Jealousy: Can it be a good thing?

When people think about jealousy, it’s natural to assume that it’s only ever a bad thing. After all, we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others and should instead be happy with ourselves. If only this could happen so easily.

Thanks to social media, it has become increasingly difficult not to compare ourselves to others. But it’s easy to forget that people only put on social media what they choose to. It’s therefore not a realistic representation of their lives.

I have been thinking recently about how jealousy has the potential to be used as a positive; as a way of highlighting what you really want in life and in turn enabling someone to make the changes in their life in order to achieve it.

It can be so easy to just carry on with the way life is because it’s easier than trying something different and possibly failing. But what if you see someone else achieve their goals? Can it not make you feel as though you can also achieve yours?

Not all type of jealousy is so easily rectified though. If you’re jealous of the way someone looks or how much money they earn in comparison to you, this can’t always be changed. Therefore the way of combatting this jealousy is learning how to be happy with what you have in life, and unfortunately that’s not always as easy.

But turning jealousy into a positive can help create life goals and positive ways of changing. Jealously can perhaps be the mirror you hold up to your own life and realise what you want to change in order to be truly happy.

*Sarah Keeping is currently undertaking a Counselling Skills course in London and is looking to change her professional subject area to Counselling Psychology. Previous qualifications are in Investigative Psychology, Psychology, Applied Criminology, and Criminology and Sociology. Follow Sarah on twitter at @SKeeping_Psych

Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.

skype: JessValentine
follow her on Twitter, FB and IG: @getwellbrighton

Hola, mi nombre es Ansiedad.

Hola, soy yo. He estado viviendo contigo desde hace un tiempo pero aún no me conoces. Después de este tiempo, decidí presentarme, creo que es necesario, tal vez así puedas entender mejor qué es lo que está pasando. A veces te escucho preguntándote por qué estás viviendo estas emociones y puedo ver que no la estás pasando bien. Algunas noches no puedes dormir por mi culpa y durante el día te sientes nervioso, enojado, cansado. Aparezco de diferentes maneras: pensamientos negativos, enojo, tristeza, irritabilidad, preocupación y miedo. Realmente no puedes vivir tu vida como quisieras. En lo único que puedes pensar es “no merezco esto”, y lo sé, te entiendo, mi presencia no es nada cómoda. He estado contigo desde hace mucho tiempo, algunas veces te das cuentas de mi presencia, pero no le das importancia, tal vez es porque no descansaste bien, estás cansado o tienes muchas cosas qué hacer. Siempre hay una respuesta para todo. Tan sólo la idea de que pueda ser yo, te asusta.

Todo empeoró hace dos semanas, ibas caminando por la calle de regreso a casa, fue un día pesado pero nada diferente a otros días en el trabajo, algunas citas, correos para responder, todo estaba normal, andabas por el mismo camino de cada día, de pronto te diste cuenta que algo estaba mal, todo estaba pasando muy rápido. Tu cuerpo se paralizó, tu respiración estaba aumentando y te sentías sin aire para respirar, te dolían los brazos, sentías mareos y ganas de vomitar. Sólo fueron unos segundos pero se sintieron como horas, estabas desesperado. La idea sobre morirte te asustó aún más, estabas seguro que estabas muriendo y no podías hacer nada. Después de esto, te calmaste y empezaste a caminar de nuevo. Estabas tranquilo pero en tu mente el miedo era más grande que antes, el miedo de sentirte así otra vez. Desde ese día no has podido dejar de pensar en eso, no puedes dormir y cuando por fin logras hacerlo, tienes pesadillas o te despiertas en medio de la noche, no has descansado. El miedo va contigo a todos lados, tienes miedo de vivir otra vez lo de hace dos semanas y haces todo lo posible por mantener el control y sentirte seguro, pero en tu interior, sabes que tienes miedo. No, no estás loco, aunque lo creas. Sé que hace dos semanas, cuando todo estaba fuera de control, creíste que te volverías loco, pero créeme, no lo estás. Es por eso que estoy aquí, es momento de que sepas quién soy.

Soy Ansiedad. Lo sé, mi nombre no es bonito, algunas personas se asustan sólo de escucharlo. En los últimos años he aparecido con más frecuencia que antes, tal vez sea por el ritmo de vida de ahora: la gente siempre está haciendo algo, la gente piensa más en hacer que en ser. Aunque cada vez soy más popular, no conocen mucho sobre mí. Me suelen confundir con miedo, angustia o pánico, a veces con sentirse extremadamente nervioso. Pero soy mucho más que esos síntomas. No soy miedo, el miedo aparece ante algo real, es una respuesta natural a algo que está presente, en eso nos diferenciamos el miedo y yo. Yo aparezco antes de que haya un peligro real, respondo ante la percepción de peligro en el futuro.

Entiendo porque mi presencia no es cómoda. Conoces mejor que nadie como se siente vivir conmigo. Pero recuerda, no estás loco, tienes ansiedad. ¿Por qué estoy aquí? No lo sé, puedo aparecer por diferentes razones. Lo que viviste hace dos semanas fue un ataque de pánico y es otro de mis síntomas, es parte de mí. Es una reacción al miedo, pero de una manera muy intensa. Como sabes, los síntomas no son cómodos: temblores, sudoración, dificultad para respirar, opresión en el pecho, despersonalización. ¿Te das cuenta que ninguno de ellos es locura? No soy locura, aunque puedas creer que lo soy. Para mí es muy importante decirte esto, porque sé que es lo que más te asusta.

Por favor respira, quédate aquí, en el presente. Si te vas con tus pensamientos, me puedo hacer más fuerte. La razón más fuerte por la que estoy aquí es por los pensamientos. No digo que sea la única, pero sí de las más importantes. Tal vez con mi presencia trato de decirte algo sobre ti, tal vez eso pueda ayudar a escucharte, de tomar un momento para ver dentro de ti. No quiero que te juzgues, porque no estoy aquí para eso, por favor sé amable contigo, con tus necesidades, con tus sentimientos. No es tu culpa, pero puedes trabajar en eso. No soy un monstruo, aunque a veces parezca uno.

Ahora que ya sabes más de mí y tal vez más sobre ti. ¿Qué opinas?

 

 

Si quieres sabes más sobre la ansiedad o crees que tienes alguno de los síntomas presentados anteriormente, por favor contáctanos.

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Hi, my name is Anxiety.

Hello! It is me, I have been living with you for a while, but you do not know me yet. After all this time, I decided to introduce myself, I think it is necessary, so you could understand what is happening in a better way.  Sometimes I hear you asking yourself why you are feeling these emotions, since I can see you aren’t having a good time with me. Some nights you can’t sleep because of me and during the day you feel nervous, angry, tired. I come out in different ways: negative thoughts, anger, sadness, irritability, worries and fears. You can’t really live your life as well as you want. The only thing you can think is “I don’t deserve this”, and I know, I understand you, my presence is not comfortable at all. I have been with you for a long time, sometimes you realize my presence, but you don’t give it importance, maybe it is because you are tired or there are just too many things to do. There is an answer for everything.  The sole idea that it is me, scares you.

Everything was worst two weeks ago, when you were walking on the street, back from the job. It was a hard day but not too different to another normal day at the job: some appointments, emails to respond, everything was normal, you were walking on the same road as every day. Suddenly, you realized that something was wrong, everything was happening very fast. Your body was paralyzed, your heartbeat was increasing, and you felt that you didn’t have enough air to breathe; you felt a pain in your arms, sickness and you wanted to vomit. It was just a few seconds that felt like hours, you were desperate. The thought about death scared you even more, you were sure you were dying and you couldn’t do anything. After this, you stayed calm and then you started to walk again. You were calm, but in your mind the fear was bigger than before, the fear of feeling that again. Since that day you haven’t stopped thinking about it, you can’t sleep and when you finally fall asleep, you have nightmares or you wake up in the middle of the night, you have not slept well. The fear goes with you everywhere, you are afraid of feeling again what you felt two weeks ago and you do everything possible to take control and be able to feel safe, but inside you, you know you are very afraid.  No, you are not crazy, even if you think it. I know two weeks ago, when everything was out of control you thought you would go crazy, but trust me, you are not. That is why I am here, because it’s time you know who I am.

My name is Anxiety. I know, my name isn’t cool, some people get scared just to hear it. In the last years I have appeared more frequently than before, maybe it is because of today’s busy lifestyles, people are doing something all time, people think more in doing than in being. Although each time I am more popular, people don’t know much about me. I used to be confused with fear, anguish or panic, or sometimes with being extremely nervous.

As I told you before, I understand why my presence isn’t comfortable. You know better than anyone else, how it feels living with me. But remember, you are not crazy, you have anxiety. Why am I here? I don’t know, I can appear because of many reasons. What happened to you two weeks ago was a panic attack and it is another of my symptoms, it is part of me. It is a reaction to fear, but amplified.  As you know, the symptoms are very uncomfortable: trembling, sweating, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, depersonalisation. Have you noticed that not one of them is craziness? I am not craziness, even if you think it. For me it is very important to tell you this, because I know the thing that scare you the most is going crazy.  

Please breathe, stay here, in the present. I need you to stay here. If you go away with your thoughts, I can become stronger. Thoughts are the main reason why I am here. I am not saying it is the only one, but I think it is one of the most important. Maybe I am trying to tell you something about you, maybe it could help to listen to yourself, to take a moment to look within you. Please be kind with yourself, with your needs, with your feelings. It isn’t your fault, but you can work on it. I am not a monster, even if I seem like one.

Now you know more about me, and probably more about you.

What do you think about it?

 

If you want to know more about Anxiety or believe that you have any symptoms,  please contact us.

 

 

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Bullying in the British Culture: Learn to stand up for yourself and your friends

I believe there is an underlying manner of bullying within the United Kingdom.  Through my experience, many Brits do not express themselves- they can either be quite passive-aggressive or just repress many emotions. I think many of them especially within the school systems are too scared to stand up and teach that bullying is not acceptable. In America, even though bullying does happen everywhere around the world we have a zero tolerance to bullying and ill-behavior.  Let’s see what Georgia Farrugia The Brighton Mental Health and Wellness Centre’s April’s Guest Blogger has to say about bulling. It’s always great to get new perspectives on things. After all, we only know what we experience in our lives.
LIKEABILITY
So here is the thing, we all want to be liked right. We compare ourselves to our neighbour in class, our friend or colleague – and most of all, the person we wish we could be like. See God made us unique. Every single one of us has a purpose, and every single one of us has a passion. I will start this with, it is OK TO BE YOU – You are perfect as you are. 
BULLYING
I know what this is like, to be left out, to not fit in. I went through it, with a total of five school moves and hating who I was and questioning why I was going through it.
However, look back at what I just said– that every single one of us has a purpose, and every single one of us has a passion. Even when I was going through some of my HARDEST times imaginable, I knew there must have been a reason. To help people possibly? And the passion – it is the very reason I have written this blog for you. To tell you that with your own inner strength you WILL get through the tournament. And so it is ok to not fit in the box of those who are doing the bullying – because you were put on this earth to create your own box. 
 
School bullying (or can be applied to any one aspect of life): SCHOOL IS NOT YOUR LIFE. The same way that your gender, religion, hair style or family background does not entirely define you, school is not your life (or your job/bullying in work). It may be what you know up to now or take up the majority of your time, but the same as when you were 7 you didn’t know what you’d achieve or how great you’d be at 17, great times will come and there will be triumphs that you just don’t know yet. 
 
You are going to reach milestones and your experience of life is going to evolve and once this period in your life has passed, you will have memories, but school itself, or the adversity you are facing, will not define you and eventually those memories will become the distant past. You are free to choose how to live your life and WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Make that decision count, not what the tormentors say. 
 
One day, life will revolve around new relationships and jobs, college or university, there may be friends, holidays or religion or a faith that may come into your life – what I am showing you is that your life will have other meaning and the nugget in this is, do not let your current or past experiences define who you are, how you believe in yourself or who you will become. 
 

It is that the hardest times in our lives that will make us the strongest people and enable us to achieve our best. I wish you the best. 

Would you like to get in touch with Georgia? Tweet her here: @mcrgeorgia https://twitter.com/mcrgeorgia

Have you ever been bullied? Do you need help establishing stronger boundaries within your own relationships? Please get in touch with the centre today! www.brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk.

Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.

skype: JessValentine
follow her on Twitter, FB and IG: @getwellbrighton

Does achieving life milestones make you happier?

‘Life milestones make happiness’
Written by Sarah Keeping

At my 18th birthday party, someone asked me what I wanted from my life and I remember saying, with a big smile on my face that I wanted to be happy. But apparently, this answer was too general. I remember thinking, why? Isn’t this what everyone wants? Should I have said that I wanted to own a Ferrari?

When I was 19, I wrote down on a piece of paper everything I wanted to achieve in my life. For a person who prides herself for being an optimist, owning a house by the time I was 25 was probably a bit too hopeful! The list contained things like, visiting Paris, getting married and being happy. But now I look back and ask myself what actually is happiness? I would say that only you know what happiness is because it’s unique to you; what makes one person happy doesn’t necessary do the same for another person. Back then I think I thought that happiness just happens, just like life. Unfortunately, you have to make things happen in your life, opportunities don’t usually come to you.

In my experience, society has an expectation about what you do in life; you get your qualifications, you get a career, you fall in love, you get married, you have children. But what if that doesn’t happen? And what if you don’t want all of those things to happen? Or in that order? Are you then a failure? Of course not.

I watched an episode of Will and Grace the other day, and Grace (who is a single woman in her late 40s and has no children) was worried about going to a Baby Shower because of how people would perceive her. What was really interesting about this though was when the other women eventually found out about how she felt, they too expressed how they were worried about how she would perceive them as being mothers and nothing else. Even though this was fiction, it reinforced to me that the way we look at ourselves is not necessarily how others see us. As long as we are happy with our lives, that is all that ever matters.

HOW WILL PEOPLE PERCEIVE US IF WE DON’T HAVE CHILDREN AND ARE IN OUR 40’S? 

What we have (or don’t have) in our lives is not put on a scale that shows how well we are doing at life. And if some people think there is such a scale, maybe it says more about them than us.

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Do you feel that by accomplishing life milestones you are a happier person?

*Sarah Keeping is currently undertaking a Counselling Skills course in London and is looking to change her professional subject area to Counselling Psychology. Previous qualifications are in Investigative Psychology, Psychology, and Criminology and Sociology.

Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.

skype: JessValentine
follow her on Twitter, FB and IG: @getwellbrighton

Online psychotherapy, Why yes and why not?

Some years ago, I stared working as a psychotherapist. The first time I got into this wonderful world was trough online psychotherapy, I had not my own space to work and I had listened people were more interested in this kind of process, which is why I tried to work with the help of technology. Since I moved, I am still working with my patients back home and I can see the utility of technology in psychotherapy.

It is true that not all kind of psychotherapies are for everyone, maybe there are some people who feel more comfortable working with one way than another and at the same time there are others who prefer to move to the practice and to have the whole experience of it: take a seat, recognise the smell, the light and all the sensations that can appear in front of the therapist. On the other side, there are those who enjoy more having their therapy in their own home or by phone call.

Based in my experience, I had identified some advantages and disadvantages to give online psychotherapy. Today, I want to share these so that you can have a better and clearer idea of what it means to have therapy online, since people have asked me if it works at all. I will leave it to your own opinion, hoping to read some comments on the subject.

Why yes?

Online psychotherapy is easy to access, it needs only internet and a computer, a phone or a tablet.

It is possible to take it in almost any place, from the comfort of your own home, or at some free hour during the day. Many people feel more comfortable talking about themselves in a familiar place; also in big and populated cities, it can be easier to go online than taking the time to commute to where the therapy takes place.

People who live away from their country and live where their own language is not spoken find it convenient to have online therapy with someone from their own nationality, since they can express better and easier their emotions and experiences in their mother tongue.

People who have already a therapeutic process but they or their psychotherapist move to another place, they use online psychotherapy to continue working with their psychotherapist. Generally, this happens when they have been working together for some time or the relationship between them is very strong and changing could potentially influence the therapeutic process.

Finally, those with a physical limitation that complicates them from commuting to the practice can also have online therapy, with easy access and in a more comfortable way.

Accompaniment and closeness are two important aspects to think about when considering the advantages of having online psychotherapy. Even when there are kilometres between them, the patient can always feel close to the psychotherapist, thanks to technology.

Why not?

The main disadvantage that I have identified is concerning technical problems such as internet or computer failure, low battery, updates, loss of signal or sound interferences, all of which can twist or distort the message and make it not understandable.

The place where the session happens is very important, sometimes it is small or open to other people, and when it is the case, the patient cannot express himself freely, since sometimes he could pay more attention to people around him and not being overheard. For this reason, it is very important that the patience knows the basic conditions of having online psychotherapy, which include the certainty of having a proper space for the sessions.

Closely related to the previous point, while being accessible and easy to be in a familiar space, this can also compromise the patient’s commitment, because he can get distracted by an external factor such as a noise in the house or a phone call, as well as delay for the sessions, just to mention a few examples. To avoid misunderstandings, it is very important that before starting the session, the rules of commitment are well defined from both parts: the therapist and the patient. In this way, they will both know their responsibility during the therapeutic process.

In general, online therapy is a very useful tool to people that are comfortable using technology and that because of their own particular situations, it is easier to have it. Even though online therapy does no substitute presence therapy, because the latter has a certain richness while working with it, it can definitely be a great alternative to work with emotions in an easy an accessible manner. Whether online or in presence, psychotherapy will depend on the commitment and disposition of both the patient and the therapist, because psychotherapy is more than nothing a team effort.

After reading this article, what do you think of online therapy? Here at the Brighton Wellness Centre we have online and presence therapy options. If you are interested, you can send us a message to receive more information.

See you next week!

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Terapia en línea ¿Por qué sí y por qué no?

Hace unos años que me dedico a la psicoterapia, la primera vez que me lancé a este maravilloso mundo fue a través de la terapia en línea. No tenía un consultorio y había escuchado que la gente estaba cada vez más interesada en este tipo de terapia, así que decidí empezar por este medio. Desde que me mudé he continuado trabajando en línea con mis pacientes de mi país y me he dado cuenta del beneficio que nos da el uso de la tecnología.

Es cierto que no todas las terapias son para toda la gente, habrá personas que se sientan más cómodas trabajando con un enfoque que con otro y de igual manera, habrá quienes prefieran trasladarse al consultorio y tener la experiencia de ir a terapia presencial: tomar su asiento, reconocer los olores, la luz y todo el cúmulo de sensaciones que pueden aparecer al tener al terapeuta de frente. Por el contrario, habrá otros que disfruten más tomar su terapia desde la comodidad de su casa o con la practicidad de una llamada telefónica.

Con base en mi experiencia, he identificado algunas ventajas y desventajas de tomar terapia en línea. Hoy se las comparto para que puedan tener una idea más clara de lo que implica, pues mucha gente me ha preguntado si en realidad funciona. Se los dejo a su criterio, esperando que me compartan sus opiniones.

¿Por qué si?

La terapia en línea es de fácil acceso, para llevarla a cabo se necesita estar conectado a internet, tener una computadora o algún otro medio electrónico como un celular o una Tablet.

Se puede tomar en cualquier lugar, desde la comodidad de la casa o en una hora libre que se tenga en el trabajo. Muchas personas se sienten más seguras al hablar de sí mismas en un lugar conocido para ellas, además en ciudades muy grandes, es más fácil porque se evita el traslado al lugar de la terapia.

Las personas que viven lejos de su país y se encuentren en uno donde no hablan su mismo idioma encuentran más atractivo tomar terapia en línea con una persona de su país, pues expresar las emociones y experiencias les resulta más sencillo en su lengua madre. Esto sirve mucho porque en la opinión de las personas, consideran que aunque hablen muy bien el idioma, no se transmiten de la misma manera las emociones, por esta razón buscan terapia con alguien de su país.

Las personas que ya llevan un proceso terapéutico pero ellas o su terapeuta cambian de residencia, también hacen uso de la terapia en línea para continuar con su proceso. Generalmente esto pasa cuando ya llevan algún tiempo trabajando juntos y la relación con el terapeuta es muy sólida, pues si cambia puede influir en su trabajo terapéutico.

Personas con alguna limitación física que no pueda trasladarse fácilmente al consultorio pueden tomar terapia en línea, de esta manera podrá tener acceso a su tratamiento de una manera más cómoda.

Acompañamiento y cercanía son dos aspectos importantes para tomar en cuenta en las ventajas de tomar terapia en línea, a pesar de que los puedan separar varios kilómetros de distancia, el paciente a través de los diferentes medios electrónicos, como videollamada o llamada de voz, podrá sentirse cercano al terapeuta.

 ¿Por qué no?

La principal desventaja que he identificado es cuando hay fallas en el Internet o en el medio electrónico que se usa para dar la terapia, por ejemplo actualizaciones en el dispositivo, falta de batería, pérdida de señal o interferencias, esto puede ocasionar que el mensaje se distorsione y no pueda comprenderse claramente.

El espacio con el que cuenta el paciente para llevar a cabo la terapia es importante, algunas veces se encuentra en un lugar reducido o no cerrado, esto dificulta que el paciente pueda expresarse libremente ya que puede preocuparse más por que las personas a su alrededor no lo escuchen. Por esta razón, parte del encuadre que se da al paciente al iniciar una terapia en línea, es lo fundamental de contar con un espacio apropiado para las sesiones.

Relacionado con lo anterior, al ser de fácil acceso y tener la oportunidad de estar en un lugar conocido, esto puede dificultar el compromiso del paciente, es decir, puede distraerse con algún factor externo, como un ruido en su casa o una llamada telefónica, o bien, impuntualidad en la hora de terapia, por dar algunos ejemplos. Para evitar malentendidos en este sentido, es muy importante que antes de iniciar la terapia, se tenga un encuadre claro en el que se establezcan los compromisos de ambas partes de la relación: terapeuta y paciente; de esta manera ambos estarán informados sobre su responsabilidad en el proceso terapéutico.

En general, la terapia en línea es una herramienta muy útil para personas que se sientan cómodas usando la tecnología y por sus situaciones contextuales sea mejor para ellas. La terapia en línea no suple a la terapia presencial, pues esta última tiene una riqueza en la forma de trabajar, sin embargo, es una alternativa para trabajar las emociones, de una manera sencilla y accesible. Ya sea en línea o de manera presencial, la terapia psicológica depende en gran medida del compromiso y la disposición tanto del paciente como del terapeuta, ya que es un trabajo en equipo.

Después de leer lo anterior, ¿qué opinas sobre la terapia en línea? Si estás interesado, puedes ponerte en contacto para mayor información.

¡Hasta la próxima semana!

 

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Emociones positivas y negativas.

Antes de empezar a leer, te invito a reflexionar sobre las siguientes preguntas: para ti, ¿qué es una emoción positiva? ¿cómo se siente? ¿es agradable? Ahora, trae a tu mente una emoción negativa, ¿Qué es lo que aparece? ¿Cómo se siente una emoción mala? Después de hacer este breve ejercicio, probablemente te des cuenta que algunas emociones fueron muy fáciles de identificar. Algunas personas creen que hay emociones positivas y negativas, por ejemplo, la felicidad y la tristeza, el negro y el blanco. La mejor y más buscada emoción es la felicidad, todos la queremos, y del otro lado, está la mala y cruel tristeza, ¡claro! Nadie quiere estar triste, esta es una muy, muy mala emoción. Esto es lo que aprendimos, y así es la manera en que movemos nuestras piezas en la vida, tratando en todo momento de ser felices y huyendo de la tristeza. La realidad es que las emociones no son buenas ni malas, sólo son emociones. La principal diferencia entre ellas es la manera en que las sentimos y en que las vivimos.

Las emociones nos ayudan a percibir el mundo y a relacionarnos con otras personas; nos  recuerdan que estamos vivos y somos capaces de sentir cualquier cosa. Hay algunas emociones que no conocemos y como toda experiencia desconocida, nos pueden asustar, sin embargo, eso no significa que sean negativas.

Cambiar la manera en que vemos las emociones, puede servirnos para afrontarlas, y aprender de ellas al mismo tiempo. ¿Cómo podemos hacer esto? En el ejemplo que presenté líneas arriba, la felicidad es vista como una emoción positiva y la tristeza como una negativa, pero eso es lo que creemos sobre ellas, es una creencia. Cuando nos damos el tiempo para cuestionarnos por qué una emoción es buena o mala, puede que encontremos nuevas respuestas. “Aprendí que llorar no es bueno, te hace débil”, “Cuando era niño, mis papás me dijeron que no puedo expresar mi enojo”, “La gente dice que sonreír todo el tiempo es bueno para la salud”, estas son algunas frases que muestran que la manera en como percibimos una emoción tiene que ver con lo que aprendimos sobre ella.

¿Por qué una emoción es positiva y negativa? Primero, decir que algo es bueno o malo es hablar de una creencia, es subjetivo, por lo tanto puede ser diferente a lo que piensan otras personas; en segundo lugar, las creencias vienen de lo que aprendemos: el niño que escuchó que llorar es igual a ser débil, cuando sea adulto va a creer que para ser un hombre fuerte no tiene que llorar, y probablemente, para él la tristeza o vulnerabilidad serán emociones negativas; tratará todo el tiempo de esquivarlas. Y en tercer lugar, la manera en que vivimos las emociones también depende de las herramientas que tengamos, pero como mencioné antes, si no conozco algo, tal vez me dé miedo y no lo viva, pero si no lo vivo, ¿cómo tendré las herramientas y el aprendizaje para poder afrontarlo en un futuro?

Aquellas emociones que la gente llama negativas nos ayudan a conocernos y a crecer. Si un día estamos felices, nos sentimos orgullosos de nosotros mismos y estamos muy motivados, ¡Qué bueno! Si otro día nos sentimos tristes, decepcionados o enojados, ¡Qué bueno también! Somos humanos, estamos vivos y estamos aprendiendo cómo vivir una vida llena de emociones, sólo emociones.

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Positive and negative emotions.

Before starting this article, I would like to invite you to think about this: for you, what is a positive emotion? How does it feel? Do you enjoy it? Now, bring to your mind a negative emotion, what do you see? How do you feel a bad emotion? After doing this exercise, maybe some emotions were very easy to identify. Some people believe that there are positive and negative emotions, for example, happiness and sadness, the black and white. The best and most wanted emotion is happiness, everyone wants it, and on the other side, the bad and cruel sadness of course! Nobody wants to be sad, this is a very, very negative emotion. That is what we learned, and this is how we move all our pieces in life, trying everytime to be happy and running away from sadness. The reality is that emotions are not good or bad, they are just emotions. The main difference is the way we feel and live them.

Emotions help us to perceive the world we live in, and through them we can connect with other people; emotions remind us that we are alive and we are able to feel anything. There are some emotions that we do not know, and as any unknown experience, they scare us, but it does not mean that they are negative.

To change the way we look at emotions, it can be very useful to face them, and to learn from them as well. How can we do this? In the example I gave before, happiness is seen as a positive emotion and sadness as a negative one, but that is what we believe about these emotions, it is a belief. When we take the time to question why an emotion is good or bad, we can find some new answers. “I learned that crying is not good, it makes me weak”, “When I was child, my parents told me that I couldn’t express my anger”, “People say smiling all the time is good for the health”,  these are some phrases that show that the way we perceive an emotion depends on what we learned about it.

Why an emotion is positive or negative? First, saying something is good or bad is a belief, and it is subjective, so it is different to other people; second, believes come up from our learning: the child that heard that crying is similar to weakness, as an adult will believe that to be a strong man he should not cry, and probably, for him, sadness or vulnerability are negative emotions; he will try every time to dodge them. And third, the way we take an emotion depends on the tools we have to experience them. But as I said before, if I do not know something, maybe it scares me and I won’t live it, but if I do not live it, how can I have the tools and the knowledge for the next time?  

Those emotions that some people call negative help us know ourselves and grow. If one day we are happy, we feel proud of ourselves and very motivated, great! If another day we feel sad, disappointed or angry, it is great! We are humans! We are alive! And we are learning everytime how to live this life full of emotions, just emotions.

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Mental Illness Stigma: Living with Others’ Judgements

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At Brighton Wellness Centre, we are well aware of the mental health stigma that pervades our society. Even today, with the many pioneering organisations and charities helping those with mental illnesses, the rise of medications such as anti depressants and mood stabilisers and an awareness of psychotherapy, there is still stigma. People can react negatively, be harsh or not understanding because they do not understand the complexity that is mental ill health and the effects it has on the brain and behaviour.

Common stigmatised reactions may include language such as ‘You aren’t crazy, why do you need to take those pills?‘, ‘You should be locked up’,’You are behaving so bipolar‘, ‘People with depression are weak’ and so on. Mental illness is still sadly associated by some (who have no experience of it) with doctors’ white coats, straight jackets, life long hospital stays and never making a full, complete recovery. It may take generations to change these attitudes, although we are beginning to turn the tide!

While these perceptions of mental illness may have been the case 60 or more years ago, today the mental health world in the UK and other Western countries has moved on. Since the 1950s, the rise of medications that worked to help illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, depressive/anxiety disorders and eating disorders have improved drastically. With the rise of SSRI medications that work on the brain as anti depressants as well as newly developed anti psychotic medications, mental illness sufferers are able, in most cases, to return to their normal lives. This coupled with psychotherapy can truly change lives. The policy of recovery is also a great shift from the past. Psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists don’t just aim to manage symptoms, they aim to set you on the path to recovery.

The feeling of judgement and of someone thinking you are ‘crazy’ is awful, sad and terrifying. For every person that understands and supports, you may get those who can’t and won’t understand you. You can lose friends or loved ones due to this, which is appalling. Support networks are badly needed for those with an illness in particular. So, don’t be stigmatised to those with an illness. Help and love your friend and loved one, give to them, provide a listening ear and a hug.

As someone with experience of mental health, I would say there is still a long way to go in terms of stigma. I talk and blog about my experiences, raise money for mental health charities and have just started reaching a wider audience. However, I still feel I cannot fully disclose my illness under my real name. This is due to the fact that it is still not hugely understood in society, so to be associated with it could be upsetting. Yet, I hope that within a decade or two, this will change. I blog to change attitudes and highlight awareness which is badly needed.

This is why I support Jessica Valentine at Brighton Wellness Centre. She focuses particularly on womens wellness and provides a therapeutic setting and a listening ear to all her clients. Psychotherapy of any kind is truly beneficial in helping you manage symptoms and difficult emotions. By taking the step to going to psychotherapy, you are battling stigma as well as helping yourself move forward.  Remember, there is nothing wrong or weak in talking to a therapist. In fact, you are being incredibly strong for seeking help and reaching out. Hopefully, any therapy you undergo will also help you to change your life for the better.  Reach out today.

Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.

skype: JessValentine
follow her on Twitter, FB and IG: @getwellbrighton