In my journey I have met many people who engage in self injury of one kind or another. Whether it’s cutting, biting or banging their head, it can be deeply distressing to see your loved one hurting themselves and be unable to help.
Mental Health First Aid (Australia) have released the new MHFA for Non Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI) course (formally self-harm). Along the lines of their MHFA for the Suicidal Person course, this course also goes for 4 hours. It is specifically about how to recognise the signs that someone is engaging in non suicidal self injury and how to support them to recovery. It doesn’t give you the qualifications to diagnose or treat people, in the same way a First Aid course doesn’t teach you to become a heart surgeon. What it does do, though, is give you some tools in your toolbox to recognise those signs and know where to get further support.
Here are the top 3 things you need to do to support your loved one.
Forget anything you’ve heard about NSSI being attention seeking behaviour. People who are self injuring are deeply troubled and need your support – not your judgement. Talk to them or more importantly, get them to talk to you. Show you care and want to help but allow them to brainstorm their own coping strategies. Don’t write off their pain by saying they’re just attention seeking.
Encourage them to see their GP. The GP is the conduit between them and the support they need. If they’re anxious, go with them to take their mind off things until they see their GP. Also make sure you make a double appointment at the GP’s so they’ve got enough time to do a thorough mental health assessment.
Follow up with them. The journey to recovery is not an instant process. They will need to go in with realistic expectations. The counselling process may take up to 7 or 8 sessions before they feel a difference so don’t allow them to think that all their problems will be gone in 1 or 2. Stay in contact with them and check in to ensure they’re getting the most from the counselling experience. If they quit, encourage them to go back to their GP to get a referral to a different counsellor. Remember the adage, it doesn’t matter how fast we move, as long as we are moving forward.
For more information on the MHFA for the NSSI course click here or to look at other courses we run check out our courses page here
3 Keys To Transform Your Marriage by Andrew Rusbatch
Recognizing you have a marriage problem is the first step along the road to transforming your marriage, and for most couples simply acknowledging there is a problem shatters the marriage myth. According to love stories, movies, and fairytales we are supposed to live ‘happily ever after‘. But what happens when Snow White develops a drinking problem? What happens when Robin Hood’s long working hours start affecting his marriage to Maid Marian? What happens when Cinderella says she has ‘fallen out of love’?
We are taught in school how to do sums, how to read and recognize Shakespeare, and how to conduct scientific experiments, but what do we really know about the greatest social experiment of all, namely our ability to keep the love alive in our marriage?
If you can’t wait a moment longer, read on, this post is for you.
The fact is we know surprisingly little, and from the moment we say “I do,” we are literally flying by the seat of our pants. We don’t get a manual or a textbook telling us how to get it right, so our marriage becomes an evolving set of experiments, learning and discovering more and more about ourselves and each other, and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Some say if we don’t make mistakes we don’t really learn, but what do those mistakes cost us, and is the cost too high for some couples?
That’s why I have 3 ways to instantly transform your marriage. These are 3 things that you know will work and will help you get your marriage back on track. Let’s call this your error-free way to redeem yourself and your marriage in the eyes of your partner and show them that you are committed to making positive changes in your marriage.
The first key to transforming your marriage is to stop looking at your issues on a case-by-case basis. Couples that try to solve arguments by going into the small details of every argument are never really going to deal with the big stuff. I’m talking about the issues that REALLY matter in your marriage, and the issues that keep coming up in every disagreement.
Spend too much time at work? Partner feeling unappreciated? Don’t make love as much as you used to? Either of you feeling unfulfilled by your lifestyle or the relationship? Is the communication poor in your relationship? Does your need to always be right override the feelings of your partner? Spend less time worrying about the details and more time examining the issues and themes behind your arguments.
* The issue is your job. The theme behind this may be balance between work and home life.
* The issue is you not doing enough chores. The theme behind may be that you are being invited into making a greater contribution into coupledom.
* The issue is your partner being grumpy with you all the time. The theme is your partner needing to feel validated in the relationship
If you have a greater understanding of what the key themes are behind your marriage issues you are better able to develop effective solutions that will really make a difference.
The second key to transforming your relationship is to examine your beliefs about marriage. It’s okay to not have the fairytale marriage. Even the best couples don’t always get it right. But what makes the imperfections good or bad is how you choose as a couple to deal with it. When you disagree about something, do you sit down and talk about it, or is your first instinct to deny that there is a problem and hope that it will all go away?
You need to understand that it is okay to be imperfect. In fact, admitting this to yourself and your partner can be one of the most liberating actions you take in transforming your marriage. Admitting your imperfections exposes a vulnerability that can bring you closer together as you find ways to get some meaning out of your issues. Acknowledging that you do make mistakes can open the door to acknowledging that there is a better way to do things, and one of the lessons we are called into as a couple is finding that solution together. Make a list of things that you have learnt since you got married, and a list of areas that you as a couple can both improve on. Then try sharing that list with your partner and ask them to contribute their thoughts.
The third key to transforming your relationship is in recognizing the differences between men and women, and acknowledging the importance of both roles in the relationship. Just because your partner views something different to you doesn’t make them wrong, and the same goes for you. There are often several interpretations of the truth, and the key to marriage success is in recognizing that women and men have key fundamental differences in the way they view things. For men, their view may be a much more task-oriented approach to fixing an issue, where a woman may focus more on the emotional process as you both navigate your way through marriage issues. While both approaches are different, with compromise they can both achieve the same result.
Write down 5 themes or issues. Then I want you to write down 5 task-oriented ways of trying to solve the situation. Then list 5 thoughts-based ways of communicating your way to a solution.
The first step to transforming your marriage is in transforming YOU. Being married can be scary enough, but having marriage problems and not knowing how to fix them can be paralyzing! All it takes is the ability to step outside your day-to-day issues and look at different ways of viewing your marriage. Every marriage problem invites you into growing and offers you and your partner the opportunity to learn.
Now it’s up to you to take what you have learned and apply it to YOUR marriage. You too can have a fairytale marriage!
Our body and mind are in constant communication with each other so it comes as no surprise that the types of food we consume has an impact on the way we feel. If your diet consists of mostly fast food take away type meals, don’t be surprised if your mind becomes tired, lazy and lethargic. In order to sharpen our mind, we must look at the fuel we are giving it. Try putting a litre of sugar in your car and see what it does. How much more though should we look after our bodies? A car can be replaced after all. In the same way as an engine, our food is the fuel that propels us to live. If we are surviving on unhealthy sugar filled meals, we may struggle to get motivated. Getting out of bed in the morning is our equivalent of starting the engine and just like the engine, that first 100 yards or first 10 minutes of movement require the biggest push. In 1st gear the engine does more work to get the car started than it needs to do in 2nd, 3rd or 4th. We are no different. Just take a moment to think about the energy needed to get yourself out of bed in the morning compared to how much you need to do life by the afternoon. By that time you body is in automatic mode and should be functioning pretty well but if our brain is lacking the right nutrients to get us started, we may struggle.
It’s not just the impact it has on our physical bodies, making us vulnerable to diseases such as cancers and heart conditions but there is also a link between our physical state and our mental wellbeing. Just take someone who lives off fast food. They can become sluggish, tired, unmotivated. Someone who is tired and unmotivated can very quickly become prone to Depression and other mental health problems. When dealing with an issue or barrier, our minds can become sluggish too, unable to see our way past barriers and very quickly lose hope altogether.
There has been many different types of diets over the years with some good and some not so good but the new direction the health industry is going puts less emphasis on dieting and more on detoxing. By detoxing our bodies we are stripping it of the unhealthy sugars and fats that slow us down and replacing them with nutrients that are designed to give us energy and consistency.
We are very excited about The Red Tea Detox which is a brand-new cleansing program that detoxifies the body and sheds pounds quickly and safely. It allows almost anyone to lose weight in just a matter of weeks.
Based on more than a decade of research spanning over 500 medical studies as well as almost three years of real-world testing, this program has the results – and the science – to back it up.
Liz Swann Miller, creator of The Red Tea Detox, is a six-time best-selling author with over 10 years of experience as a practising Naturopath (ND). She discovered the unique recipe for this energizing tea, the foundation of the program, during her travels deep into the heart of Africa. And best of all, the ingredients are so common they can be found in virtually any store.
Reproduced here for the first time in the Western world, The Red Tea Detox passes on the recipe for this incredible tea in the form of a fully digital product, making it available to customers instantaneously.
This comprehensive book is broken down into three different sections:
Diet: This portion of The Red Tea Detox outlines the importance of detoxifying the body before weight loss efforts, why toxins can hold your metabolism back, and the overall benefits of a red tea cleansed system for both the body and mind. What’s more, it outlines in detail which energy-rich foods can help you burn fat faster than ever before.
Exercise: The exercise section is designed to complement the diet portion of The Red Tea Detox. It consists of a variety of supercharged exercises that will help melt body fat even faster. Coupled with the metabolism-boosting diet, these quick and effective routines have the potential to almost double the weight loss results.
Willpower, Motivation, and Mindset: This third section delves into some of the most common myths about willpower and how truly understanding the underlying realities of motivation can revolutionise your weight loss – and your life. It’s a vital part of this program and, for many, has helped them lose weight fast and keep it off for good.
These three elements combined create one of the most comprehensive and easy-to-use detoxification programs to date. People all over the world are already using it to lose weight quickly and easily while living a healthier and happier life along the way.
Shy people instinctively know that they are missing out. Shyness equals lost opportunities, less pleasure and fewer social connections. Shyness can be crippling but there are tried and tested ways to make it a thing of the past.
When I was fifteen I was shy. I recall an attractive girl attempting to engage me in conversation. My shyness made me focus on me instead of her. I heard my own voice but not hers and I thought about what I was trying to say instead of what she was trying to say.
The formula for shyness is “too much focus on the self” plus anxiety. To make it even more unpleasant, sometimes when you are feeling shy you experience physical sensations which ‘hijack’ your calm logical self. My pulse raced, my mouth dried up and I felt like the village idiot! I couldn’t think what to say so I said nothing apart from making barely audible grunting noises! Cary Grant eat your heart out! When I detected pity in her eyes (or was it contempt, or boredom) I mumbled my excuse and got out of there. I hated being shy and was determined to change it.
How shyness is developed and maintained.
Shyness really is a combination of social anxiety and social conditioning. To overcome shyness you need to learn to relax socially. This enables you to direct your attention away from yourself and gives you the space to practice certain conversational skills. In most cases, the heightened emotions of socialising when young simply condition the sufferer to respond to social events with fear, instead of excitement and pleasure.
Relaxed socialising is so pleasurable, not to say productive, but it is an advantage denied to many until they learn to relax. To start reducing your own shyness, I want you to absorb the following tips and ideas and start to put them into practice:
Think about the way you feel and behave around familiar people you are comfortable and spontaneous around. It’s that feeling transferred to new people and situations that equates to your emerging social confidence.
2. Focus your attention away from yourself.
Sure, you can think a little bit about how you are coming across, but if all your focus is on your own words and feelings then you might as well be by yourself. Notice what other people are wearing and make a mental note, listen to their conversation, imagine where they might live, make a point of remembering names. Not only does this give you more to talk about, it also ‘dilutes’ social anxiety leaving you feeling calmer.
3. Ask people open questions.
Many people like to talk about themselves and will find you interesting if you find them interesting. Ask questions that require more than a ‘yes’/’no’ response such as ‘What do you like about this place?’ rather than: ‘Do you like this place?’ Once they’ve answered use ‘add-on’ questions connected to the first such as: ‘What other places do you like in this city.?’ Next you can express your views. This is a great way to get the conversation going. If the conversation doesn’t ‘take’ then no matter, you’ve done your bit.
4. Stop trusting your imagination so much!
Have you ever had an imaginary picture in your mind of a holiday destination only to arrive and find the reality is different from the way you had imagined? That’s how reliable imagination is. Stop imagining what others think. I do lots of public speaking and I’ve long since stopped trying to second guess what others think of me – it’s just too painful. Besides, what a person thinks about you has a lot more to do with who they are than who you are.
5. Take your time
You don’t have to blurt things out. Ask questions and if questions are asked of you, you can take time to consider your response (within reason). Don’t just blurt out what you think might be the ‘right’ answer. A slow answer is a relaxed answer.
6. Stop using ‘all or nothing’ thinking.
The ‘completely this/completely that’ style of thought occurs when you are emotional. People who are depressed, angry or anxious see reality in terms of differing extremes, simplistic all or nothing terms. An angry person is ‘right’ and you are ‘wrong’; the depressed person feels like a ‘failure’ while others are a ‘success’. In reality, life is composed of infinite grey areas. So stop fearing that you might say the ‘wrong’ thing! Or that people will ‘hate’ you. Once you start to relax more socially you’ll notice much less black or white thinking because anxiety actually causes you to think in all or nothing terms.
7. Finally, use hypnotic rehearsal.
Hypnosis is the quickest way to change your instinctive/emotional response to any situation. Only think about meeting others when your mind and body is relaxed. This conditions you to associate relaxation with being around new people. In fact you’ll find that when you relax deeply enough often enough whilst hypnotically rehearsing being comfortable around others you’ll reach the point where you just can’t be shy any more! This is what I call a ‘happy inability!’
I now love meeting new people and suspect that my current social confidence would be unrecognisable to my fifteen year old self.
For more information on how to overcome shyness through hypnosis contact Mark Tyrell (HGDip, DipHypNLP BHR) at hypnosis downloads.
Valentine’s Day 2018 was not a day I will be able to forget in a hurry. It was the day I watched my Mum breathe her last breath on this Earth following only a 3 month battle with cancer. Only a few weeks have passed since that day and life seems somehow more abstract than before. I now consider myself the prophet of doom whenever an unsuspecting stranger makes an innocent comment about her and I am forced to tell them the sad news.
One thing stays with me however. The thought that she passed away in her sleep, maybe unknowing of what was happening to her, surrounded by people who loved her in a country she was passionate about. My hope and firm belief that this is a new chapter, not a new book and that we will meet again one day.
Grief is a very individual process but there are some things we can all do to ease the process. Below are my top 5 tips to dealing with grief
Be kind to yourself. This is true all the time but especially when we are grieving. Some people feel the need to return to normal as soon as possible but ignoring or suppressing your grief only stops the flow at that time. It will manifest somewhere else. If we deal with grief correctly in the beginning we have less chance of it festering and coming out another way. Give yourself time to properly flow through the grief process but don’t hold a stopwatch. There is no set time to grieve.
Stay close to your friends. Social withdrawal can often lead to further mental illnesses and so by staying close to our friends, we can feel connected in the way we were meant to be. Having that good friend who you can vent with is worth their weight in Gold so cherish them and keep them close.
Sleep. While our brain is often in overdrive while grieving, sleep is essential in problem solving, emotional stability and maintaining optimal health and well being. Make sure sleep is a solid part of your healthy lifestyle.
Healthy Eating. The food we consume gives us energy to live our lives. If the food we eat is toxic it’s little wonder we don’t function as well. Make sure you eat well and exercise to get a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Remember. Once you pass through the initial stage of grief, you will be able to talk about them and remember fond memories without it causing a negative reaction. Do what you’ve got to do to keep their memory alive. Plant some flowers, talk to them, whatever it takes to feel better, do it.
“I guess it dawned on me, if I can’t look after my kids, who’s going to do it?
“The experiences I’ve had since then are things I wouldn’t trade for the world — teaching my son to drive a car, helping with homework, just chatting, going to the movies, all those things that normal people do.”
The course Mr Reddick teaches, which was developed by Mental Health First Aid Australia, has won a big tick of approval from Beyond Blue’s Grant Blashki.
“Mental health first aid is really appropriate for anyone in the community but especially people who are in the education sector or community groups or having a lot of contact with members of the public,” he said.
To book a mental health first aid course visit the shop.
Passionate Lives recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Emma Young from WA Today. To read the article in full please click here.
Learn to hear a cry for help with free suicide prevention
course in Perth
by Emma Young
Two Perth nonprofits have been overwhelmed by “intense” community interest in their offer of free training in recognising signs that a loved one might be considering suicide.
The four-hour Mental Health First Aid for the Suicidal Person course teaches people how to see subtle signs, to approach someone they are worried about and support them in a crisis.
Its providers, Passionate Lives and Kwinana in Transition, have provided the program before but knew cost was a barrier to participation, so won funding from the City of Kwinana to offer three free workshops.
They filled the first two editions forty places in 24 hours and have now extended the invitation to wider Perth to fill the 20 places in the third workshop.
Everyone who registers interest using this link will be sent an email with the next available date; places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Passionate Lives owner-operator Trys Reddick said the signs of depression and suicide ideation could often be subtle, but being aware of what to look for, what to say and what not to say could be essential to intervention.
“We hope, with the information we share in the course, we can help save some lives,” he said.
“I have lost five people to suicide myself and it is always the same when you lose someone, you think about the last conversations you had and whether there is anything you could have done differently.
“That is why I am so passionate about this course.”
If you are considering suicide or are worried about someone you love right now, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Anxiety is something we all have at times in our lives. For the most part, healthy anxiety prepares you for an event or situation and, although most people hate the feelings, they are there at least to give us energy to fight or run from our fears. Whether that’s wedding day nerves, taking tests at school or having an interview for a job you really want. That swirling in the stomach and the heart racing, prepares us for our best shot.
The trouble with anxiety is when it becomes our focus. When we dwell on those thoughts and fear the fear itself, it can lead us to harmful avoidant strategies and behaviors that can lead to phobias. Instead of facing our fears, we avoid them. We run away from the area that brings us fear, we stop attending the school that’s making us anxious, we risk our future by running and hiding from our fears and as a result we stagnate. Growth rarely comes from an even road. It’s the bumps and drains on the road we encounter, that shape us and forge in us the essential ingredients it takes to become the person we’re supposed to become. That feeling of not giving life our best short, that falling short of our destiny can have even greater ramifications than the anxiety itself when we become depressed about it. The heady combination of Anxiety and Depression can become a toxic mix.
When I was living my experience of mental illness, one of my fears was crowds. I lived in the middle of a big city (Leicester, UK) and during the peak Christmas period you couldn’t move in shops because of the crowds of last minute shoppers trying to buy their Christmas gifts. It was a hard time of year for me, you had to fight for every space you could get and as someone not comfortable with confrontation, it bought out my anxiety. Towards the end of my 30’s, I had become interested in personal development and, by this time, had worked through many other fears. Crowds was my next one. In a moment of sheer madness I applied and was given a job as a Crowd Control Marshall at Leicester Tigers matches. My job included maintaining the safety of approx. 150 patrons. During my first match, I remember shaking like a leaf. Confronting your anxiety can often be challenging like that. But something important happened on that first day. I walked away unscathed. I didn’t die. The world didn’t crumble around me. I actually enjoyed it. The next match came and went and again nothing happened. My brain had either been lying to me or had been misinformed. This is anxiety. Those things we worry about rarely ever eventuate. We waste so much of our precious time on Earth, worrying about something that may never happen.
So what can you do if you have anxiety? Firstly if something is causing you anxiety and it is impacting on your life, then it’s a problem. Take ownership of that anxiety and agree to work towards conquering that fear. Imagine what you’re life would be like without the anxiety holding you back. Who would you be? What would you do? What would you’re life be like? Imagine the anxiety as a brick wall between you and your goals. You will need to take a sledgehammer to that wall and reduce it to the rubble it needs to be so you can step over it into your future. Some fears can be overcome in the way I did above but it can be a risky path. Had something happened on my first day, it could have sent me back years. Start with smaller steps. Embrace small crowds, then find bigger ones. Once you are comfortable knocking a few walls down, knock more down. Keep moving forward. Find a new challenge.
If your fears persist or if you don’t have a support person to help, then make an appointment with your GP and discuss the fears you have and how they are impacting your life. For more information on finding the right GP click here. You may need to engage in some counselling to discover the root course of your anxiety and you may also need to go on some anti-anxiety medication.
For more information on overcoming anxiety click here.
I’d love to hear your encounters with anxiety. Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you fear most.
Following on from our last post, we are breaking down the action plan from the Mental Health First Aid course and the next step is to listen non judgmentally.
In reality, it’s a lot harder than you think. Our brains are wired to make snap judgments about the people we meet within seconds of meeting them. For our own survival we need to rank the people we meet in terms of whether they’re a threat or someone we can benefit from. When we say listen non judgmentally, we mean having an awareness of our own snap judgement’s and learn how to suspend them so they don’t influence the way we treat people.
We can also listen non judgementally by using open body language, paraphrasing back to our friends and really listening to whats being said rather than listening to respond.
If we are to get someone to disclose deep feelings of emotional turbulence such as Depression and Anxiety, they need to feel relaxed and comfortable enough with us. If they feel we’re not interested or making judgements about the, the conversation will quickly end and they will not open up to us.
In this series of blog posts, we’re breaking down the Action Plan which forms a pivotal part of the Mental Health First Aid Course and we kick off with probably the most important step, the approach.
The steps are not unlike building a wall. We need to lay down a solid foundation if we want the wall to withstand some elements. That is, we have identified a friend may be feeling Depressed so we need to plan an approach that will allow our friend to feel comfortable to disclose their feelings. If we don’t, chances are the conversation will not end well.
Imagine you are in the office kitchen, surrounded by your colleagues and with an appointment you need to attend in 10 minutes. If you approached them now it is unlikely they would open up to you. They would probably say they are fine and if they did open up, you would have to cut them short to attend your appointment anyway. This would be counterproductive.
So choose a time and place that are conducive to a long conversation. Maybe take them away from the office and keep the phones off so you wont be disturbed. Let them know you are concerned about them and that you want to help. Don’t expect them to respond well the first time. They maybe in denial or they may turn on you. These types of reactions are all normal and to be expected. Just ensure you let them know you will be available if they want to talk and keep the door of communication open.
If in doubt, you can ring the crisis team on 1800 676 822