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Happiful November 2019

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THE MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO MENTAL HEALTH<br />

NOV <strong>2019</strong> £4.00<br />

CHRIS<br />

HUGHES<br />

on anxiety, panic attacks and love...<br />

'Many men feel that speaking<br />

about their feelings is a vulnerability,<br />

a weakness, but I’ve always seen<br />

the benefits in it'<br />

Insider advice:<br />

Essential insight from<br />

the therapy room<br />

REST<br />

& DIGEST<br />

Tips to recover your<br />

self-confidence<br />

17<br />

steps to<br />

address<br />

anxiety<br />

From climate change<br />

concerns, to fear<br />

of small talk<br />

FREE<br />

POSITIVE<br />

MANTRA<br />

CARDS<br />

9 772514 373000<br />

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HAPPIFUL.COM


Photography | IG: @Karthik.dng<br />

“<br />

We can save the world if we<br />

save ourselves first<br />

– LIZZO


The ripple effect<br />

Fate, destiny, what will be will be... Sometimes it<br />

can feel like we have no control over the things that<br />

happen in our lives. That we’re simply pieces on a<br />

board game, and someone else is rolling the dice.<br />

For some people, this can be a relief – going with the<br />

flow and seeing where life takes us. For others, it can<br />

breed anxiety because we just can’t predict what is<br />

around the corner.<br />

While there are many things in life we have no say<br />

over, what we hope you’ll find in this issue is a wealth<br />

of insight and information on positive things you<br />

can do. The ways you can help yourself, nurture your<br />

confidence, and create a healthier environment for<br />

yourself to thrive – and when we do that, the effect<br />

might just spread.<br />

From the incredible Chris Hughes opening up about<br />

his panic attacks, and the techniques he uses to<br />

manage them, to campaigner Luke Ambler sharing<br />

his story about starting a safe space for men to come<br />

together and find support with their mental health,<br />

this issue is about helping yourself – but also about<br />

the ripple effect that this can have on the world<br />

around us.<br />

With a special feature where seven counsellors<br />

reveal their best advice, and an article on the<br />

practical things you can do to address eco-anxiety,<br />

we implore you to start really devoting time and<br />

energy to taking care of yourself. Because when we<br />

do that, we’re in a better position to spread that<br />

love and support to everyone our life touches.<br />

Ballet dancer Sylvie<br />

Guillem once said: “No<br />

one person can change<br />

the world, but one and<br />

one and one add up.”<br />

Let’s all be that change<br />

we want to see – which<br />

starts with ourselves.<br />

We love hearing from you, get in touch:<br />

REBECCA THAIR | EDITOR<br />

happiful.com happifulhq @happifulhq @happiful_magazine


14<br />

The Uplift<br />

8 In the news<br />

13 The wellbeing wrap<br />

14 What is eco-anxiety?<br />

How can we ease the anxiety that comes with<br />

fears about the future of our planet?<br />

83 Get drastic on plastic<br />

It's time we reassessed our attitude towards<br />

plastic, and the ecobricks scheme will help<br />

us do just that<br />

Features<br />

16 Chris Hughes<br />

The Love Island star opens up about<br />

low-mood, panic attacks, and the<br />

power he finds in being vulnerable<br />

30 In the therapist's chair<br />

Seven counsellors share their best advice<br />

for dealing with everything from stress to<br />

body image<br />

46 Georgina Horne<br />

The plus-size model speaks about<br />

creating an online community, and how<br />

she coped with the death of her mother<br />

55 Life with CPTSD<br />

How does this diagnosis differ from PTSD?<br />

80<br />

46<br />

Life Stories<br />

38 Calli: getting out the hole<br />

Anxiety, panic attacks, and OCD ruled<br />

Calli's life for years, until things took a<br />

turn when she began CBT and started<br />

her blog. Today she reaches out to<br />

others so no one has to feel alone<br />

67Jack: the healthy me<br />

A traumatic experience led Jack to<br />

receive a diagnosis of PTSD and anxiety.<br />

But after a change to his mindset, little<br />

by little, Jack uncovered the healthiest<br />

version of himself<br />

87 Anne: finding happiness<br />

Sickle cell disease has been a constant<br />

in Anne's life since the age of six<br />

months. Through huge challenges,<br />

Anne has come out on top, and now<br />

sees her illness as a key part of the<br />

woman she is today<br />

Food & Drink<br />

60 Eat the rainbow<br />

Glow from the inside with this delicious<br />

winter salad<br />

62 Gut instinct<br />

Discover the power of eating intuitively<br />

Lifestyle and<br />

Relationships<br />

35 Put off procrastination<br />

Use these tips to smash your to-do list<br />

51 Dear society...<br />

It's time we spoke about male suicide<br />

74 Before the crisis hits<br />

Here's how you can take action with your<br />

mental health, long before breaking-point<br />

80 Luke Ambler<br />

The Andy's Man Club founder on the<br />

importance of moving forward with intent


Culture<br />

28 Being socially anxious<br />

Explore what it means to live with social<br />

anxiety with our columnist, Grace Victory<br />

READER OFFER<br />

Print<br />

78<br />

16<br />

41 Things to do in <strong>November</strong><br />

70 Tai chi teachings<br />

Could this martial art be the key<br />

to mindfulness?<br />

72 Stick your nose in<br />

From baths to burners, discover how to use<br />

aromatherapy to enhance your wellbeing<br />

90 Quickfire: MH matters<br />

FREE<br />

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For 12 print issues!<br />

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before it hits the shelves<br />

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ENTER CODE:<br />

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Same great content as in print<br />

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72<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> Hacks<br />

26 Breaking up with friends<br />

44 Support someone with BPD<br />

58 Create a safety plan<br />

78 Build confidence after anxiety<br />

OUR PLEDGE<br />

For every tree we use to<br />

print this magazine, we will<br />

ensure two are planted<br />

or grown.<br />

Prices and benefits are correct at the<br />

time of printing. Offer expires 19 December<br />

<strong>2019</strong>. For full terms and conditions, please<br />

visit happiful.com<br />

Visit happiful.com


EXPERT PANEL<br />

Meet the team of experts who have come together to deliver<br />

information, guidance, and insight throughout this issue<br />

NATHALIE KEALY<br />

BSc CFT<br />

Nathalie is a mental health<br />

nurse and life coach focused<br />

on self-confidence.<br />

WILL AYLWARD<br />

HPD IICT<br />

Will is a life coach and<br />

rapid transformational<br />

therapy practitioner.<br />

RACHEL COFFEY<br />

BA MA NLP Mstr<br />

Rachel is a life coach<br />

encouraging confidence<br />

and motivation.<br />

JOSEPHINE ROBINSON<br />

DipCNM ANP<br />

Josephine (Beanie) Robinson is<br />

a nutritional therapist, and yoga<br />

and meditation teacher.<br />

LOUISA PINI<br />

BA MCHP MCHNC<br />

Louisa is an<br />

aromatherapist and<br />

massage therapist.<br />

RAV SEKHON<br />

BA MA MBACP (Accred)<br />

Rav is a counsellor and<br />

psychotherapist with more<br />

than 10 years' experience.<br />

GRAEME ORR<br />

MBACP (Accred) BACP Reg Ind<br />

Graeme is a counsellor<br />

working with both<br />

individuals and couples.<br />

NIKKI EMERTON<br />

NLP Clin Hyp Dip DCBT<br />

Nikki is a life coach<br />

helping people build<br />

resilience.<br />

OUR TEAM<br />

EDITORIAL<br />

Rebecca Thair | Editor<br />

Kathryn Wheeler | Staff Writer<br />

Tia Sinden | Editorial Assistant<br />

Kit Spring | Sub-Editor<br />

Rav Sekhon | Expert Advisor<br />

Amy-Jean Burns | Art Director<br />

Charlotte Reynell | Graphic Designer<br />

Rosan Magar | Illustrator<br />

CONTRIBUTORS<br />

Gemma Calvert, Kat Nicholls,<br />

Bonnie Evie Gifford, Becky Wright, Grace Victory,<br />

Harriet Williamson, Suzanne Baum,<br />

Richard Taylor, Hattie Gladwell, Nathalie Kealy,<br />

Ellen Hoggard, Laura Thomas, Lucy Donoughue,<br />

Will Aylward, Calli Kitson, Jack Walton, Anne<br />

Welsh, Becky Johnston, Karthik Nooli<br />

SPECIAL THANKS<br />

Joseph Sinclair, Krishan Parmar, Joy Goodman,<br />

Amanda Clarke, Graeme Orr, Rachel Coffey,<br />

Louisa Pini, Josephine Robinson, Nikki Emerton,<br />

Andrea Szentgyorgyi, Lindsay George, Keith Howitt<br />

COMMUNICATIONS<br />

Lucy Donoughue<br />

Head of Content and Communications<br />

lucy.donoughue@happiful.com<br />

Alice Greedus<br />

PR Officer<br />

alice.greedus@happiful.com<br />

FURTHER INFO<br />

LINDSAY GEORGE<br />

MA Dip RGN MBACP (Accred)<br />

Libby is a remedial and<br />

sports massage therapist<br />

based in London.<br />

Our two-for-one tree commitment is made of two<br />

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certified sources. The FSC® label guarantees that<br />

the trees harvested are replaced, or allowed to<br />

regenerate naturally. Secondly, we will ensure an<br />

additional tree is planted for each one used, by<br />

making a suitable donation to a forestry charity.<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> is a brand of Memiah Limited. The<br />

opinions, views and values expressed in <strong>Happiful</strong><br />

are those of the authors of that content and do<br />

not necessarily represent our opinions, views or<br />

values. Nothing in the magazine constitutes advice<br />

ANDREA SZENTGYORGYI<br />

CNHC NSHPM<br />

Andrea is a registered<br />

hypnotherapist<br />

specialising in in anxiety.<br />

on which you should rely. It is provided for general<br />

information purposes only. We work hard to achieve<br />

the highest possible editorial standards, however<br />

if you would like to pass on your feedback or have<br />

a complaint about <strong>Happiful</strong>, please email us at<br />

feedback@happiful.com. We do not accept liability<br />

for products and/or services offered by third parties.<br />

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company number 05489185 and VAT number GB<br />

920805837. Our registered office address is Building<br />

3, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YL.<br />

MANAGEMENT<br />

Aimi Maunders | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Emma White | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Paul Maunders | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Steve White | Finance Director<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong><br />

c/o Memiah, Building 3, Riverside Way<br />

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Contact Us<br />

hello@happiful.com<br />

For feedback or complaints please<br />

email us at feedback@happiful.com


FIND HELP<br />

CRISIS SUPPORT<br />

If you are in crisis and are concerned for your<br />

own safety, call 999, or go to A&E<br />

Call Samaritans on 116 123 or email<br />

them on jo@samaritans.org<br />

Head to<br />

happiful.com<br />

for more services<br />

and support<br />

GENERAL LISTENING LINES<br />

SANEline<br />

SANEline offers support and information from 4.30pm–10.30pm:<br />

0300 304 7000<br />

Mind<br />

Mind offers advice Mon–Fri 9am–6pm, except bank<br />

holidays: 0300 123 3393. Or email: info@mind.org.uk<br />

Switchboard<br />

Switchboard is a line for LGBT+ support. Open from 10am–10pm:<br />

0300 330 0630. You can email: chris@switchboard.lgbt<br />

IN THIS ISSUE<br />

p16<br />

p30<br />

p44<br />

ADVICE FOR LIVING WITH ANXIETY AND PANIC DISORDERS<br />

Break free from anxiety. Call the No Panic helpline on 0844 967 4848<br />

(call charges apply, check with your provider) or find information<br />

online at nopanic.org.uk<br />

FIND A COUNSELLOR NEAR YOU<br />

Search for professionals in your area, and browse hundreds of<br />

articles written by experts, by visiting counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

INFORMATION ON BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER<br />

Founded to offer specific support for those with BPD,<br />

bpdworld.org offers information, and a community forum<br />

with more than 50,000 members.<br />

p51<br />

p55<br />

p87<br />

MALE SUICIDE PREVENTION<br />

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is a charity supporting<br />

men with their mental health. Call their free, confidential helpline<br />

on 0800 58 58 58, or use their webchat at thecalmzone.net<br />

SUPPORT AND INFORMATION ON PTSD AND CPTSD<br />

Find out more about life with PTSD, read other's stories, and<br />

discover advice for friends and family at ptsduk.org<br />

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT SICKLE CELL DISEASE<br />

As it celebrates 40 years of supporting those with sickle cell disease,<br />

the Sickle Cell Society offers information at sicklecellsociety.org,<br />

and on its helpline: 020 8963 7794


WELLNESS<br />

New study<br />

poses yoga<br />

benefits<br />

for over-60s<br />

The Uplift<br />

Whether you’re a fully-fledged yogi,<br />

or a namaste newbie, it’s no stretch<br />

to say that regular yoga can be<br />

life-enhancing. From quiet mindful<br />

moments to gentle, invigorating<br />

exercise, there are countless<br />

reasons why this ancient practice<br />

has stood the test of time.<br />

But now, new research from<br />

the University of Edinburgh has<br />

revealed that yoga can have a<br />

particularly prosperous effect on<br />

the lives of those aged 60 and over.<br />

In a review of 22 studies,<br />

researchers looked at how regular<br />

yoga sessions stood up against<br />

other activities, such as chair<br />

aerobics and walking, as well as<br />

those who were inactive.<br />

When compared with those<br />

who did no activity, the findings<br />

showed that yoga supported<br />

everything from balance and<br />

flexibility, to sleep quality and<br />

perceived mental and physical<br />

health. And, interestingly,<br />

compared with other activities,<br />

yoga significantly boosted lower<br />

body strength, and helped those<br />

with depression.<br />

Yoga is a gentle form of exercise<br />

that can be easily adapted to suit<br />

anyone’s needs and requirements,<br />

and this study is more proof<br />

that yoga can open the door to<br />

everyone who wants to enhance<br />

their wellbeing.<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler


HOBBIES<br />

Veterans dig for vitality with new<br />

archaeology scheme<br />

Welsh archaelogical site proves to have wellbeing benefits<br />

for those with mental ill-health<br />

Exciting things are being uncovered<br />

in Pontrhydfendigaid, Wales, where<br />

evidence of a large Cistercian abbey<br />

has been found – known locally<br />

as Ystrad Fflur, or Strata Florida<br />

Abbey. But due to the size of the<br />

site, and a limited number of field<br />

archaeologists, the Strata Florida<br />

Trust was forced to get creative.<br />

That’s when they invited veterans and<br />

people with mental health problems<br />

to help with the digging, in order to<br />

reap the holistic value of getting stuck<br />

in the mud.<br />

Former Royal Navy sailor, Julian<br />

Pitt, lives with trauma after his<br />

experience in the Falklands and<br />

Gulf wars. Talking about the work<br />

on-site, he told the Guardian: “When<br />

you’re out there working, you don’t<br />

think of anything else. You can’t be<br />

ruminating, you can’t be thinking<br />

ahead. You’re concentrating on the<br />

present moment. For me that is<br />

brilliant, just what I need.”<br />

Alongside veterans, others who<br />

struggle with their mental health<br />

have signed up to help, including<br />

Brian White. “It’s wonderful to<br />

spend time with people who have<br />

the same interests,” he says. “You’re<br />

not judged, you just work together<br />

with all sorts of people.”<br />

It appears that on this particular<br />

dig, volunteers are unearthing<br />

confidence, self-worth, and a sense<br />

of purpose, alongside historical<br />

artefacts. Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

COMMUNITY<br />

Free ‘swop shop’<br />

helps families<br />

access school<br />

uniforms<br />

For families across the country,<br />

the cost of school uniforms can be<br />

another stress on top of the usual<br />

hustle and bustle of a new term.<br />

Deciding to do something about<br />

it, Kristina Murphy opened a free<br />

‘swop shop’ to help families access<br />

second-hand school uniforms in<br />

Birmingham.<br />

Kristina’s home in Rubery is<br />

now filled with uniforms sourced<br />

from lost-property boxes, which<br />

she gives away for free. She tells<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> that she’s worked in<br />

education for more than four years,<br />

primarily at an academy for autistic<br />

children and those with mental<br />

health conditions.<br />

Kristina highlights that when<br />

parents struggle financially, and<br />

possibly with their own mental<br />

health needs, it’s easy for them to<br />

feel like they’re failing.<br />

“By making uniforms freely<br />

available, parents can have a more<br />

positive week, and the child can<br />

go to school feeling stable, without<br />

racking up behavioural points,”<br />

Kristina says.<br />

So far, the Rubery Swop Shop<br />

has been a resounding success.<br />

But Kristina has set her sights<br />

on reaching the rest of the West<br />

Midlands – proving the power<br />

that kindness, and a little bit of<br />

community spirit, can have.<br />

Visit ruberyswopshop.co.uk for<br />

more.<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 9


Until one has loved an<br />

animal, a part of one’s<br />

soul remains unawakened<br />

– ANATOLE FRANCE


KIDS<br />

Video game<br />

teaches children<br />

to be kind<br />

to animals<br />

Video games can get a pretty<br />

bad reputation, but thanks to a<br />

collaboration between the Scottish<br />

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty<br />

to Animals (Scottish SPCA) and the<br />

University of Edinburgh, one new<br />

game could be pushing all the right<br />

buttons for kids and parents alike.<br />

Designed to promote positive<br />

interactions, and prevent kids from<br />

being cruel to animals, the pilot of<br />

the new PC game, ‘Pet Welfare’, was<br />

created for children aged seven to 12.<br />

Following testing with 184 children,<br />

developers revealed that the game had<br />

effectively conveyed the importance of<br />

animal welfare, helping participants<br />

to better understand that animals have<br />

feelings, and how vital it is to behave<br />

towards them in a safe way.<br />

In the game, players can experience<br />

three interactive levels based around<br />

the pets who, according to statistics,<br />

are most likely to be victims of cruelty:<br />

dogs, cats and rabbits. Children then<br />

learn key information about the<br />

welfare needs for each pet.<br />

If your child is one of the 70% across<br />

the UK who has a pet, it’s worth noting<br />

that accidental animal cruelty is<br />

common. Ensuring kids know more<br />

about their pets, and how they can<br />

avoid accidentally harming them,<br />

could be the best way to help avoid<br />

any ruff patches.<br />

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 11


️<br />

Take 5<br />

Put your thinking caps on and tackle this month’s puzzling fun<br />

Diagonal sudoku<br />

Similar to a normal sudoku grid, but with<br />

an added challenge – fill in the empty<br />

boxes so that the numbers one to nine<br />

appear once in each column, row, box,<br />

and the shaded diagonals.<br />

How did you do?<br />

Search 'freebies' at<br />

shop.happiful.com<br />

to find the answers,<br />

and more!<br />

1 9 3 4 5<br />

2 1 6<br />

6 4<br />

6 3 4 7 2<br />

1 3 4 9 7<br />

2 4 6 3<br />

1 2 9<br />

4 2<br />

9 1 5 3 4<br />

Emoji-nary<br />

Use the emoji clues to decipher the titles of the following books, films and TV shows.<br />

FILMS: BOOKS TV SHOWS:<br />

️️️<br />

️️️<br />

️️️<br />

️️️


Emojis | emojipedia.org<br />

Going up<br />

138 seal pups<br />

were born on the<br />

shores of the River<br />

Thames in 2018<br />

Downton Abbey<br />

is being listed on<br />

Airbnb for one<br />

night only!<br />

Lego has<br />

released a book<br />

on the wellbeing<br />

power of play<br />

Bromances<br />

1 in 5 men have no<br />

close friends – it's<br />

time to reach out<br />

Distractions!<br />

New 'focus mode'<br />

on Android is<br />

coming<br />

Going down<br />

The<br />

wellbeing<br />

wrap<br />

Puppy love<br />

They're called man's best<br />

friend, and it could be for a<br />

good reason, as 69% of people<br />

say their dog is the favourite<br />

member of their household.<br />

The <strong>2019</strong> US study also found<br />

that 40% of owners admitted<br />

to spending more on<br />

their canine<br />

friend than<br />

themselves.<br />

#EveryTreeCounts<br />

On 30 <strong>November</strong>, the Woodland Trust is leading the Big<br />

Climate Fightback, where it's urging one million people to<br />

take part in local tree-planting events, plant a tree in their own<br />

garden, or donate so it can plant one on their behalf.<br />

Supporting wildlife, absorbing carbon, helping to<br />

prevent flooding, and reducing pollution, trees really<br />

can lead the charge in the fight against climate<br />

change. Get involved at woodlandtrust.org.uk<br />

YOUTUBE HAVE<br />

INTRODUCED<br />

ABBREVIATED<br />

SUBSCRIBER COUNTS<br />

IN A BID TO PROTECT<br />

USERS' MENTAL<br />

HEALTH. IT HOPES<br />

THIS CHANGE WILL<br />

ALLOW CREATORS<br />

TO FOCUS ON THEIR<br />

CONTENT, RATHER<br />

THAN STRESS ABOUT<br />

REAL-TIME NUMBERS.<br />

In September, cancer<br />

survivor and US<br />

marathon swimmer,<br />

Sarah Thomas, became<br />

the first person ever to<br />

swim the Channel four<br />

times non-stop! She<br />

achieved this incredible<br />

feat in 54 hours 13<br />

minutes, and dedicated<br />

her swim "to all the<br />

survivors out there".<br />

PART OF YOUR WORLD<br />

The mysterious beauty of mermaids has been expertly<br />

captured, and no we're not talking about the new<br />

Little Mermaid film. Since 2017, the Newfoundland and<br />

Labrador Beard and Moustache Club has released an<br />

annual MerB'ys calendar for charity, starring their own<br />

members rocking fishtails, and embracing their 'just<br />

washed up on shore like this' looks.<br />

#Inflatable<br />

Amnesty<br />

Having a clear-out? Donate your<br />

old pool inflatables and beach toys<br />

to Wyatt and Jack®! This company<br />

creates unique, sustainable bags<br />

from these materials in a bid to<br />

Spidey<br />

senses<br />

tingling?<br />

It's that time of<br />

year when those<br />

pesky eight-legged<br />

critters become our<br />

unwelcome house-guests, but do you<br />

know how to put them off? Conkers<br />

in the corners of rooms are an old<br />

favourite, and peppermint oil around<br />

your home. Plus a new study has<br />

found spiders are drawn to the colour<br />

green, so avoid that at all costs!<br />

keep as many as possible<br />

from landfill.<br />

DISCO FEVER<br />

Putting a wellbeing twist on the<br />

life of the party, silent discos are<br />

taking place across Glasgow in care<br />

homes and for dementia patients<br />

in hospitals. Organiser Gillian<br />

Machaffie says the idea is to spark<br />

memories, and give people back a<br />

much needed sense of 'normality'<br />

by listening to their favourite tunes.<br />

Music is a powerful thing, and<br />

alongside the wellbeing benefits<br />

of dancing, Gillian's seen how the<br />

music is a welcome distraction from<br />

the anxious thoughts and confusion<br />

many people with dementia face.<br />

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED<br />

We all know the difference it makes to have someone there for us, but<br />

did you know the effect is scientifically proven? A 2018 study revealed<br />

that people can actually become more resilient to pain just by holding<br />

hands with their other half! It's believed that when we're in physical<br />

contact with someone we love, our brainwaves become in sync, and<br />

the pain doesn't seem as bad.<br />

“<br />

People can become more resilient to pain<br />

by holding hands with their other half!<br />

But it doesn't stop at hand-holding. New research published in the<br />

Scandinavian Journal of Pain found that being in the same room as<br />

our partner can have a similar effect. We don't need to touch, or<br />

even have verbal support. Just the presence of someone we<br />

love can improve our tolerance for pain.


Exploring<br />

eco-anxiety<br />

Pollution, wildfires, rising sea levels, thinning ice sheets. We often hear how<br />

humans are damaging the planet, but for some people climate change is<br />

an overwhelming worry that has a big impact on their mental health<br />

Writing | Becky Wright<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

When you think of the<br />

effects of climate<br />

change, your first<br />

thought might be<br />

the melting polar ice caps, or the<br />

increase of plastic waste in the<br />

ocean. But, it’s not necessarily the<br />

global disasters that are causing<br />

a deepening sense of dread<br />

among Brits. We’ve got our own<br />

environmental problems right on<br />

our doorstep.<br />

The UK is known for its varied<br />

climate, but gone are the days when<br />

we’d witness weather extremes<br />

once in a blue moon. We’re now<br />

regularly seeing warm winters,<br />

beastly cold springs, and scorching<br />

hot summers.<br />

A report by the Met Office confirms<br />

that the UK’s 10 hottest years on<br />

record have occurred since 2002. But<br />

it’s not just heatwaves – floods are<br />

becoming frequent, too. It’s these<br />

extreme weather events that create<br />

a sense of trauma, leaving a lasting<br />

impact on people’s wellbeing. In<br />

fact, for many, climate change is an<br />

overwhelming subject.<br />

WHAT TOLL DOES IT TAKE ON<br />

OUR MENTAL HEALTH?<br />

The toll of climate change on our<br />

wellbeing is far-reaching, and<br />

includes stress, depression, and<br />

anxiety. In a recent survey for the<br />

Recycling Partnership, 96% of<br />

respondents were worried about<br />

climate change to some degree, with<br />

one in four people stating that it was<br />

their biggest fear.<br />

Hypnotherapist Andrea<br />

Szentgyorgyi says: “The concern<br />

can escalate as you experience<br />

climate change in your daily life. You<br />

worry about record temperatures.<br />

You feel anxious when you buy<br />

anything packed in plastic. You<br />

might lose sleep because of your<br />

concerns about the future of our<br />

planet. Your feelings of it being out<br />

of your control can cause panic.<br />

Some people are deeply affected<br />

by feelings of grief, helplessness,<br />

frustration, stress, and even violence<br />

and aggression, due to their inability<br />

to make a difference.”<br />

With the growing awareness of<br />

our environment, and the impact<br />

we are having on the world around<br />

us, more and more people are<br />

becoming concerned with our<br />

future on Earth.<br />

IS IT NECESSARY TO PANIC?<br />

With evidence of weather extremes,<br />

as well as the influence of people<br />

such as Greta Thunberg and the<br />

rise of Extinction Rebellion, there’s<br />

been a dramatic change in the level<br />

of public interest in environmental<br />

issues. People are demanding<br />

action, and politicians have started<br />

to take notice.<br />

The UK government has<br />

committed to reaching net-zero<br />

carbon emissions by 2050 – but<br />

is this soon enough? There’s a<br />

growing consensus that the next 18<br />

months will be critical in dealing<br />

with the global crisis. A recent poll<br />

by Greener UK and the Climate<br />

Coalition found that almost 70% of<br />

the British public would like to see<br />

urgent political action to address<br />

climate change.<br />

But, some feel that this method<br />

of reporting, and talking, about<br />

14 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


climate change is unhelpful and<br />

unnecessary. Yes, we need to take<br />

action, but it’s the ‘scaremongering’<br />

that leads to (or worsens) ecoanxiety.<br />

Instead of empowering<br />

people to take action and positively<br />

make changes, the majority of<br />

people feel scared, insignificant,<br />

or as if their efforts won’t have any<br />

impact.<br />

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO<br />

REDUCE ANXIETY?<br />

When we’re worried, or feeling<br />

overwhelmed, it can seem natural<br />

to avoid the source of our anxiety.<br />

So, in the case of eco-anxiety, it can<br />

be tempting to switch off. However,<br />

experts say it’s important to<br />

confront the issue of climate change<br />

directly, and stay informed about<br />

environmental issues.<br />

There’s currently no specific<br />

treatment for climate anxiety,<br />

but that doesn’t mean that it’s not<br />

worth seeking professional help.<br />

Successful treatments for anxiety<br />

include cognitive behavioural<br />

therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy.<br />

Each can teach you coping<br />

mechanisms to manage your<br />

anxiety.<br />

“A therapist can help you to<br />

manage your anxiety, learn to relax,<br />

and boost your self-confidence,”<br />

Andrea says. “Feeling strong and<br />

empowered makes you confident,<br />

and will encourage others to listen to<br />

what you have to say. And so you can<br />

feel more in control and influential<br />

about your role in saving our planet.”<br />

Perhaps the most important thing<br />

to remember is that, while we can’t<br />

fight nature, we can work with it.<br />

There’s a huge amount we can still<br />

do, and it’s very much in our power<br />

to protect what’s left, and to make a<br />

meaningful difference.<br />

WHAT CAN<br />

I DO?<br />

• Calculate your<br />

carbon footprint at<br />

footprint.wwf.org.uk for ideas on<br />

how to improve your daily habits.<br />

• Change your diet. It’s<br />

well-documented<br />

that reducing meat<br />

consumption can make<br />

a tangible difference to the<br />

environment.<br />

• Stay informed – especially if<br />

you live in an area where there’s<br />

a high possibility of flooding,<br />

wildfires, or extreme weather.<br />

• Connect with others who have an<br />

interest in the environment. Visit<br />

rebellion.earth to join Extinction<br />

Rebellion and find out more<br />

about events in your local area.<br />

• Share your knowledge. Educating<br />

others to encourage change is<br />

an important part of being a<br />

responsible citizen of the world.<br />

• Above all, remain positive.<br />

Positive change requires a<br />

positive mindset.<br />

WE CARE ABOUT OUR PLANET<br />

For every tree used to make our<br />

magazine, we ensure two are planted in<br />

its place. We source all our paper from<br />

FSC® certified sources, which guarantees<br />

that the trees harvested are replaced, or<br />

are allowed to regenerate naturally. Then,<br />

we ensure an additional tree is planted<br />

for each one used, by making a suitable<br />

donation to a forestry charity.<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 15


Speak your mind<br />

Whether you know Chris Hughes from Love Island 2017, his TV shows with Kem<br />

Cetinay, or his presenting for ITV Racing, chances are you already know what an<br />

endearingly open guy Chris is.<br />

Since entering the spotlight, he’s used his platform to reveal the power in being<br />

vulnerable, and is encouraging all men to feel no shame in showing their true emotions.<br />

As an ambassador for charities CALM and Movember, Chris is striving to help change<br />

the narrative around men’s mental health, and make a real difference.<br />

This Movember, Chris candidly shares his anxiety, catastrophising, and panic attacks,<br />

the techniques he uses to ground himself, and feeling ‘low’ for the first time in his life...<br />

Interview | Gemma Calvert<br />

Photography | Joseph Sinclair


18 • happiful.com • June <strong>2019</strong>


Chris Hughes<br />

saunters<br />

out of the<br />

elevator at<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong>’s<br />

east London<br />

studio, puts<br />

down his backpack, and within<br />

five minutes is unloading his<br />

innermost feelings, even before<br />

the dictaphone is running. Some<br />

celebrities require a few questions<br />

– others an entire interview – to<br />

build an emotional connection<br />

with a journalist, but Chris is the<br />

polar opposite. In person he’s<br />

exactly who he seemed on Love<br />

Island in 2017 – tender-hearted,<br />

empathetic and sentimental – an<br />

open book who was commended<br />

by fans and health professionals<br />

alike for laying bare his deepest<br />

state of mind again and again.<br />

Chris, 26, was often filmed in tears<br />

interacting with other contestants,<br />

and particularly when navigating<br />

the choppy seas of romance with<br />

then-girlfriend Olivia Attwood,<br />

who he split from in February 2018.<br />

He has since used his place in the<br />

public eye to raise mental health<br />

awareness, in particular talking<br />

about a difficult three years from<br />

the age of 19 where he was racked<br />

with anxiety. Panic attacks were a<br />

frequent reality.<br />

Eventually Chris turned to a<br />

professional hypnotherapist, and<br />

the treatment worked. He was<br />

anxiety-free before, during, and<br />

after Love Island, but today admits<br />

he’s noticed a decline in his mental<br />

health. In August, during a holiday<br />

to Bali with girlfriend, Little Mix<br />

star Jesy Nelson, Chris endured a<br />

severe episode of anxiety, and has<br />

since, for the first time in his life,<br />

been struggling with low moods.<br />

“It’s really strange that we’re<br />

doing this interview now, because<br />

it’s come at such a poignant time,”<br />

sighs Chris, taking a seat on a sofa<br />

in the studio lounge, and breathing<br />

in the views of the River Thames.<br />

“Three days before we were<br />

coming back, I decided to get really<br />

drunk. I had a good blow out,<br />

then I felt awful the next day and<br />

started thinking: ‘Maybe there was<br />

something in my alcohol, maybe<br />

this isn’t the same kind of alcohol.’ I<br />

was panicking and worrying myself<br />

over it. For the last three or four<br />

days of my holiday, I couldn’t shake<br />

the anxiety, and now I’ve started<br />

feeling really low and down.<br />

“It is confusing because I can’t put<br />

my finger on why,” continues Chris,<br />

scrunching up his brow.<br />

“Anxiety is feeling<br />

compelled to keep<br />

looking ahead to<br />

the future. With<br />

depression and<br />

feeling down, it’s<br />

the other way, about<br />

looking back”<br />

Perhaps being propelled into<br />

stardom on Love Island was a<br />

contributing factor? Within three<br />

days of finishing third, Chris and<br />

winner Kem Cetinay landed an<br />

ITV2 spin-off show, You vs Chris<br />

and Kem, and went on to launch<br />

a fitness DVD, release a music<br />

single, and co-present from the<br />

National Television Awards red<br />

carpet. Chris has also published an<br />

autobiography, and worked with<br />

blue-chip brands galore including<br />

Topman, First Choice Holidays<br />

and McDonald’s, as well as landing<br />

a dream presenting job with ITV<br />

Racing in June this year. Most<br />

recently, Chris and Kem developed<br />

a new TV show idea, which they’re<br />

pitching to a production company.<br />

“I’ve enjoyed all the work I’ve<br />

done since Love Island, and I really<br />

like life,” he says. “I’ve got the best<br />

family, the best girlfriend, the<br />

best social life, the best friends,<br />

I love where I live. I don’t dislike<br />

anything. This is why it’s so weird.<br />

I shouldn’t be [feeling] like this. I<br />

learned the other day that anxiety<br />

is feeling compelled to keep<br />

looking ahead to the future. With<br />

depression and feeling down, it’s<br />

the other way, about looking back,<br />

but there’s nothing I reflect on and<br />

regret, or think, ‘I should have<br />

done that.’ I just can’t work out why<br />

I’m feeling this way.”<br />

Last year, on World Mental<br />

Health Day, Chris was unveiled<br />

as an ambassador of CALM –<br />

the Campaign Against Living<br />

Miserably charity, which receives<br />

thousands of calls a month from<br />

people experiencing anxiety<br />

and depression. He’s also an<br />

ambassador for Movember, a<br />

charity dedicated to investing<br />

in prostate cancer, testicular<br />

cancer, mental health, and suicide<br />

prevention.<br />

Shockingly, 12 men in Britain<br />

take their own lives every day,<br />

making suicide the biggest killer<br />

of men under 45 in the UK. In<br />

March this year, former Love Island<br />

star Mike Thalassitis, 26, ended<br />

his life. Sophie Gradon, who was a<br />

contestant in 2016, died by suicide<br />

in June 2018. >>><br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 19


“My hands clenched<br />

together and I<br />

couldn’t move. I<br />

seized up and at<br />

that point, my mind<br />

was gone. I couldn’t<br />

breathe. I was<br />

hyperventilating”<br />

Mike’s death heightened calls for<br />

improved aftercare for those who<br />

take part in reality TV shows.<br />

Chris, who describes the<br />

psychological support provided<br />

by ITV as “brilliant” and says it’s<br />

“completely” unfair to blame the<br />

channel for the contestants’ deaths,<br />

never felt suicidal, but admits that<br />

lately he has been better able to<br />

understand the plight of those who<br />

feel there is no other way out.<br />

“Since I’ve been feeling down,<br />

I’ve thought of people that have<br />

done it, and that’s a scary thought,”<br />

he says. “I think, ‘Does that mean,<br />

this is how they felt?’ I tell myself<br />

that how I am feeling now is how<br />

those people, who completed<br />

suicide, felt and that makes me<br />

feel worse inside. What I’m doing<br />

is convincing myself that I’ve got<br />

a greater issue or greater level of<br />

lowness than I actually have, and<br />

that’s what’s making me worse.”<br />

In an attempt to get to the<br />

bottom of his feelings and better<br />

understand himself, Chris turned<br />

to a London-based clinical<br />

hypnotherapist called Pippa, who<br />

advised practising excellent selfcare<br />

to feel his best possible self on<br />

the inside.<br />

“She explained that getting out for<br />

a one-hour walk in the sunshine,<br />

even on a cloudy day, increases<br />

your levels of serotonin – that<br />

happy hormone – and that it can<br />

also be increased by eating foods<br />

high in omega oils. This morning I<br />

made sure I had salmon and eggs<br />

for breakfast, because I wanted to<br />

get those fish oils in me,” explains<br />

Chris, who is also trying to reduce<br />

the time he spends on his phone.<br />

“My average is seven hours and<br />

54 minutes. It’s a joke. I need to<br />

relearn how to be bored, but the<br />

main thing is to eliminate negative<br />

thoughts. I’ve got to stop saying<br />

to myself, ‘You’re feeling alright<br />

now, but you’re going to feel sad in<br />

a minute.’ Pippa tells me to think,<br />

‘I’m OK, I’m happy, I will do this, I<br />

am this,’ instead of, ‘Will I be OK?’<br />

You’ve got to be positive.”<br />

Chris has been sports-obsessed<br />

since the age of four, and over the<br />

years has played cricket, tennis,<br />

and semi-professional football. He’s<br />

ridden race horses, and is a huge<br />

fan of golf. It’s hard to match the<br />

go-get-’em mentality of sportsman<br />

Chris with the frequently negatively<br />

thinking version, and it’s puzzling<br />

for him, too.<br />

“I never walk into anything in<br />

sport and think, ‘I’m not going to<br />

play it well today.’ I walk in overly<br />

confident; it’s like I know I’m going<br />

to be better than everyone else. In<br />

my day-to-day life, it’s the complete<br />

opposite,” he says.<br />

20 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


Suit | Remus Uomo, shirt | H&M, Shoes | Mochee Kent<br />

Naturally, Chris is aware of the<br />

wellbeing-enhancing benefits of<br />

exercise. Before Love Island he<br />

worked out daily to get himself in<br />

tip-top shape, so it’s surprising to<br />

learn he’s steered clear of the gym<br />

for the past six months, following a<br />

terrifying panic attack 45 minutes<br />

into an early morning PT session.<br />

“I started getting pins and needles<br />

in my hands,” recalls Chris. “These<br />

pins and needles took over my<br />

whole body. They started at my feet<br />

and it was like a wave, going up my<br />

body and to my face. It even felt<br />

like they were in my cheekbones.<br />

In that moment, my hands<br />

clenched together and I couldn’t<br />

move. I seized up and couldn’t<br />

open my fingers, then at that point,<br />

my mind was gone. I couldn’t<br />

breathe. I was hyperventilating. I<br />

thought I was having a stroke.”<br />

It took “eight or nine minutes”<br />

before Chris was in a position to<br />

implement the calming techniques<br />

he’d learned in therapy when he<br />

first went through anxiety – a<br />

combination of deep breathing to<br />

“get rid of adrenaline by feeding<br />

it with oxygen”, visualisation and<br />

imagery, where you place negative<br />

thoughts inside different shapes to<br />

contain them.<br />

Again, he has struggled to<br />

pinpoint the cause, and although<br />

he’s not had a repeat episode,<br />

Chris’s life has been affected by<br />

the incident because he no longer<br />

feels able to enter a gym. When<br />

he first experienced anxiety, Chris<br />

would leave his family home near<br />

Cheltenham late at night and drive<br />

around aimlessly to avoid being in<br />

the place where his first episode<br />

of anxiety happened. Avoiding the<br />

gym is also about avoiding painful<br />

memories. >>><br />

October <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 21


Outfit | Mochee Kent


“I don’t like going back to<br />

environments where I’ve been<br />

mentally scarred,” says Chris,<br />

picking at an invisible mark on the<br />

leg of his heavily ripped combat<br />

trousers. They’re noticeably baggy.<br />

“I’m a little skinnier now,” he<br />

explains later. “I’ve lost muscle<br />

because I haven’t been training.”<br />

Chris’ propensity for imagining<br />

“the worst” – wanting a blood test<br />

“for peace of mind” during his<br />

first anxiety attack, believing his<br />

hangover in Bali was the result<br />

of his drink being spiked, and<br />

fearing his pins and needles in the<br />

gym were caused by a stroke – is<br />

classic catastrophising behaviour,<br />

which psychologists describe as<br />

a cognitive disorder. Sufferers<br />

frequently imagine unpleasant and<br />

undesirable situations to be worse<br />

than they actually are.<br />

“That sounds about right,” agrees<br />

Chris. “Everything’s escalated and<br />

becomes 20-times worse.”<br />

Jesy, Chris’ girlfriend of nine<br />

months, who he moved in with<br />

four months ago, is one of his most<br />

treasured confidants – perhaps<br />

because she understands on a level<br />

that few ever could.<br />

In September this year, the<br />

28-year-old singer spoke out in her<br />

moving BBC3 documentary, Odd<br />

One Out, about being the victim<br />

of years of online bullying after<br />

she and her Little Mix bandmates,<br />

Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall<br />

and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, won The<br />

X Factor in 2011. In the film, Jesy<br />

revealed that in <strong>November</strong> 2013,<br />

after being relentlessly trolled over<br />

her body shape and size, she was<br />

driven to attempt suicide.<br />

“It was really difficult to watch,”<br />

admits Chris. “Some stages,” he<br />

breathes in then exhales sharply,<br />

“I’ve got a respect for Jesy that I’ve never<br />

had for another girlfriend. Just seeing all the<br />

things she has been through and overcome,<br />

she deserves every bit of happiness now”<br />

“it broke my heart. It was proper “The amount of abuse I’ve<br />

difficult to watch. I’ve got a respect received on Twitter since has been<br />

for Jesy that I’ve never had for<br />

crazy. People think I’ve got that job<br />

another girlfriend. Just seeing all because I’ve come off Love Island<br />

the things she has been through and I’m ITV talent, but people are<br />

and overcome, she deserves every quick to judge,” says Chris, who was<br />

bit of happiness now.”<br />

raised on a farm in the Cotswolds<br />

He can count himself largely<br />

with brothers Will, James, Tom<br />

responsible for that. At the end of and Ben, and began horse racing<br />

the documentary, Chris and Jesy at the age of 11, encouraged by his<br />

are seen strolling side-by-side along dad Paul, who still owns and trains<br />

a pier, cuddling as though their racehorses.<br />

lives depend on it. The pair appear As Jesy’s plight has proved, there<br />

incredibly well-matched, and their can be very real consequences<br />

future is mapped out. During an from digital attacks. Like Ed<br />

appearance on MTV’s Geordie OGs Sheeran who quit Twitter two<br />

in September, Chris told pal Gaz years ago after after a stream of<br />

Beadle he wants to marry and have abuse, she has since deleted the<br />

babies with Jesy within 18 months. social site from her phone, and<br />

“I might have been getting carried former TOWIE star Gemma Collins<br />

away there!” he laughs. “I wouldn’t recently urged her followers<br />

mind it, and we do speak about that to boycott all social media to<br />

kind of thing, but her career’s still encourage the companies behind<br />

flying. I don’t think you should rush them to better protect users from<br />

into having children, but enjoy the online attacks.<br />

time together, and do the things “It’s a catch-22, because the<br />

that you can’t necessarily do when more we talk about trolling, the<br />

you’ve got kids together first.”<br />

more trolls see the effect they’re<br />

What’s indisputable is the couple’s having, which is their aim, but you<br />

solidarity, which Chris argues is all need to make people aware of the<br />

the more robust because of their circumstances, and Jesy has proved<br />

shared understanding of each<br />

that her life is better for coming<br />

other’s struggles over the years. off [Twitter],” says Chris. “Twitter’s<br />

“It’s just about having someone evil. More needs to be done by the<br />

to speak to who understands you,” social media providers.”<br />

he explains, adding that he too<br />

In his capacity as a reality TV star,<br />

faced a barrage of “brutal” Twitter and with more than 2.5 million<br />

comments after being announced followers across his Instagram and<br />

as a presenter on ITV Racing. Twitter profiles, Chris is proud to >>><br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 23


e in a position where he can not<br />

only inspire change, but actually<br />

save lives.<br />

A year ago, as part of his role as<br />

a Movember ambassador, Chris<br />

had a testicular cancer check live<br />

on ITV’s This Morning in a bid to<br />

show men that they shouldn’t be<br />

embarrassed about getting their<br />

testicles examined. Testicular<br />

cancer is the most common<br />

cancer among men, and although<br />

there’s a 95% chance of survival,<br />

one in 20 don’t make it.<br />

Chris, who had three operations<br />

on his left testicle as a teenager,<br />

could never have anticipated the<br />

outcome of his appearance on<br />

the daytime show. The following<br />

night, his older brother Ben,<br />

27, found a lump in his testicle,<br />

which turned out to be cancerous.<br />

In January, he underwent an<br />

operation to have it removed, and<br />

in May Chris shared the happy<br />

news on Instagram that Ben is<br />

cancer-free. The brothers are now<br />

filming a BBC documentary about<br />

male infertility.<br />

“One hundred percent, it feels<br />

good knowing that by talking<br />

out loud about my feelings and<br />

experiences I’m encouraging<br />

other guys to be open about<br />

their emotions too, but with the<br />

testicular examination, if it helps<br />

just one person stay healthy, that’s<br />

a really good thing,” says Chris.<br />

“That’s the beauty of having a<br />

platform; it allows you to help<br />

others.”<br />

But what about his own journey?<br />

Chris is evidently doing his best<br />

to get his mental health back on<br />

track, and counts the listening<br />

ears of friends, family, and, of<br />

course, Jesy as “crucial” in his<br />

recovery.<br />

“Many men feel that speaking<br />

about their feelings is a<br />

vulnerability, a weakness, but I’ve<br />

always seen the benefits in it. It’s<br />

little obstacles,” he says.<br />

“You’re not going to be happy<br />

every day of your life; it’s normal<br />

to have low points. Now I just want<br />

to shake it, and I’m trying to do<br />

everything right in my lifestyle to<br />

make myself feel better.”<br />

This Movember, whatever you grow<br />

will save a bro. Sign up now at<br />

Movember.com, and change the face<br />

of men’s health.


Outfit | Marks & Spencers<br />

Styling | Krishan Parmar<br />

Grooming | Amanda Clarke at Joy<br />

Goodman, using Kiehl’s


How to survive a<br />

friendship<br />

break-up<br />

Letting go of a friendship can be just as painful as saying goodbye to a partner.<br />

We share five tips to help you move onwards and upwards<br />

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

There’s nothing more<br />

heartbreaking than a<br />

bad break-up. When<br />

we think of the b-word,<br />

ex-lovers are often the<br />

first thing to come to mind. Yet, if<br />

we’re honest, moving on from a<br />

close friendship can hurt just as<br />

much – if not more.<br />

When a romantic relationship<br />

comes to an end, we have loved<br />

ones on hand to offer comfort. But<br />

when a friendship is on the rocks,<br />

who do we turn to? Breaking up<br />

with your bestie can leave you<br />

feeling hollow and isolated. Our<br />

friendships can feel bigger, more<br />

dramatic, more... permanent,<br />

than romance. There may be<br />

plenty more fish in the sea, but<br />

finding a true BFF? That’s a lot<br />

trickier.<br />

Whether your friendship is<br />

drawing to a slow close after<br />

drifting apart, an epic argument<br />

has left everyone with hurt<br />

feelings, or you’ve entered<br />

different phases in your personal<br />

lives or careers, recognising and<br />

acknowledging that rift can be<br />

tough. Keep these five things in<br />

mind to help you approach the<br />

end of a friendship with an open,<br />

more positive mindset.<br />

1 TAKE THE HIGH ROAD<br />

When emotions are running high,<br />

it can be easy to say something<br />

you may regret – or to say<br />

nothing at all. Ghosting can be<br />

upsetting for both sides. Taking<br />

away the opportunity for closure,<br />

by disappearing rather than<br />

responding when a friendship<br />

begins to break down, can leave<br />

you with unspoken regrets.<br />

If possible, try to exhibit the<br />

changes you would have liked to<br />

have seen in your friendship. Keep<br />

the lines of communication open,<br />

honest, and kind. If the other<br />

person isn’t able to meet you in the<br />

middle, at least you’ll have a clear<br />

conscience, with fewer ‘what-ifs’.<br />

2 ACCEPT THAT CLOSURE ISN’T<br />

ALWAYS POSSIBLE<br />

Closure may be the more healthy,<br />

emotionally mature way to go –<br />

however, it’s important to allow<br />

this to happen naturally, when<br />

you both feel calm and ready.<br />

When a friendship starts to break<br />

down, it can be tough to express<br />

how you are feeling without<br />

things escalating.<br />

Accepting that your friendship<br />

has come to a natural end can be<br />

tricky, yet try to remind yourself:<br />

you may not be able to achieve<br />

closure right now, but you never<br />

know what the future might hold.<br />

3 ACKNOWLEDGE THE<br />

OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH<br />

Letting go of old friendships can<br />

open up time and emotional<br />

bandwidth for new, exciting<br />

possibilities. For those working<br />

the typical nine to five, we only<br />

get 52 precious weekends a year.<br />

When you take out bank holidays,


family obligations, birthdays,<br />

holidays, overtime, needing<br />

some space for self-care… you<br />

may be left with fewer free days<br />

than you’d expect. Having fewer<br />

friendships doesn’t have to mean<br />

your social life is more limited – it<br />

can mean that you are choosing<br />

quality time with those who<br />

matter to you the most.<br />

Challenge yourself to use this<br />

extra time to try something<br />

new. Sign up for a new<br />

class, try your hand at a<br />

different hobby, or get<br />

more active. You’ll be<br />

amazed at how many<br />

opportunities this<br />

can open up to<br />

potentially toxic behaviours you<br />

may not have noticed previously.<br />

No matter what you discover,<br />

remind yourself: there isn’t always<br />

something we can do to fix our<br />

relationships – and that’s OK.<br />

5 GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK<br />

Before you rush off searching to<br />

fill that BFF-sized hole in your life,<br />

try to give yourself some space.<br />

That could mean logging off social<br />

media for a couple of weeks,<br />

letting joint friends know you’d<br />

rather hang out in smaller<br />

groups, or one-to-one, until<br />

things settle down, or<br />

even muting that shared<br />

WhatsApp chat.<br />

Having fewer<br />

friendships can<br />

mean that you are<br />

choosing quality<br />

time with those<br />

who matter to<br />

you the most<br />

Things may feel awkward<br />

for a bit, but good friends will<br />

understand that you need to put<br />

yourself first for a while. Your<br />

wellbeing should never take<br />

second place.<br />

get to know new people. Chances<br />

are you may have more things in<br />

common than your old friends,<br />

thanks to your new shared activity.<br />

HOW TO SPOT THE SIGNS OF A<br />

FRIENDSHIP BREAK-UP<br />

4 TAKE TIME FOR REFLECTION<br />

Did your friendship break up<br />

for a reason? Were there things<br />

you could have done differently?<br />

We aren’t saying you should<br />

obsess over the whys and hows,<br />

but allowing yourself the time<br />

and space for reflection can give<br />

you the chance to identify any<br />

The signs may be clearer than<br />

you might think…<br />

• Do you dread seeing them?<br />

• Do you feel more undermined<br />

than supported?<br />

• Does it feel like you’ve grown<br />

apart, or have nothing in<br />

common?<br />

• Do you find yourself slow or<br />

reluctant to respond to their<br />

messages?<br />

• Do you find yourself<br />

cancelling (or being<br />

cancelled-on) last minute?<br />

• Does it feel like all of the<br />

effort is one-sided?<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 27


How to manage<br />

social anxiety<br />

with Grace<br />

Candid and charismatic, author, vlogger, and all about empowerment,<br />

Grace Victory shares her experience and insight each month<br />

That time of year is<br />

almost here – delicious<br />

mince pies, sparkly<br />

dresses, and Terry’s<br />

Chocolate Oranges.<br />

The time of too much prosecco,<br />

Mariah Carey on repeat, and<br />

social anxiety. Yup, I said it: social<br />

anxiety. The dreaded: ‘I have to<br />

leave my house and talk to people.’<br />

The sweaty palms, days of worry,<br />

and last-minute cancellations of<br />

plans because everything feels a<br />

bit too much.<br />

I’ve been there (we’ve probably<br />

all been there) and it’s horrible.<br />

It can often feel that with every<br />

breath you take, the anxiety<br />

monster is going to consume you,<br />

spit you back out, and leave you<br />

in a tearful mess on the floor.<br />

Fight or flight mode is activated,<br />

and you’re about to either lose<br />

your sh*t and scream, or fly out<br />

the door – with a high possibility<br />

of falling over and flashing your<br />

knickers.<br />

Social anxiety is hard at the<br />

best of times. Whether your<br />

anxiety comes from unprocessed<br />

trauma or introvertedness, the<br />

physical and emotional toll can be<br />

completely taxing.<br />

Back in 2012 and 2013, when I<br />

first started going to PR events<br />

and social gatherings for work<br />

purposes, I would succumb to<br />

worry. The journey into central<br />

London would be Googled 30<br />

times so I was 100% sure I knew<br />

where I was going, and yet I still<br />

had an overwhelming fear that I<br />

would get lost, my phone would<br />

die, and I would end up in a gutter<br />

somewhere.<br />

I’d panic most about what to wear<br />

and who would be there. There was<br />

practically nobody else within the<br />

YouTube scene who was plus-size<br />

back then, and I’d be lying if I said<br />

flying the flag for fatness was easy.<br />

It wasn’t, and at times it’s still not<br />

easy now. I’d be in a room full of<br />

thin, glamorous bloggers and I felt<br />

like the odd one out.<br />

During those years, I desperately<br />

wanted to fit in because I was so<br />

hyper-aware of all the things that<br />

made me different. I would ask for<br />

a list of other people attending just<br />

so I could see if I’d know anyone,<br />

and then I would spend hours<br />

trying to put together an outfit –<br />

one that was appropriate for the<br />

event, to travel in, and to also feel<br />

comfortable and stylish in.<br />

Attending these events alone was<br />

also not possible – even with the<br />

list of attendees. It just wasn’t even<br />

an option. If I couldn’t find anyone<br />

to go with, then I wasn’t going.<br />

Walking into a room full of people<br />

I didn’t know or feel comfortable<br />

around was something I absolutely<br />

I think my event<br />

anxiety stemmed from<br />

low self-esteem, and<br />

not knowing how to<br />

protect and preserve<br />

my energy<br />

dreaded, so before any event<br />

I made sure I had a plus one.<br />

Having someone close by made the<br />

anxiety more manageable.<br />

Looking back, I think my event<br />

anxiety stemmed from low selfesteem,<br />

and not knowing how to<br />

protect and preserve my energy.<br />

I’m an introvert, which means<br />

I struggle with small talk and<br />

socialising because it depletes


HAPPIFUL’S NEW COLUMNIST!<br />

@GRACEFVICTORY<br />

I am an absolute advocate for<br />

having boundaries in place, and<br />

only doing things that you really<br />

want to do. But unfortunately, that<br />

advice isn’t always feasible. We<br />

can’t always get out of festivities, so<br />

here is a little list of things you can<br />

do to help you during this time –<br />

and remember, you aren’t alone in<br />

feeling anxious. This too shall pass.<br />

1<br />

Have an escape plan. Know<br />

where the back door is, the<br />

toilets, a quiet room. If you feel<br />

uncomfortable or as if you can’t<br />

breathe, remove yourself from the<br />

situation. You can excuse yourself<br />

to go to the loo, or say you need<br />

some fresh air.<br />

Photography | Paul Buller<br />

my energy, and can make me feel<br />

drained. I didn’t know how to<br />

recharge and put boundaries in<br />

place so that I felt safe and secure.<br />

Social anxiety, for me, was all<br />

about a fear of being seen, being<br />

judged, and being laughed at –<br />

which is funny because these are<br />

all topics I am speaking about in<br />

therapy at the moment.<br />

As we approach the festive<br />

season, social anxiety can be<br />

heightened for those who already<br />

suffer with it, or it can be new and<br />

confusing feelings for those who<br />

haven’t really experienced anxiety<br />

before. Social engagements seem<br />

to happen every week, alcohol is<br />

nearly always involved, and you<br />

may have to attend events with<br />

people that you don’t particularly<br />

like or know.<br />

Towards the end of the year is<br />

also the time you may be around<br />

family more, and for some people<br />

this can be a real trigger due to<br />

childhood trauma. It can often feel<br />

like you’re forcing happiness and<br />

socialising, when all you want to<br />

do is hide under the covers with a<br />

box of Maltesers, while watching<br />

The Grinch.<br />

2<br />

Keep your routine. There is<br />

nothing worse than having<br />

a mental health down day (or<br />

week/month) on top of your usual<br />

routine going out the window.<br />

With all the events towards the<br />

end of the year, you might find<br />

you’re not eating enough veggies,<br />

not having enough sleep, and not<br />

finding enough time for you. Try<br />

to keep parts of your life ‘normal’<br />

so you remain with some of your<br />

familiarity and routine.<br />

3<br />

Organise a support group.<br />

This can be as simple as a<br />

WhatsApp group chat with a few<br />

of your mates; a place where you<br />

can all hold space for each other<br />

during this difficult period.<br />

Love<br />

Grace x


Words of wisdom from<br />

the therapy room<br />

We all have different experiences when it comes to our mental health, but often<br />

we can be comforted by the same words. If you’re experiencing mental ill-health,<br />

seven counsellors offer their words of encouragement<br />

Writing | Becky Wright<br />

From stress to anxiety,<br />

bereavement to body<br />

image problems,<br />

we all face different<br />

challenges in our lives. And,<br />

although it can be difficult,<br />

talking about what you’re<br />

dealing with is one of the<br />

best ways to open yourself up<br />

to a wealth of support. The<br />

proverbial saying, ‘a problem<br />

shared is a problem halved’<br />

might not be strictly true, but it<br />

can certainly help to lighten the<br />

load for you.<br />

Remember, no matter how<br />

you’re feeling, you are worthy of<br />

help. Here, we offer some words<br />

of wisdom about seven common<br />

mental health issues.<br />

IF ANXIETY IS GETTING IN THE WAY OF YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE<br />

Feeling<br />

anxious from<br />

time to time<br />

is normal.<br />

It’s a sign<br />

that you’re<br />

human, and<br />

are pushing yourself out of your<br />

comfort zone. There is a difference<br />

though, between the feeling of<br />

butterflies and something more<br />

sinister.<br />

Person-centred counsellor, Andy<br />

Kidd, explains how to work out<br />

what is causing you to feel this way.<br />

“It’s important to break down what<br />

you’re anxious about. Be specific.<br />

Defining problems helps to find<br />

solutions. When you are feeling<br />

anxious, what are you paying<br />

attention to? What scares you most<br />

about it? Why?”<br />

Once you’ve determined the cause<br />

of your anxiety, the next step is to<br />

tackle it head-on. “Anxiety screams<br />

‘Avoid!’, often leading us to assume<br />

the worst. But one useful tip is to<br />

voluntarily face challenges, rather<br />

than bracing for disaster,” says<br />

Andy. “The trick is to hear what<br />

your anxiety is telling you, then<br />

tell it something back. Therapy,<br />

particularly assertiveness training,<br />

can teach your anxiety that you’re<br />

more capable and braver than you<br />

thought.”<br />

IF STRESS IS OVERWHELMING YOU<br />

Although<br />

stress isn’t<br />

an illness<br />

in itself, it<br />

can affect<br />

us in many<br />

ways. From<br />

sleeping problems to loss of<br />

appetite, or sweating, many<br />

physical symptoms can occur<br />

when we’re feeling overwhelmed.<br />

“Stress is the body’s natural<br />

defence mechanism against<br />

perceived dangers,” says<br />

counsellor Carole Brooks. “But,<br />

unlike our stone-age ancestors<br />

who could fight in the face<br />

of danger (reducing harmful<br />

hormones), we can’t do this with<br />

today’s stressors.”<br />

For this reason, Carole explains<br />

learning to control our response<br />

to stress is imperative. For some,<br />

this can mean making some ‘metime’,<br />

exercising, or mindfulness.<br />

For others, it’s not as simple. If<br />

you’ve been feeling stressed for a<br />

prolonged period, consider what<br />

changes you could make to your<br />

life. If your stress is work-related,<br />

it might be beneficial to speak<br />

to your manager, or even seek a<br />

new job if you’re able to.<br />

30 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


IF YOU’VE EXPERIENCED<br />

LOSS RECENTLY<br />

The trick is to hear what your anxiety is<br />

telling you, then tell it something back<br />

IF FOOD AND BODY IMAGE ISSUES ARE TAKING OVER<br />

Dieting can<br />

keep us<br />

locked in<br />

a cycle of<br />

deprivation,<br />

bingeing,<br />

and feeling<br />

guilty, but finding a way to break<br />

free and stop dieting isn’t always<br />

straight-forward. It can feel scary<br />

at first but, in the long-term, it will<br />

help to improve your relationship<br />

with food, putting you back in<br />

control.<br />

Counsellor Kerry Trevethick,<br />

whose passion is helping people<br />

overcome food and body image<br />

issues, says food itself is rarely the<br />

root of the problem. “Working<br />

on what you are feeling<br />

and thinking can help your<br />

relationship with food and your<br />

body,” she says. “If your body<br />

image is stopping you from<br />

doing things, ask yourself: ‘Is<br />

it my body that’s the problem<br />

here, or is it how I’m thinking<br />

about my body that is holding<br />

me back?’”<br />

If you’re struggling with body<br />

image issues, body confidence<br />

might feel like an unrealistic<br />

goal. Perhaps a better aim is<br />

body neutrality – not thinking<br />

about your looks as an important<br />

part of who you are.<br />

Losing<br />

people<br />

we<br />

love is<br />

part<br />

of life,<br />

but<br />

that doesn’t make it any<br />

easier to process. Leah<br />

O’Shaughnessy, who<br />

specialises in bereavement<br />

counselling, offers some<br />

comforting words. “Feeling<br />

your emotions rather than<br />

suppressing them will help it<br />

to pass. Grief isn’t something<br />

that goes away, but the raw<br />

pain does lessen. In time,<br />

we learn to live our lives<br />

around it. Accepting this is<br />

an important part of dealing<br />

with a bereavement.”<br />

Someone once said to me:<br />

“Don’t cry because it’s over,<br />

smile because it happened.”<br />

It’s something that’s helped<br />

me through moments of<br />

sadness in my life, but it’s<br />

not always easy to smile.<br />

This is where extra support,<br />

particularly bereavement<br />

counselling, can be helpful.<br />

“Coping with a bereavement<br />

can be very distressing.<br />

Sometimes the support of a<br />

counsellor is needed to help<br />

you through it. They will<br />

help you recognise that each<br />

stage of grief (shock, anger,<br />

bargaining, sadness and<br />

acceptance) is completely<br />

normal, as is moving in and<br />

out of grief stages, rather<br />

than following a linear<br />

pattern,” says Leah. >>><br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 31


IF YOU’RE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST<br />

Often,<br />

narcissism<br />

is mistaken<br />

as an<br />

obsession<br />

with a<br />

person’s<br />

appearance. However, there is<br />

more to it, as psychotherapist<br />

Anne Glynn explains.<br />

“Narcissism is usually the<br />

result of an upbringing where<br />

the person was loved only if<br />

they conformed to certain<br />

expectations. So, while they<br />

may appear confident and even<br />

conceited, this veneer covers a<br />

flimsy, depleted inner self.”<br />

As a result, narcissistic partners<br />

can be very challenging. Anne<br />

says there are several behaviours<br />

you can look for if you think<br />

your partner may be a narcissist.<br />

“They may use various defences<br />

to protect against the shame of<br />

exposure: contempt for others,<br />

entitlement, grandiosity, blaming,<br />

boasting, idealisation of you and<br />

others, followed by denigration.<br />

“It’s a sad, anxious existence<br />

for the narcissist,” says<br />

Anne. “Narcissists deserve<br />

understanding, but they can be<br />

draining and destructive.” For<br />

this reason, advice for partners of<br />

narcissists is usually to leave the<br />

relationship. However, this is often<br />

easier said than done – the love you<br />

once felt for this person can be a<br />

pull to keep you together.<br />

If this is the case, seeking<br />

professional support may be a good<br />

option. “A narcissist doesn’t change<br />

easily, and although they seldom<br />

engage in therapy, this could<br />

provide a lifeline for you.”<br />

‘Listen to your body when it says you need<br />

more rest. This will help you practise selfcare<br />

better, and live a more fulfilling life’<br />

IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT A LOVED ONE’S DRINKING<br />

If a loved<br />

one’s<br />

drinking<br />

is<br />

affecting<br />

you, it<br />

can be a<br />

difficult and challenging time.<br />

Bear in mind, for them to<br />

make the necessary changes,<br />

the choice to do so ultimately<br />

remains with them – but there<br />

are things you can do to help.<br />

Humanistic counsellor, Mark<br />

Thresh, says a good place to<br />

start is to find out how they<br />

feel about their drinking. “If<br />

they’ve been thinking about<br />

making changes, they may<br />

feel relieved to talk about<br />

how they are feeling, and<br />

might welcome your support.<br />

Prepare before you talk, as this<br />

will help you to avoid getting<br />

emotional, angry or saying<br />

something you might later<br />

regret.<br />

“Talking with them when they<br />

are in a good mood and haven’t<br />

been drinking is always a good<br />

approach, and never when they<br />

may be hungover. It’s always<br />

wise to try to avoid accusations<br />

and blame. Your loved one may<br />

already be feeling low, upset or<br />

anxious about their drinking,<br />

and may become defensive if<br />

they feel under attack.”<br />

32 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING TO<br />

MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE<br />

“Selfcare<br />

is an<br />

important<br />

aspect of<br />

our lives,<br />

yet we<br />

tend to<br />

leave it until last on our to-do<br />

list,” counsellor and self-care<br />

specialist, Karin Brauner,<br />

explains. Making time to look<br />

after ourselves is very important<br />

in managing our overall health<br />

– mentally and physically.<br />

So, how can we make time?<br />

According to Karin, one of the<br />

most powerful techniques she<br />

uses with her clients is helping<br />

them set boundaries. Here, she<br />

provides some tips to help set<br />

clear boundaries for self-care.<br />

“Stick to what works for you.<br />

Boundaries are there to keep<br />

you safe; you set a certain<br />

boundary for a reason, so keep<br />

it in place no matter what,”<br />

Karin says. “Listen to your body<br />

when it says you need more<br />

rest, or your thoughts saying,<br />

‘This is an uncomfortable<br />

situation, you need to leave<br />

now.’ This will help you practise<br />

self-care better, and live a more<br />

fulfilling life.”<br />

If an aspect of your life is affecting<br />

your wellbeing, help is at hand. Visit<br />

counselling-directory.org.uk for a<br />

wealth of free resources, or to find a<br />

counsellor in your local area.<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 33


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and responsibly written to uplift<br />

and inspire.<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> App is a product from the <strong>Happiful</strong> family, which includes Counselling Directory, Life Coach Directory, Hypnotherapy Directory, Nutritionist Resource and Therapy Directory.<br />

Helping you find the help you need.


Does your to-do list bring you out in a cold sweat? Well, fret no more – we’ve got<br />

an arsenal of tools to help you tackle your list, save time, and stress less<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

TOOLS FOR GOOD<br />

Be your most productive self<br />

Images | Forest app: Google Play, gtd: podcasts.apple.com<br />

1 Download the Forest app<br />

If scrolling on your phone gets<br />

in the way of work, try the<br />

Forest app. The idea is to plant a<br />

virtual tree, and set a timer for<br />

however long you want to be off<br />

your phone. As you work, your<br />

tree grows, but if you give in to<br />

technological temptation before<br />

the time is up… your tree dies.<br />

Keep working and planting to<br />

create a forest full of trees.<br />

Bonus: Forest partners with a<br />

real tree-planting organisation<br />

called Trees for the<br />

1<br />

Future, so you<br />

can contribute<br />

to building<br />

a real forest<br />

when you’re<br />

creating<br />

your virtual<br />

one, too.<br />

2 Listen to the<br />

‘Getting Things Done’<br />

podcast<br />

Hosted by David Allen, 2<br />

author of international<br />

bestseller Getting Things<br />

Done, this podcast is a mustlisten<br />

for anyone in need of<br />

productivity guidance. With<br />

episodes such as ‘Overcoming<br />

procrastination’ and ‘Wrangling<br />

your priorities’, expect plenty<br />

of practical advice. Podcasts, in<br />

general, are a great way<br />

to harness your time<br />

as you can listen<br />

hands-free while<br />

cleaning, on<br />

your commute,<br />

or while<br />

exercising.<br />

3<br />

3 Try the Pomodoro<br />

Technique<br />

This time management<br />

method was developed<br />

by Francesco Cirillo, and<br />

is named after the tomatoshaped<br />

kitchen timer he<br />

used as a student. The<br />

Pomodoro (Italian for<br />

‘tomato’) Technique involves<br />

breaking work down<br />

into chunks of<br />

time, usually 25<br />

minutes. After<br />

25 minutes (one<br />

pomodoro),<br />

you take a fiveminute<br />

break,<br />

and after four<br />

pomodoros, you take a<br />

longer break of 15–20 minutes.<br />

Setting a timer instills a sense<br />

of urgency, while splitting up<br />

pomodoros with breaks helps<br />

to transform big tasks into<br />

manageable chunks. Want to try<br />

it? Head to tomato-timer.com<br />

4<br />

4 Listen to music<br />

A study by Dr Teresa<br />

Lesiuk from the<br />

University of Miami,<br />

discovered that those<br />

who listen to music<br />

while working were<br />

faster, had better<br />

ideas, and<br />

experienced<br />

positive<br />

mood<br />

change.<br />

Try a range<br />

of music<br />

and see what<br />

works well<br />

for you. We love<br />

soothing lyric-less music like<br />

Balmorhea, and Bill Laurance.<br />

5 Pause your inbox<br />

Emails can be productivity killers,<br />

and while limiting the number of<br />

times you check your inbox can<br />

help, some of us need a little extra<br />

support. Boomerang for Gmail<br />

has a number of features, but<br />

our favourite is the Inbox Pause.<br />

This stops new emails from<br />

coming in until you’re<br />

ready. You set what<br />

hours you’re happy<br />

to receive emails,<br />

giving you the quiet<br />

time you need to get<br />

your head down.<br />

5


Ask the experts<br />

Counsellor and psychotherapist<br />

Lindsay George answers<br />

your questions on SAD<br />

Read more about Lindsay on<br />

counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

WHAT IS SAD?<br />

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)<br />

is a type of depression that comes<br />

and goes in a seasonal pattern.<br />

SAD is also known as ‘winter<br />

depression’, because the symptoms<br />

are usually more apparent, and<br />

more severe, during the winter.<br />

UNDERSTANDING<br />

Q<br />

I find the winter<br />

months really<br />

difficult, but<br />

nobody seems to<br />

understand how bad it<br />

can be. How can I help<br />

other people realise<br />

I don’t just have the<br />

‘winter blues’?<br />

It’s frustrating when people<br />

A around you don’t seem to<br />

understand how you are feeling.<br />

Knowing you have a support<br />

network, in which you feel<br />

comfortable talking to them, or<br />

they at least try to understand<br />

what you are feeling, is very<br />

important in ensuring you get<br />

the help you need.<br />

While winter blues often<br />

involves lack of sleep, SAD will<br />

likely leave you feeling fatigued<br />

and lethargic, and even getting<br />

out of bed can be extremely<br />

difficult. All of these symptoms<br />

can vary in severity, and if<br />

untreated, can have a significant<br />

impact on your overall health<br />

and ability to carry out day-today<br />

activities.<br />

The first step you need to make<br />

is speaking to someone. It<br />

might be a good idea to make<br />

an appointment with your GP,<br />

and explain how you are feeling.<br />

They will want to know how<br />

long you have felt like this, and<br />

whether there is a correlation to<br />

the weather, your lifestyle and<br />

personal circumstances, in order<br />

to identify whether you have<br />

SAD or depression, or if there is<br />

something else going on.


Seasonal Affective Disorder<br />

SYMPTOMS<br />

Q<br />

I’m dreading<br />

the darker days.<br />

How do I manage<br />

symptoms of SAD when<br />

the UK has such a long<br />

winter?<br />

AMany people dread the<br />

darker, winter months,<br />

however, there are a number<br />

of things you can do to help<br />

yourself get through them, and<br />

manage symptoms of SAD.<br />

CBT<br />

Q<br />

Is it true that<br />

counselling,<br />

CBT, and<br />

light therapy can be<br />

beneficial in managing<br />

SAD? How does this<br />

work? What should I<br />

expect from counselling<br />

for SAD?<br />

A combination of<br />

A counselling, CBT and light<br />

therapy can really help manage<br />

the symptoms of SAD. The idea<br />

behind light therapy is to create a<br />

simulation of sunlight, so that the<br />

melanopsin receptors in the eyes<br />

can trigger the required serotonin<br />

release within the brain for<br />

natural sleep cycles, and general<br />

feelings of wellbeing.<br />

Counselling can help you<br />

in a number of ways. A good<br />

counsellor will help you to feel<br />

supported at all times, and more<br />

in control of your problems.<br />

They will help you to develop a<br />

better sense of self-awareness,<br />

and discuss and encourage how<br />

to develop better coping skills.<br />

If you’re one of the many<br />

people who recognise that<br />

your mood and wellbeing falter<br />

during the winter months,<br />

please do take comfort in<br />

knowing you are not alone. Help<br />

is available.<br />

• Lifestyle measures: Aim to<br />

get as much natural sunlight as<br />

possible, exercise regularly, and<br />

manage stress as best you can.<br />

• Light therapy: Invest in a light<br />

box to simulate exposure to<br />

sunlight.<br />

• Talking therapies: Cognitive<br />

behavioural therapy (CBT) and/<br />

or counselling to talk about<br />

how you’re feeling with a<br />

professional.<br />

• Speak to your GP: Your<br />

doctor may refer you for further<br />

treatment such as counselling,<br />

and/or medication.<br />

• Diet and nutrition: Consider<br />

speaking with a nutritionist<br />

to ensure you are getting the<br />

nutrients known to benefit<br />

mood and general wellness,<br />

such as omega-3 and 6.<br />

• Supplements: Public Health<br />

England (PHE) recommends<br />

that people in the UK take a<br />

daily vitamin D supplement<br />

between October and March.<br />

Counselling Directory is part of the <strong>Happiful</strong> Family | Helping you find the help you need


Overcome<br />

with anxiety<br />

Anxiety and panic attacks blighted Calli’s life for<br />

years, but after therapy, and starting a blog, she’s<br />

on the road to recovery, and is helping to end<br />

the stigma around mental illness<br />

Writing | Calli Kitson<br />

My first<br />

memory<br />

of anxiety<br />

was when<br />

I fainted in my local<br />

hairdresser’s. I had no<br />

idea why, other than I got<br />

too hot and flustered. It<br />

happened again during a<br />

violin lesson, after I got<br />

stressed when I couldn’t<br />

read the music notes.<br />

I didn’t identify this as<br />

anxiety at the time, as I<br />

didn’t really know what<br />

anxiety was.<br />

It was about six years<br />

ago that things started to<br />

make more sense. It was<br />

the summer before I was<br />

due to start high school,<br />

and I’d been experiencing<br />

symptoms of anxiety<br />

before every long car<br />

journey.<br />

At the time, I didn’t know<br />

what it meant or why it<br />

was happening – I just<br />

wondered what the odd<br />

feeling in my stomach<br />

was. It became more clear<br />

on a trip to the zoo with<br />

my sisters, my niece, and<br />

my sister’s friend, when<br />

the car broke down.<br />

We pulled over at the<br />

side of the road and the<br />

feeling in my stomach<br />

began. I started to feel<br />

very hot and flustered. I<br />

asked my sister if I could<br />

step out of the car for<br />

some air, but she wouldn’t<br />

let me. We were on the<br />

side of a very busy road,<br />

and it would’ve been really<br />

dangerous for me to go<br />

out, but at that moment I<br />

didn’t care, I just had to get<br />

out of the car.<br />

Later that same summer<br />

I had my first panic attack<br />

when my mum suggested<br />

we go to a theme park. I<br />

got that horrible feeling<br />

in my stomach, clammy<br />

hands, became hot and<br />

flustered, and I began<br />

hyperventilating, which<br />

eventually led to a panic<br />

attack.<br />

My mum, who had<br />

experienced her own<br />

mental health problems,<br />

told me that I probably<br />

had anxiety. To be sure,<br />

we went to the doctor, who<br />

confirmed it.<br />

For the past two years,<br />

I’ve been on a very long<br />

road to recovery after<br />

being mentally ill for five<br />

months. I’ll be honest, I’m<br />

still not fully happy with<br />

my mental health.<br />

In those five months, I<br />

fell down a hole so deep<br />

that I wasn’t sure how I<br />

was going to get out. Every<br />

time I’d have a moment<br />

where I felt sad and low,<br />

I’d think: ‘It’s just a phase,<br />

this won’t last forever.’<br />

These months of torture<br />

began after I started a new<br />

job as a chef. Sadly, I only<br />

managed three days and<br />

had five panic attacks. It<br />

was unbearable, so I left.<br />

It was around this time<br />

when I was out of work<br />

and my brain had nothing<br />

to focus on, that I became<br />

aware of my OCD. Every<br />

night I’d go downstairs and<br />

begin a series of rituals<br />

– and I was aware this<br />

wasn’t a normal thing to<br />

do. After a bit of research,<br />

I soon realised I had OCD.<br />

38 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


TRUE LIFE<br />

It’s extremely difficult to do<br />

something that makes you<br />

anxious. It’s like being stuck<br />

in a vicious circle<br />

You can’t predict when a<br />

bad mental health day will<br />

happen, and you certainly<br />

can’t predict a long period<br />

in your life when you<br />

become mentally ill, but<br />

I felt as though the five<br />

panic attacks I had during<br />

that short period of time<br />

affected my mental health<br />

massively.<br />

In September 2016<br />

I began cognitive<br />

behavioural therapy (CBT),<br />

which really helped me to<br />

feel better about myself.<br />

CBT teaches you about<br />

why you get anxious, and<br />

ways to calm yourself.<br />

Something that also<br />

helped me was setting<br />

up my blog – ‘Looking<br />

Through Rose Tinted<br />

Glasses’. It was originally<br />

created to be a place<br />

where I could write and<br />

share my baking recipes,<br />

but now it’s also a place to<br />

write about mental health.<br />

Allowing other people to<br />

share their mental health<br />

stories on my blog is a<br />

great way of getting people<br />

to read and understand<br />

how everybody’s mental<br />

health is so different. It’s a<br />

good place for me to write<br />

about my experiences and<br />

offer advice.<br />

I called my blog<br />

‘Looking Through Rose<br />

Tinted Glasses’ because,<br />

ironically, that’s what I<br />

do every day. I have a<br />

processing disorder called<br />

Meares-Irlen Syndrome,<br />

which means I find it<br />

difficult to process visual<br />

information, and the<br />

glasses I wear to help this<br />

are rose-tinted!<br />

Now? I’m a lot better<br />

than I was a couple of<br />

years ago, but I recently<br />

fell down that same<br />

mental health hole once<br />

more. It was as if the<br />

ladder that was supposed<br />

to help me had broken,<br />

and had dropped me<br />

halfway down again.<br />

I’ve had various jobs but<br />

hadn’t worked regularly<br />

since December 2017.<br />

Last year I started a new<br />

job, working two days a<br />

week in a clothes store.<br />

Of course, I was anxious<br />

about starting, but not as<br />

anxious as I expected. I<br />

managed to do my first<br />

day, but at the end of my<br />

shift, instead of feeling<br />

pleased with myself, I felt<br />

fed up.<br />

The next day, I drove to<br />

work, and that’s all I could<br />

manage. I was feeling so<br />

anxious and sad that I<br />

couldn’t physically get out<br />

of the car. Returning to<br />

work was a lot harder than<br />

I thought.<br />

I spent most of the day<br />

before my next shift<br />

feeling incredibly anxious<br />

and crying a lot. The next<br />

day, the crying started >>><br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 39


It was as if the ladder that was<br />

supposed to help me had broken and<br />

had dropped me halfway down again<br />

again. I started walking<br />

to work, got to my local<br />

park, and that’s all I could<br />

manage. I sat on a bench<br />

and, oh boy, did I cry.<br />

When you have anxiety,<br />

it’s extremely difficult to<br />

do something that makes<br />

you anxious. It’s like being<br />

stuck in a vicious circle.<br />

In my case, I need to have<br />

a job, and I need to make<br />

money, but because going<br />

to work makes me feel so<br />

low and so sad, it’s easier<br />

not to go. But if I don’t do<br />

this thing that makes me<br />

feel anxious, I can’t get<br />

better mentally and make<br />

progress in my life.<br />

I’ve learnt a lot of<br />

ways to help my anxiety<br />

over the past six years.<br />

I have different coping<br />

mechanisms, including<br />

writing, using what I’ve<br />

learnt in therapy, or using<br />

herbal remedies to help<br />

me feel less anxious.<br />

Looking back at my life<br />

these last few years, I can<br />

say that I wasn’t like your<br />

typical teenager. Maybe,<br />

in 10 years’ time, I’ll look<br />

back on my teenage years<br />

and realise that I didn’t<br />

achieve as much as I’d<br />

have liked. But that’s OK.<br />

People go through stages<br />

in their lives where things<br />

don’t quite go to plan, and<br />

it just so happens that<br />

mine was as a teenager.<br />

As we reach the final<br />

few months of <strong>2019</strong>,<br />

it’s amazing to see how<br />

different my life is now. In<br />

2018, depression took over<br />

my life, and the anxiety<br />

that came with it just<br />

made everything so much<br />

harder.<br />

Now, I’ve helped with<br />

the shortlisting for the<br />

Mind Media Awards. A<br />

year ago, I would never<br />

have imagined I would<br />

be asked to do this. Also,<br />

now I write about soaps,<br />

continuing dramas, and<br />

mental health portrayals<br />

in the media. I’ve used<br />

my experiences to my<br />

advantage, and get to write<br />

about mental health to get<br />

more people talking.<br />

Don’t let anyone tell<br />

you that depression<br />

won’t change you as a<br />

person, because it will – it<br />

will make you a better,<br />

stronger individual.<br />

Calli Kitson is a mental<br />

health writer for metro.co.uk<br />

and Digital Spy. Follow her<br />

on Twitter and Instagram<br />

@callikitson<br />

OUR EXPERT SAYS<br />

Calli’s inspirational story<br />

highlights the debilitating<br />

affect that living with<br />

anxiety and depression<br />

can have on our wellbeing.<br />

Her bravery and strength<br />

are admirable. With<br />

counselling support, she is<br />

facing her difficulties head<br />

on, and this has led to her<br />

being more able to manage<br />

them on a daily basis.<br />

Experiencing depression<br />

and anxiety doesn’t<br />

have to have a negative<br />

connotation – it has the<br />

potential to<br />

empower<br />

you, and lead<br />

to positive<br />

change.<br />

Rav Sekhon | BA MA MBACP (Accred)<br />

Counsellor and psychotherapist<br />

40 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


HAPPIFUL TOP 10<br />

<strong>November</strong><br />

Welcome in winter with a new way to shop sustainably, get up close<br />

and personal with the nation’s favourite pets, and discover the secret<br />

to a good night’s sleep<br />

Images | Little earthlings: @littlearthlings<br />

1<br />

PAGE-TURNERS<br />

The Art of Sleeping<br />

by Rob Hobson<br />

If you lie awake wondering how<br />

to get a good night’s sleep, this<br />

could be the answer to all your<br />

problems. Written by nutritionist<br />

Rob Hobson, The Art of Sleeping<br />

explores the three pillars of a<br />

good night’s sleep: behaviour,<br />

environment, and diet (BED).<br />

3<br />

PUT ON A SHOW<br />

4<br />

The National Pet Show<br />

Meet the world’s best<br />

pets, watch spectacular animal<br />

action displays, and enjoy<br />

fascinating talks from animal<br />

experts at Birmingham NEC. From<br />

visiting the animal rescue barn, to<br />

meeting the dogs with<br />

jobs, it’s the purrrfect<br />

place to enjoy some<br />

animal company.<br />

(2–3 <strong>November</strong>. For more<br />

info and tickets visit<br />

thenationalpetshow.com)<br />

(Out 14 <strong>November</strong>, HarperCollins,<br />

£9.99)<br />

2<br />

OUT AND ABOUT<br />

Ally Pally’s Fireworks Festival<br />

Enjoy foot-stomping live music, a<br />

taste of Bavaria at the German beer<br />

festival, and classic cult films in a<br />

stunning Victorian theatre, at London’s biggest fireworks festival. Wrap up<br />

warm and bring your earmuffs for the incredible firework display!<br />

(1–2 <strong>November</strong>. For more information on the festival, head to fireworks.london)<br />

PLUGGED-IN<br />

Littlearthlings<br />

Enjoy positive affirmations<br />

and words of encouragement from<br />

Littlearthlings. These cheerful<br />

illustrations are gentle reminders<br />

to be kind to yourself, and believe<br />

you can do it. You can even share<br />

them with a friend<br />

who might be feeling<br />

down, to let them<br />

know they are not<br />

alone.<br />

5<br />

(Follow<br />

@littlearthlings on<br />

Instagram)<br />

TECH TIP-OFFS<br />

AllTrails: Hike, Run<br />

& Cycle<br />

Whether you prefer<br />

walking, cycling or<br />

running, spending time<br />

in the great outdoors<br />

can do wonders for<br />

your wellbeing. Explore<br />

more than 75,000<br />

hiking, running and<br />

biking trails around the<br />

world, track your own<br />

routes, and save your<br />

favourites. Adventure is<br />

out there!<br />

(Download from the App Store and<br />

Google Play, find out more<br />

at alltrails.com)<br />

Continues >>>


“<br />

Even the smallest person can<br />

change the course of the future<br />

– THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING<br />

Photography | Ian Stauffer


HAPPIFUL TOP 10<br />

<strong>November</strong><br />

Images | Forzen 2: Walt Disney Animation Studios, Night of Neon: timeoutdoors.com<br />

6 8<br />

LEND US YOUR EARS<br />

‘Feel Better, Live More’<br />

with Dr Rangan Chatterjee<br />

GP, presenter and author,<br />

Rangan Chaterjee is on a mission to<br />

make health simpler. Each week he<br />

is joined by guests such as Matt Haig,<br />

Natasha Devon, and Emma Willis, who<br />

share their own health journeys to<br />

help you become the healthiest<br />

version of yourself.<br />

(Visit drchatterjee.com for more,<br />

and listen to the podcast on<br />

iTunes and Spotify)<br />

7<br />

SQUARE EYES<br />

The Disney musical<br />

that melted our hearts is back<br />

for a second instalment! Anna,<br />

Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven<br />

set out on a quest to find the<br />

origin of Elsa’s powers, in an<br />

effort to save their kingdom.<br />

Frozen 2 is the perfect family<br />

favourite to get you in the<br />

mood for winter.<br />

Frozen 2<br />

(In cinemas 22 <strong>November</strong>)<br />

THE CONVERSATION<br />

Movember<br />

10<br />

TREAT YOURSELF<br />

Sustainable shopping<br />

Trying to be more eco-conscious can be hard,<br />

especially with the amount of waste packaging<br />

can bring when shopping. Wearth is a website that stocks ecofriendly<br />

and ethical products, making it easier for you to shop and<br />

live more consciously. Search products by values such as plasticfree,<br />

vegan-friendly, and sustainable materials.<br />

(Visit wearthlondon.com to find out more)<br />

With more pressure on men than ever before, take time<br />

this month to highlight men’s mental health. Throughout<br />

<strong>November</strong>, Movember is the charity that’s challenging men to grow<br />

moustaches and raise funds for life-changing men’s health projects.<br />

But it’s not just for those with furry faces. From fun runs to local events,<br />

anyone can get involved to help end the stigma.<br />

(<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>, visit uk.movember.com to find events near you)<br />

Win a £25 voucher to spend on Wearth London!<br />

What percentage of plastic packaging is the UK’s target to recycle by 2020? a) 27%, b) 55%, c) 75%<br />

To enter, email your answer to competitions@happiful.com<br />

UK mainland only, entries close 21 <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

9<br />

GET GOING<br />

Night of Neon<br />

Manchester<br />

Wear your brightest outfit and<br />

light up the night. Choose from<br />

the 5K and 10K routes, and<br />

raise money for the Christie<br />

Charity while you dance, walk<br />

or run your way around Salford<br />

Quays. Time to get glowing!<br />

(9 <strong>November</strong>, find out more at<br />

christie.nhs.uk)<br />

WIN!


How to support a friend with<br />

borderline<br />

personality disorder<br />

BPD can be a tricky illness for friends and loved ones to understand, but there<br />

are lots of ways that you can be supportive without becoming<br />

overwhelmed by the condition’s symptoms<br />

Writing | Harriet Williamson<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

Borderline personality<br />

disorder (BPD), also<br />

known as emotionally<br />

unstable personality<br />

disorder, is a broad<br />

diagnosis characterised by<br />

difficulties with mood and<br />

interaction with others. It means<br />

that sufferers often think – and<br />

perceive the world – differently<br />

from the average person, and<br />

they may form very intense<br />

relationships that end up being<br />

short-lived.<br />

Unfortunately, personality<br />

disorders like BPD still carry a<br />

great deal of stigma, due in part to<br />

outdated ideas about the condition,<br />

and labels such as ‘toxic’ that still<br />

get unfairly attached to people<br />

with BPD. Despite their<br />

difficulties forming<br />

and maintaining<br />

stable relationships, BPD sufferers<br />

can be the warmest, most<br />

empathetic and loving people, and<br />

offer truly rewarding connections.<br />

Although the condition can be<br />

hard to manage – not just for the<br />

sufferer, but for those around them<br />

– there are practical things that<br />

you can do to make sure that your<br />

relationship with someone who<br />

has this mental health condition is<br />

positive and solid.<br />

1 DO YOUR RESEARCH<br />

Ensuring that you know what BPD<br />

entails will make life easier for<br />

both yourself and your friend. A<br />

quick read of the NHS or Mind<br />

websites will offer plenty of insight<br />

into the illness, and will mean<br />

that you can approach difficult<br />

situations with more awareness<br />

and compassion.<br />

2 BE SENSITIVE WITHOUT<br />

‘WALKING ON EGGSHELLS’<br />

The hypersensitivity that<br />

comes with BPD means that<br />

those close to sufferers<br />

may feel as<br />

though they are<br />

‘walking on<br />

eggshells’ at times. But, this doesn’t<br />

have to be the case. Open and clear<br />

communication is key, as is a basic<br />

sensitivity towards things going on<br />

in the other person’s life.<br />

For example, if someone with<br />

BPD feels unhappy or unsupported<br />

at work, dismissing these concerns<br />

with words such as ‘You won’t find<br />

a better job elsewhere’ is definitely<br />

not the right approach. For a BPD<br />

sufferer, this sounds like ‘I don’t<br />

care about you’ and ‘You don’t<br />

deserve to work in an environment<br />

where you feel comfortable’. Being<br />

sensitive doesn’t mean treating the<br />

other person like they’re made of<br />

glass, but it does mean having an<br />

awareness of the impact of your<br />

words and actions.<br />

3 OFFER CONSISTENCY<br />

BPD is often accompanied by<br />

intense fears of abandonment,<br />

heightened by the transient<br />

nature of many relationships in<br />

the sufferer’s life. If you’ve had<br />

a string of broken or incredibly<br />

short friendships, you might be<br />

very wary of others, and<br />

terrified of being left<br />

or let down.


As the friend of someone with<br />

BPD, it’s helpful to be as consistent<br />

as possible with what you say and<br />

do. If you make plans, try to keep<br />

them, or offer a clear reason why<br />

you can’t. Make sure you’re not<br />

blowing hot and cold.<br />

BPD sufferers can<br />

be the warmest,<br />

most empathetic<br />

and loving<br />

people, and offer<br />

truly rewarding<br />

connections<br />

4 ENCOURAGE SELF-CARE<br />

People with BPD often have a<br />

hard time caring for themselves.<br />

They might believe that they don’t<br />

deserve to be cared for or loved,<br />

and may engage in self-destructive<br />

behaviours such as self-harm,<br />

compulsive spending, bingeeating<br />

or starving themselves, and<br />

abuse of drugs and alcohol. As a<br />

friend, it’s incredibly important to<br />

promote caring behaviours without<br />

shaming the sufferer if they do slip<br />

into destructive patterns. Baths<br />

or showers, distracting books and<br />

films, scented candles, and time<br />

spent with pets, are positive ways<br />

to deal with emotional instability<br />

that you could suggest. Sometimes,<br />

just the offer of a coffee and<br />

a listening ear can be a game<br />

changer for someone struggling<br />

with the daily realities of BPD.<br />

5 OFFER POSITIVE<br />

AFFIRMATIONS<br />

Having BPD can be like living with<br />

an evil gremlin inside your head,<br />

constantly putting you down and<br />

telling you that you’re unlovable,<br />

or not good enough. Try to counter<br />

this perspective by telling your<br />

friend what you like about them.<br />

They may be an excellent listener,<br />

really good at baking, or amazing<br />

when they make you laugh. Let<br />

them know this.<br />

6 BE THERE DURING THE<br />

HARD TIMES<br />

As much as possible, try not to<br />

be a ‘fair-weather friend’, who’s<br />

around when things are going well,<br />

but absent when times are tough.<br />

Of course, it’s important to make<br />

sure that you care for yourself,<br />

too. It’s entirely possible to be<br />

supportive without putting your<br />

own wellbeing at risk. Just offering<br />

to be there at the end of the phone<br />

or making positive plans for the<br />

next week can be so meaningful<br />

for someone with BPD when they<br />

are struggling with self-destructive<br />

impulses or overwhelming<br />

emotions.<br />

September <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 45


The Full<br />

De-Brief<br />

A bundle of energy, positivity and<br />

fun, Georgina Horne has gone<br />

from working in a restaurant,<br />

to travelling the world as a<br />

plus-size model. Through her<br />

fullerfigurefullerbust social media<br />

platform, the 31-year-old has<br />

created an online community for<br />

the larger lady in a bid to promote<br />

body positivity.<br />

Having faced fat-shamers<br />

throughout much of her life, she<br />

channelled her experiences into a<br />

support group helping women to<br />

embrace their curves, boost their<br />

confidence, and feel empowered.<br />

However, it’s not always been a<br />

smooth catwalk for Georgina.<br />

Here, she tells <strong>Happiful</strong> about<br />

coping with trolls, her mental<br />

health, and why now – 27 years<br />

after her mother’s death – she has<br />

turned to therapy >>><br />

Interview | Suzanne Baum<br />

Photography | Alison Webster


It’s rather fitting to interview<br />

Georgina in a room full<br />

of half-dressed women.<br />

For, without her support, it seems<br />

possible that many of the 100 or<br />

so ladies here would have never<br />

dreamed of flashing their flesh in<br />

public. And by this I mean happily<br />

agreeing to be photographed at a<br />

lingerie shoot for Curvy Kate – a<br />

brand which uses its diverse range<br />

of customers as models, for which<br />

Georgina is fronting a campaign.<br />

As we sit together in a corner of<br />

the studio, I feel instantly at ease<br />

with Georgina; so it seems does<br />

everyone else as they grab her for<br />

a hug and look on fondly as we<br />

chat. In fact, although I am the<br />

only woman in the room wearing<br />

a top and skirt, I feel somewhat<br />

underdressed beside Georgina,<br />

who is modelling a gorgeous limegreen,<br />

off-the-shoulder, tropical<br />

print set that features in a new<br />

collection she’s designed.<br />

“Feeling comfortable in your own<br />

skin is so important,” Georgina tells<br />

me, and it’s clear she embraces<br />

this herself. The outfit hugs<br />

Georgina’s body in all the right<br />

places, and with her flawless skin<br />

and good looks she seems every<br />

inch the vintage pin-up. Glamour<br />

aside, Georgina has such a bubbly<br />

personality and warmth, which<br />

undoubtedly adds to her charm<br />

online, where she has amassed<br />

a huge following of more than<br />

250,000 on Instagram.<br />

A former waitress, Georgina’s<br />

world changed overnight seven<br />

years ago, when she started an<br />

online blog for plus-size ladies. It<br />

was a time before blogging had<br />

taken off, and Georgina believes<br />

the success she enjoyed was partly<br />

down to the fact that she was filling<br />

a niche before anyone else. >>>


“I had entered a competition for<br />

Curvy Kate and came third, and<br />

although I didn’t win, the amount<br />

of support I got for putting myself<br />

out there in the first place was<br />

immense. For years I had put<br />

up with fat-shamers – including<br />

shopkeepers, neighbours and even<br />

former friends – who seemed<br />

disgusted by my size. From the<br />

support I received following the<br />

competition, I realised that largersized<br />

women needed a platform<br />

where they could come together.”<br />

Growing up, Georgina developed<br />

what she described as “large<br />

breasts” and “a fat bottom” at<br />

secondary school, and found going<br />

through puberty a challenging<br />

time. “I used to get a lot of nasty<br />

remarks about my size, and<br />

bullying became the norm.”<br />

But she refused to let the bullies<br />

get her down.<br />

“I was always quite a cheeky and<br />

cocky child, which kind of gave me<br />

some inner confidence to cope,”<br />

she says. And alongside these<br />

traits, Georgina had a passion for<br />

writing, so it was no surprise that<br />

she took to blogging so easily.<br />

“Blogging proved so therapeutic<br />

for me,” Georgina recalls. “I could<br />

write about things that bothered<br />

me, and realised that so many<br />

people could understand and relate<br />

to my situation. Being large is not<br />

easy; everything from finding the<br />

right bra shape, facing rude shop<br />

assistants, and even intimacy as<br />

a bigger woman, were things that<br />

only people like myself could<br />

understand.”<br />

What started as “diary entries”<br />

soon became something much<br />

bigger, with brands reaching out to<br />

Georgina for lingerie and clothes


collaborations, leading to jobs with<br />

international designers that soon<br />

saw Georgina flying to places such<br />

as Milan for modelling work.<br />

“Being appreciated for my size,<br />

rather than revolted by it, gave me<br />

the belief that people were finally<br />

able to see past models of one size.<br />

“I felt empowered to help<br />

women look and feel their best,<br />

whatever their size or shape. I<br />

think that through my blog I was<br />

able to spread a message of body<br />

positivity, being able to love oneself<br />

at any size.”<br />

“I always thought the<br />

deep sadness I felt at<br />

losing my mother would<br />

fade, but on the contrary,<br />

the grief got deeper”<br />

Having always been a fan of<br />

exercise, Georgina often posts<br />

pictures of herself at the gym or<br />

doing burpees, dismissing the myth<br />

that ‘fat girls can’t lead a healthy<br />

lifestyle’. She also hosts – alongside<br />

another popular plus-size blogger,<br />

Hayley Stewart – a very successful<br />

yoga retreat abroad, where women<br />

of all sizes come to switch off.<br />

“Yes, of course I sweat buckets<br />

when I exercise; at times I am<br />

exhausted and gasping for a drink,<br />

but I’m normal. I’d much rather<br />

be large and happy, than thin and<br />

miserable, and I’m brilliant at<br />

yoga by the way – that’ll have the<br />

body-shaming trolls bending over<br />

backwards!”<br />

With her huge grin and sparkly<br />

eyes, Georgina tells me that she<br />

always tries to smile at everyone<br />

to put them at ease. Her desire<br />

to embrace life is infectious –<br />

especially for someone who<br />

had such a difficult childhood.<br />

Georgina’s mother died from breast<br />

cancer when Georgina was just four<br />

years old – a tragedy she believes<br />

she never properly dealt with.<br />

“Over the years, I always thought<br />

the deep sadness I felt at losing<br />

my mother would fade, but on<br />

the contrary, the grief got deeper.<br />

Every milestone in my life I wish<br />

my mum was here to see it. I am<br />

very conscious that in a few years<br />

I will be 34 – the same age she was<br />

when she died. I feel like I’ve kind<br />

of hit a brick wall.”<br />

It was finally admitting that<br />

she needs professional help that<br />

encouraged Georgina to go into<br />

therapy.<br />

“I’d had the worst childhood<br />

trauma, which often left me feeling<br />

anxious, tight-chested and, at<br />

times, deeply sad. I knew I had to<br />

address the issue, and although it<br />

has taken me decades to admit it,<br />

seeking therapy was exactly what I<br />

needed to do.”<br />

Having started counselling,<br />

Georgina is adamant that it is the<br />

best way forward. “Getting things<br />

off my chest, as it were, may sound<br />

tongue-in-cheek, but talking<br />

through problems really does help.<br />

“I get so many women messaging<br />

me about how grateful they are for<br />

my honest account of what it is like<br />

being plus-sized – it feels good that<br />

I’ve built a community where we<br />

encourage conversations, to ensure<br />

everyone has each other’s back.”<br />

When it comes to mental health,<br />

Georgina knows only too well how<br />

soul-destroying it can be for people<br />

with weight issues to strive to be<br />

skinny. “It’s no surprise that some<br />

of the younger generation who<br />

have grown up with social media<br />

develop issues because they want<br />

to lead the ‘perfect Instagram life’.<br />

“It makes me even more<br />

passionate about spreading the<br />

word about the importance of<br />

talking. Whether that means to a<br />

community like ours, your friends,<br />

or a therapist.<br />

“With my own grief counselling,<br />

I have learnt coping mechanisms<br />

on how to start healing myself.<br />

Although I am proud of what I have<br />

achieved, I am constantly aware of<br />

just how fragile life can be.”<br />

It goes without saying that if you<br />

are in the public eye there will<br />

always be trolls, and Georgina has<br />

had her fair share of them. From<br />

vulgar comments on her Instagram<br />

posts, to an outcry of “disgust”<br />

when she chose to lose some<br />

weight for her wedding, Georgina<br />

has learnt to turn a blind eye.<br />

“Empowering women is my goal.<br />

Although brands are starting to<br />

look at making bigger-sized clothes<br />

for larger ladies, fatism is still as<br />

bad as it always was.<br />

“Nobody likes to be the elephant<br />

in the room,” she adds, “whatever<br />

size or shape you are. I mean look<br />

at all these wonderful women in<br />

this studio not giving a toss – they<br />

are happy, healthy and embracing<br />

life. They may be friends I have<br />

made through my social channels,<br />

but they are the real deal – the best<br />

bosom buddies a girl can have.”<br />

Follow Georgina on Instagram<br />

@fullerfigurefullerbust, and<br />

read more from her at<br />

fullerfigurefullerbust.com<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 49


Take our word for it<br />

Back yourself with these uplifting affirmation cards<br />

Some days we feel like we’re on top<br />

of the world, and other days we need<br />

to have a word with ourselves. But<br />

it makes all the difference if those<br />

words are kind.<br />

Gone are the days when we would<br />

frustratedly hiss at ourselves in the<br />

mirror to ‘get a grip’ – negative selftalk<br />

is so last season.<br />

Pepping yourself up with positive<br />

affirmations has the power to<br />

transform your psychology. And<br />

we’ve got the science to back it up.<br />

After looking at the way that our<br />

brains respond to affirmations, a 2015<br />

study published in Social Cognitive<br />

and Affective Neuroscience found that<br />

self-affirmations activate the brain<br />

systems associated with rewards and<br />

self-image. In other words, they’re<br />

good for us on a neurobiological<br />

level.<br />

This month, we’re bringing you a set of<br />

positive affirmation cards. Cut them out<br />

and display them on your dressing table,<br />

your desk at work, or anywhere you feel<br />

like you need a boost.<br />

As the darker days begin to draw in, it<br />

can be easy to lose the positive spark<br />

that flourished throughout the summer<br />

months. If you feel like you need to pick<br />

up your energy this autumn, we hope that<br />

these affirmation cards will do the trick.<br />

We all need to learn to back ourselves.<br />

It doesn’t happen overnight, and it can<br />

take us a lifetime to unlearn bad self-talk<br />

habits. But take the first step to a kinder,<br />

more uplifted you. Chose to believe in<br />

yourself. You’ve got this, we know it.


Every two hours<br />

in the UK, a<br />

man takes<br />

his own life…<br />

The stats are shocking, but behind the numbers are real<br />

men, with real, individual experiences, struggling and<br />

urgently needing our help. Here, writer and mental health<br />

advocate, Richard Taylor, pens a moving open letter,<br />

putting out the call for us all to think about how we can<br />

make a difference to the lives of others<br />

>>>


Dear Society,<br />

I’ve been trying to write to you for a<br />

long time, but I’ve never been quite<br />

sure who I’m speaking to. Maybe<br />

I’ll have figured it out by the end of<br />

this letter, but while I’ve got your<br />

attention, I’d like to talk about the<br />

fragile and complex conversation<br />

regarding male suicide and men’s<br />

mental health (and yes, it’s still<br />

taboo, and it is still necessary to<br />

keep talking about it).<br />

There have been gargantuan<br />

strides made with regards to<br />

addressing mental health in<br />

society. Every other office has<br />

a mental health first aider (OK,<br />

slight exaggeration, but run with<br />

me please), it’s brought up in<br />

conversation in pubs and on the<br />

telly, radio programmes talk about<br />

it, and celebrities have helped to<br />

bring the topic to a wider audience,<br />

and acted as role models to show<br />

us how important it is to talk about<br />

mental health, and be open and<br />

honest with each other.<br />

Yet, in spite of this, 84 men die<br />

by suicide every week. Every two<br />

hours in the UK, a man takes<br />

his own life, affecting families,<br />

friends, and creating a ripple<br />

that will go on to devastate those<br />

who are left behind, leaving them<br />

weighed down with questions and<br />

heartache.<br />

When my dad broke down in<br />

front of me in tears, racked with<br />

fear, what he said next would go on<br />

to shape the rest of my life and our<br />

relationship together.<br />

“I can’t do this any more, Richard.<br />

I’m watching my son die in front<br />

of me and there’s nothing I can<br />

do to stop it, and I just can’t take it<br />

anymore. So if you’re gonna go, let’s<br />

go together. Because my life isn’t<br />

worth living without you.”<br />

Richard is a writer, mental health<br />

advocate, and campaigner. He works for<br />

GoodGym, and when he’s not working<br />

or writing can be found with his head<br />

in a book or playing Playstation. He<br />

is incredibly open about his own<br />

experiences with mental health on<br />

Instagram and Twitter, and you<br />

can follow him over<br />

@RichBiscuit21<br />

For context, at this point in my<br />

life I had effectively been bedbound<br />

for nine months at the<br />

cruel, invisible hands of obsessive<br />

compulsive disorder (OCD). I was<br />

dangerously underweight, my<br />

mental compulsions and rituals<br />

were omnipresent and oppressive,<br />

controlling every aspect of my<br />

behaviour and thoughts.<br />

I had to be bathed with the help<br />

of my dad as I stood naked, bereft<br />

of any dignity, and I could only go<br />

to the toilet once a day – again with<br />

my dad’s help. If you’re reading this<br />

and wondering what form that help<br />

took, he held a carrier bag under<br />

me so I could go to the toilet, and<br />

then disposed of it for me. It made<br />

me feel feral and it stripped me of<br />

my humanity every day, but that is<br />

the nature of OCD – it cares not for<br />

how it makes you feel, or what it<br />

compels you to do. My life revolved<br />

around a 24-hour cycle of waiting<br />

to feel clean enough for all of the<br />

intrusive thoughts and compulsive<br />

behaviours to stop.<br />

I was between the ages of 18 and<br />

20 when all of this occurred, so<br />

from a male perspective, having<br />

to rely on someone to pretty<br />

much care for you in all aspects<br />

of your life felt overwhelming –<br />

especially when that person was<br />

so closely related. I had regressed<br />

to childhood, incapable of keeping<br />

myself alive and functioning.<br />

Previously, OCD had prevented<br />

me from living an ordinary life<br />

and, at this time, I’d already<br />

52 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


Society is those<br />

willing to bare their<br />

pain, grief and<br />

sorrow to the world,<br />

and invite others<br />

into those emotions<br />

been learning to alter my days<br />

according to the new set of rules<br />

that OCD forced me to live by.<br />

I was living a secret double-life<br />

behind closed doors that I tried<br />

desperately to keep hidden from<br />

everyone around me.<br />

For my dad, I can only imagine<br />

what he must have been<br />

experiencing; as a father watching<br />

his son fade away in front of his<br />

eyes, to speak those words, let<br />

alone think them. The desperation<br />

and hopelessness had to be<br />

excruciating. I’ve since spoken to<br />

him about what he was feeling, and<br />

he said that his only thought was<br />

not wanting me to die alone. He<br />

explained that afterwards, he felt<br />

guilty that he never thought about<br />

his mum, my mum or my future<br />

life, only that he did not want to see<br />

me suffering.<br />

So what am I asking you to do,<br />

as a member of society, to help<br />

men like myself and many others?<br />

Listen to us. Hear us when we say<br />

we’re struggling, and don’t assume<br />

that we’ve got a load of mates who<br />

we can turn to. WhatsApp group<br />

chats aren’t the kind of places<br />

where mates discuss depression,<br />

suicide and other complex mental<br />

health topics, but why not? These<br />

spaces should be fertile ground for<br />

Richard, his partner, Megan (middle), and their close friend, Laura (right),<br />

exploring the wintry sights of Vilnius, Lithuania, in <strong>November</strong> 2018<br />

open, healthy and compassionate<br />

conversations for blokes to look out<br />

for each other.<br />

Invariably, when you ask a guy<br />

how he’s feeling, he’ll fob you off<br />

with a casual: “I’m fine.” But don’t<br />

let him get away with it! Press<br />

him on it if you’re concerned,<br />

because nothing bad can come out<br />

of directly asking someone how<br />

they’re feeling.<br />

If you’re in a group setting and<br />

notice someone acting differently,<br />

give them a nudge later on when<br />

there’s a bit of privacy. We hear<br />

and see all too often the gutwrenching<br />

posts on Facebook and<br />

Instagram from guys who have<br />

lost a friend to suicide who regret<br />

not asking sooner.<br />

Opportunities to have these<br />

kinds of conversations are on<br />

the rise as a direct result of<br />

campaigns from mental health<br />

charities and organisations<br />

targeting men specifically. A<br />

simple reminder that poor mental<br />

health isn’t a sign of weakness,<br />

and to admit that you’re not<br />

coping well is all it takes. From<br />

experience, I know most men<br />

are crying out for someone to<br />

talk to, but they feel like reaching<br />

out will make them a burden to<br />

friends and family.<br />

So I go back to my original<br />

question; who is society?<br />

Society is you, reading this right<br />

now. It’s me, writing about my<br />

personal experiences. Society<br />

is built on the conversations<br />

between us and the courage we<br />

have to challenge the norms that<br />

have been built on beliefs that no<br />

longer reflect the majority.<br />

Society is those willing to bare<br />

their pain, grief and sorrow to<br />

the world, and invite others into<br />

those emotions. It is the people<br />

of all different cultures, creeds,<br />

races and religions, gender or age,<br />

sexual orientation or financial<br />

status. We all have the power as<br />

individuals to help shape what<br />

society looks like, and how it cares<br />

for us. I think that when it comes<br />

to the men in our lives, we need to<br />

hold on to the hope that we’ve not<br />

missed the boat, and tell them that<br />

we’re listening.


Photography | Jeryd Gillum<br />

“<br />

It matters not what someone is<br />

born, but what they grow to be<br />

– JK ROWLING, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE


Living<br />

with complex<br />

post-traumatic<br />

stress disorder<br />

They are two similar conditions, but triggered<br />

in different ways – and each comes with its own<br />

range of symptoms. Here’s what you need to<br />

know about CPTSD vs PTSD<br />

Writing | Hattie Gladwell<br />

Anxiety, racing<br />

heart, nightmares,<br />

and flashbacks<br />

making you<br />

relive the worst<br />

moments of your life, over<br />

and over again. Many of us are<br />

familiar with the concept of posttraumatic<br />

stress disorder (PTSD);<br />

an anxiety condition which may<br />

develop after being involved in,<br />

or witnessing, traumatic events.<br />

First identified in war veterans,<br />

it can also be triggered by a wide<br />

range of traumatic experiences.<br />

But just knowing what PTSD is,<br />

doesn’t convey the true, debilitating<br />

reality for those experiencing it.<br />

It’s trying to live your daily life,<br />

not knowing when or what might<br />

trigger those flashbacks. It’s feeling<br />

on high alert, constantly on guard,<br />

all the time. It’s the world moving<br />

on around you, and trying to move<br />

with it, only to be snapped back<br />

and trapped reliving your darkest<br />

moments.<br />

Sometimes these symptoms<br />

are a sign of PTSD, but what you<br />

may not have heard of is another<br />

similar condition that has some<br />

key differences: complex posttraumatic<br />

stress disorder (CPTSD).<br />

WHAT IS CPTSD?<br />

CPTSD is a form of PTSD that<br />

is vastly different from the<br />

traditional diagnosis. Unlike<br />

PTSD, which can develop at any<br />

age, CPTSD generally arises after<br />

someone experiences longlasting,<br />

on-going trauma from<br />

an early age. It is also common<br />

in people who have experienced<br />

multiple traumas, or were<br />

harmed by someone close.<br />

Alongside traditional PTSD<br />

symptoms, which can include<br />

nightmares, anxiety, feeling<br />

unsafe, and a lack of trust in<br />

people, CPTSD has additional<br />

symptoms that can often be<br />

confused with borderline<br />

personality disorder (BPD). >>>


These symptoms include<br />

difficulty in controlling emotions,<br />

feeling hostile or distrustful<br />

towards the world, feelings of<br />

emptiness, worthlessness, or<br />

being damaged, feeling that<br />

nobody understands, and having<br />

regular suicidal thoughts. People<br />

with CPTSD may also experience<br />

dissociative symptoms, such<br />

as depersonalisation or<br />

derealisation.<br />

WHAT ARE THE KEY<br />

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN<br />

CPTSD AND PTSD?<br />

One of the main differences<br />

between the conditions is in the<br />

form of flashbacks. For PTSD,<br />

these are usually quite visual,<br />

but most people who experience<br />

CPTSD have emotional flashbacks<br />

instead. This is where you have<br />

the intense feelings you originally<br />

felt during the trauma, such as<br />

fear, shame, sadness, or despair.<br />

Dr Elena Touroni, a consultant<br />

psychologist and co-founder of<br />

the Chelsea Psychology Clinic, in<br />

London, says the main difference<br />

is that PTSD tends to happen as a<br />

result of one very traumatic event,<br />

whereas CPTSD occurs when that<br />

trauma has been prolonged, and<br />

typically stretched over a very<br />

long period of time.<br />

“CPTSD shares the same<br />

symptoms as PTSD but typically<br />

presents alongside additional<br />

symptoms, too,” says Dr Touroni.<br />

“Those affected will likely suffer<br />

from flashbacks and distressing<br />

images, and/or nightmares of the<br />

trauma itself, sleeping difficulties,<br />

problems concentrating, and<br />

a racing heart – all common<br />

symptoms in PTSD.<br />

“They’ll experience difficulties<br />

regulating their emotions,<br />

disassociation, an unstable sense<br />

of identity, and problems with<br />

relationships, too.<br />

“Because the trauma was so<br />

prolonged, people experiencing<br />

CPTSD will usually carry very<br />

heavy feelings of hopelessness.<br />

They might even believe they are<br />

responsible for what happened to<br />

them.”<br />

Dr Touroni explains that because<br />

having difficulties with regulating<br />

emotions is a common feature<br />

of CPTSD, people experiencing<br />

it might find it hard to identify<br />

or control their emotions, which<br />

can cause problems in their<br />

relationships – exemplified also<br />

by feelings of mistrust.<br />

Because the<br />

trauma was so<br />

prolonged, people<br />

experiencing<br />

CPTSD will<br />

usually carry very<br />

heavy feelings of<br />

hopelessness<br />

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO<br />

EXPERIENCE CPTSD?<br />

We spoke with Elena, 28, was<br />

diagnosed with CPTSD in 2017. She<br />

struggled with her mental health<br />

from a young age, but her diagnosis<br />

only came after an inpatient stay.<br />

She was initially wrongly<br />

diagnosed with borderline<br />

personality disorder by a<br />

psychiatrist, which Elena says she<br />

knew wasn’t right. After several<br />

months of working with her<br />

psychotherapist, her diagnosis was<br />

eventually corrected.<br />

For Elena, CPTSD mainly<br />

presents as anxiety and<br />

depression. “It affects my life<br />

so much,” she explains. “I have<br />

flashbacks, my dreams and sleep<br />

are really affected, I have no<br />

confidence in anything I do, and<br />

constantly seek reassurance.<br />

“I attempted to end my life<br />

when I was 17. I’ve been on and<br />

off medication since I was 15.<br />

Only after I had my complete<br />

breakdown in 2017 has it started<br />

to get better, and now I can live a<br />

pretty much normal life, although<br />

I still have flare ups. All of my<br />

flashbacks are emotional, the only<br />

visuals I’ll have are in my dreams.”<br />

Elena says she feels her CPTSD<br />

differs from PTSD, because it<br />

wasn’t just one event that caused it.<br />

“I have so many traumatic<br />

memories, and flashbacks are so<br />

common for me from so many<br />

things,” she says. “Only now that<br />

I have been having therapy for<br />

years, and have been reading so<br />

much about the science of trauma,<br />

am I finally realising how each of<br />

these little traumas has built up<br />

and affected me over time. I lost<br />

my relationship, job and home<br />

because of it.”<br />

Chloe, 24, also has CPTSD, which<br />

is the result of a number of medical<br />

traumas from the age of 16. She<br />

says: “I was surprised when I was<br />

diagnosed with CPTSD, because I<br />

didn’t realise you could get it from<br />

medical trauma. I’ve always been<br />

quite unlucky with my health, but<br />

56 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


two near-death experiences have<br />

really affected me.<br />

“In 2011 I fell ill, and was<br />

misdiagnosed at the hospital. I had<br />

pneumonia, but because it wasn’t<br />

caught early enough it collapsed<br />

my lung. I ended up in an intensive<br />

care unit, and had two litres of<br />

fluid drained from my lung.”<br />

In 2015, Chloe fell ill again, after<br />

experiencing symptoms such as<br />

severe weight loss and stomach<br />

cramps for two years, but doctors<br />

told her it was ‘women’s troubles’.<br />

“I ended up in hospital with<br />

suspected appendicitis,” she says.<br />

“I had my appendix removed, but I<br />

continued to get worse. I was lying<br />

in a hospital bed in horrendous<br />

pain when I started hearing<br />

popping sounds from my stomach.<br />

“My large bowel had actually<br />

started to perforate. I was rushed<br />

to theatre, had a three-hour<br />

operation to remove my large<br />

intestine, and woke up with a<br />

stoma bag. I was traumatised.”<br />

Chloe says that now her anxiety<br />

about her health and misdiagnosis<br />

has increased – if she starts to<br />

feel remotely ill she will panic<br />

and have an emotional flashback,<br />

giving her the same feelings she<br />

had both times in hospital.<br />

These experiences have changed<br />

her personality and dependency<br />

on people, making her more of<br />

an emotional person, who has<br />

difficulty controlling her moods.<br />

“I struggle with suicidal feelings,<br />

and feelings of hopelessness,” she<br />

says. “I’m in therapy and working<br />

on it, but I know I’ve got a long<br />

road ahead of me. I’m thankful to<br />

have a correct diagnosis so I know<br />

what I’m working with, and so I can<br />

understand my symptoms better.”<br />

WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU<br />

HAVE CPTSD<br />

For anyone concerned about their<br />

mental health, the first thing you<br />

should do is speak to your GP, and<br />

get in touch with a mental health<br />

professional.<br />

Specifically with CPTSD, Dr<br />

Touroni says: “Trauma that has<br />

happened over a long period of<br />

time can sometimes take time to<br />

unravel, so I’d encourage people to<br />

be patient with themselves.<br />

“Healing is very much possible,<br />

but it can take time. When<br />

someone has felt very powerless,<br />

it is about building up that sense of<br />

self and empowerment gradually.<br />

Practise self-care as much as<br />

possible, and do the things that<br />

nourish you. Getting outdoors,<br />

plenty of fresh air, grounding<br />

techniques, and practising<br />

mindfulness breathing exercises,<br />

can all be really beneficial.”<br />

For more information on CPTSD<br />

and PTSD, and to find a<br />

professional to support you,<br />

visit counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

For more from Hattie, follow<br />

her on Twitter and Instagram<br />

@hattiegladwell<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 57


Create a plan to address stress<br />

When did you last feel stressed? For most of us, it will have been<br />

incredibly recent – in the past 48 hours. But the good news is you<br />

don’t have to keep feeling this way...<br />

Writing | Nathalie Kealy<br />

You might be all too familiar<br />

with symptoms of stress,<br />

such as feeling foggy in<br />

your mind, tense muscles,<br />

difficulty going to sleep, waking up<br />

feeling tired, being preoccupied<br />

with worries about the future,<br />

nausea, digestion issues – the list<br />

goes on.<br />

Stress can feel like a tricky cycle<br />

to break free from, as often the<br />

symptoms then add to our stress,<br />

and we feel worse. But the good<br />

news is there’s a simple way we can<br />

manage the impact of stress, and<br />

it’s all about planning.<br />

A study by American psychologist<br />

Robert Epstein found that above<br />

all other techniques, planning is<br />

the most effective tool in living<br />

a happier and stress-free life<br />

– it helps us gain perspective,<br />

prioritise, and turn a daunting todo<br />

list into manageable chunks.<br />

As a calm and confidence coach,<br />

completing this simple planning<br />

tool or ‘safety plan’ is one of<br />

the first stages I take my clients<br />

through. It’s one of the most<br />

practical tools you can use, helping<br />

you to feel more in control of your<br />

life, motivating you to achieve your<br />

goals, and helping to maintain<br />

balance and calm.<br />

Encouraging people to write<br />

down their goals, and considering<br />

potential barriers that could come<br />

up, offers a sense of security and<br />

confidence that when stressful<br />

things happen, you will be<br />

prepared for it, using this plan as<br />

an anchor back to a place of calm<br />

and stability. Here’s what to do:<br />

1 WHAT WILL HELP?<br />

Ask yourself this question, and<br />

write down what might help you<br />

stick to this goal. For example:<br />

reading, taking a bath, yoga,<br />

talking to a friend.<br />

When we are feeling stuck or<br />

overwhelmed, our brain isn’t as<br />

resourceful as usual. This can<br />

mean we struggle to find a way<br />

to get back on track, and can<br />

quickly lose sight of our goal. The<br />

simple way to get around this? Be<br />

prepared. Think in advance about<br />

what will help to motivate you.<br />

2 IDENTIFY YOUR GOAL<br />

Think about what you want to work<br />

on, then flip it on its head and<br />

think about the positive behaviour<br />

you want to achieve. For example:<br />

I want to feel less stressed.<br />

Therefore my goal is to feel calm<br />

and relaxed.<br />

Spending a few minutes<br />

physically writing down your goal<br />

forces you to clarify exactly what<br />

it is, and encourages it to become<br />

a reality, meaning you will take it<br />

more seriously. In most areas of<br />

our lives we have goals – physical<br />

health goals, career goals, life<br />

goals – which can help to anchor<br />

and motivate us. So applying that<br />

same simple<br />

technique to our<br />

mental wellbeing<br />

can have a similar effect.<br />

You’ll need a<br />

pen, a piece of<br />

A4 paper and a<br />

quiet space<br />

3 IF AND THEN PLAN<br />

Systematically work through those<br />

vulnerable times in your day, or<br />

potential barriers that might come<br />

up, and identify what positive<br />

behaviour you can use to ensure<br />

these situations don’t throw you<br />

off track. For example: if an<br />

argument happens at work, then<br />

I will go to my desk and listen to<br />

music for five minutes. If I start to<br />

overthink a situation, then I will<br />

distract myself by going for a walk.<br />

Note: if you’re prone to<br />

catastrophising, this might not be<br />

the best method for you, unless<br />

you can really focus on the ‘then’<br />

part. We’re all unique, and the<br />

most effective techniques might<br />

vary for individuals.<br />

The course of life never did<br />

run smooth, but remember the<br />

more we prepare ourselves, the<br />

less impact these situations will<br />

have on our mood. Having all this<br />

written down can take the pressure<br />

off you having to think of coping<br />

strategies in the moment when<br />

your mind is most vulnerable.<br />

If you’re interested in exploring this<br />

further, Nathalie offers a free ‘find your<br />

inner calm’ coaching consultation call.<br />

Facebook | @valueyourmind<br />

Instagram | @value_your_mind


Nathalie is offering 20% off<br />

her coaching packs this month<br />

for <strong>Happiful</strong> readers. Visit<br />

valueyourmind.com, and use the code<br />

HAPPIFULREADER by 17 <strong>November</strong>.


Seasonal<br />

salad<br />

It’s sticky, sweet, and the<br />

perfect recipe for all occasions<br />

Writing | Ellen Hoggard<br />

As the days get darker, the<br />

harder I find it becomes<br />

to choose fresh, colourful<br />

foods for mealtimes.<br />

When there’s a chill in the air,<br />

I tend to lean towards one-pot,<br />

warming meals such as stews and<br />

soups. But this year I’m wanting<br />

something different. While<br />

summer seems a distant memory,<br />

I want to cling on to the fruits and<br />

vegetables, eating the rainbow in<br />

abundance.<br />

That said, the change in season<br />

brings with it a whole host of<br />

in-season and local produce.<br />

Shopping seasonally and<br />

experimenting with new recipes<br />

can be incredibly enjoyable, as well<br />

as beneficial for the environment.<br />

So as we say goodbye to the sweet<br />

strawberries and beautifully ripe<br />

citrus fruits, we can turn to the<br />

equally as delicious, autumn<br />

vegetables: butternut squash and<br />

parsnips.<br />

This month, you'll find a recipe<br />

for a sticky and sweet winter salad,<br />

featuring two of my favourite root<br />

vegetables, with a special summer<br />

twist. Put away the gravy – this<br />

recipe is light, but filling. It’s sweet,<br />

yet savoury, and is perfect for<br />

lunch or dinner.<br />

STICKY WINTER SALAD<br />

Serves 4<br />

• 1 butternut squash<br />

• 2 red onions<br />

• 4 parsnips<br />

• 3 tbsp olive oil<br />

• 1–2 tbsp honey or agave syrup<br />

• 1 small ciabatta<br />

• 225g spinach<br />

• 2 tbsp white wine vinegar<br />

• 1 tsp Dijon mustard<br />

Optional: crumble feta cheese over<br />

the top to serve. If you want to<br />

make the salad more substantial,<br />

add chicken or tofu.<br />

Method<br />

• Preheat the oven to 220 degrees,<br />

gas mark 7.<br />

• Slice the butternut squash into<br />

thin wedges, and add to a large<br />

roasting tin. Slice the onions<br />

and parsnips, and add to the tin.<br />

Drizzle with half the olive oil, and<br />

season.<br />

• Roast for 25 minutes. Remove<br />

from the oven, and drizzle with<br />

honey. Tear the ciabatta and add<br />

to the tin. Roast for a further 5–10<br />

minutes until toasted.<br />

• In a large bowl prepare the<br />

spinach. Remove the vegetables<br />

and add to the bowl. In a small<br />

jug, whisk the vinegar, mustard<br />

and remaining oil. Season to<br />

taste. Add to the salad and toss.<br />

Serve warm with a crumbling of<br />

feta cheese.


Find a<br />

nutritionist<br />

near you at<br />

nutritionistresource.org.uk<br />

OUR EXPERT SAYS…<br />

This wonderful seasonal<br />

salad will offer you many<br />

vitamins and minerals,<br />

alongside a number of antiinflammatory<br />

properties.<br />

Due to the variety of vegetables,<br />

this salad is high in fibre and has<br />

a rich nutritional profile. The<br />

combination of fibrous vegetables<br />

with olive oil promotes gut<br />

motility, and aids digestion, thus<br />

improving bowel movements,<br />

while also supporting the growth<br />

of healthy bacteria in the gut.<br />

The butternut squash, parsnips<br />

and spinach are all rich in<br />

potassium, which helps to lower<br />

blood pressure. Plus, the high<br />

vitamin C content in both squash<br />

and parsnips will not only help<br />

your skin glow, but will also boost<br />

your immune system.<br />

The salad boasts a number of<br />

superb anti-inflammatory foods,<br />

such as red onions – which contain<br />

twice as many antioxidants as any<br />

other onion. They help the body<br />

produce cysteine, which can aid<br />

detoxification and improve fat<br />

metabolism.<br />

The spinach, which contains an<br />

abundance of vitamin K, helps to<br />

protect our nerves, and contributes<br />

to proper brain function.<br />

A staple of the Mediterranean<br />

diet, olive oil has a high polyphenol<br />

content, making it another<br />

significant anti-inflammatory<br />

ingredient.<br />

Josephine (Beanie) Robinson is a nutritional<br />

therapist, yoga and meditation<br />

teacher and co-founder of<br />

The Health Space, helping<br />

individuals find the time<br />

to take their health and<br />

wellbeing seriously. Find out<br />

more at thehealth-space.com


Going with your gut<br />

What’s your first thought when you hear ‘menu planning’? For many, it might spark<br />

reminders of meal prep, and a rigorous, repeated cycle of food. But the truth is you<br />

can bring the magic back to mealtimes, and make life a little easier for yourself, by<br />

combining intuitive eating and menu planning<br />

Writing | Laura Thomas


For many of us who’ve<br />

been caught up in the<br />

diet cycle for most<br />

of our lives, menu<br />

planning summons imagery of<br />

sad Tupperware boxes, filled with<br />

insipid-looking chicken, oversteamed<br />

broccoli, and cauliflower<br />

that has the audacity to call itself<br />

‘rice’. It can feel regimented and<br />

restrictive, and the thought of it<br />

might bum you out a bit.<br />

But on the flip side, intuitive<br />

eating, can feel like freedom from<br />

the rules. After all, the whole<br />

point of it is to reject dogmatic diet<br />

rules, reconnect with the signals<br />

your body is sending you, and<br />

find pleasure and satisfaction in<br />

what you’re eating. That’s the short<br />

version anyway!<br />

The longer version is that<br />

intuitive eating is a framework of<br />

10 guiding principles that help you<br />

develop a healthier relationship<br />

with food and your body. It’s a<br />

process of moving away from,<br />

and completely deconstructing,<br />

food rules. It’s getting away from<br />

external influences on what<br />

you should or shouldn’t eat, and<br />

instead making food choices based<br />

on internal cues – hunger and<br />

fullness, satiety, but also pleasure,<br />

and how food makes you feel.<br />

Above all, it’s a connection<br />

between your brain and body. It<br />

helps you to understand emotional<br />

eating, and develop new skills for<br />

looking after yourself. It brings all<br />

these things together with intuitive<br />

movement and gentle nutrition –<br />

instead of punitive exercise just for<br />

burning calories.<br />

So, what if you’re working<br />

through the principles of intuitive<br />

eating and finding you’re craving<br />

The Food Foundation’s Broken Plate report estimates that the poorest<br />

10% of UK households would need to spend 74% of their disposable<br />

income on food to meet the Eatwell Guide costs. This compares to only<br />

6% in the richest 10%. Food security is not available to everyone in this<br />

country. If you are able to, please consider donating to, or volunteering<br />

with your local food bank.<br />

a little bit of structure? Or you<br />

can’t afford to buy whatever you<br />

fancy for lunch? Is menu planning<br />

antithetical to the flexibility<br />

and adaptability baked into the<br />

principles of intuitive eating?<br />

The short answer is no. But it is<br />

important to check in with your<br />

motivations for doing this – to take<br />

care of yourself, or out of fear?<br />

This is something that comes<br />

up regularly with our clients at<br />

the London Centre for Intuitive<br />

Eating, so we’ve put together some<br />

ideas on how you can approach<br />

menu planning without triggering<br />

diet mentality.<br />

Of course, if menu planning does<br />

feel too similar to ‘meal prep’,<br />

or you just don’t want to, then<br />

you don’t have to; it’s your call.<br />

Intuitive eating is about finding<br />

what works best for you and<br />

there is no single ‘correct’ way of<br />

approaching it. Stay curious, and<br />

if things don’t go to plan, offer<br />

yourself some compassion; we’re<br />

all human. What would it be like if<br />

we were kind to ourselves, instead<br />

of beating ourselves up?<br />

Menu planning can be a useful<br />

tool if you’re on a budget. However,<br />

I appreciate that not everyone has<br />

the economic security to to get<br />

exactly what they want, or enough<br />

to eat. If you’re in this position,<br />

the Trussell Trust is a nationwide<br />

network of food banks that can<br />

provide emergency food parcels,<br />

and connect you with support<br />

services.<br />

For those looking for a little<br />

gentle, supportive structure<br />

around menu planning, read on...<br />

Step 1<br />

Before you get started, here are<br />

some things to consider. Take what<br />

works for you, leave the rest.<br />

• Check in with your intentions<br />

behind menu planning – is it<br />

coming from a place of self-care,<br />

or self-control and fear?<br />

• It can be helpful to reframe this<br />

as your menu for the week – not<br />

a ‘plan’ that you have to stick to.<br />

Remember to consider which<br />

days or meals you may be eating<br />

out, or have to pick something up.<br />

• Think about balancing your meals<br />

– this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but<br />

a little gentle nutritional guidance<br />

to help cover your bases: grain,<br />

protein, fibre, fat, and calcium.<br />

Don’t worry if you don’t check all<br />

boxes at each meal, just notice<br />

how it feels. How are your mood<br />

and energy levels when you skip a<br />

grain (bread, pasta etc.) at lunch?<br />

Is the afternoon a slog?<br />

• Don’t forget a fun food – meals are<br />

something to look forward to and<br />

enjoy.<br />

• Think about playing with flavours,<br />

textures, temperatures, and get<br />

plenty of variety. Think about >>><br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 63


which type of cuisine you might<br />

want to experiment with, and<br />

consider adding a new recipe to<br />

your repertoire.<br />

• Look for inspiration from your<br />

favourite chefs, home cooks,<br />

and recipe books rather than<br />

‘clean eaters’, which might leave<br />

you feeling unsatisfied. It can be<br />

worth bookmarking some of your<br />

favourite recipes.<br />

• Include quick and easy options<br />

for days when you don’t have<br />

the time or energy to cook from<br />

scratch – ready meals in the<br />

freezer, or a cook-at-home pizza<br />

with a salad. And don’t forget<br />

the humble beans on toast with<br />

cheese on top – economical,<br />

quick, balanced, and satisfying.<br />

• Give yourself permission to be<br />

flexible – if your friend asks<br />

for a last-minute dinner date<br />

(assuming you want to go),<br />

you can shuffle things about.<br />

Ultimately, intuitive eating is<br />

about being flexible so you don’t<br />

miss out on other important<br />

aspects of your life that dieting<br />

and obsessing about weight can<br />

often steal from you.<br />

• Your menu is about being kind to<br />

yourself, not something to beat<br />

yourself up about if things don’t<br />

go to plan. That curry you batchcooked<br />

can be thrown in the<br />

freezer for another day.<br />

• Don’t forget to schedule in some<br />

self-care each day – it can be<br />

low-key, such as going for a walk<br />

or listening to a podcast, or less<br />

exciting but important stuff, such<br />

as doing laundry, going to the<br />

doctor, or simply resting.<br />

Step 2<br />

Here are some questions that might be helpful for you when planning<br />

your menu for the week. These help you focus on aspects of the meal<br />

other than worrying about the minutiae of macros, calories, or other diet-y<br />

distractions.<br />

Menu for the week of<br />

– How’s the weather looking this week? Do I want something warming or cooling,<br />

or a mixture of options?<br />

– Which flavours and textures am I craving? Salty, spicy, sweet, umami, creamy,<br />

crunchy, gooey, flaky, wholesome, comforting, refreshing?<br />

– How’s my energy level and time availability? Do I want to cook from scratch, or<br />

do I need some more convenient options?<br />

– Which days am I busy and need to pick something up on the go, or have plans to<br />

go out to eat? When might I want to pack a lunch?<br />

– Is there a specific food I’ve been craving I could add into my rotation this week?<br />

– Can I double up any of my recipes to stash in the freezer, or have as leftovers?<br />

– Breakfast ideas for this week:<br />

– Snack ideas for this week:<br />

– Main meal ideas for this week:<br />

– Fun food and dessert ideas for this week:<br />

– A new meal, dish, or snack I want to try:<br />

64 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


Remember that<br />

your menu is<br />

about being kind<br />

to yourself, not<br />

something to beat<br />

yourself up about<br />

if things don’t go<br />

to plan<br />

Step 3<br />

Fill out as much or as little of the table as feels good to you:<br />

Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri Sat Sun<br />

Breakfast<br />

Snack<br />

Lunch<br />

Snack<br />

Dinner<br />

Snack/<br />

dessert<br />

Self-care<br />

activity for<br />

today<br />

You can follow Laura on Instagram @laurathomasphd, or download her podcast, ‘Don’t<br />

Salt My Game’, on laurathomasphd.co.uk. Laura’s book, ‘Just Eat It’, is available now.<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 65


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TRUE LIFE<br />

Trauma and<br />

anxiety kept me<br />

constantly on edge<br />

After getting support for his PTSD and anxiety,<br />

Jack’s mental health was improving, but<br />

something was still off. It was in transforming his<br />

mindset that his life really changed...<br />

Writing | Jack Walton<br />

Sitting on the<br />

edge of my bed<br />

one night in<br />

2013, it felt like<br />

a particularly<br />

dark one. It wasn’t the<br />

first time, and it definitely<br />

wouldn’t be the last, where<br />

I said both physically to<br />

myself, and mentally, that<br />

I didn’t want to wake up<br />

the next morning. If life<br />

was to continue like this<br />

for me, I didn’t want to be<br />

a part of it.<br />

Fast forward six years<br />

and things couldn’t be<br />

more different. I’m beyond<br />

grateful that I finally<br />

reached the light at the<br />

end of a very dark, and<br />

sometimes lonely, tunnel.<br />

Growing up with a single<br />

parent wasn’t always easy;<br />

my dad left when I was just<br />

six years old. I couldn’t<br />

totally comprehend the<br />

enormity of the situation,<br />

and although I never had<br />

a happy relationship with<br />

him, I never expected<br />

this. This experience and<br />

situation had a lasting<br />

effect on me for a long<br />

time to come.<br />

Overall, primary school<br />

and my childhood was a<br />

happy time – I never really<br />

wanted for anything,<br />

and had a nice circle of<br />

friends. But everything<br />

came crashing down to<br />

earth when I started high<br />

school in 2009.<br />

It was apparent from the<br />

off-set that I was different<br />

in some way – I wasn’t<br />

openly gay then, and<br />

certainly hadn’t found<br />

myself. Realising I was<br />

different and not like the<br />

other boys was a pretty<br />

damaging experience. I<br />

wasn’t close to accepting<br />

anything – at the time, I<br />

just wanted to fit in, to be<br />

like all the others.<br />

The bullying wasn’t<br />

instant, but as the years<br />

progressed it got worse<br />

and worse, to the point<br />

where I’d dread going<br />

in each day, as it never<br />

seemed to stop. I felt<br />

powerless and wanted<br />

to be somewhere where<br />

I was accepted, where<br />

I wasn’t tormented for<br />

something I couldn’t<br />

control.<br />

Although the bullying<br />

was never physical, I<br />

think verbal can be worse<br />

sometimes. When you<br />

go somewhere every day<br />

that doesn’t make you feel<br />

good, where you feel you<br />

can’t express your true<br />

self, it’s not long before<br />

it has a knock-on effect<br />

on your mental health,<br />

and sadly, that’s what<br />

happened for me.<br />

Between 2009 and 2010,<br />

when I was around 13, it<br />

started with anxiety. I’d<br />

be constantly on edge,<br />

and scared of the smallest<br />

things. Because of this,<br />

most days I’d feel so tired,<br />

exhausted even, I made<br />

no real effort with my<br />

schoolwork because I had<br />

zero motivation. I didn’t<br />

have any real friends<br />

either. Upon reflection,<br />

I can see now that the<br />

reason for this was down<br />

to the wall I built up; I<br />

didn’t speak to people >>><br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 67


I’m beyond grateful<br />

I was accepted for<br />

the person I am<br />

about my mental health<br />

or the way I was feeling,<br />

which resulted in me<br />

being isolated a lot. I<br />

would spend lunchtimes<br />

with my sister; she was<br />

my best friend in school,<br />

and a comfort.<br />

My mental health got to<br />

its worst place in 2010. In<br />

the summer of that year,<br />

my house got broken into.<br />

It was very traumatic, and<br />

although initially I felt OK,<br />

the feelings were delayed,<br />

and didn’t surface until a<br />

few months later. Then<br />

just before Christmas, my<br />

nan passed away, which<br />

nobody in the family saw<br />

coming. It honestly felt<br />

like the world had ended.<br />

I can’t even put into words<br />

the emotions I felt.<br />

As 2011 progressed, it<br />

was clear I wasn’t OK.<br />

I developed obsessive<br />

Jack with his friend Vic<br />

behaviours where I’d<br />

constantly check locks,<br />

look outside my house to<br />

make sure nobody who I<br />

considered a threat was<br />

there, along with being<br />

unable to leave the house<br />

to even go to the shops – it<br />

all happened so fast and<br />

felt so extreme. I would<br />

cry pretty much daily,<br />

and was convinced I had<br />

OCD. But after a doctor’s<br />

appointment it turns out it<br />

wasn’t that, but something<br />

else...<br />

I was officially diagnosed<br />

with post-traumatic stress<br />

disorder (PTSD), along<br />

with anxiety. I never<br />

relaxed, I felt constantly<br />

on edge, I developed a<br />

neck twitch and honestly,<br />

things weren’t good at all.<br />

I didn’t recognise the Jack<br />

I saw before me.<br />

I received counselling<br />

around this time from<br />

the NHS’s Child and<br />

Adolescent Mental Health<br />

Services (CAMHS),<br />

which helped a lot, and I<br />

slowly started to develop<br />

strategies to improve.<br />

My mind was in such a<br />

destructive place that I<br />

had to take baby steps.<br />

With time I began to<br />

recover, which I realised<br />

when I finally stopped<br />

doing the obsessive<br />

rituals, and took it as a<br />

sign I was improving.<br />

Things progressed well<br />

in the coming years. I<br />

started college, and away<br />

from the previous years of<br />

bullying, I started being<br />

myself. It was such a<br />

strange yet freeing feeling<br />

at first. I came out to my<br />

mum in 2014, which felt<br />

like the biggest weight off<br />

my shoulders. I’m beyond<br />

grateful I was accepted for<br />

the person I am.<br />

Although I was doing<br />

fairly well, my mindset<br />

hadn’t improved. I was<br />

always a negative person,<br />

68 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


and would be instantly<br />

sceptical when anything<br />

good did happen. It was<br />

self-sabotage at its finest,<br />

but you don’t realise that<br />

in the moment, do you?<br />

I was always chasing<br />

the external, obsessed<br />

with spending money on<br />

clothes and material items<br />

to fill the empty void. But I<br />

was fighting a losing battle<br />

– if only I could have seen<br />

that then.<br />

Fast forward to 2016 and<br />

my life changed forever.<br />

In June of that year I was<br />

in bed with a bad cold and<br />

temperature. Something<br />

strange happened; it<br />

was like an out-of-body<br />

experience where I heard<br />

what sounded like me<br />

speaking. It was a healthier<br />

and happier version of me,<br />

who said that I needed to<br />

change. I can only describe<br />

it like something clicking<br />

within me, for the first<br />

time in forever, I stepped<br />

back and reflected. I<br />

could see how damaging<br />

my thoughts were, how<br />

unhealthy my mindset was,<br />

and I knew that something<br />

had to give.<br />

Did anything change<br />

overnight? Of course not,<br />

but little by little, my life<br />

began to change for the<br />

better. At that point, I<br />

couldn’t even look in the<br />

mirror without hating<br />

what I saw, so I started<br />

researching self-love. I<br />

knew I needed to love,<br />

accept and embrace<br />

the person I am,<br />

which gradually began<br />

happening.<br />

My mental illness<br />

had been affecting me<br />

physically, and I’d been<br />

experiencing IBS, but<br />

as my mental health<br />

improved the IBS became<br />

more manageable. Now,<br />

three years later in <strong>2019</strong>,<br />

I can happily say that it<br />

hardly affects me at all –<br />

changing my mindset and<br />

working on becoming my<br />

best self has made such a<br />

difference.<br />

There aren’t any fasttrack<br />

passes to recovery<br />

– it’s been daily work and<br />

those negative thoughts<br />

still pop up, but now I<br />

don’t believe them like I<br />

used to. It’s finding what<br />

works for you – I meditate<br />

daily, visualise what I want<br />

to achieve, write monthly<br />

goals and eat healthily. Of<br />

course, this way of life isn’t<br />

for everyone, but for me,<br />

it both saved and changed<br />

my life in every possible<br />

way. I’m now a mental<br />

health advocate, and my<br />

biggest achievement so far<br />

is that I now have my own<br />

self-published book, Being<br />

the Best You, which details<br />

my experiences.<br />

If there’s just one<br />

takeaway I can give<br />

anyone reading this, know<br />

that no matter how dark<br />

times get, how it can feel<br />

impossible, I used to think<br />

that I’d never find the light<br />

at the end of the tunnel<br />

either, but I did, and you<br />

can too. I now see I have<br />

a purpose; I have to turn<br />

all of this into a positive,<br />

as a tool to help others,<br />

because when it comes<br />

down to the very core<br />

of it all, we all deserve<br />

happiness.<br />

Jack’s book, ‘Being the<br />

Best You’, is available<br />

on Amazon now.<br />

OUR EXPERT SAYS<br />

Jack’s inspirational story is<br />

one of growth, realisation,<br />

and change. He had to deal<br />

with many challenges in<br />

his young life, and so often<br />

when that happens we just<br />

try to get through the day.<br />

But this doesn’t give us the<br />

chance to process what is<br />

really going on. For Jack<br />

this surfaced in his PTSD.<br />

Importantly though, Jack<br />

sought help. He began to<br />

grow stronger, realising<br />

he was in charge of his<br />

own mind. Changing our<br />

mindset and the way we<br />

think really can – and<br />

does – transform lives.<br />

Jack is now on a positive<br />

path, sharing<br />

his story<br />

and helping<br />

others in the<br />

process.<br />

Rachel Coffey |BA MA NLP Mstr<br />

Life coach<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 69


Mindfulness<br />

in motion<br />

It’s been practised by people around the world since it was first developed in<br />

13th-century China – but when you consider the wellbeing benefits that tai chi<br />

boosts, there’s no surprise it’s stood the test of time. Here, Kathryn Wheeler<br />

tries a tai chi class for the first time, and learns more about the unique way that<br />

coming together to take part in activities can boost our mental health<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

After just a short drive<br />

from the <strong>Happiful</strong> office,<br />

I’m the first one to arrive<br />

at a small community<br />

centre in Crowthorne, Berkshire.<br />

I’m here to take part in a tai chi<br />

session hosted by Sport in Mind<br />

– an independent mental health<br />

charity that harnesses the power<br />

of sport to support our mental<br />

health.<br />

I’m a total tai chi newbie, and<br />

the first thing that comes to mind<br />

when I think of the martial art<br />

is the opening scene of the 2003<br />

film Calender Girls. Today, Dame<br />

Helen Mirren is nowhere to<br />

be seen, and the community<br />

hall has a different vibe from<br />

the dramatic hills of North<br />

Yorkshire where the classic<br />

feel-good film<br />

was shot – but, as I soon found out,<br />

the experience was about to be no<br />

less invigorating.<br />

A gentle martial art that flows<br />

slowly through a series of poses<br />

and movements, tai chi has been<br />

practised since the 13th century.<br />

Though studies are still in their<br />

infancy, research published in<br />

Frontiers in Psychiatry found that<br />

tai chi can effectively be used to<br />

regulate our moods, relieve the<br />

effects of anxiety and depression,<br />

and it is often recommended as a<br />

low-impact exercise.<br />

Before the class begins, I catch<br />

up with Calum Pettitt, volunteer<br />

coordinator at Sport in Mind.<br />

He tells me that their sessions<br />

– that run across the south east<br />

– are about having a safe place<br />

to express yourself and enjoy<br />

taking part in sport. The charity<br />

was first established when its<br />

founder, Neil Harris, created a<br />

sports programme to support a<br />

friend who was going through<br />

a difficult period with his<br />

mental health. For Neil, it was<br />

all about supporting one another,<br />

and having fun while doing it.<br />

As people begin to arrive for the<br />

class, I already get a sense that<br />

we’re in this together.<br />

The class begins with a series<br />

of very gentle warm-ups,<br />

while serene music plays<br />

in the background. Once<br />

stretched, we begin with a standing<br />

pose. With our legs hip-width<br />

apart, and our hands held<br />

loosely in front of us, we close<br />

our eyes and hold this position<br />

for five minutes, breathing gently.<br />

70 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


TRY THIS<br />

AT HOME<br />

Coming into the class, I<br />

thought I was pretty relaxed. It<br />

wasn’t until the instructor gently<br />

prompted us to let go of the tension<br />

in our bodies that I realised how<br />

intensely I was clenching my jaw<br />

and shoulders.<br />

Five minutes may seem a long<br />

time to stand in one position, but<br />

the time quickly slipped by, and I<br />

found myself reluctant to open my<br />

eyes again, like I was creeping out<br />

from under a comforting duvet.<br />

Tai chi is not something you can<br />

master in one afternoon. It takes<br />

time, dedication, and patience.<br />

That said, even a beginner’s<br />

attempt at the sequences was<br />

incredibly grounding. As the room<br />

slowly flowed into each position, it<br />

felt like mindfulness in motion.<br />

We move around the room in a<br />

series of soft actions, often starting<br />

from the hands, but extending<br />

through the entire body. The<br />

flow comes more naturally with<br />

every repetition, and it begins to<br />

feel like dancing in slow motion.<br />

Afterwards, we paused as the<br />

group stood in a circle to assess<br />

our progress. The instructor<br />

told us about a tree in his dad’s<br />

garden. When he was young,<br />

he could fit his hands around<br />

the trunk, but without him even<br />

noticing, today he can barely<br />

get his arms around it. The<br />

point being, so often we don’t<br />

notice the progress that we’re<br />

making every day – it’s too<br />

small. It’s only when we look<br />

Stand with your feet<br />

hips’-width apart. Bend at<br />

the knees slightly, but not so much<br />

that you feel strained. Lift your arms<br />

at your elbows and, keeping your<br />

hands flat and turned up, hold them<br />

at waist level. Try setting a timer for<br />

five minutes, or stay here for as long<br />

as is comfortable, allowing your<br />

mind to clear or gently wander as<br />

you reconnect with your body.<br />

back over the years that we can<br />

see how far we’ve come.<br />

For anyone who wants or needs<br />

it, tai chi is a method to align<br />

your body and mind. The gentle<br />

exercise will get your endorphins<br />

flowing, but it’s the controlled<br />

pace and grounding in meditative<br />

techniques that will leave you calm<br />

and revitalised.<br />

Learn more about Sport in Mind<br />

and the services they offer by visiting<br />

sportinmind.org<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 71


The healing power of scent<br />

Could aromatherapy be the self-care tool you need?<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

Taking care of yourself is<br />

an integral part of your<br />

wellness, and the brilliant<br />

thing about self-care is<br />

there are a hundred different ways<br />

to practise it. Complementary<br />

therapies can be a great way to<br />

up your self-care game – and an<br />

easy one you can try at home is<br />

aromatherapy.<br />

Using essential oils from plants,<br />

flowers and herbs to assist your<br />

body’s natural healing abilities,<br />

aromatherapy can energise<br />

you, or encourage you to relax,<br />

depending on which oils you use.<br />

Aromatherapist Louisa Pini<br />

explains: “Aromatherapy has such<br />

a powerful effect because it taps<br />

into our limbic system. This part<br />

of the brain deals with emotions,<br />

memories and stimulation, and<br />

can even influence hormonal<br />

responses. Aromatherapy oils are<br />

able to bypass the blood-brain<br />

barrier through the olfactory<br />

system. Once inhaled, essential<br />

oils can stimulate memories,<br />

moods, and feelings.”<br />

If you’re looking for support<br />

with a specific concern, you may<br />

want to visit an aromatherapist.<br />

They’ll take your medical history<br />

and create the right blends to<br />

support you, often offering<br />

relaxing aromatherapy massages.<br />

Be sure to tell them about any<br />

medications you’re taking, and<br />

speak to your GP before trying any<br />

new forms of therapy.<br />

HOW TO TRY AROMATHERAPY<br />

AT HOME<br />

A simple way of using essential<br />

oils is through an oil burner<br />

or diffuser. “Add three to five<br />

drops of essential oil to some<br />

water, and enjoy the diffusion<br />

for 30–60 minutes,” Louisa says.<br />

“Remember that essential oils<br />

are powerful, and are directly<br />

absorbed into your body and<br />

those around you – don’t diffuse<br />

them all day long.”<br />

If you don’t have a diffuser or<br />

oil burner handy, Louisa says you<br />

can always put a couple of drops<br />

of oil on a tissue, and simply<br />

inhale as and when you need.<br />

Alternatively, you can<br />

use essential oils as an<br />

aromatherapy bath blend. “Use<br />

up to six drops of essential oil in<br />

10ml of a base carrier oil – like<br />

apricot kernel, sweet almond or<br />

jojoba for example – and then<br />

add it to warm running water.<br />

If you just add essential oils<br />

directly to your bath, they will<br />

sit on top of the water and could<br />

potentially irritate your skin<br />

when they come into contact<br />

with it.”<br />

Louisa explains: “The only two<br />

essential oils that are safe to<br />

apply directly to your skin are<br />

lavender and tea tree, but even<br />

then, be cautious if you have very<br />

sensitive skin.” So it’s best to add<br />

drops to a carrier oil if you want<br />

to use it on the skin.<br />

72 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


Bath blend to relax and de-stress<br />

Louisa shares an aromatherapy<br />

recipe to help you unwind:<br />

• 10ml of carrier oil like organic<br />

jojoba oil<br />

Ingredients:<br />

• 2 drops of ylang ylang<br />

• 3 drops of lavender<br />

• 3 drops of bergamot<br />

Method:<br />

Mix all of the above together, and<br />

add to a warm bath. Soak and<br />

relax for at least 15 minutes.<br />

Find out more about Louisa Pini at<br />

justbenatural.co.uk, and to learn more about<br />

aromatherapy, visit therapy-directory.org.uk<br />

SCENTS TO LIFT YOUR MOOD<br />

If you’re looking for something<br />

to help you feel uplifted and calm<br />

during the winter months, Louisa<br />

recommends bergamot which has<br />

been shown to reduce anxiety in<br />

studies.<br />

“Another lovely oil that can be<br />

suitably warming with winter on<br />

its way is sweet orange oil,” she<br />

adds. “Its pleasant, sweet scent<br />

is gently uplifting, and combines<br />

well with bergamot for a powerful<br />

mood enhancer.”<br />

If it’s relaxation you’re after,<br />

Louise suggests ylang ylang or<br />

lavender oil.<br />

“Ylang ylang oil acts on the<br />

parasympathetic nervous system,<br />

and slows your heart rate and<br />

breathing, which in turn can help<br />

to lower blood pressure. When<br />

everything is racing and you feel<br />

panicked or anxious, pop a drop<br />

of this in your oil burner or on to<br />

a tissue and take a few deep, slow<br />

breaths.<br />

“Lavender oil has wonderful<br />

sedative properties, and is<br />

recommended to help you sleep.<br />

It has a calming and soothing<br />

scent, and a recent study in Turkey<br />

revealed that lavender essential<br />

oil increased quality of sleep and<br />

reduced anxiety levels in patients.”<br />

Aromatherapy can be a beautiful<br />

way to tune in to your needs. Try<br />

different scents and combinations,<br />

and see what feels good to you.<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 73


Crisis<br />

averted<br />

You don’t have to wait until stress and worries reach a crisis point before<br />

seeking help. It’s time to prioritise ongoing nurturing and protection of<br />

our mental health and wellbeing – and here are seven simple steps to<br />

get started...<br />

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford<br />

Everyone knows the<br />

importance of taking care<br />

of our physical health –<br />

going to the gym, or taking<br />

a walk, and nourishing ourselves<br />

properly. We know we have to look<br />

after our bodies to keep ourselves<br />

feeling healthy. So it’s strange<br />

that for many of us, maintaining<br />

and protecting our mental health<br />

doesn’t always factor into the same<br />

equation.<br />

All too often, we don’t pause to<br />

consider our emotional health<br />

and wellbeing until we are already<br />

starting to see a negative impact<br />

– be it on our stress levels, the<br />

quality of our sleep, or our ability<br />

to maintain a healthy work-life<br />

balance. But, while when we’re<br />

physically unwell our symptoms<br />

may go away within a few days or<br />

weeks, with mental illness,<br />

the symptoms can be harder to<br />

spot – and often won’t go away on<br />

their own.<br />

By continually protecting and<br />

nurturing your mental health and<br />

wellbeing, you can try to address<br />

issues before they escalate. It’s<br />

maintenance, upkeep, care and<br />

attention, so we can hopefully<br />

prevent reaching burnout, or<br />

a crisis. It’s no guarantee, but<br />

looking after yourself to support<br />

your emotional health can only<br />

be a positive thing. And the good<br />

news? You can start right now.<br />

ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR MENTAL<br />

HEALTH AND WELLBEING<br />

It’s a situation that happens dayin,<br />

day-out; someone asks: “How<br />

are you doing?” The chances<br />

are, you may have given the<br />

automatic response of: “I’m fine,”<br />

or “Can’t complain.”<br />

It’s easy to dismiss how we’re<br />

really feeling, to assume others<br />

are only asking out of politeness.<br />

But there are people who truly<br />

care, and who would be more<br />

than happy to listen or offer a<br />

helping hand if you’re struggling.<br />

It can be tough, but try taking a<br />

step back and ask yourself: “How<br />

am I really doing?” Evaluating<br />

your overall sense of wellbeing<br />

can help you to pick up on all<br />

7 WAYS TO<br />

PROTECT<br />

YOUR MENTAL<br />

HEALTH<br />

those small<br />

things that<br />

might not<br />

have seemed<br />

like such a big<br />

deal, but may<br />

actually be having a big impact on<br />

your overall stress levels.<br />

IDENTIFY THE WARNING SIGNS<br />

When we’re in the midst of<br />

things, it can be tricky to identify<br />

the signs that something might<br />

be wrong, and some symptoms<br />

of common mental health<br />

concerns, such as anxiety and<br />

stress, are easy to overlook.<br />

Burnout has become a popular<br />

buzzword in the media, yet<br />

many of us don’t know the signs<br />

74 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


encompass so much more.<br />

A sustainable, everyday<br />

self-care routine may<br />

include making time to be<br />

active, ensuring you get<br />

enough sleep, or spending<br />

time catching up with a<br />

colleague over coffee.<br />

Life coach Nikki Emerton<br />

describes it as “a way of<br />

giving back to ourselves in<br />

the form of doing activities<br />

that fuel us, and that are<br />

just for us”. She explains<br />

that you should take time<br />

to acknowledge what<br />

you’re already doing as<br />

self-care, and recognise<br />

any gaps you might have<br />

(e.g. not getting enough<br />

sleep). You can then make<br />

a plan to improve this.<br />

“Once you’ve set your<br />

plan in motion, the next<br />

step is to hold yourself<br />

accountable by measuring<br />

your success,” Nikki says.<br />

You could do this using<br />

a calendar, diary, or an<br />

app on your phone. By<br />

checking in with yourself<br />

to watch out for. Exhaustion or<br />

insomnia, trouble concentrating,<br />

or increased forgetfulness, as<br />

well as increased levels of anxiety<br />

or anger, can all be indicators<br />

– alongside a host of physical<br />

symptoms.<br />

Keep yourself informed and<br />

aware by reading up on signs of<br />

common mental health issues on<br />

sites such as nhs.uk,<br />

counselling-directory.org.uk,<br />

and mind.org.uk<br />

CREATE A SUSTAINABLE<br />

SELF-CARE ROUTINE<br />

Self-care isn’t selfish, and<br />

certainly not something to feel<br />

guilty about. Making time to look<br />

after ourselves physically and<br />

mentally can help us to feel more<br />

prepared to face life’s challenges,<br />

and be a vital part of caring for<br />

our wellbeing.<br />

Although many of us may think<br />

of candles and long baths when<br />

we hear the term ‘self-care’, it can<br />

“All too often, we don’t<br />

pause to consider our<br />

emotional health and<br />

wellbeing until we are<br />

already starting to see<br />

a negative impact”<br />

at a future date, it’s a chance to<br />

reflect and see if you need to make<br />

adjustments to your plan. >>><br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 75


EXPLORE COMPLEMENTARY<br />

AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES<br />

How we approach our health and<br />

wellbeing can be just as varied as<br />

the problems we experience. For<br />

some, taking a holistic approach<br />

can benefit them physically<br />

and emotionally, as treatments<br />

often focus on treating the whole<br />

person, rather than specific<br />

symptoms.<br />

Complementary treatments<br />

or alternative therapies such as<br />

acupressure or Bowen therapy can<br />

help with stress. Aromatherapy<br />

may be able to help with anxiety,<br />

insomnia, and even chronic pain<br />

– perhaps have an aromatherapy<br />

massage session, or try one of our<br />

suggested blends back on p70.<br />

Hypnotherapy has also shown<br />

positive results for numerous<br />

mental health and wellbeing<br />

issues, including helping you<br />

become more emotionally and<br />

physically calm, gain a better<br />

night’s sleep, or even recognise<br />

and overcome obsessive thoughts<br />

and compulsive behaviours.<br />

There’s no right or wrong way to<br />

seek help and support, so if one<br />

method doesn’t work for you, don’t<br />

be discouraged. There are many<br />

options out there!<br />

LOOK AFTER YOUR MIND<br />

AND BODY<br />

Being active can help us to feel<br />

good about ourselves and the<br />

world around us. Physical activity<br />

can help protect against anxiety,<br />

combat symptoms of mild<br />

depression, and boost our selfesteem.<br />

Fitting in 150 minutes of<br />

moderate aerobic activity around<br />

a busy schedule can be daunting.<br />

If you struggle with using that gym<br />

membership or making it to your<br />

local park run, it could be worth<br />

considering a class such as Pilates<br />

or yoga. By committing to attend<br />

regularly with a friend, this can<br />

give you an added motivation and<br />

support boost.<br />

Eating a balanced, healthy diet<br />

can have a big impact on our<br />

wellbeing, too. Ensuring that what<br />

we eat is balanced can help us to<br />

feel less tired, manage stress, and<br />

may even help with symptoms of<br />

depression.<br />

“Hypnotherapy can<br />

help you become<br />

more emotionally<br />

and physically<br />

calm, gain a better<br />

night’s sleep, or<br />

even recognise<br />

and overcome<br />

obsessive thoughts<br />

and compulsive<br />

behaviours”<br />

FIND RELAXATION TECHNIQUES<br />

THAT WORK FOR YOU<br />

Relaxation is a very personal<br />

preference. An introvert may<br />

find an evening with a good<br />

book is just what the doctor<br />

ordered, while an extrovert may<br />

feel recharged after a night out<br />

with friends. Exploring different<br />

relaxation techniques can help<br />

you to identify which methods<br />

have the most benefit for you.<br />

Mindfulness techniques can<br />

offer a gentle form of relaxation.<br />

From mindful breathing and<br />

meditation, to mindful colouring,<br />

there are many ways you can


apply mindfulness at work, during<br />

your commute, and even while<br />

planning big life events.<br />

Taking up a hobby can allow<br />

you to add a moment of calm<br />

and another form of relaxation to<br />

your daily routine. Gardening and<br />

birding can have some surprisingly<br />

positive impacts on your mental<br />

health, with an overwhelming 80%<br />

of us reporting feeling happier<br />

after visiting gardens. If you don’t<br />

have a plot of land to call your<br />

own, you can still gain many of<br />

the benefits of gardening through<br />

house and office plants.<br />

CONSIDER TALKING<br />

TO AN EXPERT<br />

Speaking with a qualified<br />

therapist can offer the chance to<br />

open up about what is worrying<br />

you in a safe, judgement-free<br />

environment. This can help<br />

us to recognise not only what<br />

may be causing us distress, but<br />

also enable us to work through<br />

problems, and find solutions<br />

we may not have otherwise<br />

considered.<br />

There are many options with<br />

therapy, so you can find a method<br />

that works best for you – face-toface,<br />

over the phone, online, or<br />

group sessions. A counsellor can<br />

help you identify the key areas<br />

you want to work on, and offer<br />

advice on what type of therapy<br />

will best support you. But if you’d<br />

like to do your own research, you<br />

can read the National Institute<br />

of Health and Care Excellence’s<br />

(NICE) recommendations for<br />

therapies to help with different<br />

mental health concerns.<br />

‘From mindful breathing and meditation, to mindful colouring, there<br />

are many ways you can apply mindfulness at work, during your<br />

commute, and even while planning big life events’<br />

Nikki Emerton is a life coach,<br />

passionate about helping you take<br />

back charge of your life. Find her on<br />

lifecoach-directory.org.uk


How to get your confidence<br />

back after anxiety<br />

Anxiety attacks can often crush your self-confidence – and that can make you<br />

feel like you’re trapped in a vicious circle. But don’t despair, you can break<br />

free from the damaging cycle, and return to your very best<br />

Writing | Will Aylward<br />

Anxiety and selfconfidence:<br />

how are they<br />

related? In my work as a<br />

life coach, many of my<br />

clients tell me that since living<br />

with higher than normal levels<br />

of anxiety, they feel their selfconfidence<br />

has been knocked.<br />

This makes sense, because<br />

living with high levels of anxiety<br />

causes us to feel limited, to doubt<br />

ourselves, and our capabilities.<br />

This feeling of limitation lowers<br />

our self-confidence, which only<br />

adds to feelings of anxiety, as<br />

we feel less sure of our ability to<br />

handle anxious situations.<br />

But there is hope. We needn’t stay<br />

in this cycle. Here are some ways<br />

to get your confidence back after<br />

anxiety.<br />

1 ACCESS WHERE YOU ARE AND<br />

WHERE YOU WANT TO BE<br />

Start by asking yourself, right now,<br />

where would you score your level<br />

of self-confidence out of 10? (With<br />

10 being high, and one being low.)<br />

It’s important to be compassionate,<br />

and not to judge your answers.<br />

Next, imagine what higher levels<br />

of self-confidence look like for<br />

you. What would greater levels of<br />

self-confidence allow you to do?<br />

Write down some examples of<br />

behaviours, habits, and feelings<br />

that your most confident self<br />

would have. Feel excited knowing<br />

more self-confidence is not only<br />

possible, but you deserve it.<br />

2 CHALLENGE YOURSELF<br />

TO TAKE ACTION<br />

Using your self-confidence vision<br />

to inspire you, take action and<br />

lovingly challenge yourself. When<br />

my self-confidence hit rock-bottom<br />

after anxiety, I got fearful about<br />

bumping into people I knew, being<br />

caught off guard, and having to<br />

make small talk.<br />

Aware of this, one day I set myself<br />

a challenge. Every day, for 30<br />

days, I would go to the busy local<br />

supermarket where there was<br />

always a high chance of seeing<br />

someone I knew. If I met someone,<br />

I’d have to say "hey" and make<br />

small talk. Part of me was scared.<br />

Part of me was excited. By day 30,<br />

my self-confidence had grown<br />

tremendously, because I’d moved<br />

towards my fears, instead of away<br />

from them.<br />

Remember to start small, and, as<br />

your confidence grows, so will the<br />

size of the challenges you set for<br />

yourself.<br />

3 BECOME A CHEERLEADER FOR<br />

YOURSELF<br />

Make it a habit to praise yourself.<br />

Every night before bed, stand in<br />

front of a mirror, look yourself in<br />

the eyes, and (silently or out loud)<br />

praise yourself for one thing you<br />

did well that day.<br />

Make self-praise familiar.<br />

Become a cheerleader for yourself.<br />

When you notice feelings of<br />

anxiety, which is only to be<br />

expected as your comfort zone<br />

and confidence grows, reassure<br />

yourself by saying: ‘I can do this.’<br />

You may like to write down a list<br />

of other phrases, affirmations, or<br />

‘power thoughts’ you’d like to say<br />

to yourself throughout the day. You<br />

could even set silent alarms on<br />

your phone, so these empowering<br />

words pop up for you to read.<br />

Living with high levels<br />

of anxiety causes us to<br />

feel limited, to doubt<br />

ourselves, and our<br />

capabilities


4 FOCUS ON TRIGGERING THE<br />

‘REST AND DIGEST’ RESPONSE<br />

During ‘fight or flight’, our<br />

sympathetic nervous system helps<br />

us face the threat by increasing<br />

our heart rate, breathing rate, and<br />

blood pressure.<br />

Once our mind feels the threat<br />

has been eliminated, our blood<br />

pressure, heart, and breathing<br />

rate return to normal, our muscles<br />

relax, and processes such as<br />

digestion – which stop during ‘fight<br />

or flight’ – are resumed. This is<br />

because of the parasympathetic<br />

nervous system, or ‘rest and digest’<br />

response, which works to restore<br />

balance in the body.<br />

Each day, create time for self-care<br />

– which will trigger your ‘rest and<br />

digest’ response. How you do this<br />

is down to you, but could include<br />

meditation, yoga, or breath-work.<br />

5 DON’T BE AFRAID TO<br />

ASK FOR HELP<br />

Remember: you are not alone.<br />

Share your thoughts, feelings,<br />

and challenges, with friends and<br />

family, and ask for their support.<br />

They, too, will want to see you back<br />

feeling more confident again.<br />

There are support groups, online<br />

and offline, for people on the same<br />

journey as you, wishing to rebuild<br />

their confidence after anxiety.<br />

There are also skilled professionals<br />

who can help you understand the<br />

roots of the anxiety, and share<br />

tools to make you feel better<br />

equipped when life gets stressful.<br />

Will Aylward helps people around<br />

the world to get their freedom back,<br />

and works as an online life coach<br />

and rapid transformational therapy<br />

(RTT) practitioner. Learn more at<br />

willaylward.com<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 79


D R I V I N G<br />

Luke Ambler is a man on a mission. From<br />

encouraging other men to talk in his role<br />

as founder of suicide prevention charity,<br />

Andy’s Man Club, to motivational speaking<br />

and planning adventures for his family, he’s<br />

always moving forwards – and with intent.<br />

As Luke shares with <strong>Happiful</strong>, it takes work to<br />

get what you want, and he’s prepared to put<br />

in the hard graft<br />

Writing | Lucy Donoughue<br />

C H A N G E<br />

Recently, in just one week,<br />

660 men walked through<br />

the doors of Andy’s Man<br />

Club meetings, wanting<br />

to talk, listen, and share<br />

their experiences. For many of<br />

these men, the meetings are lifechanging<br />

and, for some,<br />

life-saving.<br />

The club was named after Luke<br />

Ambler’s brother-in-law, Andy,<br />

who died by suicide in 2016.<br />

Witnessing his family’s grief<br />

spurred Luke on to do something<br />

to make a difference, and now the<br />

suicide prevention charity holds<br />

free meetings for men across the<br />

UK every week.<br />

What began as an informal<br />

support network in the North of<br />

England, has now spread across<br />

the country, with meetings all<br />

the way from Devon to Scotland.<br />

The number of attendees only<br />

continues to grow, as do advocates<br />

for the user-led movement.<br />

In early September, club<br />

facilitators took to the streets as<br />

part of a tour across 22 locations,<br />

reaching out to men who may not<br />

have been aware of the charity, or<br />

who might need encouragement to<br />

take their first steps towards help.<br />

It was an epic undertaking –<br />

but for Luke, the most powerful<br />

element of the day was the faceto-face<br />

conversations. “As big as<br />

it [Andy’s Man Club] is now, I’m<br />

still about the grass roots,” Luke<br />

says. “Too many people get bogged<br />

down with the big stuff – I think<br />

the little stuff is the big stuff. The<br />

conversations in the street are what<br />

makes a man want to come to the<br />

club, because he’s seen you and<br />

knows that it’s real.”<br />

The sense of it being ‘real’ is<br />

greatly helped by club attendees<br />

being at the frontline of spreading<br />

the word about Andy’s Man Club<br />

– an achievement that isn’t lost<br />

on Luke. “What’s lovely is that all<br />

the guys who came out on tour,<br />

they’ve all walked through those<br />

meeting doors in need at one time,<br />

and now they are facilitators. It’s<br />

unbelievable.”<br />

Each time I speak with Luke I’m<br />

blown away by his energy, drive and<br />

generosity of spirit – but mostly by<br />

his ability to be completely honest<br />

and unfiltered about his work, and<br />

personal life.


In 2017, Luke had the honour of<br />

sharing his campaign #ItsOkToTalk<br />

with Prince Charles<br />

Luke is passionate about making<br />

positive change, having worked<br />

on himself after a childhood in<br />

which he often felt like he had to<br />

“be fake” to fit in. Later, he had<br />

a career in professional rugby<br />

where he says there was still an<br />

element of pretence in how he<br />

presented himself and interacted<br />

with others.<br />

Change happened for Luke –<br />

before the creation of Andy’s<br />

Man Club, but after some dark<br />

times following the end of his<br />

rugby career, which resulted in<br />

him being arrested after a night<br />

out. But it was the beginning of<br />

a new path for Luke; one which<br />

came with a shift in perspective<br />

and the will to embrace who he<br />

authentically is. It was a process<br />

that took time and effort.<br />

Working at life every day<br />

is something Luke strongly<br />

advocates, stemming from his<br />

I think we all need to put in effort<br />

to be the best version of ourselves,<br />

rather than trying to beat someone<br />

else, then we’d all live better lives<br />

own experiences. And he has<br />

concerns lately, for what he calls,<br />

our “microwave society”.<br />

“The problem is that a lot of<br />

people want everything ‘now’. We<br />

get everything so instantly – fast<br />

food, fast relationships – almost<br />

everything you want at the touch<br />

of an app,” he suggests. “And for<br />

some people, if they have to really<br />

work at getting what they need,<br />

they struggle.<br />

“If you do what is easy though,<br />

life will be hard. If you do what<br />

is hard, life will be easy,” he<br />

continues. “Take parenting.<br />

Sometimes you might have to<br />

sit with your kid when they are<br />

kicking off at the dinner table<br />

to show them how they should<br />

behave. It would be easier to just<br />

give them a tablet to play with, to<br />

keep them quiet and busy, but in<br />

the long-term they won’t learn.<br />

I think that approach of really<br />

having to work at it applies to most<br />

of life’s challenges.”<br />

Parenting and family dynamics<br />

are often woven into Luke’s<br />

insights on self-development, and >>>


Motivational speaking spurs Luke to be more self-aware<br />

it’s clear his family are solidly at<br />

the heart of his life and future<br />

aspirations.<br />

Travel is one of these, and Luke’s<br />

latest project is the overhaul of a<br />

van, turning it into a campervan<br />

so he can explore the world with<br />

his wife, Lisa, and children, Alfie,<br />

Aubrey and Ada.<br />

Spending time together as a<br />

family is important to him, but<br />

the project also serves another<br />

purpose – to support Luke’s own<br />

wellbeing. “With everything I do<br />

– the mental health work, suicide<br />

prevention, mindset development<br />

– as much as it’s all good, I felt like<br />

I needed something for me. After<br />

retiring from rugby, I didn’t have<br />

that outlet anymore.”<br />

This project has been a longterm<br />

dream for Luke, but was<br />

put on hold when his third child,<br />

daughter Ada, came along.<br />

However, while taking part in a<br />

gruelling Ultra Marathon (100<br />

miles in two days) earlier this year,<br />

he travelled and slept in a camper<br />

van, and says the experience “gave<br />

[him] that little itch again”.<br />

“We’re in a world where we’re<br />

constantly bombarded with<br />

information, and I just want to<br />

get away from it all, and back to<br />

basics,” Luke says.<br />

“It’s hard to get this across on<br />

social media, but I constantly flit<br />

between roles in my life – and so<br />

the idea of just being able to stop<br />

and say, ‘I fancy going to the Lake<br />

District tonight,’ and getting in the<br />

van with my wife and kids is really<br />

appealing. Going off grid.”<br />

It’s understandable that Luke<br />

would need to create some<br />

unscheduled time and space for<br />

himself and his family within<br />

their life. With the diverse work he<br />

does, and the array of professional<br />

responsibilities he has, managing<br />

his own mental health needs is<br />

crucial.<br />

“Self-awareness is so important,”<br />

he explains. “I went through<br />

a weird patch recently. As a<br />

motivational speaker, I found<br />

I suddenly didn’t have a lot of<br />

motivation. I felt like I’d spent<br />

my whole life trying to prove<br />

people wrong – and I’d done that.<br />

Everything I said I was going<br />

to do, I did. I was left with the<br />

thought of: ‘Well, what’s next?’<br />

“So I’m now working on balance<br />

– being a good dad, being a good<br />

charity chairman, and everything<br />

else – and I feel like I’ve found it.”<br />

Luke’s certainly not one to<br />

rest on his laurels though. “I’m<br />

constantly testing myself and<br />

challenging myself to be better,”<br />

he adds. “I think we all need to<br />

put in effort to be the best version<br />

of ourselves, rather than trying to<br />

beat someone else, then we’d all<br />

live better lives.”<br />

And he doesn’t believe this starts<br />

with looking inwards – he insists<br />

it’s about working inwards. The<br />

Ultra Marathon earlier this year,<br />

he says, helped him to do this.<br />

“Once you test yourself mentally,<br />

you know what you’re capable of.<br />

So doing that run and knowing<br />

I can come through that, it’s<br />

become an analogy for life for me.<br />

I know I can handle that – and any<br />

other curve ball life sends me.<br />

“It doesn’t mean I’ll find it easy<br />

– I didn’t find the run easy – but<br />

I know that I can get through the<br />

tough stuff.”<br />

To read more and find a club near<br />

you, visit andysmanclub.co.uk<br />

Follow Luke on Twitter<br />

@lukeambleruk and listen to him<br />

chat more on <strong>Happiful</strong>’s ‘I am. I<br />

have’ podcast.


THE PLASTIC REVOLUTION<br />

STARTS NOW<br />

Life in plastic is not so fantastic, and our ecosystem is paying the price. But you don’t need to<br />

let eco-anxiety weigh you down. Ecobricks is the initiative taking back control of the plastic<br />

we’re consuming by turning it into usable building bricks – and you can get involved...<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

We’re in the midst of<br />

a plastic crisis. It’s<br />

dominated public<br />

conversation in<br />

recent years, and for good reason.<br />

According to the journal PLOS<br />

ONE, more than five trillion pieces<br />

of plastic can be found floating<br />

in our oceans, and by 2050 it’s<br />

predicted that every seabird<br />

species on the planet will be<br />

ingesting plastic.<br />

It’s catastrophic. But we don’t<br />

have to sit back and watch it<br />

happen. Each of us has<br />

the power to make a<br />

change in the world<br />

around us, and<br />

ecobricks is one such<br />

scheme that’s empowering us all<br />

to step up.<br />

WHAT’S AN ECOBRICK?<br />

Ecobricks are made from used<br />

plastic bottles, tightly packed with<br />

unrecyclable plastic. The bottles<br />

are then used in building projects,<br />

with the majority going to small<br />

home, community, and school<br />

creations – from furniture to the<br />

structures themselves.<br />

Both a way to take a hard look<br />

at our personal plastic habits,<br />

and to prevent plastic entering<br />

the ecosystem, this innovative<br />

scheme helps reclaim control of<br />

the plastic in our lives, and lay the<br />

foundations for a greener future.<br />

THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTIC<br />

We’re living in a time where we’re<br />

creating more waste than we<br />

know what to do with. Worldwide,<br />

we only recycle 9% of plastics.<br />

The rest – incinerated, or left in<br />

the sun or sea – break down,<br />

releasing toxins into our<br />

environment, and poisoning<br />

wildlife.<br />

Ultimately, we need to use less<br />

plastic. There are many ways to<br />

do this, and with more reusable<br />

products on the market, it’s<br />

never been easier to cut<br />

back. Unfortunately, that<br />

doesn’t address the<br />

plethora of plastic that<br />

already exists. >>>


Find out more about<br />

ecobricks at ecobricks.org,<br />

and find groups near<br />

you at gobrik.com<br />

Community sculptures using ecobricks<br />

But what if we stopped<br />

thinking about plastic as<br />

something we’re fighting<br />

against, and instead understand<br />

it as a valuable resource when<br />

used effectively?<br />

Rather than seeing plastic<br />

as something expendable,<br />

ecobricks asks us to see the<br />

value that it can bring us, in<br />

the form of a free building<br />

material that can enhance our<br />

communities. The properties of<br />

plastic that make it so difficult to<br />

dispose of properly – durability,<br />

longevity, and water fastness<br />

– make it a fantastic building<br />

material, so it’s about reframing<br />

the way we utilise materials.<br />

What if we<br />

stopped thinking<br />

about plastic as<br />

something we’re<br />

fighting against,<br />

and instead<br />

understood it as a<br />

valuable resource?<br />

EMPOWERING THE INDIVIDUAL<br />

We’re all part of something bigger<br />

than ourselves, but ultimately<br />

change starts with the individual.<br />

This initiative is about finding<br />

an answer to the plastic waste<br />

in your life. It’s about being the<br />

change that you want to see in the<br />

world, and finding a solution that<br />

is powered by the people.<br />

Jack Jones from Chessington,<br />

Surrey, began making ecobricks<br />

after spending most of his adult<br />

life in the construction industry,<br />

where he saw how much<br />

material was going to waste.<br />

“For a long time I wasn’t sure<br />

what I could do on a personal<br />

level,” Jack tells <strong>Happiful</strong>. “That<br />

was, until my mother showed<br />

me ecobricks. It was then that I<br />

found the sense of direction, and<br />

also relief, that I was looking for.”<br />

It can be easy to forget about the<br />

plastic we pick up throughout the<br />

day. Collecting what we use for<br />

an ecobrick helps us to measure<br />

how much we actually consume,<br />

as well as effectively following the<br />

journey of our waste. For Jack,<br />

this is what prompted him to go<br />

on to incorporate ecobricks into


Drinks companies<br />

alone produce<br />

more than 500<br />

billion plastic<br />

bottles every<br />

year<br />

his business, and he now finds it<br />

to be an effective way that he can<br />

take responsibility for his waste.<br />

GOING GLOBAL<br />

Ecobricks is a worldwide initiative,<br />

meaning that each brick is used<br />

in a way that is most beneficial<br />

to the community it is collected<br />

in. In South Africa, projects<br />

include outdoor classrooms<br />

and community gardens, and in<br />

Guatemala, there are 38 schools<br />

built out of ecobricks. Here in<br />

the UK, ecobricks are used in<br />

playgrounds, and also to create<br />

benches in local communities.<br />

With a little bit of creativity, this<br />

material that is in abundance can<br />

be easily turned into something<br />

that makes a real difference in our<br />

local environments.<br />

BE PART OF SOMETHING<br />

“We’re all creators of our own<br />

individual realities,” says Jack. “If<br />

we don’t like what we are currently<br />

experiencing around the world,<br />

we must take responsibility to<br />

change the reality we live in.”<br />

And we can do it. Whether it’s<br />

by getting involved with local<br />

ecobricks groups, or collecting<br />

the plastics that you come across<br />

in your own life, we each have<br />

the opportunity to make a real<br />

difference in the world around us.<br />

MAKING YOUR ECOBRICK<br />

Ready to start creating your own ecobricks?<br />

Pay close attention to the guidelines, and get<br />

building!<br />

MAKE SURE YOUR PLASTIC IS CLEAN<br />

Begin by cleaning all your plastic so that it’s free of<br />

food, grease, or dirt. Once washed, allow the plastic to<br />

dry completely before moving on. It’s important to be<br />

very thorough during this first step, as any residue left<br />

on the plastic could lead to methane collecting into the<br />

ecobrick, resulting in bloated bottles.<br />

PICK YOUR BOTTLE<br />

It may be a good idea to begin by using smaller bottles<br />

to get you started. However, the most important<br />

thing to consider is what type of bottle is in most<br />

abundance in your local community. For<br />

building projects, the bottles will need to be the<br />

same size. Do you have regular deliveries of a certain<br />

type of bottle at your place of work, or you get through<br />

a lot of the same thing at home? Consistency is key.<br />

FIND YOUR STICK<br />

You’ll need a stick to poke the plastic inside your<br />

bottle, but there are a couple of factors that you<br />

will want to consider when choosing yours. The<br />

stick should be about a third the width of the bottle<br />

opening, and twice the height of the bottle. Ideally, it<br />

should have a rounded tip so that it doesn’t pierce the<br />

bottle as you compress the plastic.<br />

PACK YOUR BOTTLE<br />

Cut your plastic up into small pieces so that you can<br />

pack as much in as possible. Mix together soft and<br />

hard plastic, and then use your stick to push it down<br />

into the bottle, making sure it is compressed as you<br />

go. The minimum weight of the bottle should be<br />

0.33 times the bottle volume (e.g. a 1,500ml bottle<br />

should be 500g, and 600ml should be 200g.)<br />

LOG YOUR ECOBRICK<br />

Register your ecobrick at gobrick.com. You’ll be able to<br />

find a nearby drop-off point for your brick, and will be<br />

given a serial number for your bottle, so you can track<br />

how your community is getting on with their project.<br />

Read the full guidelines at ecobricks.org/start


“<br />

I’m on a rollercoaster that<br />

only goes up, my friend<br />

86 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> – JOHN GREEN, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS


TRUE LIFE<br />

Fighting a physical<br />

illness can be a<br />

mental health battle<br />

Anne has lived with sickle cell disease all her<br />

life, but she sees that it was the illness which<br />

helped her become the successful, contented<br />

woman she is today<br />

Writing | Anne Welsh<br />

In the end, it<br />

was my nursery<br />

school’s concern<br />

about me eating<br />

plastic foam that<br />

led to the diagnosis of<br />

incurable, debilitating,<br />

and dangerous sickle cell<br />

disease (SCD).<br />

While the illness, a<br />

constant in my life since<br />

the age of six months, has<br />

sent me to the depths of<br />

despair, I have learnt to<br />

value the lessons it has<br />

taught me, and it has made<br />

me realise that every cloud<br />

has a silver lining.<br />

SCD is when your blood<br />

cells, normally round,<br />

are curved and hard. This<br />

means that they don’t flow<br />

as easily, and can get stuck<br />

in the small blood vessels<br />

in your chest, stomach,<br />

and joints – what’s known<br />

as a sickle cell crisis. The<br />

intense, debilitating pain<br />

this causes can last from a<br />

few hours to a few weeks.<br />

I was born in Nigeria in<br />

1980, and while there were<br />

warning signs in the form<br />

of unexplained swellings<br />

and pains, it was only after<br />

we moved to the UK that I<br />

was diagnosed, when my<br />

nursery school picked up<br />

on my strange craving for<br />

foam – something which<br />

is apparently common in<br />

sufferers of SCD.<br />

SCD wasn’t well known at<br />

that time, and finding the<br />

correct pain management<br />

for a small child was<br />

difficult, leading to me<br />

spending a lot of time in<br />

agony – distressing for me<br />

and my family.<br />

By this time my father<br />

had returned to Nigeria,<br />

so my mother was<br />

studying for her teaching<br />

qualifications, looking<br />

after three children singlehandedly,<br />

and dealing<br />

with an extremely sick<br />

daughter. In addition,<br />

she had been told that<br />

children with SCD had a<br />

reduced life expectancy,<br />

so she was terrified of<br />

losing me.<br />

Starting primary school<br />

was a challenge. My<br />

mother gave teachers<br />

a care plan, and I was<br />

allowed special ‘privileges’,<br />

such as being able to<br />

drink water in class, and<br />

having regular breaks<br />

if I was tired. The other<br />

children didn’t understand<br />

my special treatment,<br />

and I also couldn’t join<br />

in games, so I became<br />

isolated.<br />

At seven, I moved back<br />

to Nigeria with my elder<br />

brother and two younger<br />

sisters, to live with my<br />

father. But it was then<br />

that the family was struck<br />

a devastating blow – the<br />

death of my brother, Eric.<br />

He had fallen ill, and, after<br />

an operation in hospital,<br />

he had caught an infection<br />

that killed him.<br />

I felt overwhelming guilt<br />

when Eric died, asking<br />

myself why he was taken<br />

and I, whose illness<br />

caused my family so much<br />

heartache, was spared?<br />

The loss of my brother<br />

made me determined to<br />

find a direction in life, and<br />

to fulfil a higher purpose. >>><br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 87


When, as a teenager, it<br />

was decided that it was<br />

time to move back to the<br />

UK to live with my mother<br />

– now a primary school<br />

teacher – it meant another<br />

massive readjustment. To<br />

make matters worse, I had<br />

failed the GCSEs required<br />

to start college, so I had to<br />

find somewhere to retake<br />

my exams.<br />

Anne in Nigeria, being interviewed for sickle cell awareness<br />

I have learnt to accept that<br />

I cannot be all things to all<br />

people, and must live as best<br />

I can – and only I can do that<br />

This was a very difficult<br />

time for me. I was in a new<br />

place and was struggling<br />

with my identity. Who<br />

was I, apart from the sick<br />

daughter/sister/friend?<br />

This negative mindset<br />

meant that I wasn’t taking<br />

care of myself, so as well<br />

as being mentally low, I<br />

was constantly ill, creating<br />

a damaging downward<br />

spiral. Once again, my<br />

education suffered, but I<br />

achieved enough to get in<br />

to college.<br />

From there, things<br />

started to improve. I got<br />

a grant to buy a car, and<br />

was given a disability<br />

badge, which made life<br />

much easier and college<br />

more accessible. I began<br />

to believe that I did have a<br />

future. When I found I had<br />

been accepted on a degree<br />

course, I was determined<br />

that my illness wouldn’t<br />

hold me back.<br />

University was a real<br />

turning point. I came to<br />

understand that I had to<br />

ask for help. I realised I<br />

had to be kind to myself,<br />

focus on the positives, and<br />

stop comparing myself<br />

with others.<br />

After leaving uni with a<br />

2:1, I had a new sense of<br />

purpose, and undertook<br />

a master’s in investment<br />

management, which I<br />

hoped would give me a<br />

good start for a career.<br />

My approach to life was<br />

slowly improving, and I<br />

had more faith in what<br />

I could achieve. By this<br />

point I’d still not had a<br />

romantic relationship,<br />

partly because my mother<br />

wouldn’t have approved,<br />

but also because I was<br />

nervous of the impact my<br />

illness would have. Who<br />

would want someone<br />

whose condition has such<br />

an impact on their life?<br />

88 • happiful.com • <strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


The loss of my brother made me<br />

determined to find a direction in life<br />

and to fulfil a higher purpose<br />

A chance meeting in<br />

a record shop changed<br />

all that. I was instantly<br />

attracted to Marvin, and<br />

on our third date told<br />

him about the illness. To<br />

my surprise he wasn’t<br />

disgusted, but interested<br />

and concerned. It was<br />

three months later when<br />

he first saw the real<br />

impact. We were making<br />

dinner when the pain<br />

struck. I asked Marvin to<br />

call an ambulance and<br />

ring my mother.<br />

He hadn’t met my family<br />

yet, so my mother was<br />

surprised to see a stranger<br />

at my hospital bedside!<br />

When he left, I was sure<br />

I’d never see him again.<br />

But when I checked my<br />

phone later, there were a<br />

number of missed calls,<br />

Anne at her graduation from<br />

Cass Business School, London<br />

so I was reassured that he<br />

was here to stay.<br />

We got married after six<br />

years, and although I was<br />

still worried about the<br />

illness getting in the way<br />

of our relationship, he was<br />

always supportive.<br />

I was desperate to have<br />

children, and before<br />

long, despite worrying<br />

about the risks caused<br />

by my disease, I found<br />

myself pregnant. I was<br />

working full-time at<br />

Lehman Brothers, but<br />

after three months had to<br />

face the fact that I couldn’t<br />

physically meet the<br />

demands of the job.<br />

I reluctantly left, but still<br />

needed a challenge, so<br />

decided to volunteer with<br />

the Sickle Cell Society and<br />

joined the board.<br />

A year later I was<br />

appointed chair, and<br />

we lobbied the NHS for<br />

improved screening,<br />

raised awareness and<br />

improved treatment.<br />

I am now happily<br />

married with two beautiful<br />

children (Connor and<br />

Caroline), and despite<br />

everything life has thrown<br />

at me, have achieved<br />

things I never thought<br />

possible.<br />

Living with SCD is<br />

difficult, and there is a<br />

strong link between the<br />

illness and depression.<br />

I never know when I’m<br />

going to be ill, so I live day<br />

to day. I have learned to<br />

accept that I cannot be all<br />

things to all people, and<br />

must live as best I can –<br />

and only I can do that.<br />

I defeat any negative<br />

thoughts by considering<br />

all the positive things I<br />

have in my life. This isn’t<br />

always easy, but I’ve found<br />

it makes a real difference.<br />

After years of struggle,<br />

I can now say that I am<br />

truly happy and blessed.<br />

My illness has led me<br />

to do things and meet<br />

people I would not have<br />

otherwise, so in some<br />

ways it has helped me<br />

achieve more than I ever<br />

thought possible.<br />

Oh, and sometimes I still<br />

have a craving for foam!<br />

OUR EXPERT SAYS<br />

For Anne, living with<br />

a chronic condition<br />

brought many challenges.<br />

Throughout her<br />

experiences, she struggled<br />

with her mental health,<br />

identity, and emotional<br />

state. Starting university<br />

was a real turning point<br />

for her, and the place<br />

where she began to feel<br />

she was improving.<br />

Later, meeting her future<br />

husband, she found<br />

someone who loved and<br />

supported her, and whom<br />

she could trust and rely<br />

on. Anne found that with<br />

self-care and his support,<br />

anything was possible.<br />

Perhaps asking for that<br />

same support<br />

and self-care<br />

could help<br />

us all.<br />

Graeme Orr | MBACP (Accred) UKRCP<br />

Reg Ind counsellor<br />

<strong>November</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 89


Mental health<br />

matters<br />

From anorexia to<br />

depression, body<br />

dysmorphia, and BPD, artist<br />

Becky Johnston has had<br />

a lot to contend with. But<br />

her mental health journey<br />

also inspired her to use her<br />

creativity and experiences<br />

to support others, so no one<br />

has to feel alone<br />

Mental health matters to me<br />

because… for what feels like a<br />

lifetime, I have suffered at the<br />

hand of crippling anxieties,<br />

depression, and the umbrella<br />

of cascading torment, BPD; the<br />

catalyst for the ‘mental illness<br />

flux’ I find myself in. Anorexia<br />

shrouded my reality, and body<br />

dysmorphia further impaired<br />

my already confusing life. It<br />

prompted my desire to use my<br />

experiences as a platform to<br />

inspire, promote awareness, and<br />

lend a hand to hold. The more<br />

we talk, the easier it will become<br />

for sufferers to open up.<br />

When I need support I… pluck up<br />

the courage to be honest. That<br />

weight needs to be lifted from<br />

your shoulders, particularly when<br />

emotions heighten so abruptly.<br />

To view Becky’s art visit<br />

beckyjohnston.weebly.com<br />

Talking is the first and most<br />

important step. Once you break<br />

through that initial barrier, you<br />

can embrace a level of freedom,<br />

allowing new doors to open.<br />

Take a breath of relief. People<br />

are much more understanding<br />

than you’d expect.<br />

When I need some self-care,<br />

I… have found the use of<br />

a whiteboard and reward<br />

chart profoundly useful,<br />

with guidance from my<br />

mum. Mark down anything<br />

from brushing teeth to filing<br />

nails. Acknowledge it’s an<br />

achievement, and tick it off. My<br />

mum is my carer; there is no<br />

shame in dependence. I may<br />

rely on her immeasurably, but I<br />

wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for<br />

her. Remember, mental health<br />

is paramount. If you need that<br />

extra support, it is imperative<br />

that you recognise and accept it.<br />

The escapism I have turned to<br />

time and time again is... my<br />

crafts. Though my illnesses<br />

have taken a great deal from<br />

me, it’s for that reason my<br />

heart has held on to art. Not<br />

only is it a form of healing, but<br />

it allows us to express things<br />

we wouldn’t normally find<br />

easy to articulate. I hope to<br />

utilise my creativity to bring<br />

hope, spark conversation,<br />

evoke profound thoughts, or<br />

raise a good old grin. It is OK<br />

to be you, to be imaginative,<br />

dramatic, bonkers and<br />

brilliant. Explore the arts –<br />

allow your mind to expand and<br />

let go.


The best lesson I’ve learned in life<br />

is… you are not alone. The mind<br />

manages to twist things so we feel<br />

deserving of pain and anguish.<br />

But it is simply not true; no being<br />

deserves to be tortured by their<br />

own mind. Personally, I found<br />

my diagnoses to be somewhat of<br />

a relief – at last a reason for why<br />

I am like this. There are others<br />

out there. I am not alone. But you<br />

also need to understand that your<br />

mental health does not define you.<br />

It’s a part of you, but you are still<br />

a unique living being, and that’s<br />

pretty special.<br />

The main thing I want people to know<br />

about mental illness is... it is not a life<br />

sentence. With BPD, the intensity<br />

of emotion can reach an internal<br />

pain difficult to fathom. My reality<br />

becomes distorted, fluctuating<br />

through psychosis, paranoia. Every<br />

aspect of life is a challenge, hard to<br />

differentiate between the imagined,<br />

expected, and even the past and<br />

present. And it can be extremely<br />

isolating. But I have learned that<br />

we can all survive things we never<br />

thought possible, and that we gain<br />

understanding, empathy, passion and<br />

self-awareness.<br />

I have a desire to help others,<br />

because the constant agony I<br />

survive each day terrifies me<br />

that many more suffer the<br />

same. It has taken my mental<br />

and physical health to rockbottom,<br />

and I wish it were better<br />

understood so there could be<br />

more research and less stigma.<br />

In the end, it comes down to us.<br />

We have to raise this awareness,<br />

we have to help one another.<br />

You have more importance on<br />

this planet than<br />

you’ll ever<br />

believe.<br />

Next issue<br />

Watch out for Becky’s<br />

exclusively designed<br />

Christmas cards for<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> readers in our<br />

December issue!<br />

As the year draws to a close, send<br />

a message of encouragement<br />

and support to someone you<br />

love with our free, exclusive cards<br />

illustrated by Becky. Representing<br />

togetherness, each card is the<br />

opportunity to connect, and let<br />

someone know you’re there to talk.<br />

Pick up a copy from 21 <strong>November</strong>.<br />

December 2018 • happiful • 91


We’ve helped more than<br />

1 Million<br />

people connect with a therapist<br />

using Counselling Directory<br />

You are not alone<br />

counselling-directory.org.uk

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