff about what stress is with some hints and tips on what to do.

You’ve checked out my favourite books for when you feel overwhelmed or depressed, including mine.

But you need some outside help from a professional, so where to go?

I’m going to give a brief introduction to some of the therapies that might help.  They are all my views, based upon my experiences, so some people may disagree!  However, the idea is to have a look and see which ones jump out to you as suiting you.

 

Counselling

Who are you ?
Who are you ?

Available free from NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face.

But takes a long time.

Basically the idea is that you talk about stuff, so that you can dig down to find out ‘why’ you feel the way that you do.  It is really useful if you aren’t sure why, and for some people just understanding can shift the problem.

The downside is that for others, they just get stuck deeper in the story of their lives and become more of a victim.

 

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Available free from the NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

I love CBT, it’s what got me interested in personal development in the first place over 20yrs ago.  It helps you to tackle the thoughts that are running around in your head and look at life a different way.  The idea is that by behaving differently we will get a different outcome from situations.

I think it is quicker, but maybe less deep and therefore if you don’t understand much about your thought processes/past it will be difficult to use it to get over bigger problems.  Plus, behaving differently doesn’t always make people react differently.

 

Coaching

Tends to be private and ranges from cheap to very expensive.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

A coach is more focussed on the present and giving you goals that you can aim for and less about trauma’s from your past.

Be careful and thoroughly check their training and experience, as currently there aren’t any laws about who can and can’t call themselves a coach.

Some people use NLP (neurolinguistic programming) in the coaching, to help you.  Simply put they look at how your language affects your mind and therefore your behaviour.  I personally find it a little too orientated towards the mind.  I prefer a more intuitive approach with a more feeling/heart centered objective.  It can feel very manipulative, but it is’t without merit.

 

Hypnotherapy

Normally private.  Starting to get more expensive probably £60 or more.

But quicker.

You MUST get a well trained, well experienced hypnotherapist.  But if you get one, this can be a quick method of going into the past and working out what is causing your pain and then dealing with it.  Make sure that if they ‘remove’ a negative habit that they replace it with a positive alternative.

 

tapping points
Picture from Nick Ortner

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

Private.  But can be cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

I suspect the usefulness of it depends on the experience and intuition of the practitioner and how comfortable you feel with them.

EFT has been around for a while, but I didn’t become interested until recently.  I think that it has settled down now and is a very well established option.  The idea is that by discussing our problems whilst tapping on certain meridian points (energy points in the body), it reduces how upset we are about it, then we will be able to see things differently and find a new way of seeing our life or tackling the problem.  It can be very light e.g. just looking at a headache, or go deeper into why.

The great thing is that you can learn it yourself and therefore also use it at home for smaller issues.  I really recommend Nick Ortner’s book ‘The Tapping Solution’.

 

Kinesiology Based Therapies

Private.  Much more expensive.  But much quicker.

I learned a form of kinesiology 10yrs ago (Resonance Repatterning) which is very quick at dealing with people’s problems (I used to specialise in serious mental health issues).  The body has a muscular on/off reaction which you can use to check what beliefs and problems you have.  It’s great because it bi-passes your opinions and the potential biases of the practitioner, to make sure that you actually get to the ‘real’ truth really quickly.  Then a healing technique will be used to ‘shift’ the problem and replace it with a more positive option.

There are several different options, some more structured than others.  It can be a bit wacky, but very effective.

Nutritionist/Naturopath

Supplements
Supplements

Normally private (dieticians might be free).  Mid-priced around £60

It’s amazing what physical problems and some emotional ones can be resolved with the help of a nutritionist (better than a dietician in my opinion) or naturopath.  The naturopath training is longer and more rigorous, but they are also more likely to suggest bigger changes to your patterns and they can suggestion supplements and herbs to help you out as well.

Never under estimate the power of a simple supplement, mineral, vitamin or herb.  In fact if you start to take a few, I would recommend checking in with a professional to make sure that the combination you are taking is OK.

 

 

Herbalist/Homeopath

Private.  Often after a long initial session, they can help you quickly and you only pay a small amount.

I’m a big fan of homeopathy, but it hasn’t worked well for me so far.  You get a little sugar pill that is meant to redress the balance in the body and can help with emotional, mental or physical problems.

Herbalism has helped me a lot and is of course where modern medicine started.

 

Reiki

Reiki
Reiki

Private.  But normally cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

Reiki is a lovely form of hands on healing where the practitioner gently touches or hovers their hands just above the body.  It can help physical, mental and emotional problems.  I became a ‘Reiki Master’ 13 yrs ago – it’s not that clever actually, it basically means ‘teacher’.  I LOVE Reiki for it’s simplicity.  But be warned, some of the people who do Reiki are mad as a box of frogs (in the nicest way!) and although it has improved, there is no standard teaching, so some people mix in other alternative therapies e.g. crystal healing and all sorts.

Please don’t jump to learn it straight away – take some time out for yourself first.  If you do learn it, remember to focus on just yourself and your family first.  Don’t run off to heal the world!

There are also other forms of healing.  Some people are just ‘natural’ healers, i.e. they are born with or got the ability to give healing to people.  Others are ‘spiritual healers’, which means that they believe they get help from other spiritual beings.

 

Physical therapies

Private.  Can be cheap if you find someone local, but expensive in salons.

E.g. Massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu Massage, Bowen Technique, Chiropractor, Osteopath

You could easily get a lovely therapist to give you a massage or reflexology session, talk through your worries and get a lovely relaxing treatment at the same time.  This is a very viable alternative and helps support the body while you are stressed.

 

More

Demartini Method – this was the final therapy that I learned (I’m a senior certified facilitator).  It tends to be more expensive, but very transformative and is based upon the healing power of gratitude.

Meta Medicine – a great method for discovering hidden reasons or potential events that had a hand to play in physical illnesses.

The Work of Byron Katie – A very simple method with just 4 questions, that you can also read about and use in your own life.  I find that one of the questions reduces about 80% of my stress levels.

 

Overall

My advice is that we ALL need OUTSIDE help from time to time and sometimes our friends and family are not the right people to help us.

However, it would be unwise to ALWAYS rely on outside help as that doesn’t help to improve our self-esteem and sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

When picking someone to work with, they need to be strong enough to challenge you a little, otherwise you won’t be able to break out of your patterns.  However, you need to have a good rapport with them and feel very safe and certain of them – that is probably the most important thing.

You are also looking for someone you appears to be pretty sorted, or at least more sorted than you are in the particular area of life that you are struggling with.  It’s fine if they have experienced the problem, it’s just that you want them to be past it!

Another ‘rule’ is not to ‘overwork’ yourself.  So don’t have a massage in the same week as a therapy session etc.  Always leave time for you to adjust after a session.

I hope that this gives you an nice easy introduction to some of the options, therapies and alternative treatments that are available.  You are very welcome to tweet/facebook me for more information or if you hear of a therapy I haven’t mentioned.

Have you used any of these?

Did you find them useful?

 

Dangers of positive thinking

My Progress: Fibromyalgia a couple of months on after diagnosis

Dangers of positive thinking
Good news, Bad news

 

I thought you might like to know how I’m doing with the whole fibromyalgia thing?

Lots of people have asked how I am, but it’s really difficult to say in 1 sentence, and I feel boring if I describe it in full.

I’ve learnt loads more about it and have created a static page which I’ll use to list the things I discover and all my posts about FMS.  Please pass it onto anyone you know with FMS, as it’s a tricky syndrome and it helps for us to connect with each other.

And I’ve definitely made progress, but also taken a few steps back as well.

It kind of depends on the day, I’m pretty much two different people at the moment:

 

 

Good Day Me:

Happy Mum
Happy Days when I can pick up my daughter

I’m up, and once I’ve had a shower I’m pretty perky.

Curly Headed Boy thinks that I look healthier and happier than I did before.

Life is much easier now I’m not trying to work as well as look after two young children, plus sort out my health and I know that I can pick up the paying side of my work again when Little Dimples does to school in 1.5yrs.

I’ve cut down my social media usage, and it’s really not so bad; I realise that there was panic about ‘always being around’, which was daft.

I’m just blogging about once a week, and my stats don’t seem to have gone down (stats are mega important to us bloggers).

I’ve started actually reading books again, which is lovely.

I’m getting time to make sure that the most important things are done (i.e. kids) which has reduced my stress levels loads, and I’m getting a chance to take some time out to think about those long questions like ‘who am I now’ etc.

I’m grateful I was diagnosed so early, so it hasn’t become too entrenched, and I’m sure that with some determination, lots of investigations and some trial and error I’m going to atleast manage it, if not sort it out totally.

My right arm doesn’t hurt any more, so just my left arm, back, neck, shoulders,  jaw, chest pain, left/right leg and both hips to solve; it’s a step in the right direction.  (I reckon this is down to the Amitriptyline).

The Dr increased the drugs, and am hoping that my left arm and chest pains will follow suit really soon, which would mean I can pick up the kids without pain.

My IBS is managed with greater strength Optibac probiotics and a nearly healthy lifestyle (IBS is a symptom of FMS and mine got worse when I became ill).

I’m really glad the surgeon decided that my TMJ (jaw pain on right hand side) wasn’t worth operating on and that a mouth guard wouldn’t work, plus the drugs have reduced the pain and clicking a lot and I can chew most things now.

The Fibro-fog has improved with a bigger better quality dose of Omega 3, 6 and 9 and I’m finding the alarms work well on the electronic calendar.  I have a snazzy small filofax so I can take my To do’s with me everywhere.

I feel stronger with the weekly studio (machine based) pilates classes and better quality vitamins (I wasn’t taking the full recommended dose).

Plus the Pilates guy does something called Osteolates (Mixture between osteopathy, pilates, and acupressure) which is fab for the myofacial pain (basically being in pain in the Fibro trigger points, sets the rest of the muscles off).

I’ve found the meditations using Shamanism (basically meditation to drum music) really helpful to reduce stress and worries and rediscover some of the ‘new age me’ that has taken a bit of a rest.

I think that my sleep is slightly better quality on the Amitriptyline (people with FMS don’t get any level 4 sleep) and I’m less affected by the full moon (I also have loads of ideas for sleep problems here if you suffer too).

The doctor agreed to checking my Vitamin D levels and as I was low (should be 75, was 42), they have given me a 2 month prescription of Vit D3 liquid gell capsules (best type); shame you can’t get a holiday in the Caribean on the NHS!

He also agreed to check my hormone levels as my periods were messing around a bit (very long) and it’s definitely not the perimenopause or PCOS causing the problem, so I don’t have to add anything else to the worry list.

I’ve found out that the FMS is due to the Thalamus gland, so the behavioural kinesiology (Resonance Repatterning) that I’ve been using to tackle the emotional/mental causes has been definitely aiming at the right direction, and I’m less confused by the huge number of symptoms to work through.  (The thalamus gland affects the pain signals in the body, so basically we feel more pain and there is more Substance P in our bodies than a normal person).

I’ve also found out that we produce more lactic acid more quickly than most people, so I’ve added Magnesium to my list of supplements in the morning and bottles of deep freeze to my bathroom cabinet for when it’s really bad; this is how come the amount of exercise we do is limited, as we can also injure ourselves more easily and take longer to heal.

I’m really ‘lucky’ that the Big Hairy Northern Ones contract was terminated early, as just by doing the majority of the school runs, I’ve been able to rest a bit more than I would usually have done which is helping me recover.

Ironically having young kids is helpful because the constant picking up of stuff and putting things back in the right place warms up my muscles and makes the rest of the day easier; the problem with Fibro is that you must move even though it hurts, otherwise it hurts more (you just can’t move too much, it’s a tricky balance).

I’m decluttering my house even more than I used to, as everything needs a place and the ‘system’ needs to work so easily that even the family understand it when I’m at my worst.  So things are looking pretty good around the house.  Give me 6 months and even my photos will be sorted; result!

I reckon I’m lucky that my diet was already pretty healthy, and I wasn’t using many products with chemicals in them due to my rosacea and probably only needs a little revamp and a good detox at some point, otherwise my symptoms would probably be worse (sugar, chemicals and preservatives are not FMS’s friend).

The Dr has referred me for some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to help with pain management, and my first assessment was with a woman who has FMS, so she was great and reckoned that by teaching me some ‘pacing’, I’ll be able to avoid flares more easily.

I’m overwhelmed and enthusiastic about all the support and ideas I’ve been getting off so many people.

I’m sure that this journey will help me reinvent myself, and reach out to even more Mums with my books than before.

I’m at last remembering to take care of myself much more than I used to; I know I tell you lot to take care of yourselves, but I might not have done it enough myself, you know the old saying ‘Healer, heal thyself’.

I’ve got a plan and I’m working through it slowly, step by step, to a more balanced lifestyle and I’m trying to treat the Fibromyalgia as a guide, rather than an enemy.

 

 

Bad Day Me:

Exhausted Mums
Yukky

Christmas was awful for Fibro-flares, even though I tried to take it easy, get everything prepared beforehand and the Big Hairy Northern one always cooks Christmas dinner.  One flare was mainly just pain, but the other was a full on depressive yukky downer.

When I have a flare up God it hurts, apparently Fibro pain is worse than Rheumatoid arthritis (how they know I don’t know); it certainly doesn’t even notice ibuprofen.

My head is fuzzy, and I mourn the previously competent woman who could remember things and not rely totally on an electronic calendar with alarms.

I’m exhausted; I just want to hide under my duvet and not get up.

My hips burn and I wan’t to itch them, but then know I will get bruises the size of a dinner plate.

My knees hurt so bad when I’m getting up and down from the floor that I feel like an 80 year old and find it difficult to play with Little Dimples or use the washing machine and tumble dryer.

I’m meant to be eating healthy food, but that is stuff like nuts and whole foods, which hurt my  right jaw like hell to chew.

My eyes are really problematic in the mornings and evenings, which is helped by my new glasses, but worrying as it is probably related.

This and the fact that I’m sometimes a little unsure of my balance and spatial awareness and have to take my drugs early to avoid a hangover, makes night driving and going out socially impossible; I was never a big socialite, but it makes me feel left out.

I’m scared that I’ll get crippled with it and bed ridden like the people I read on the forums; in fact I’ve banned myself from reading them now as they terrify me with stories of stronger and stronger drugs that eventually don’t work.

I’m terrified of getting ill, because that will mean a flare up in the pain, plus the likelihood that the rest of the household will get ill and need taking care of, so I’ll get tired and get more pain.

Curly Headed Boy isn’t taking the added responsibility well, or the fact that I just don’t have the energy to ask FIVE times for something any more.

I’ve realised that although I wouldn’t change the fact that I was a ‘young carer’ it’s not the choice I would have made for my children, and I worry about the affect on them.

I was falling asleep with the children at least 50% of the time, but since doubling the drugs I hardly ever get back down again to see the Big Hairy Northern One; that can’t be good.

One of my friends dumped me the week after my diagnosis because I did something a bit flighty and very fibro.

I feel like a wimp when I keep having to explain that I can’t do something.

Then I feel angry because people haven’t taken the time to understand that I’m limited in what I can do because I ‘look OK’.

Plus sometimes I feel that people expect too much of me because I’m normally so sorted and know all this psychology stuff; I’m not allowed to be grouchy or grumpy or make a mistake.

I miss the freedom of running even though I was rubbish at it, because it was so easy to fit into life and helped me keep my weight in check.

The Pilates is boring, but I know it’s helping, so I keep going.  I’d prefer a dance class, but know it would kill me at the moment; even aqua aerobics crucified me for a week and I can’t go in a pool unless it’s warm enough.  (Hopefully I can add Tai Chi or Yoga soon)

I’ve put on a stone in weight, I’m not yet at an unhealthy weight, but I’m gutted after all that hard work before losing weight and worried whether I’ll be able to keep it in check with all my limitations.

I wish I had a Mum who could sweep down and pop me in a duvet, play with the kids for the day, whilst making a stew and tidying the house (my actual Mum wouldn’t have been able to do this bless her, even if she was still alive).

I’d like to cry most of the day, but have so far only broken down in front of Little Dimples once, who was so kind I was gobsmacked.

I don’t understand why it’s not possible to do a big declutter/tidy of the house AND walk the dog.

I used a pedometer to try and maintain a steady pace each day and find that whereas I used to be able to easily work up to 10,000 steps in a couple of weeks, my body is now crucified by Lactic Acid over 5000 tiny steps after a month of trying.

I’m irritated by people finishing my sentences for me as I desperately search for the words that have disappeared into the recesses of my head; audition and anaesthetic are not difficult words after all.

I don’t tweet, I don’t Facebook, I don’t phone, I just hibernate.

I’m scared of trying things incase it makes things worse, and depressed about a life limited and controlled by an illness.

My second assessment with the CBT people the doctor referred me to was with someone much less qualified, and I could have basically chewed them up and spat them out; God help them if that’s the kind of person they think can help me.  I think that my problem is that physical pain is so tangible, that I’m finding it much harder to deal with that emotional/mental pain.

I have no plan, I just hope that when I wake up tomorrow, this flare will be over and I’ll be back to ‘Good day me’.

 

 

They are quite contradictory people aren’t they?  They aren’t really agreeing with each other on much!

I reckon I’m just about more ‘Good Days’ than ‘Bad Days’, but only just.

Hopefully in my Spring/summer update it will be a different story.

Remember to pass my blog onto anyone you know with Fibromyalgia please (and if they are close to you, maybe read my FMS page and other posts so that you can understand them more too).