Australia Counselling is a professional counselling site that helps to locate counsellors and therapists in your area. It is also a knowledge base with great articles on different areas that counsellors normally work with. They recently published an article I wrote on their site about ways to help manage and overcome depression. Read it here.
We often talk about the importance of communication. The words we say, how we say them and how well we listen. But did you know that it is estimated that about 55% of our communication is in fact through body language? Incredible to realise that we may not even be aware of most of the messages we are sending to people.
How does this relate to self-esteem? Often people with low self-esteem give out negative messages about themselves without realising it. You can help to improve your confidence and self-esteem by paying attention to sending positive signals through body language. You may not feel positive or secure but essentially, ‘fake it till you make it’!
So what can you do with your body language to appear to people as friendly, approachable and confident? Following are some basics about body language and how you can use it as a tool to help boost your confidence and self-esteem.
1. Make eye contact
When you have low self-esteem it is often natural to look away from people in social or work situations and have no or little eye contact when in public places. This instantly sends a negative message to people around us.
Make an effort to look people in the eye when you speak to them. If you find this confronting, then focus on the space between the eyes at the top of their nose and they won’t know the difference. [Read more…]
I always take notice when I am out and I see an old couple walking together holding hands, smiling and seeming to actually like each other. How on earth do they do that? Is it possible to have a happy relationship that lasts the test of time? Is it possible these days or is it a thing of the past when divorce was frowned upon and you put up with an unsatisfying relationship?
I find it fascinating watching these couples interact and could probably be accused of staring rudely when I come across it because it seems so rare these days. Great couples seem to have their own private language going on with small gestures and looks that only they know. Working with couples to help mend relationships, I see so much potential and so much love and yet the statistics show that this does not often convert to long term success.
So, what are the secrets to a happy marriage and a successful relationship long term? I asked a few couples that have a happy marriage lasting between 18 and 50 years, who still really love and like each other (really!!). It turns out that it is a pretty simple formula as to what makes a good relationship.
There were 4 things that came up repeatedly.
If you have read some of my other articles you are probably getting tired of hearing this, but successful couples say this is an integral part of avoiding problems in the relationship. The reality is that none of us are taught how to communicate effectively and so we go with what we know.
Resolving problems in a relationship over many years is going to take really good communication. So unless you are one of the few lucky ones that do it naturally, it is important to take the time to learn how to communicate effectively.
Not sure if you do communicate well? Have a look at your current relationship or past ones and assess them. Were there any issues that were outstanding or came up repeatedly? Did you ever yell and scream? Did you call each other names? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then chances are you could benefit from learning some effective communication. [Read more…]
Many of the clients I work with these days say that Facebook and other social media are causing them some problems in their relationship. Most people have some form of social media account and use this to communicate with both their friends, family and a much wider audience.
Previously in relationships, communication was limited to those close to us in our daily lives such as family, friends and work relationships. With Facebook we now have the ability to talk to and share our lives with anyone in the world. Sounds like a good thing right?
Unfortunately, along with the benefits of great technology, come a whole new set of problems that we are often not aware of until they occur. Some of the problems associated with Facebook are causing relationships to break up or become at the very least, distrustful and hurtful.
Relationships and Facebook
Facebook and social media have provided us with a wonderful way to communicate with a large group of people easily. On the other side however, we are aware that employers use Facebook to check potential employees but did you know that it is also now being used as a tool in divorce?
Recently in America, a superior court judge in Conneticut ordered a divorcing couple to hand over their Facebook passwords to the opposing lawyers to help determine the outcome of the divorce settlement! What is placed on personal pages of Facebook is being used in some cases, to help determine how fit a parent each one is and can have a bearing on custody. It’s a bit confronting to know that the big night out you had last week and posted on Facebook for your friends, may now work against you at some point in the future. [Read more…]
Self-esteem is the view we have of ourselves, not how others view us. It has a great affect on our ability to be happy and also our ability to achieve our true potential in life. Many people suffer from low self-esteem and believe that this is a normal way to live.
Ask yourself – do you like the person you are? Do you think you are good enough? Attractive enough? Do you feel other people have a positive view of you? Do you think that you have achieved enough? If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these then you may have low self-esteem.
Interestingly, many people who suffer from low self-esteem also suffer some level of anxiety and depression. When you have low self-esteem you often doubt yourself and may get anxious about certain things. This leads to feeling low about how much you have achieved in life or who you are. This in turn may cause some level of low mood or depression.
The cycle continues and if you don’t break it then it tends to get worse. As your depression deepens, your self-esteem drops again and so on in a negative cycle. The result is often that you are living a life that is only partially or not at all fulfilling. Many of the clients I see suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. [Read more…]
Communication is essentially the sending and receiving of messages between people. While it sounds like a really simple thing to do most couples I work with get it wrong and this often forms the basis for relationship problems. When we speak to each other, there are a number of different signals that we are giving and receiving, including the words spoken, the tone used and the facial and body language expressed.
A strong relationship is made up of many things but despite this, if the communication is not effective, then at times of stress or when there are important issues to discuss it can all fall apart due to mixed messages. Improve your communication and you will undoubtedly improve your relationship and often other parts of your life too.
The following points can help you to communicate effectively
Listen and don’t interrupt
Alright so we all know this, but most people are listening with one ear and busy forming their response at the same time. This means that in all likelihood you are missing vital parts of the message being sent. The likely results are that you miss the message and respond inappropriately, which then goes back and forth and generally results in a disagreement or at best a result that one person isn’t pleased with. Often a fight erupts as you both speak over each other and nothing is solved as you didn’t actually hear what the other person was trying to say.
To fix this, simply remain silent. Really pay attention to what the other person is saying and then when you are sure of the message intended, respond. Take turns and be respectful of what your partner is trying to say even though you may not agree.
Stay on topic
Often when couples fight they start discussing one issue and then throw in another and another. Eventually nobody really knows what they are fighting about. This is often used to win the argument or deflect attention from the problem raised.
Whatever issue is up for discussion, stick with it and don’t move to another topic until it has been resolved. If your partner brings up a different subject, gently remind them that you are speaking about the current topic and can discuss the issue they have raised afterwards if they would like to.
Pay attention to body language
Did you know that most of our communication is believed to be through body language, facial expression and tone, not through the words themselves? That’s one of the reasons text messages cause so many fights amongst couples (and friends). Often a message is interpreted as a negative communication when it wasn’t intended that way, because so many important factors are missing from the message being sent.
When you talk to your partner about a problem, pay attention to the body language, facial expressions and tone of both you and your partner. Make sure you keep your tone even and calm. This alone can sometimes stop an argument from erupting. If your tone is rising, you may as well stop talking because it just became less effective communication.
Watch what messages you are sending through your facial expressions. If you aren’t angry make sure your facial expressions reflect this.
Again, with your body language, make sure it is sending the same message as the words you are using. Stay turned towards your partner, keep your body relaxed and stay on the same level physically. This is especially important for men, as women may at times view a strong, tense stance as threatening.
Maintain Physical Contact
If possible try and have some physical contact with your partner when you are talking about something serious, as it can help to maintain a link between you and keep the discussion calm. Hold hands or put a hand on the others arm or knee gently. It’s much harder to argue when you are showing some form of affection.
Use a ‘Checkout’ Statement
Often the message we think we are sending is not clear to the other person and they assume a different message. It is clear in your head but not necessarily clear to your partner what you are trying to say. Mixed messages fly back and forth and you may be arguing over nothing at all.
Use a ‘checkout’ statement. This is a really important aspect of communication. If your partner says something that you don’t agree with, seems hurtful or you are just not sure of – ask them. A lot of the time just doing this can allow your partner to clarify the message and you are then responding to the right message. To do this, say something like: “So what you are saying is that….”? Or “what I am hearing you say is ….”. Use your own words to describe what you have heard them say. Your partner can then agree with the statement you have made or state that is not what they are trying to convey and restate their message.
This sounds really simple but is a really effective way of reducing incorrect messages and improving communication.
Try and see each others point of view
We all have our own perceptions of how life should be based on our own beliefs and experiences. That doesn’t mean it is always right for your partner.
If you are on opposing sides of a discussion, try and listen to what it means to your partner. Try and imagine yourself in their position. How would you feel? Having empathy and being able to accept that your partners feelings and thoughts are valid even if they are different to yours can go a long way to solving disputes. Ask them to explain what it means to them. You don’t always need to agree, but you can accept each others point of view and work together from there.
In arguments you may often find that you are defending your actions and explaining why. This is often an attempt to get the other person to see the reason and then leave the discussion alone.
If you have done something (or not done something) which has upset your partner, rather than trying to defend it, accept responsibility. Say sorry. This sounds easy but many people struggle with it. It can go a long way to stopping an argument, calming a situation and keeping harmony in your relationship. You can always explain your actions but an apology or acceptance of responsibility first helps.
Learn to compromise
Every issue that you come across with your partner does not have just a two-sided component. You don’t need to stick with your point just because it was yours!
If you disagree on an issue, work together as a team to resolve it effectively. Discuss it and make sure you understand the issue. Work out what it means to your partner, express what it means to you, and then work out the outcomes of each option. Once you have all of the information it will become clear if there is an easy option. If there isn’t, then you need to work on a compromise. Work together to try and find a solution that works for both of you. This isn’t about winning or losing but putting the relationship first and finding the best outcome for it.
At times you may find that a discussion is starting to get heated or may just be going around in circles.
If this happens, take time-out. State to your partner that you need a break from the conversation and will come back to it later (don’t just run out). Take the time to calm down and if necessary go for a walk or do another activity until you are ready to address the issue again. Make sure you do return to the subject. A healthy relationship is one that is able to work through important issues and find a resolution.
If you find that you are unable to resolve issues effectively, don’t leave them as they have a tendency to build over time. The best time to get help for your relationship is when there are small problems. These can be easily addressed with some help.
If you would like to learn more about learning good communication skills, give me a call or if you prefer, make an appointment through the online booking option. Good luck and let me know if you found this helpful.
Need help creating a healthy relationship?
1. Click the Book Online button below to find my first available appointment and book online; or
2. If you’re not ready to book an appointment, please call me on 0468 950 420 for a FREE 10-minute consultation to discuss your needs and find out how I can help you.
Article submitted by Paula Tazzyman – Accredited Practicing Dietitan specialising in Mental Health
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
Regrettably, Hippocrates’ philosophy has been largely overlooked in the management of depression. We forget that the brain is a chemical factory needing protein (amino acids) vitamins and minerals to manufacture brain chemicals. If the diet is poor these nutrients will not be present to optimally make these chemicals. Making positive changes to support your mood is easy and the results can be very significant.
Five things you can do today to support your mood.
1. Eat tryptophan rich protein foods.
Tryptophan is an amino acid required to make serotonin, the feel good brain chemical. You can help your brain make serotonin naturally by eating: turkey, cheese – especially cottage, swiss and cheddar, milk, yoghurt, eggs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts, soy and other legumes.
2. Eat plenty of zinc rich foods.
Zinc deficiency is very common in depression, as zinc is required to make serotonin. Eat oysters, ideally fresh, to increase the zinc content of your diet. Zinc is best absorbed from animal foods such as seafood and red meat. Pumpkin seeds are a good option from plant foods.
Signs of zinc deficiency include: white spots/ridges on nails, stretch marks, poor wound healing, mouth ulcers, eczema & psoriasis, hair loss, low immunity, loss of appetite, impaired sense of taste and smell.
A blood test for zinc is not the best marker as only 1% of zinc is found in the blood. Ask a naturopath to administer a zinc drink test, as taste buds are rich in zinc. If you are considering supplementation zinc picolinate is the best form of zinc. Large doses of zinc can unbalance other nutrients so discuss with your health care provider.
3. Eat a magnesium rich diet.
Magnesium is also involved in making serotonin. Magnesium calms the nervous system and relaxes the body. Brazil nuts (3-4 per day), rolled oats and brown rice are great sources of magnesium as are green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes and dark chocolate. When magnesium levels are low, muscles are tight leading to cramps and muscle fatigue. Decreased magnesium levels are also associated with increased hyperactivity and impulsivity, poor sleep, poor attention, constipation, anxiety and depression.
A blood test for magnesium is not a reliable marker for magnesium levels as the body will do all it can to maintain blood magnesium normal. You can help your body absorb magnesium by adding Epson salts to your bath. Add 1 cup of Epson salts, relax and soak for at least 20 minutes. If you don’t have a bath you can soak your feet in a bucket with ½ c Epson salts added to the water. In Australia Epson salts can be purchased in bulk from www.blants.com.au.
If you are considering supplementation, magnesium citrate is the best form of magnesium. You want a dose of around 500mg per day for adults. A great product can be purchased online in powder or tablet form here.
4. Omega 3 fish oils are a great support for mood.
Research has shown that 1 gram of EPA omega 3 is of benefit in treating depression. In Australia, because of the temperature of the water, fish is high in DHA omega 3 with the exception of the Queensland mullet. So while eating fish is great, it is unlikely to provide the brain with the EPA that it needs for anti-depression benefits. Blood tests to check levels of omega 3 fats are very expensive and not usually done.
Signs that the body needs more omega 3 fats: excessive thirst; frequent urination; rough, dry, bumpy skin; dry, dull hair/dandruff; soft, brittle nails, eczema, asthma, hay fever, poor night vision, sensitivity to light, visual disturbances, distractibility, poor concentration, difficulties with memory, depression, excessive mood swings, undue anxiety, difficulties falling asleep or waking up.
Blackmore’s Pro omega joint formula provides 1 gram of EPA in 2 capsules. You can also buy this online here.
5. Last but definitely not least- Get your Vitamin D levels checked.
It is hard to believe but Vitamin D deficiency is becoming very common in Australia. You can have a blood test to determine your Vitamin D levels. Aim for levels that are well above 75 nmol/L all year around. Scientific evidence is indicating that levels around 100-120 nmol/L will give optimum protection from diseases like cancer as well as mental health. Most people don’t know that Vitamin D plays a very significant role in protecting our brain and supporting healthy brain function and is proven to have links to depression. Vitamin D is vital to activate the immune system. Ever wonder why the flu season is not in summer when we have more sunlight?
Vitamin D is made in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight (UVB rays). About 90% of requirements are obtained via sun exposure. You need to expose about 20% of your skin to the sun’s rays between the hours of 10 – 3pm. In Sydney, you need 6-8 minutes in summer and 26-28 minutes in winter if you have fair skin. The darker the skin the more sun exposure you require.
In winter it can be difficult to get this much sun exposure so I recommend supplementation from May to September. In Australia you can only buy tablets in the dose of 1000 I.U. Most people will need far more than 1000 I.U per day to reach Vitamin D levels of 100 nmol/L.
I purchase my Vitamin D online from the link below.
It is very important not to get sunburned but some sunlight is vital!!
As written by Paula Tazzyman.
Paula Tazzyman is a Sydney based Accredited Practicing Dietitian (BSc Ma Nut & Diet -Sydney Uni) who specialises in supporting clients with mental health issues as well as children with ADHD/Autism and other learning and behaviour difficulties.
Feel free to contact Paula on 0418 162 202 or email email@example.com. You can also read Paula’s tips on her Facebook page-
1. Good communication
We always talk about communicating well with our partner to build and maintain a good relationship, but what does that really mean?
When you communicate with your partner, be completely involved in the conversation. Listen. Too often we are forming our next statement or argument whilst our partner is still talking. This means you aren’t really listening.
Be silent, listen and really pay attention. If you aren’t sure of the message your partner is trying to send, ask them if you have it right. Then you can respond. This helps to eliminate the arguments that often come from a conversation that crosses over when both parties are trying to be ‘right’ rather than trying to work with their partner.
Remember, relationships are team work. If you work together to communicate well you will get a better result than if you work against each other to win the argument.
2. Quality Time
At the start of a relationship we often try and spend as much time alone with our partner as possible. As the length of the relationship grows and we start to feel safe in the relationship we tend to put in less effort. It’s a bit like servicing a car. Keep up the regular work and it will run well, don’t and chances are it will eventually break down.
Spending time together alone as a couple is a really healthy and important way of maintaining your relationship. This means putting dedicated time aside for each other. It doesn’t need to be extravagant holidays and dinners. Simple time together like a quiet meal alone, an evening drink together after the kids are in bed, a walk in the park. These all count as quality time. Make time for it.
This sounds like a really simple concept and yet so many of us struggle with it. Learn to say sorry. Learn to accept your partner’s apology.
As much as we may believe we are always right, the reality is sometimes we are going to be wrong. If you are wrong, accept it, say sorry to your partner and mean it. This can really go a long way to building a strong partnership.
If your partner makes a mistake and is strong enough to say sorry then accept the apology. If you have really been hurt this can be hard, but accept the apology, talk about how to fix it and once it has been dealt with – leave it. Don’t use it as a weapon in future arguments or you will erode the ability to forgive in your relationship.
4. Realistic Expectations
Every relationship is going to have differences. You aren’t a clone of your partner and so regardless of how well you match on most things, there are going to be areas of difference that may irritate you.
It’s really important in a relationship to consider if it is something that is worth working to change or if it is something that doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. Be realistic. None of us are perfect and so no relationship is going to be perfect.
Make sure that the expectations you have in your relationship and of your partner are valid, real and achievable.
Often we get so busy with daily tasks that we let the little things slide. These things may not mean much on their own but over time they can build up to form negative patterns that cause problems.
An effective way of maintaining a healthy relationship is to have regular ‘debriefing’ sessions. Choose a place that is quiet and where you aren’t going to be interrupted. Don’t pick a time when you are tired or had a bad day. A dinner out is a great option as you are focused on each other and with the atmosphere of other people around, arguments are less likely to occur.
Make sure you both know it is ‘relationship’ time and use this time to discuss exactly where you both feel the relationship is at the moment. Take turns, be nice and don’t use it as a blame or point scoring exercise.
Talk about the good things in the relationship. Tell your partner the things they have been doing that you like and what it means to you. Often we don’t take the time to do this and it can be a surprise to your partner to know what has made you happy.
Once you have talked about the nice things, you need to point out the things that have been an issue for you. Be specific and as objective as possible. Offer your partner solutions as to what you would have preferred if possible and again explain what it means to you. Be nice about it. The point is to give each other information to help make each other happy, not put your partner down.
Try and do this about every three months. If you do it well it can really help to improve your relationship and iron out the small problems before they become unmanageable.
6. Appreciate your Partner
We all know exactly what irritates us in our partner but we often ignore the things they do that make us happy. We all thrive on praise but probably don’t give it as much as we should.
Notice your partner. Tell them what they have done that you like. Thank them. Appreciate it. The more you praise someone the more likely they are to repeat the behaviour. Be real about it but really try and look at the good things in your partner.
7. Aim to Please
Think back to the start of your relationship. What were you doing to try and make your partner like you and be happy? Are you still doing it?
Team work means both of you working together to try and make a healthy relationship. If you both put in the effort to please the other then chances are you will both come out on top.
It’s the small things that count. Do nice things for your partner. Offer to help out, buy a small gift for no reason, send a loving text, plan some time together or give them a back rub. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to do nice things, you just need to remember to do it.
It’s important to make sure this doesn’t become a point scoring exercise whereby you do something nice and expect something in return. You both need to be genuine and give freely.
8. Be Supportive
Accept your partners dreams and goals. Accept the differences. Help them achieve their personal goals if you can and if not, be supportive of them doing it. In a relationship the other person is supposed to be the first person you can turn to for help, for nurturing, for acceptance, for support in the bad times.
If your partner has had a bad day at work, you may not be able to fix it but you can listen and be supportive. Often when people talk to their partner about their problems they don’t want them to fix it, they just need to talk it through and feel accepted and supported. If you aren’t sure how to help, ask you partner, “How can I help”?
9. Be responsible for your own happiness
Relationships are their own entity. A relationship consists of two individuals who have come together to make life even more enjoyable and fulfilling. It is important to remember that you are still individuals.
While working as a team means trying to make each other happy, ultimately you need to be happy on your own before you can be happy in a relationship. Take responsibility for this. Do things that make you happy. Have your own interests, hobbies and goals. You can share many things with your partner but it is really important to maintain your own interests and be happy on your own too.
If you don’t feel happy it is up to you to do something about it. Your partner can work on the relationship with you but you need to make sure you are happy with the person you are or the relationship ultimately won’t be healthy.
Have a bit of fun with this one and help your partner to learn about you too. Each of you write a wishlist of what you would like from the other. It can be big or small things. Have fun with it and list some things your partner may not think of.
Be realistic with your list. There’s no point in putting down something that is either unachievable or that your partner won’t want to do. Swap lists with your partner and try and do the things on the list at random times to make each other happy.
These are just a few things that are often neglected in a relationship but that can go a really long way to helping maintain a healthy, strong and fulfilling relationship in the long term.
If you’re wanting some help creating a healthy relationship, contact me on 0468 950 420 to discuss how relationship counselling can make a difference or email me.
Depression is a real illness that can affect anybody no matter who they are or how successful they are in life. Unlike a physical injury that shows those around you that you are in pain and need help, it is a silent, hidden illness that is rarely understood by those that have not experienced it or do not work with it directly.
One of the worst parts of depression can be the attitude of those around you. The family and friends that provide support and help in most situations do not understand what is happening to you and while they may mean well, can often make the sufferer feel worse by offering platitudes or telling you that you are fine and will get over it.
Depression varies in the intensity and severity and can be a mild depressive mood that passes fairly quickly on it’s own through to a severe state where the person is almost completely incapable of functioning normally and may have suicidal thoughts. Sometimes mild depression if left untreated can get worse.
With help it is an illness that can be cured but often sufferers do not know how to ask for help, feel they can’t ask for help or just accept that their life is like that. In fact it is believed that most people do not seek help for depression and may live with it for years. Acknowledging that you need help and asking for it can be the hardest step to take but incredibly worthwhile.
Depression can be treated through counselling or a combination of counselling and medication depending on the severity and causes. Most people find that with intervention and help they make a full recovery.
Recognising Depression in yourself
It can be really hard to recognise or accept that you may have depression. Living with depression can seem like a normal way of living to some people especially when you have been living with it for a long time and no longer know what it is to be happy. It is normal to feel down sometimes but if the feelings persist for a few weeks it may be indicative of a more serious problem. If you are feeling some of the following then it may be worth talking to someone about it to see if you are suffering from depression.
- Feel miserable or hopeless
- Poor memory
- Loss of interest in activities
- Persistant crying
- Low self-esteem
- Disturbed sleep
- Change in appetite
- Loss of libido
- Withdrawal socially
- Inability to concentrate
- Thoughts of suicide
- Low energy
- Feel helpless
- Dread the coming day
Recognising Depression in others
When people are suffering from severe depression it usually becomes obvious to those close to them. However, for mild to moderate levels of depression it can be hard to detect especially if the person is trying to cover it up. Some signs to pay attention to in family and friends are:
- Cry easily
- Talk with little emotion
- Seem to find no joy in activities
- Have low self-esteem
- Suffer from anxiety
If you would like some help please give me a call on 0468 950 420 or email me and I will call you to discuss your needs. Don’t live with depression – life can be good again.
A True Account
Following is a true account of one woman’s experience with depression. It is a confronting account but I have included it in the hope that some people experiencing depression may relate to some parts of this story and take steps to get help.
“I am existing each day. Yet another day begins with me waking of a morning from a few hours of disturbed sleep to the knowledge that here begins another day to try and exist through. The night did not end my problems, they are still in my head and the cycle of endless painful thoughts begins again.
I have no choice but to drag myself out of bed and attempt to act like a normal person for my children as I prepare them for school. Every moment is an effort and a blur as I make school lunches and prepare breakfast. I think I am doing an adequate job of keeping on top of things but the reality is they are often given the wrong lunches or uniform and it is only through their intervention that I manage, most of the time, to get them to school in some semblance of order. At school I paste the mum smile on my face and try and look as though I care as I don’t listen to the meaningless chatter and complaints from the other school mums. I’m fine.
When I can escape I flee back home and hide away doing I’m not sure what. Somehow I get through the day and do some meaningless tasks that apparently still need to be done. There doesn’t seem much point to any of this but it is expected of me and I have to keep up appearances. Sometimes I sleep. I cry a lot. Those endless tears that seem to spill over my eyelids for no apparent reason. I’m really not sure how I fill those hours. Through my head over and over run the thoughts that there is no way out. I cannot escape my head. I cannot find the solution. I cannot find any way to change my life. Surely an intelligent person like me can find an answer. I can’t. This must mean that I am not intelligent. I hate myself. That’s nothing new, I’ve hated myself for a while I’m just gathering more evidence to support this view. There are people around but I am so lonely. My head is not a nice place to be. But I’m fine.
The day is gone and it is time to collect the kids from school. My reprieve from having that smile pasted on my face is over. It’s showtime again. Back at school I try and tell my group of ‘friends’ that things aren’t great when they force themselves to be polite and ask how things are going. What I want to say is ‘Please make this go away, make my head be silent, hear that I am not fine and show me the way out, tell me what to do’. I don’t. They don’t want to hear that. Everything is fine. Fine – how I hate that word. My friends can see that I am not happy. I am almost silent in my own world. They respond with the usual ‘you will be stronger for this experience’ and then run away from my misery. It might be catching.
Back home there is homework to be done and dinner to cook. Home work is sometimes done. Dinner is sometimes made. The kids have become adept and snacking and television is both their parent and my best friend. I can now escape to the shower and cry the endless tears in peace. I don’t have to pretend that I have dust in my eyes. Mum is fine.
It’s bed time for the kids. I’m almost through another day of hell. I put them to bed and finally I can escape to the bottle of wine that is waiting to help me sleep. I sit in the dark outside and watch the moon travel across the night sky and return to the one subject that brings me relief. I plan how I will kill myself.
With this at least there is an answer. I know exactly how I will do it. How to make sure it is done properly. I know that people will be a little sad. That is normal when something dies. I also know they will get on with their lives. I’m so ugly, so stupid, so pathetic, so useless that for some people it will probably be a relief. For me too it will be a huge relief. To never wake again seems the most peaceful answer I can find. The end of my life will not be a peaceful one and yet even the violence I have planned on myself is welcome..
There is just one point I have not yet worked out in this plan. Who will raise my children? Will they be ok? I don’t yet have an answer to that and I care just enough somewhere deep within that I don’t act tonight. It’s 4am, I should be able to sleep now. I will tackle that question again tomorrow night when I pretend to live a life again. I stumble to bed and wait for sleep to provide the only escape I can have. I’m fine.
Over a year later and I am still here. I did not kill myself. I finally asked for help and someone listened. It was a long road. It was worth it.
I am not fine. I am happy.
If you know someone who seems down often – ask them if they are alright and if they answer “fine”, ask again. Listen to the answer. You may just help save someone’s life.
If you need help with the treatment of depression, call me on 0468 950 420 or email me.
How do you know your partner loves you? Is it through their words of love or their actions?
Gary Chapman is the author of a book called “Five Love Languages” which suggests that there are five ways or languages through which people give and receive love. According to his theory each person has a primary love language and it is through this language that we know and believe we are loved. Through marriage counselling and helping couples to heal their relationships, I have found this theory to be useful at times.
The five languages he describes are:
Quality Time – this means spending time with your partner that is meaningful and worthwhile. Doing activities together, focusing on each other and giving undivided attention. It is important to make time together if your partner has this as their primary love language. [Read more…]