Emotional Growth Mindset: What seeds will you be planting during this Harvest?

As Autumn approaches, the big dark hairy spiders come out to play, and the rain always surprises us with an unannounced call (more than once)… I am reflecting on what I did and did not accomplish this past year. After all, this is the Harvest. This is the time of year where we plant seeds and daffodil bulbs to when harvested will remind us that Spring and a fresh start is nearer.

Reflecting on this past year, I did a lot of ‘holding on’ and ‘hanging in there.’ It wasn’t the most eventful of years. However, I moved into a new house which is lovely, shed more people who didn’t have my best interest at heart, waited one long year for a hernia re-constructive repair surgery, and lost one more year of not seeing my family in America. I would say that there were some good things that happened and some mundane things as well. Kind of like how it’s raining profusely at an angle outside my window right now and simultaneously the sun is shining. Sometimes life does not make any sense. I do, however, choose to notice the sun in these certain circumstances.

It’s a funny phrase, ‘hang in there’ isn’t it? It’s like saying… I don’t know when all this shit is going to end, but it eventually will or it may not. If it doesn’t you potentially might just drop off the tree branch you are hanging onto. You will fall, break your legs, potentially your neck… and then it will be a complete disaster. But, but keep holding on… it will be fine. It’s kind of like when people respond to you with the phrase ‘fair enough.’ What in the hell does that actually mean? Does that mean, you don’t care? you don’t have an opinion? you are daft? Does it mean the same things as ‘whatever’? I personally think that even that particular phrase is the most emotionally detached comment anyone can say to a human being.

There is nothing more than I can’t stand than having this attitude of ‘hanging in there.’ It’s malarkey. I want solutions. I want to know what to do when I am knee-deep in it. I want support when I am hanging from that tree branch,  I want people to say, ‘hey, Jess… we got this or YOU got this… or I hear you, this happened to me, or I know what to do when this happens.’ I need someone to show me or tell me that there is hope. That things will get better, things will change and challenge and provoke me to ask myself- what am I going to do to make things change if it’s within my power to make it change. Not just say… hang in there, fair enough or just look at me and nod. Lack of connections is very frustrating for me and can be quite lonely at times. Some people just don’t get it.

I met this guy on the train recently. We spoke. We connected. We exchanged details. He was a psychology student. A few months later he asked if I could assess him. Our texted went back and forth like a ping pong on a flat green table. He finally disclosed he was using drugs to self medicate. I told him I would go to a 12 step meeting with him if he wanted me to. He was shocked. He said why would you do that we only have met once. I jokingly replied ‘I am a legand.’ He said ‘that you are.’ However, jokingly aside… I said this is what humans are supposed to be doing. Being kind, helping one another. Being humane. Hence why we are technically classified this way. Plus, this person has great potential to change the future. And, this is how I see it. Sometimes when we have minds that are ahead of the normative it can feel quite overwhelming. This overwhelming feeling is often felt by people who are neurodiverse, artists, empaths, and healers. It is a feeling that is in intense because we often absorb other people’s energy and emotions. It can be difficult to shield and protect ourselves. This again is something this psychology student and I discussed. How if you look closely you can see people’s energy. I again would rather have these conversations then that of a so-called friend randomly texting me if I am doing alright and then ghosting me after they have read my response- IF they have even read my response.

Life is too short not to have deep connections. That is one thing I learned this year. I also learned that like the rain outside my large bay window that continues to dance upon the slick pavement sideways and while the sun intermittingly pops by to say hello, you can have plenty of crappy times simultaneously with the good times, too. It’s not something that I was made aware of when I was younger. I never struggled as an adult when I was living on the East Coast in America. It has only been difficult since moving here within the UK have I really saw negativity and unkindness and racism towards me. It hasn’t been easy at all I must say. Plus, I was having far too good of a time in the states to notice anything bad happening in my life. But, as you get older and sober… have children, do things on your own, no family support, single parenting, in a foreign country where I am the foreigner and on top of the desperate, dark, wet weather… there is Harvest. Harvest time or pumpkin time is a time where we can begin a new.

Now is the time to plan for next year. What am I going to do? What are YOU going to do? What bulbs will you be planting this Autumn? What thoughts will you be congregating? What kind of vibrations will you be standing next to? How will you grow if you want to grow? What will you change in your life to make you happier? Now I will reflect upon these questions as well. Time to bed down and make preparations. Do you grow? Do you study something new? Do you change your job or make the most of your job? Will you help others more? Will you howl at the moon more? Laugh more? Go on more adventures? Look after the homeless? Fall in love? Fall out of love? What seeds will you be planting during this Harvest?

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is Real

Remaining positive when it’s grey outside, cold and miserable is not an easy thing to do. It’s not an easy thing to so especially when you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder like I do, and to be frank, like most people. Seasonal Affective Disorder is when you lose energy, have difficulty sleeping and generally feel rubbish during the winter months. All I want to do is stuff myself with pizza and then ‘sleep for England’!

When I lived in the states I only really suffered with it for three months. In comparison to how I feel in England and how I felt in America; it is much more intense here in England. I think it’s because the winter months last longer than three months. It seems as though the winter months last 9 months. And, for me… that’s way too long to be grumpy. It is very natural for your body to want lots of food and lots of sleep in the winter. We are trying to preserve our energy. But, for some reason that natural cycle gets me really down. I don’t want to slow down. I want it to be summer time all year- especially in Brighton!

Twelve years ago, I lived in the states. During those three months I would exercise, go to the tanning beds to get my sun fix when those were popular (not healthy) and also met with my therapist, Dr. John, on a weekly basis. Dr. John was the balls. He was a cool little Italian dude who just sat there and stared at me for two years. His style was that of psychotherapy. He was old school. None of this 2019 CBT quick fix therapy. He sat there and listened and nodded when appropriate. He didn’t diagnose or try to fix me. He was the one that told me about Seasonal Affective Disorder. He told me to make sure I cut down on my sugars, take Vit B and Fish Oils and exercise. I learned a lot when I was seeing him. I use a lot of what I learned in our sessions in some of my sessions today, actually.

I think living in an area that is cold, rainy and damp for the most part of the year is quite difficult. I mean after all, I did not grow up with this sort of weather in my veins. I am not a native. Even when I lived in the states my colleagues would comment on how I felt cold all of the time. I am not meant to live in cold weather. But, what if you have to? What if you don’t have a choice? What if living in the cold is part of who you are and inevitable?

One thing I find annoying is that when you feel rubbish, other people feel rubbish, too. So, who is going to do the lifting up of the spirits in your friendship group? It’s a tough one. We all follow that ‘one’ inspirational or ‘two’ gurus to get us by. But, it’s not that easy. I find having Seasonal Affective Disorder quite debilitating sometimes. The winter blues have got us all down, but what can we do?

WHAT CAN WE DO TO GET THROUGH THE SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER? 

  1. stay warm
  2. when it’s sunny get those arms and legs out – and face into the sun
  3. talk to friends
  4. don’t isolate yourself
  5. exercise
  6. take Vitamin B and D
  7. take Krill Oil
  8. plunge into cold water
  9. join a weekly group
  10. travel
  11. Stop eating junk food
  12. Embrace the sleep
  13. Be gentle with yourself

I think a support group needs to be created for those who suffer from SAD. I think it would be a great idea. During the winter months people who need to be around people and positive energy could get together and go hiking, movies, parties and whatever people’s interests are. I follow a lovely lady on instagram and she swims everyday in the English Channel. Now that is totally awesome. Talk about an inspiration.

I think one tip for people who have SAD would be to manage their moods in a diary or calendar.

For instance, in your calendar every year mark a big fat X in the day where you are grumpy that way you can self regulate your moods. What I mean when I say self regulate your mood- you know why you are in a bad mood. It’s because your skin has not seen Vit D in ages, it’s cold, you are tired, things are moving slowly… If you can remind yourself of these things… this time or phase will pass more gracefully.

What are some things you do to get through the winter months? Do you fight it? Do you embrace the SAD? Some people love the winter time! Well, it can be invigorating. @onlinetherapyhelps @getwellbrighton
www.brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk
www.onlinetherapyhelps.com

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