Too Old to Blog??

Hi, I am writing this as a way of cataloguing my path into social media. I am a mother to 3 adopted children ( 19. 18 & 16) and my youngest has many complex issues. I have been married for over 26 years & still love my husband! I have 2 dogs, a springer who is now 6 and a year old Working Cocker. I work as a Counsellor and write books & blogs. I exercise regularly ( British Military Fit) and am generally always looking for new interesting projects!

Becoming a Counsellor.

The issues with my son meant that I could not go back to the role as a Scheme Manager for Mencap and having researched and taught myself all about Attachment Theory and how to be a therapeutic parent, Through our experiences, I was all too aware that there is too little support out there for families that struggle and decided to train as a Counsellor. I qualified in 2013 and have worked in 3 schools, a College and set up my own private practice and am an Accredited therapist & Suprervisor.

My First Book: Loving Eric

Due to the daily stress visited upon me over the years, I found that writing was a great way of offloading and resuming a sense of calm – before the next assault! I would share it with my lovely sister ( Elaine) and feel less alone. Elaine convinced me to write a book about my trials and tribulations but I only felt able to publish it when I felt things were a bit less tense and I had some answers to offer others. ( Amazon : Loving Eric)

Lifespan Integration Therapy

Through seeking help for my son, an excellent Educational Psychologist introduced me to Lifespan Integration Therapy ( LI) and I am now Certified in this field and going onto be a Consultatnt ( Supervisor). This therapy helps with Attachment, grief, loss, anxiety, trauma…and I believe that it should be ready available to all!

Book Number 2: Anxiety Workbook

Over the years as a therapist, I realised that I worked ( and still do) on different levels. The LI work is deep and transformational but at the same time I developed the Anxiety Compass. This I developed and published into a workbook for people to use themselves or with another ( i.e partner, friend, teacher, child). This is also on Amazon the Anxiety Workbook.

To get back to the point of this blog…

I still write regularly and I definitely write better when I feel passionate about things! I am a natural campaigner and feel that we should always seek to improve. I am always curious and questioning.
I then realised that nobody knows that I am here! I only have likes from those who know me. I have never been good at marketing or networking ( probably too blunt!). Social media has never interested me and this is not helped by the fact that I am coming into it all a lot later in life than most! Looking at others blogs, ages and photos, has made me question “Am I too old to blog?’
However, I decided that age should not be my limiting factor! As with many things, I think, cringe and then move forwards! I know that I want to have a voice and to be heard. I want to help others who struggle. I love to empower others and assist in them grabbing life with both hands. I do believe that with help, time and a desire to make things better, then this can happen. I also know that I must get out of my comfort zone & learn about social media.
Any advice, sharing & kind words gratefully accepted! Thanks for reading!
Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Exercise & Anxiety

Exercise is vital to keep our minds and bodies healthy. We as human beings, were not designed to sit behind a desk and then go home and sit on the couch. Our bodies are amazing, they self heal, they create new cells, without them we do not exist. It is worth keeping our bodies well and this positively impacts on our mental health. A lot of people say they hate exercise, but there is something out there for everyone!
I personally, have found that British Military Fit (BMF) 3 or 4 times a week ( when well!) for the last 10 years, has saved my sanity. For that 1 hour I cannot think about anything other than breathing. Our instructor Taz is always amazing, calm but encouraging. BMF is not for everyone, I do appreciate that but it is about finding your own personal remedy.

“Taking part in physical activity can improve our self esteem (3) and reduce stress (4), thus helping to stave off the development of mental health problems (5). It improves the quality of our lives (6). It can show us measurable improvements that we can reflect on and this improves our feelings of self worth.
Regular exercise can improve our body shape, our body confidence and can improve our lung efficiency and our auto immune system, thus benefitting our general health as well as our mental wellbeing.” taken from my Anxiety Workbook .
Exercise is an investment. Our bodies sometimes are not truly appreciated until they stop working well. Body and mind need equal attention, they are connected.
(3) lfermann, D. & Stoll, O. (2000). Effects of Physical Exercise on Self-Concept and Wellbeing. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 31, 47–65.
(4) Salmon, P. (2001). Effects of Physical Activity on Anxiety, Depression, and Sensitivity to Stress: A Unifying Theory. Clinical Psychology Review, 21 (1), 33–61.
(5) Zschucke, E., Gaudlitz, K. & Strohle, A. (2013). Exercise and Physical Activity in Mental Disorders: Clinical and Experimental Evidence. J Prev Med Public Health, 46 (1), 512– 521.
(6) Alexandratos, K., Barnett, F. & Thomas, Y. (2012). The impact of exercise on the mental health and quality of life of people with severe mental illness: a critical review. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75 (2), 48–60.

Anxiety Stops Us Enjoying Life..

When Education Fails to Educate…

Yesterday I was struck with such sadness. I was talking about my son ‘Eric’ to a friend. We were discussing where he was up to. I was discussing that on the whole he is calmer at home, bar one incident the week before last when he blocked me in a room because I was saying that he wouldn’t be allowed on his phone because of the way he was talking to me. He became quite threatening but it did not last long. These incidents are rare these days.

Mainly he huffs and puffs but tends to, eventually make better choices. He still struggles with his peers, he targets the alpha male of any group and thinks the way of making friends is to wind them up to such a degree that they want to physically assault him. This is a pattern that has repeated itself throughout his life, one boy after another.

He cannot change his approach because in that moment, it is how he is wired to approach these young men ( as they are now) in this confrontational manner. He is fantastic at the throwing of insults that hit the mark every time, his aim is faultless. However, he is not a fighter, he hates violence and collapses onto the floor at the first sign of physical threat. Which is of course good in that he does not fight but equally he cannot defend himself.

With the right support at home, talking endlessly about how relationships work and communicating with school very frequently, these dangerous situations have so far been safely navigated without a visit to A&E. These issues are Eric.

My sadness came when I thought about the fact that he would leave Year 11 without any qualifications to his name. His behaviour has meant that he has lost his opportunity to be educated. Throughout his school life he has been anxious, angry , non compliant, suicidal. This meant that the only school that could manage him was a special school for students with moderate learning difficulties.

I love the school. In so many ways it saved him. Certainly after receiving his autistic label over 2 years ago and he was taken into the Autistic Hub, the teachers have worked so well with my complex, challenging child. They like him, look at the behaviours he displays as a means of him communicating with the world. They try to understand his triggers. They talk to us as parents and work with us. They are never judgemental.

However, in many ways this support is too late. My son missed too many years of education. He has been let down by his primary school and the efforts High school, by health professionals and adoption workers. He ended up at a school surrounded by angry young men and women. His peers are not aspirational for him. His survival instinct has been at the forefront of his brain, not the need to learn. It was the only option for him but not the right option on so many levels.

Eric is bright, articulate, interesting. His memory is phenomenal, he has wit, empathy and energy. He has potential but it is locked within him, reinforcing the belief that he is different, not bright and too scared to try in case he fails.

Eric is not alone. How many young people who do not fit into education as we know it, get labelled as being ‘naughty’, or disruptive? How many young people get little or no education because they cannot conform to the rigid systems that we use in schools? One size does not fit all.

I hope Eric finds a goal that he wants to aim for. if he does this then there will be no stopping him. Lets hope it is an aspirational goal! Please do not write off the ‘naughty’ young people..find a way to see their potential.

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