Thursday, 11 October 2018


 H is for Healing

noun: healing
the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day, so I thought this blog should focus on emotional and psychological healing.

 Image result for world health mental health day image


There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help. – Catherine Zeta-Jones

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ Matthew 11:28-30

We all have problems, those stumbling blocks or things that crop up that interrupt the smooth running of our lives. Generally, they stop us from doing what we’d like to be doing. Most problems can be solved, either by problem-solving strategies, asking someone who’s already been through the situation, or enlisting the help of someone with experience in that area.

Sometimes though we cannot solve our problems. Sometimes despite all our best efforts to change things, nothing happens. We are stuck and when a person becomes stuck they will often experience symptoms in their body. It could be the shakes, or avoidance of situations or maybe even staying in bed. Some people try to escape from their problems and symptoms by working late, with food, alcohol, drugs, sex or excessive entertainment. This is not the way to live - we need to find healing.

Help for Your Mental Health

I would often look at the psychologist business cards at my local doctor’s clinic. For many years before I had my anxiety and depression breakdown, I wanted to go and see one, but I was scared and embarrassed. I knew my head wasn’t right. I knew there were things in my past that I needed to deal with. There were things I just couldn’t shake on my own. I knew the stress of my life was getting to me. But did I make the appointment? No. Not until it was forced upon me by my doctor. He told me that as part of my recovery I needed to go and see a psychologist. I had no choice. I had to do it. 
So why didn’t I go and seek help and healing years before when I knew in my heart that I should? 
Because I think there is a stigma about seeking help, particularly where our mental health is concerned. You must be crazy if you go and see a psychologist or a counsellor or go to a support group right? We feel it is a sign that we are not coping. That we are weak. But by not seeking help we are denying ourselves from being the best person we can be. Seeking help can rid us of chains that are wrapped around our brains and our hearts. A friend told me something I have always remembered. ‘If you had a broken arm you’d get it fixed, mental illness is the same. Go get it fixed.’ This is so true.  

Going to a psychologist has given me many ‘aha’ moments and through these 'aha' moments, I have been given healing. I act this way because of something in my past. I react this way because of something in my past. I have fears because of… I am obsessive and a perfectionist because… I married this person because… This is a trigger because… The list goes on. I now understand myself better. And when my anxiety takes over or I have bad or weird dreams, I can look at the situation and my reactions and feelings and ask myself, why I am feeling this way? And normally because of my therapy I can work through it. I can identify the triggers. I now have the skills to cope with my anxiety and depression when it hits. Therapy doesn’t take my feelings away, but I don’t go as low as I used to, and I know how to handle things. And if I don’t feel I can cope, I can ring my psychologist and make an appointment to go and work through it. 

Also if you have children who are displaying symptoms of anxiety and depression, take them to see a psychologist. My daughter has struggled with her mental health since she was 7 years old. It is really difficult to see your child struggling. Make known to them that you are there for them and they can tell you anything. Don’t presume they know that – tell them. I have found that they might not want to tell you anything so be prepared for that. At times I’ve had to read my daughter’s mental health through her behaviour and her Facebook posts. Now on the other hand they may tell you things that shock you. My advice if this happens, is to stay calm inside. If you blow up or react negatively, then they will shut down and may not come back to you in the future. You don’t want to lose their trust, but of course you also have to parent them. It’s a delicate balancing act. They may even say, ‘I’m okay,’ when they’re really not, as they don’t want to talk about how they are feeling. 

I must add here that you may not like the first psychologist you see. I was fortunate, I did, but my daughter did not. For a professional relationship to develop, you need to like your psychologist and need to feel at ease with them. There needs to be rapport between you both. If you don’t feel comfortable, or you feel like you’re being condescended, then you won’t be open or receptive to what the therapist is saying. My daughter tried a few different psychologists until we found her a match. If this happens to you, keep going until you find the right fit.  

Do you use google to solve your problems? There are great articles on reputable sites which can definitely help you but I still recommend seeing a professional, particularly if you have given the practical online advice and strategies a good shot, but you don’t feel any different.  

When sharing with friends, you will find that there are many who are eager to offer solutions to your problem. Before going ahead with the advice, consider things carefully. What gives your friends the wisdom to tell you what to do? Do they have expertise or experience in the field? 

So what does a psychologist do? To put it simply they talk to you and you talk to them. There is nothing scary about it. Now you’re probably wondering why would you talk to a stranger about your problems, particularly when you have friends or family you can talk to? Well psychologists are trained in different types of therapies and questioning techniques which help you to unpack what is at the core of your feelings. It may not be what you think it is. 

In general, going to a psychologist can help a person to:

  • ·         Change negative thoughts and feelings
  • ·         Encourage them to get involved in activities
  • ·         Develop problem-solving techniques 
  •           Speed the person’s recovery
  • ·         Identify ways to manage one’s mental and physical wellbeing

Psychologists can look past the words you are saying. They can pick up on your body language and your tone of voice. They can go deeper. They have the knowledge to explore your issues in a guided way. They are not going to give you answers necessarily but they will help you to express your needs, your hurts, and your wants. And talking to a psychologist is confidential. The psychologist is not going to gossip about you. You can be as open as you want to. There is no fear of embarrassment. You don’t need to keep secrets. You can expose your true self. 

Psychologists also can help you to identify triggers such as someone yelling in the shops may make you shaky if you were in an abusive relationship. They can teach you strategies for coping and ways to solve problems, and they can help you increase your self-confidence and train you to be assertive. They can help change your way of thinking about situations, and help you put everything in perspective. They encourage you to face your fears. They support you as you do face your fears. They can help you to question your own thinking, because our thinking is not always correct. It is affected by our experiences and can at times be irrational and illogical. I'm sure you can see how this can lead to your healing.

If you are in Australia, you can visit your GP and ask for a Mental Health Care Plan. This entitles you to up to 10 sessions with a psychologist in a year. These are free if you are on a pension card, or at a reduced cost as there is a Medicare rebate. You can also get five sessions per calendar year with a general Care Plan and some health funds pay for psychology. 

  • ·         Anxiety
  • ·         Bullying/racism
  • ·         Depression
  • ·         Family issues
  • ·         Health issues - Addictions / Dentistry / Eating Disorders / Illness and Somatoform Disorders / Pain Management / Smoking Cessation / Stress Management / Wellness
  • ·         Stress management
  • ·         Spirituality
  • ·         Trauma/PTSD  

It is important to know that a psychologists cannot prescribe medication. For this, a General Practitioner or psychiatrist needs to be consulted. 

Some more specific examples of when you should see a psychologist:

  1. An issue or your back story is causing considerable distress, and is affecting your life e.g. maybe you have severe anxiety which is stopping you from going to work, or you have diarrhea every day that you have work. Maybe you avoid social situations.  
  2. Your friends or family are pulling away because are tired of hearing about your problems, or they can’t cope with supporting you anymore.
  3. Nothing you have done helps.
  4. You have become addicted or overuse something because of your mental state. Maybe you overeat, or drink or take drugs.
  5.  People have told you to go and get help.

There are also website and helplines you can ring in Australia:

·         Kids Helpline
·         Headspace
·         Beyond Blue
·         Lifeline
·         Black Dog Institute

My final question is - Do you need to find healing for your mental health?

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