Relationships

Supporting Someone Who’s Depressed

Depression is categorised as a mood disorder which causes persistent feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in life. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. If you are someone who suffers from depression then I am sure you are aware what a difficult illness it can be to live with. Many times I have heard clients with the diagnosis wish it were something visible, like a broken bone. Then those around them would better understand their needs.

If you know someone who is depressed it can be difficult to know what to do. Especially if you have never felt that way. The first step is trying to understand how they are feeling. Below is a video that captures what it can be like to live with depression.

It can be incredibly difficult to offer support to someone who doesn’t feel like it will help or like they deserve it. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, here are some ways you can offer support:

  • Listen without judgement. If the person who’s depressed lists all the reasons they feel down don’t counteract with reasons they should feel better. Often they already don’t understand why they feel the way they do. By telling them all the reasons they should feel better is not really hearing how they are experiencing things.
  • Be patient. Tell them you are there any time they need you. If they don’t take you up on the offer understand that they are not doing that to hurt you.
  • Offer support in any way. Offer lifts, collect shopping or even do odd jobs around their house. Depression causes almost a complete lack of motivation which means lots of things don’t get done.
  • Understand that this isn’t a choice. If those suffering could wave a magic wand and feel better, they would. However, even knowing the many factors the can cause depression doesn’t solve the problem.
  • Don’t give up.
  • Don’t say you know what it’s like if you don’t. 
  • Try not to push or get angry. Recommend that they talk to their GP or go see a counsellor but realise they need to make the decision for themselves.
  • Get support for yourself. If you are in a relationship or are a carer for someone with depression it can be draining for you to be around them. Find a way to support yourself and make sure you find a way to find joy in your life.

What anyone in this situation needs to know is that they are cared for. Do that anyway you can and you can help be the silver lining that gives this person hope.

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” – Laurell K. Hamilton

— If reading this has made you realise that you may be depressed or are ready to get help then contact myself or a therapist in your area. —

An (Almost) Free Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and with it can come the pressure to spend a lot of money. The costs add up very quickly if you feel the need to conform to typical Valentine’s Day purchases. You may be expected to buy flowers, chocolates, and go out for dinner. On average people spend at least €100 on this one day! Usually unaware of how much both florists, shops and restaurants mark up their prices.

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If you want to do something nice for that special someone but are already feeling stressed about how much it will cost. It’s important to remember that doing something nice for your significant other doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you want to take this day to enjoy being a couple then all that matters is spending time together. Keeping that in mind I have outlined a day long itinerary, or a menu of sorts. That way you have the option to pick and choose whatever you feel suits you best. With the goal being getting to spend time and not cash.

Wake-up rested (free): If possible give yourselves permission to sleep in. The effects of getting a good night’s sleep are huge, from better mood to overall well-being. You don’t want to start off the day irritable and crabby, whether you live under the same roof or not decide to begin slowly. Remember, today is not about feeling pressured but feeling content.

Brunch (€10): Grab a few things to make something yummy you’ll both enjoy. A few quid spent on eggs, bread, orange juice or their favourite coffee is really all you need. To make it feel special it just needs to look special. Clear off the table, set it, add some folded napkins and viola! Special Valentine’s Day brunch at the ready.Country-kitchen-table

Fun and Games (free): Stress or the familiarity of routine gets in the way and couples can forget to have fun together. Take a few hours and play board games, card games or ask each other fun and random questions. Have music that you love playing in the background instead of the television or Netflix and keep the social media sharing to a minimum. Being present to each other means you have to keep the distractions at bay.

Head outside (free – €10, if you want coffee or hot cocoa): Although it’s the middle of February, walking hand in hand in the chilly weather can be fun and romantic. Grab something warm to sip on and go explore! Check out a park, or take a hike somewhere you’ve never been. If you cannot imagine spending time outside then just leave the house and head to a museum, an art gallery or pop into a pool hall and play some games (this may cost you, but only a few a few €).  None of these have a high price tag as many museums and galleries are free.photo-1417962779624-1790ed01e8d5

Dinner (€20 – 30): Heading out for dinner on Valentine’s Day is really where you can end up spending a fortune. Instead of being surrounded by strangers, enjoy the comfort of your home. Then you can say goodbye to set menus and the already mentioned markups. Why not have a romantic picnic on the floor? Or in a  fort? Lay down a blanket, some pillows, light a few candles and string some fairy lights. Remember if it looks special it will feel special! If you don’t feel like cooking or you are worried about your talent in the kitchen. Mix and matching from your favourite take-away will still be a small percentage of what you would be paying to eat out.

Gift Giving (Max €5): If you feel like spending the whole day together is not gift enough. There are things you can give that don’t break the bank and unlike flowers won’t need to be thrown out in a week. You don’t need to push yourself to spend more than you have. Here are some lovely gifts that prove it really is the thought that counts. Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 19.13.40

  • Write a poem.
  • Make a list of all the little things you love about them.
  • Print and frame photos of the two of you together.
  • Make a slideshow put to their favourite music.
  • Bring back the mixed tape (or mixed thumb drive).

If you were to do everything mentioned above the entire day would only cost €55! As you can see you don’t need to do something big and extravagant. The days we consider special are most often the ones filled with fun experiences. If you want to make this Valentine’s Day (or any day) memorable, show the person you love that all that matters is the connection you share. At the end of the day that is something that cannot be purchased.

“I want to be in a relationship where you telling me you love me is just a ceremonious validation of what you already show me.” – Steve Maraboli

Draining Energies

Have you ever spent time with a friend or acquaintance and felt exhausted after a visit? Some people in our lives can make us feel energised, while others can make us feel drained. It’s the people that drain us that we need to be weary of.

I have heard the term ‘energy vampire’ in the past. Although a good description of what it feels like to be in the presence of someone like this, it’s not entirely fair. Mainly because a vampires goal is to suck the life from you, for the most part the individuals that drain us are not doing this on purpose. In many cases they are completely unaware. Which is why you need to watch yourself around them.

It’s often this lack of awareness that causes the drain. If you aren’t aware of your own process (journey/struggle/ability to make sense of why you’re here) then you may get stuck in a ‘poor me’ cycle. Where instead of learning the lessons the universe keeps throwing at you, you complain that the same things continue to happen. Often insisting that everything needs to change but not starting with yourself.

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For those of us that are caregivers this type of person can very easily pull us in. They are looking for an outside source to rescue them, while the carer, in turn is looking for someone to rescue.

Are you being drained? Here are some things to note.

  • They are taking more than they are giving: if you feel drained that means the energy is going only one way. Healthy friendships and relationships are a two way street.
  • Some people love to be the victim: there are times in our lives when we are going to be miserable. Grieving, feeling sad/angry/fed-up are all normal parts of life. However, anything can become a pattern, that includes wallowing and feeling victimised. Some people begin to feel they only get attention when being the victim, you don’t have to be a part of that cycle.
  • You choose to give your power away: you have to decide what treatment is okay, that includes how much of yourself you give to others. Boundaries are important in all relationships.

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If you have a friend who’s feeling like a drain these days and just needs extra support than make sure you’ve protected yourself. Follow the steps above and imagine there’s a strong force field that surrounds you before you spend time with them. Imagine it keeps you grounded and protected.

If until this point you had never noticed how you felt around others then start checking in. When you’re with your best friend, partner or work colleagues, take a few slow deep breaths and notice how you feel in your body. You are more than a well of energy for others to take advantage of. The more tuned in you are with yourself the better you will know where there are imbalances in your life.

“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” – Joel Osteen

Grieve the Dream

The ending of a relationship is like a death. It’s the death of the life we were living. It is also the death of the life we imagined for the future. Often times the sadness we feel when a relationship ends is not completely connected to the other person; but instead connected to the life we saw with them.

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Although happiness begins with ourselves, the right person can make us feel complete. While the wrong person can make us feel like something is missing. For many people, that feeling of unhappiness makes us change many parts of our lives. Not yet wanting to admit what it is that’s making us feel unfulfilled.

The thought of not being with your partner can seem scary and overwhelming. Especially if they have found a way to chip away at your confidence and shine a light on your insecurities. That’s why the question of ‘Why do they stay?’ to women in abusive relationship is so unfair. When you feel as though you deserve terrible treatment, you put up with terrible treatment.

Sometimes a relationship ends with no fault of anyone. You used to love each other, now you don’t. You had a wonderful life together, now you don’t. You saw an entire future with this person, now you don’t. Although this connection with them is ending, your life with them may not be (especially if you have children), it will just be different.

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If you have just come out of a relationship, or you are thinking about ending one, it’s important to give yourself time to grieve. Grieve the life you had imagined and grieve the person you wanted them to be. It can be difficult to move on, especially if you keep searching for closure. We usually want to get that from the other person but like most things it has to come from within. Give yourself time to be sad and know that this ending is the beginning of a new chapter.

There will come a time when you will look back and perhaps see this time as a defining moment. A time of chaos when like a phoenix you rose from the flames and started a new life.

“Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake and help us see we are worth so much more than we’re settling for.”  -Mandy Hale

Relationships

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The subject of relationships often pops up with clients, it often pops up in life. When it comes to romantic relationships things can get complicated very fast. There have been studies done that compare falling in love to being on drugs. It’s no wonder that after the falling has happened some people sit back and wonder how they got to where they are.

If you are presently at a relationship cross roads, take some time and sit with your feelings. Don’t sit with how you used to feel but how you feel now. Far too many people end up staying in unhappy relationships holding onto the past. They focus on how different they were or how different he/she was. Unfortunately that’s not the reality, how is the relationship today?

Ground yourself in the present and ask yourself what makes any relationship good. Does yours have these qualities? Here are a few ideas of what to look for:

  • We share some secrets.
  • We know about each other’s dreams and expectations.
  • Our first date is fresh in my mind.
  • I feel I come home to my partner whenever we meet up.
  • We disagree, we talk, we negotiate, we compromise.
  • Sex is pretty good most of the time.
  • We see conflict is a healthy component in our relationship. It tells us there are things to discuss, not things to drive us apart.
  • I love her/him for what they are, not for what I want.
  • He/She is my best friend.

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How do you feel about yourself in the relationship? The Self can often get lost in the love for another, which isn’t healthy. You should both have a part of your lives that is separate, it gives space for growth and exploration. If you want to read up on what is healthy and what isn’t, check out more here.

Every now and then checking in on how you feel about your relationship is important. It’s better if you don’t wait until it seems as though things are falling apart.

I know how scary it can be to imagine a life without your partner in it. But wouldn’t it be scarier to look back and see you spent so long unhappy? Open a dialogue with yourself, then open one with your partner.

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky