Posts

The 13 -19th May 2019 marks Mental Health Awareness week here in the UK, and whilst it’s not like me to post a time-appropriate blog; bringing awareness to my own mental health this week has organically brought me here.

Mental health is not new! But it is thankfully becoming something we are starting to talk about, blog about and even sing about.

It’s perhaps one of the greatest invisible illnesses and can be the biggest killer, especially amongst men.

There is still so much stigma attached to those two little words, ‘Mental Health’.  Just by speaking them we often get subconsciously divided into camps for the weak and the strong; falling subject to ignorance, judgement and even other people’s unprecedented fear.

Yet through my personal and professional experience of working for many years within health and social care, I know that it actually takes incredible strength and self-awareness to say the words ‘I’M NOT OK‘.   In fact, it’s an admired vulnerability I am still trying to master myself.

Mental health doesn’t fit neatly into a tick-box as it resides on an ever evolving subjective spectrum, nestled somewhere deeply within a very personal healing journey.

It doesn’t always come with a diagnosis and it’s so much more than the commonly labelled and experienced ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety.’

It’s not something that always needs medicating, is a long term issue or inevitably leads to suicide.  It doesn’t belong to a certain pocket of people or age group, as it does not discriminate.  It doesn’t always present as someone crying in a darkened room as it can equally be the tears of insecurity behind someone’s beaming smile.  And above all else, I can guarantee you that it’s something we will all have to work hard to manage at multiple times during our lives.

For some, that battle of course will be a daily occurrence and none of what I say here is said to discredit that very reality.

Mental health is no doubt the increasingly recognised and experienced conditions of depression and anxiety, which given the age of social media show-reels, the filtered selfie, our environmental crisis and political poverty, it’s no wonder so many of us are finding it hard to process our feelings and to cope.

Mental health can be an eating disorder, an addiction, a hormonal imbalance, low self-esteem or poor body image.  It can be something experienced temporarily following traumatic experiences, grief or major life changes.  It can be something that intensifies with transitional birthdays and age brackets, spiritual awakenings, or even something that just runs alongside the relentless impact of a chronic illness.  It’s quite simply anything that becomes all consuming, disabling, life-limiting or keeps us locked into our unforgiving head-space.

But mental health is so much more than a handful of labels, as we are complex beings with an array of emotions and coping strategies.  We naturally fluctuate in mood and the ability to ‘soldier on’ inline with our own journeys, our hormones, our environments and the very cycle of the moon.  We all have endurance limits.

Like many people I have lived with my mental health demons largely behind closed doors, through an on-off love affair with anti-depressants during my adolescence, and going as far as attempting suicide in my early 20’s.  I’ve tried the orthodox route to managing what feels like an overload of emotions at times and have gone running down the alternative corridor, only to find that now the time calls for balance somewhere between the two.

I grew up with depression and would say that I am prone to periods of it even now.

Being bullied throughout the whole of secondary school took it’s toll on my already low self esteem and I have battled an underlying eating disorder and poor body image my whole life.

I was always told I was ‘difficult’, ‘loud’, ‘needy’, ‘intense’ and the best of all ‘too sensitive’ for as long as I can remember, which led to having friendships and relationships with people who just reinforced those negative beliefs.  Struggling to find where I would ever fit in the world or feel ‘enough’ took a long time and is still something I question on my darker days.

I remember wanting to change the world from a young age, feeling ‘different’ somehow and like there was so much more than the life I was living or the God I was told to believe in.   I was no doubt an energy sensitive soul and an indigo child, but sadly I spent too long seeing my suppressed and misunderstood gifts as my weaknesses.  Where I also fell short on changing said world was that until recently I thought it could only come from being anyone else but me!

Since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) there is no doubt about it that my mental health has required more effort.

Some like to put you in said tick-box and just say that depression and MS go hand and hand, but for me I don’t think that’s true.   Past partners have even used this as an excuse for their own shitty behaviour.  But I don’t believe I get depressed because my brain ‘is not wired properly’, but because living with a chronic and largely invisible illness is exhausting and I get down about it.  It limits my dreams and it effects my ability to have fun, to work and to have relationships, so sometimes I am human and I feel resentful of that fact.

Furthermore, since awakening my inner Goddess and empath the journey to good mental health has been an even bigger battle, for I hear the cries of the land, the turmoil of the sea and the sufferings of a collective as if they were happening to my very being.  I am not energy numb.

My healing journey has also unearthed a deep rooted and unhealthy relationship with food, which is an addiction and journey I am  trying to understand and overcome.  Add to that a personal struggle with accepting my sexuality and you have a toxic cocktail for low self-worth and poor mental health!

But all this aside, I would say I am in a good place now.  The very fact I can reflect on my journey so publicly and without shame or fear (thank Agrimony Bach flower) says it all really.

I share some of my story during this week of awareness as I am reminded this week just how hard I have had to work to be where I am today.

I do feel lost and I do get down at times.   I feel an overwhelming guilt and responsibility that I cannot do or be enough to change the world.  But today I treat myself with kinder eyes as I concentrate on how far I have come, not how far I still have to go.

How did I do it?

It’s taken facing my pain rather than projecting it onto others.  It has taken a shed load of Bach remedies, regular therapies, long periods of isolation, kissing A LOT of people I shouldn’t and finding a best friend in Audrey the Yorkie!  And above all else it has taken incredible effort, strength, resilience and personal sacrifice to walk away from anyone and anything that doesn’t serve me, and to dance unapologetically to my own tune.

I do not see myself as a mental health advocate or that my biggest battles are all in my head.  I am not trying to jump on any bandwagon or to say that I am a mental health expert.  But I do see myself as being lucky enough to have a public platform that I can use for change and awareness.  Together with my social work foundations, and now being the owner of a business that is fundamentally set up to support those on a journey of self-discovery, it feels crucial to be amongst the people bringing awareness to this week of wellness.

Through this personal and rather difficult journey I am the person I am today.   I am the healer I am today.  I am the channel and intuitive I am today.  For I can resonate with the shadows as much as the light and I will always turn my pain into empathy to support rather than to tear down.

Be kind to yourselves this week and always.

Yours in love and light,

 

 

 

Sharing is caring!  Sharing my blogs, quoting my insights, and your continued support is always appreciated.  However, if you reference any of my work then please credit Honeysuckle Healing, and include links to the appropriate piece so that others may benefit from these tools too.  I work hard to ‘give back’ to my community through my free blogs and self-empowering online content.  I can only continue to meet this dedication through your respect and recognition.  Thank you

Foreword by Ami Smart of Honeysuckle Healing:

I invited Will to join me in the Guest Corner this month as September is a month of new beginnings and self investment!

It’s the month when we look for new adventures, start new projects and often want to take better care of ourselves after an emotional period of processing and purging.  So what better way to show up for yourself than to put on your running shoes and get out in nature; witnessing the autumnal colours starting to come into visual appreciation and releasing those endorphins through a new challenge.

I first met Will through a local self-employed networking group and I have to say I liked this guy as soon as I met him, we just clicked! I could visualise myself jogging alongside him, and his personal story of depression fuelled running really resonated with me and I thought made him very authentic and personable.  He has never made me feel like a fat girl struggling to keep up with him!

Running has always had a special place in my heart since discovering it after a huge health scare 10+ years ago, which became the catalyst for better self-care after making a full recovery at the time.  There was a period where like Will, I used running to improve my mental health and it became my main form of exercise (and transport) – even taking part in a few running events with a not too shabby finish time!  With a forever fluctuating waistline and my own personal battle with chronic illness, this does make exercise that much harder to factor into my life in a sustainable way now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t constantly challenge this setback and find ways around it!  Using a tailor-made service like Will’s has meant that I can learn new ways to adapt my dreams so they continue to be achievable.  At the moment I may only be donning my trainers for a quick lap of the park with the Welsh wonder that is Will, but through my new eyes of self acceptance I am realising that sometimes that is more than good enough.  The showing up, the getting up (early starts) and the weekly improvements will eventually lead me to places I never thought I could travel again.

This September, in my efforts to put myself first, I am joining Will back in the park to try again with my personalised running plan.  With kinder eyes looking at myself, more patience and the inner knowing that one step forward (no matter how small) is always better than one step back.

Thank you Will for your patience, expertise and for joining us this month to share your story and tips.

Yours in love and light,

 

 

 

September Guest Corner

Q&A With Will Jones Fitness

“Running Into Happiness”

 

How did you get into running?

I first started running about 8 years ago.  I was suffering with depression after sadly loosing my mum and my doctor recommended I start running to help with it as I was struggling to leave the house.  It didn’t happen over night and it took many months for me to be able to run even 5k which was a real struggle, but the more I did it the more I loved it and wanted to challenge myself more, it helped me a great deal and still does as if I’m having a bad day I will go for a run to clear my head.

Did this lead to you setting up your own business?

I set up Will Jones Fitness because running changed me massively; my fitness improved, my health and mood improved and I loved it!  I wanted to help others experience this also and so trained as a run leader, then a coach in running fitness and also qualified as a personal trainer but I focus on the running side of things and help get people into running or improve there running.

Have you run any marathons or races?

Yes I have ran two full marathons (Bristol 2 Bath marathon and London Marathon) the atmosphere at these events is amazing and the crowd helps carry you around.  I am currently training for the Brighton marathon next year and also my first Ultra marathon which is 45 miles long. I have also ran races of other distances such as 5k, 10k and half marathon distance and you get the same great feeling whatever the distance.  I recommend trying a race sometime during your running journey but never feel like you need to rush into a distance as you may take the enjoyment away from your running.

What support do you offer people who come to you to run?

I offer full training plans working to individual needs, we work to what is appropriate for each person.  I love working with people who have never run before and seeing them grow and enjoy the feeling they get after each run.  I set homework runs to keep them on track, I also offer group runs and runfit sessions.

What is your motivation when you don’t fancy putting on your running shoes?

I think everyone sometimes feels like they can’t be bothered and running is a lot of mind.  I know once I put my trainers on and make myself get out the door I will enjoy it once I’m out and I will feel better for it once I’m home.   Runs can always be cut short, so if you do go out and it’s just not your day it’s quite easy to turn around and head home, sometimes as your heading home in this situation you may suddenly think actually I’m enjoying this now and have one of your better runs. I also build runs into my day by running to the shop, work etc.

Do you have to be fit and healthy or a certain size to run?

Anyone can run if they want to.  I have worked with so many different types of individuals and if they want to learn to run and are committed they can do it.  I know week on week they will see improvements and it’s what makes it all worth while for myself.  Things like size, age, health should not be a barrier and if someone wants to start running but thinks they can’t then they can get advice from a doctor for example.  If the Doctor gives the ‘ok’ then they can do it.  The running starts off very short times and distances and builds each week tailored to individual needs, I’m always available to give advice or support.

What are the benefits of running?

There are many benefits of running such as helping keep joints healthy, build muscle strength, it can help with blood pressure, improved bone density, feel good chemicals and hormones are released helping ease stress and anxiety, depression, weight loss, improved cardio and lung capacity are just a few of the improvements you can  see from running.

What are your tips for anyone wishing to start running?

Lace up those trainers and give it a go!

Do you have a favourite running track or tracks when running to music?

I don’t listen to music at all when I run anymore as I like to be aware of my environment.  When I started running I did used to listen to a bit of music to take my mind off what I was doing, and enjoyed listening to upbeat feel good songs.

What is the best way to cool down or recharge after running?

I believe you should always stretch after a run no matter the distance to cool down.  Everyone will be different and recharge in there own way, but as long as you are giving yourself rest days during the week you shouldn’t really over do it, the more you run the more you will understand your body and needs.

How often would you say someone needs to run in order to lose weight or improve fitness?

It will vary from person to person, but as long as you are committed and also changing other aspects such as diet then you will definitely see improvements before long.

How important is diet in running maintenance?

Diet is very important when you run, as you need to fuel your body properly or you won’t be able to run to your full potential.    If you are just starting your running journey it may be difficult to change your diet straight away but little changes here and there will help massively as you learn more about what works for you.

What is your advice to anyone who is thinking of running but perhaps doesn’t have the confidence to start?

Don’t let anything stop you!  Give it a go, find somewhere quiet that is close to home and just try a really short run, you will soon learn no one pays any attention to what you’re doing and all runners have had to start somewhere, not everyone is a natural but just keep trying and you will get there.  I’m always happy to chat to someone if they are not feeling confident and my groups are extremely supportive of each other.

 

Will Jones Fitness is based in South Bristol, but Will is happy to travel to meet his clients needs.  Offering tailor made 1-1 running and fitness programmes together with regular RUNFIT group training sessions.  For more information and to connect with Will please make contact via his email or Facebook

 

 

Sharing is caring!  Sharing my blogs, quoting my insights, and your continued support is always appreciated.  However, if you reference any of my work then please credit Honeysuckle Healing, and include links to the appropriate piece so that others may benefit from these tools too.  I work hard to ‘give back’ to my community through my free blogs and self-empowering online content.  I can only continue to meet this dedication through your respect and recognition.  Thank you

 

Legal disclaimeras always, my guests are invited to share their work with you in order to support your healing journey as a whole, by giving you empowering tips and food for thought.  I only invite guests whom I know to be insured and practising to the best of my knowledge at the time of their guest spot.  I will only welcome guests that I have personally used the services of, and have found to benefit my own individual healing journey as a result.  However, if you choose to book any treatments or use any guests services as a result of my monthly interviews, then please be aware that you act personally on this decision.  Honeysuckle Healing take no responsibility for the outcome of this decision and these guest blogs do not act as a referral or recommendation service.  Please ensure that these guests and services meet your individual requirements prior to booking.  Thank you

Castanea Sativa is more commonly known as Sweet Chestnut, and a mature tree can live up to 700 years!

Often confused with Horse Chestnut in appearance, this tree bears both male and female flowers, with the female flowers changing form after pollination to the edible chestnuts we traditionally roast in the Winter months.  This beautiful, but rather ‘spiky’ looking tree, is the last to flower of the remedy trees and the Sweet Chestnut remedy was first prepared near Wallingford in 1935.

I picked Sweet Chestnut as our focus this month as so many of us have left behind a tough period of healing.  One which has contained many ‘dark night of the soul’ moments and even left a collective heartbreak as we say goodbye to loved ones, old friendships and patterns that no longer serve us.  And for those who haven’t done the work, I’m afraid this is the state you will find yourselves going into when you play catch up.

Sweet Chestnut would be the remedy that surpasses Gentian and Gorse states, and is one that can leave a real darkness that can feel as though we will never come back from.  I personally believe this remedy encompasses many other remedies such as Honeysuckle, Cherry Plum, Star of Bethlehem and Mustard as well as the aforementioned Gentian and Gorse, as it’s often a point of no return and a very lonely place to be based on passed failures, loss and actions (from our own personal viewpoint).  It is first and foremost a remedy that we utilise on the dark nights of the soul, the times when we send up a flare or send the Morse code (. . . – – – . . .) aka SOS!  It’s the overwhelm and accumulation of many missed remedies and those low moods we just haven’t nipped in the bud through successful remedy selection.  A pain and longing like no other that makes our hearts break, our stomachs knot and our tears fall hard and fast.

A SC state is a lonely one.  It can be the period after a huge amount of ‘inner work’ on a healing journey when the many emotions, traumas, heartbreaks and fears you have suppressed present like a rush of blood to the head, leaving nowhere left to run.  When we feel we have exhausted all avenues, started to question our faiths and can no longer see the wood through the trees or the light at the end of the tunnel.  We have lost our way in many ways and are praying to be shown our next move.  Unlike a Gorse state of darkness, we haven’t quite lost our hope in the early stages of Sweet Chestnut.   And like a Cherry Plum state we are unlikely to be so low to the point of suicidal tendencies, as the Sweet Chestnut state is more strong and stable.  There is an inner trust that once we come through this period of despair and anguish then we will be stronger for it.   We know there is always a lesson in our struggles and we trust the period of surrender in many ways, allowing ourselves to become vulnerable through asking our higher power to step in and lead us back to our salvation.  With Sweet Chestnut it isn’t so much about needing others to save us, but needing someone or something to walk alongside us whilst we save ourselves.

In illness a Sweet Chestnut will be justified in their mental state.  No doubt fighting many invisible battles, chronic illness and daily fights against their own bodies which often bring about a ‘breaking point’ or deep fear that they can no longer fight this.  Feeling as though this is the end of the road for them and becoming a subconscious permission to allow all buried emotions to surface with a vengeance.

On the other side of Sweet Chestnut, we utilise this remedy to soothe our hearts, usually when they’ve broken.

This is where I think the loss and grief of a Star of Bethlehem state and the reminiscing and rehashing of a Honeysuckle frame of mind can come in.  It’s that permanent dull ache when you long for your body to be next to the person you love, when every power ballad sounds as if it was singing the song of you and your soulmate and when you wonder if your heart will ever start beating again without the other persons accompanying rhythm.  The anguish is so great, it becomes almost unbearable.  It’s the knife to the heart feeling and the nights you cry silently, or loudly, into your pillow.  It’s the checking your phone for them to text, it’s the seeing their face every time you close your eyes and every time you open them.  It’s a state which is nothing short of torture, especially if unrequited.

So why take Sweet Chestnut?

Well basically to bring the opposite to all of these things into your life!  The above are just some of the common ways in which a Sweet Chestnut state presents, so taking the remedy in these cases will no doubt be a very restorative and transformational experience.  It’s a remedy that has the capability of mending a broken heart, of placing a lighthouse in turbulent emotional waters in order to guide you back home and to be the life-raft when you’re lost at sea.  It’s a bridge, it’s a light, it’s clarity.  It’s a soother of the soul, a repairer of the heart and should never be overlooked or underestimated in the case of bereavement.  I have been utilising Sweet Chestnut as we leave August and come into September, and will be certainly taking it during this 9th month.

It’s a beautiful remedy that removes the darkness and replaces it with light, allowing us to move through our pain with gratitude to those who have broken our hearts as much as those who have mended them.  A truly magical remedy that is deeply purifying and supportive in purging old wounds, emotions and loves from our aching hearts.  It’s the very thing that transmutes negative energy into positive and leaves us held in a place of greater good, whatever the reason.  It’s a real phoenix from the flames moment, when we rise from the embers of our past traumas and belief systems.  Helping us to shed what no longer serves us, and leave behind the weight that tethers us.

Sweet Chestnut is nothing short of a miracle cure for the hardest of times.

When the sky seems full of darkness, this remedy will reveal the stars.

 

Yours in love and flowery light,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: I would always recommend having a consultation with a qualified and registered Bach Foundation practitioner/BFRP, to ensure that you get the most from the Bach system.  Dr Bach advised that blends be bespoke and BFRP’s teach their clients how to use the system effectively.  These monthly insights are offered as a guide to the remedies, but are by no means exhaustive.  Guidance is always advised when using the remedies for the first time or without suitable qualification.

 

Sharing is caring!  Sharing my blogs, quoting my insights, and your continued support is always appreciated.  However, if you reference any of my work then please credit Honeysuckle Healing, and include links to the appropriate piece so that others may benefit from these tools too.  I work hard to ‘give back’ to my community through my free blogs and self-empowering online content.  I can only continue to meet this dedication through your respect and recognition.  Thank you