The Impact of Divorce: Is it Contagious?

Can divorce be contagious? If my girlfriends are leaving their husbands, should I?  What if my husband’s mates are all single?  Will he want to be single, too? Divorce can be a moot word.  It can bring an enormous amount of uneasiness when spoken about in certain circles.  But, why is there a negative stigma when it comes to divorce?

We have lived in a society where people get married, have children and then stay together until ‘death do us part’.  The 21st Century has presented us with different options.  As divorce rates grow, so do our families, with step-children, step-parents and co-parents.  But with the 21st Century and its ideals, why do we still cringe when we hear that someone is getting a divorce?

Someone came up to me the other day and said, “I had no idea you were divorced.  I am really sorry.  I didn’t know.”

I responded probably quite unusually according to society’s majority with, “that’s okay – I have never been happier!”

I guess everyone has different views about divorce, especially if children are involved.  I think that is really the worst part of divorce – if children are involved.  All children want is their families to be in one place at one time.  Even though children are very resilient and can cope with change sometimes easier than adults, they still want a family unit.

Is that the reason why we cringe when we hear someone is getting a divorce- if children are involved?  ‘Oh, those poor children.’  ‘But what about the children!’

Psychologists have proven that it is healthier to separate than to argue in front of children.  It is not healthy for children to grow up in a hostile, angry and an unbalanced environment.  Children can also sense when there is a coldness in the room.  Even if a couple ignores and avoids each other it is an unhealthy environment for the children as well as the couple.  Children learn and model everything.  If love and friendship is not present in a couple’s relationship the children WILL be affected.  It will affect them with their interpersonal relationships both same sex and opposite sex patterns.

The impact of divorce on a family unit should not go amiss.  Divorce affects everyone differently.  And, there are many reasons why people get a divorce.  Sometimes it is a healthy choice for your children when separating from a toxic person.  Perhaps someone in the family doesn’t take the parenting role seriously.  For whatever the reason, I do not think we should judge people for having to go through something traumatic and stressful such as divorce.  Whether or not children are involved divorce is still stressful.

Hopefully we will realise why the divorce rates have gone up drastically.  Perhaps we should reconsider how we got into the relationship in the first place.  Co-dependent relationships often take us on the journey down the road to divorce.

Divorce is not catchy, nor is it a toxic plague.  Divorce is a break-free clause that is given to married folk who need a get out of jail card… literally.  Some choose to break free and some people are thrown into it without choice.  Whether you choose to leave your partner or your partner took it upon himself to leave you- it still hurts.

If you or anyone you know needs support please contact us.  We have plenty of counsellors who have experience with couples counselling and divorce support.

Mental Health: New Years’ Resolutions

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It’s that time of year again. Tinsel and fairy lights adorn houses and trees, Christmas songs blare from the radio, mulled wine is served and not to mention advent calendars and nativity plays. This time of year is a time to be with family and friends, whatever faith you are.

This can mean that the Christmas period can be a challenging time for those suffering from mental ill health, due to isolation and loneliness or the overtly social time frame.

If you are feeling like this, the best thing to do is to either talk to someone you trust, phone a helpline or charity if you need, speak to a psychotherapist or use other coping mechanisms. These include journalling, mindfulness, deep breathing or relaxation CD’s.  Whichever works for you, make sure you don’t bottle things up.

Being that it is coming to the end of the year and looking ahead to 2018, I thought I would share some new years resolutions for positive mental health that you can implement in your life.

1) I will invest in self-care this year.

Self-care means I will actually take time out of my day to check in with myself and decide what I need. This isn’t selfish, it is vital to survival of the bleak winter period in particular.

Each day, I will invest in self care, whether its running a warm bubble bath and soaking for half an hour, journaling out my negative feelings and replacing them with positive ones, colouring for relaxation or just getting some much needed down time in front of the TV in my PJs. I will make sure I invest every day in self-care activities.

2) I will make sure I go outside more.

In the winter, I am definitely more prone to curling up like a doormouse and hibernating inside, in the comfort of my warm home, chatting to friends on the phone and computer. I am also a sucker for my blanket and a warm mug of hot chocolate.

While this is good some of the time, I know that I need to push myself out more into the cold and bright mornings.  So, my resolution is to make sure I go out and get enough light and Vitamin D to boost my mood and health and enough exercise to keep my mind and heart healthy.

3) I will make sure to be present.

A friend of mine gave me this tip when she said –‘Stay in the Now and Enjoy the Moment’

I definitely need to do this more and not worry myself too much.  Staying present means that the only moment is now – try and focus on something positive in the present and not worry too far ahead.

4) I will try not to worry what others think and not beat myself up.

Easier said than done, this resolution had come about due to having people-pleasing tendencies.  I hate upsetting people.  This means that I will often overthink or worry about others and what they think.  This year I want to spend less time fretting and not beat myself up over small things that make a mountain from a molehill!

5) I will have a more positive mind-set.

I will not be ashamed of how I am feeling and feel bad because of it.  I will be more accepting of my feelings and needs.  I will know that even if I am at rock bottom, ‘This too shall pass’ and I will find a way to get through adversity and be positive.  I will actively think positive thoughts and push myself to achieve my goals.

If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mental illness please reach out for help.  Contact The Brighton Wellness Centre.  Phone sessions, online (Skype) sessions and face-to-face sessions are available.

Looking forward to a happier, healthier 2018 and wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!

 

Clearing Out the Clutter in your Life: Be the Change you Want to be.

Making changes is not easy.  It’s not easy to stop habits such as eating or drinking too much, smoking or doing anything in utter excess.  But, how can we stop the ups and downs of the addiction see-saw?

When I was younger and at university, our professors taught us that the only way to kick a bad habit was to quit it ‘cold turkey.’  This method works, but you need to have willpower and discipline.  I have this…if I set my mind to do something- I will do it! (That’s self-affirmation by the way!) You need to be willing to work through the fear and like Nike’s slogan boasts – just do it!

helpmechangemylifeHowever, I am sitting here drinking my second cup of coffee wondering if I poured myself a third cup would I be classified in the DSM-V as having ‘three out of five symptoms’ of having a coffee addiction.  I think that sometimes quitting cold turkey isn’t always easy as it sounds.

If cutting an excessive habit ‘cold turkey’ were easy, everyone would do it.  And, if obtaining balance of eating and drinking were easy there would be no diets, no Facebook quotes on how to obtain a balanced diet, and I wouldn’t be sitting here reflecting on how to obtain balance in the crazy world of eating, drinking and partying.

But how do we obtain balance in our life?  How do we kick the bad habits, move forward, and become healthier, stronger, and happier?

Start by de-cluttering your life. De-clutter your mind, your room, your house, your friends, and/or whatever it is you think you need to de-clutter in order to take the next step of moving forward with your life.

You’ve read about toxic people – get rid of them.  You are a hoarder and you have too much dusty ornaments- clear it out – take that bric-a-brac to your local charity.  Just do it! You want to quit smoking – clear out everything in the house that reminds you of smoking.  You think you drink too much – don’t have booze in the house.  Crisps are your Achilles tendon – don’t buy them.

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You will be amazed at how de-cluttering will help you make those life changes you want to make.

If these tasks seem too simple, then you need to take it to the next level…finding out what makes you have these addictions.  Are you filling a void in your life?  Are you depressed?  Are you lonely?  Did you have a difficult childhood?  Do you suffer from anxiety?  Are you stuck in the cycle of addiction?  Do you have a rubber arm (my friends say this about me)? Whatever your ‘baggage’ is, there is a solution.  Every cycle can be broken.  It is up to you to start the process.