Things not to say to those with a mental illness

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  Love Athina ♥ © All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Working with children who have been abused

Working with children is something that I have very much enjoyed doing on and off for 9 years.

After graduating from University 14 years ago, I spent part of my time running my jewellery business and the other part of my time was spent working as a nanny with children aged 3-11 years of age.

Being a part-time nanny, allowed me to have enough time to work on my jewellery whilst also earning a little extra money to keep things stable financially.

At present, I find myself in slightly different circumstances.

Although I will not be pursuing anymore nanny jobs, I am considering coaching a young teenager in the next few days.

In a few hours, I am meeting her and her mum for an initial consultation, to see if she would feel comfortable enough opening up to me.

Here in the UK, when you work with vulnerable individuals, such as children, special needs adults or the elderly, you need to make sure you get a DBS done.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), is able to provide information about an individual as to whether or not he or she has a criminal conviction or has been charged with a criminal conviction which has expired. This provides the employer, which in my case is the mother of this girl, with peace of mind.

I haven’t actually applied for this yet as I will ask the mother how she feels about this.

Although I have never had a conviction in my life, it is still important to do things properly.

Coaching a young girl, who has just been through an abusive situation at home with her stepmom, is vulnerable territory.

Things have to be dealt with very carefully and I will have to refer her to a psychotherapist, if I see that her symptoms are serious. As a coach, I can only guide her with compassion and validation of her feelings but I can’t offer much more. Her mother has said that her daughter hasn’t found any of the counsellors at school helpful and that child services are happy that she will be talking to me, due to my background and focus of my business.

If I can help this young girl, I will be extremely grateful.

When I was that age, I had no idea that I was actually suffering from abuse. I thought my life was normal, even though I had no confidence and felt empty and unloved.

All children deserve a chance to be supported and have their feelings acknowledged. All children deserve to feel safe, loved and to feel happy.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

New youtube video-I have discovered my parents are narcissists.What now?

It is important to know the steps of what to expect after realising your parents are abusive. It is crucial to finally understand why and how you were & are affected by narcissistic abuse. Giving what you have been through a name, is the beginning of your healing journey. It allows for validation of your feelings and to finally KNOW that it wasn’t your fault – It was your parents fault!

To actually work through the emotions, the acceptance of not having had healthy parents and the grief that goes with it, is a whole different challenge however. To reach a better state of mental health, you have to dig deep and allow a lot of painful feelings to come to the surface. Only after working through these painful emotions, will you then have the opportunity to look at your life through a different lens. To look at yourself with more self-compassion & understanding and to learn to set boundaries, takes practice and you need an experienced therapist on your side.

A psychological coach, which is what I have trained as, can support you in changing self-defeating thoughts or behaviours and can support you in the present to move forward with goal setting. A coach is not qualified to guide you through your grieving or acceptance in depth. That is a therapist’s job.

I have had a lot of teenagers watch my youtube videos and I am very much aware that I have to post videos carefully and support these children appropriately.

With empathy & unconditional positive regard, a child can feel a little bit better.

I know that if I had had this support as a child, it probably would have made a world of difference to my mental health.

This is the main reason I am passionate about supporting young people. They need someone to have their back with no strings attached. With narcissistic parents/step-parents, there are always strings attached. There is always some nasty remark waiting to be used against their child/step-child.

Children deserve unconditional love, acceptance, validation of their feelings and a safe environment to call home. This has to become a priority in our society.

Thanks for reading/watching!

Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

The aftermath of a traumatic incident

As much as I dislike watching the news and tend to limit what I take in, it is increasingly difficult to not be affected by the constant bombardment of war footage, terrorist attacks, murder and suffering.

When you are a highly sensitive & empathetic person, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sadness of others. I am very much aware of the cruel injustice in our world and it hurts me deeply to see so many suffering. It is even tougher when this is repeated in your own country. Due to the fact that I know what it feels like to have your life threatened, I decided to make the following video on the aftermath of trauma. This is my small contribution towards all those affected.

Despite my traumatic childhood, I was also once caught up in armed robbery, where a gunshot went off right next to me and a woman was lying on the floor with blood on her leg. The disbelief of what I had witnessed was indescribable. The terror I felt shook me to the core. I couldn’t comprehend how someone could shoot a gun, when everyone at the cashier was cooperating and the robbers had managed to get their money.

This armed robbery happened at a time where I was very vulnerable already as my CPTSD was really bad. All I could think of after this robbery was ‘not again, not another trauma to add to my list’. Life felt so unfair and scary on that day and my mind was telling me that there was more damage done and that I would not recover this time.

If it wasn’t for my kind therapist at the time, to ground me and tell me that I wasn’t going to let this swallow me, I don’t know how I would have coped in the long term.

So this video is for those of you who are new to trauma. It is helpful in understanding yourself after a traumatic experience and it gives you the tools you need to ride the emotional waves that may at times feel like they are taking over.

Although I am not a qualified psychotherapist, I do have a lot of insight into trauma through my own journey and I know the many things that helped me, as well as others. If you are someone who is in deep distress, then please call a qualified mental health professional.

Thank you so much for reading & watching! ♥

Please share this post if you think it will help others.

Check out my patreon page below, if you would like to support the creation of more videos, documents and fact sheets.

https://www.patreon.com/AthinaEhlen

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Mental Health Awareness week

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Ending the stigma of mental health is still proving to be a challenge, although in the UK we are getting ever closer to our goal of a deeper understanding, tolerance & acceptance of the importance of talking about our mental health.

As somebody who has never known what life is like without mental health problems, I know how difficult it is to be open and honest about it..People are still uncomfortable with knowing what to say or not say..Even if they try to be understanding, deep down you can sense whether they get it or they don’t..

Every single one of us is touched by stress or anxiety at some point in our lives, whereas others live with it every day…I am one of those people who lives with chronic mental health problems..Complex PTSD isn’t something to be taken lightly..There are still so many moments in my life at the age of 34 that I still learn new things about myself that I am not able to do, that others would find incredibly easy to complete. The hypervigilance and overwhelm never goes away..The chronic fatigue never goes away..The low mood is always lingering in the background..The voice that says ‘you are just not good enough’, pops up a lot when I am working alongside others…

Self-care is so important in these moments and remembering to accept ourselves when we are struggling can make a world of difference!

Walking the same path as others with mental illness really helps people feel less alone..

All the wonderful people who ran the London Marathon raising money for Mental Health are simply incredible..

If you think about how much these runners must have battled with those nasty little voices inside their head, it makes you feel incredibly inspired. The voice of depression or the voice of anxiety is not an easy task to manage..but yet they did it, and in what an admirable way!

I am also blessed to have many friends & fellow bloggers who do so much to raise awareness about mental health! They have all been personally affected however and live with debilitating conditions themselves..

The most crucial part in my opinion of raising awareness, is to also hear more people talking about mental health that don’t have any personal experience with it..People that feel concerned about someone they know but just don’t know how to respond..People that are lucky enough to live with good mental health and are surrounded by people who aren’t that lucky..

If you have experience with ill mental health, stigma or intolerance, then please feel free to comment.

Lastly, I would also like to share my latest information video on defence mechanisms. I was having a bad day yesterday and couldn’t face the camera to film myself talk, so I came up with this instead.

Thanks so much for reading & watching!

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

How sexual abuse affects survivors in intimate relationships-YouTube Video-Part 1

Sexual abuse of any kind, whether that is long term childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault, has a profound effect on whoever experiences it.

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Since starting my first blog nearly 2 years ago, I have come across so many sexual abuse survivors, who have brought me to tears with their resilience and courageousness. I have met both men and women who have been through hell and back and have suffered far worse experiences than I ever did. This video was created with them in mind and for one of them in particular who asked me to do a video on this important topic.

I have learnt so much more about myself through doing research on this heartbreaking topic. I have also learnt how insidious sexual abuse can be and how many layers of trauma a survivor has to work through before reaching a more comfortable state of being.This video will be PART 1 of a 2 video series.It is such a sensitive topic and I want to make sure I cover as much as possible for those who may be affected by a past experience and may not even realise it yet. I am currently working through a list of questions that survivors can ask themselves, so they can have a better idea of where their difficulties lie in relation to sexual intimacy. At the end of this first video I have included some of these questions. How many of these did you answer ‘Yes’ to? I really hope that your answer is ‘None’.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

How to detect whether you or someone you care about is in an abusive relationship.

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When a relationship starts off with subtle signs of possessiveness or teasing that undermines the partner, this may then escalate to full blown domestic violence.

When one partner is trying to control the other partner in ways that are sometimes confusing and feel uncomfortable, then this may then escalate to complete and utter isolation from family and friends.

Sometimes the signs in abusive relationships are so subtle, that it is difficult to tell if someone is going to end up being abusive or not. Abuse can only be emotional and mental in some relationships. It doesn’t necessarily have to be physical and sexual. In other cases, it can be a combination of mental, physical, sexual & financial abuse.

The video I did today is important for those of you who know someone you suspect may be in an abusive relationship.If you suspect that it is actually your partner that is abusive, then please get in touch and I can put you in contact with the appropriate charities and organisations that can help you.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Question & Answer- YouTube videos

Today I am starting off my series of Q & A videos, where my viewers and subscribers are able to get their questions answered by me, in a video each week. Please feel free to ask me questions on the following topics:

  • Complex PTSD
  • Narcissistic abuse
  • Dysfunctional relatioships
  • Negative thinking
  • Dealing with emotional flashbacks
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma Bonding
  • Toxic shame
  • Codependency

I also am happy to answer questions on how to :

  • Better manage your time
  • Practice self-compassion
  • Develop resilience
  • Stop self-defeating thinking patterns
  • Better manage your workload
  • Build confidence
  • Set boundaries
  • Deal with toxic people

Here is the first video on a question asked by one of my viewers:

Please note: **I will always keep the identity of my viewers confidential**

Thanks for reading and watching

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

You are not a failure

Nobody told you when you were a child that life could feel so tough sometimes.

Nobody told you that life could drain the joy right out of you, just when you thought things were getting better.

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Life is a crazy rollercoaster and you have to ride it out, no matter what it throws at you.

It might be that your boss criticizes you, no matter how much extra work you put in.

It might be that your partner who once made you smile, now only seems to point out all your flaws.

Your family might be hopeless at supporting you and instead always tells you when you have let them down.

Your looks fall short of what is considered beautiful, your body has piled on the pounds and your health is deteriorating.

Your money problems never seem to end and you are surrounded by angry, hateful and impatient people.

Everywhere you seem to look, there are people pointing out what is wrong with you.

Your career isn’t where it is supposed to be. You still aren’t married and people think there is something wrong with you for not wanting to have kids.

Even people with the best self-esteem, can end up feeling horrible.

Everywhere you look, people are pointing out that you are a failure..

Outer criticism ends up becoming inner criticism. That inner criticism ends up taking hold of your daily life and you can’t seem to silence that nasty little voice inside you that tells you, you have failed.

You might have once been a reasonably confident person and now you are nowhere near that.

Do you find yourself being haunted by this inner voice of failure? Do you find yourself needing to apologise for things that are out of your control?

Are you sorry that you couldn’t do better at work?  Then you failed

Are you sorry that you couldn’t lose weight? Then you failed

Are you sorry that your partner left you? Then you failed

Are you sorry that you are too sick to support your family? Then you failed

Are you sorry that you are struggling with the housework? Then you failed

Are you sorry that everything is too stressful? Then you failed

These negative thoughts are very harmful, even though you may not think so. When you internalise self-doubt your body absorbs it. Your muscles tense and you can actually become physically ill from it. If you allow others negativity to affect how you see yourself, then this might become a vicious cycle.

Have you ever noticed that when an abusive spouse, parent or boss criticizes you, you get nervous and are more likely to make more mistakes? The more difficult the people around you, the more on edge you feel and the more clumsy you may become. This was definetely the case with me for many years…

It is crucial to be aware of how destructive it can be to give your control away to others. If you constantly accept that you are a failure, because you judge yourself through others’ eyes, then you will eventually freeze. You will stop trying, you will stop living..

So how do you change this? How do you manage to keep the negativity that surrounds you away?

First of all, remember this! You are NOT A FAILURE!

You are not a failure because you failed your driving test.

You are not a failure because your relationship ended.

You are not a failure because you lost your job.

You are not a failure because you don’t want kids.

You are not a failure because others think you are.

Making mistakes in life is NORMAL. Making mistakes in life doesn’t mean that you are a failure. A mistake is just a mistake! This doesn’t make you anything less than wonderful.

Mistakes help you learn and at least you were brave enough to take on new opportunities.

Every time you catch yourself telling yourself that you are a failure, then say the word ‘STOP’. You are not a failure..

Remind yourself of all the good things you have done and that you are proud of. Even the tiniest things can mean so much! Don’t let others define you. Nothing matters more than the opinion YOU HAVE of yourself.img_1844

Never apologise for not being good enough because you are a valuable and worthy person. No matter how much others judge you, don’t let their voice drown out your own.

YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE!

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.