The Reading List #44

It's that time again and I've been reading SO much recently I feel like these posts might be popping up more and more often.

The Reading List series is a collection of posts that collate mini reviews on the things I've been reading recently, which is usually a complete mixture of fiction and non-fiction and different styles and genres.

Here's the latest collection:

Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins

Where do I begin? I've heard of Tony Robbins many times, but hadn't picked up any of his books until this particular one was recommended by my personal trainer a couple of months ago. Awaken the Giant Within is about recognising your potential and taking action. It's about the fact that you can make whatever you want to of your life, you just need to set goals and work towards achieving them.

This book is so practical, regularly making you stop to make lists and complete other tasks. These tasks range from examining your deepest desires to analysing your emoti…

Recognising gratitude and pride

I wrote not long ago about the fact I've spent the last 6-12 months introducing new daily rituals into my life to help my mind and my body. That post was specifically about reading for 30 minutes a day.

Today's post is about possibly the most transformative step I've added into my daily routine: using my pride and gratitude journals.

The first addition to my days was my gratitude journal. Journals, plural, because I've filled a whole notebook and I'm onto book number two.

Widely known to be a beneficial daily practice, I'd heard the idea of gratitude journals and gratitude lists many times, but not actually done anything about it.

When I was really unwell last year, I kicked myself into gear and decided it was time to start working on changing my attitude away from negativity and towards gratitude.

I use a plain notebook (because I'm not a fan of being told how to structure my thoughts!), and simply write the date with five bullet points beneath it.

It take…

What yoga has taught me... so far

On hearing I was moving home for a period after a particularly tough struggle with my mental health, a friend of my dad's offered a gift I had no idea would have as much impact as it did.

She's training to be a yoga instructor, and suggested to my dad that she spend a little time with me, if I wanted to, to start learning a bit about yoga.

I jumped at the offer, having been told so many times it would be 'good for me', but was unsure what to expect having dabbled in it before and not been hit by the love for it others claim to have.

Like any practice though, it takes time, effort and learning to reach that place where yoga begins to truly impact your life.

The biggest thing I learned is that it's so much more than nice poses... in fact, mastering the positions was one of the least important parts of the lessons I learned.

Week after week, she gave up her time to visit me at home and spend about an hour to an hour and a half doing one-on-one yoga sessions with me. E…

Hello, August 2017

I love looking back at these posts to reflect on where my head was at at the beginning of previous months and years, so I need to keep on top of them!

Hello, August.


Time flies etc etc etc...

It really does, though, doesn't it?

Only a short post today as there's one, big thing that has changed since 1st July... the house move!

New home, new city, new chapter.

I've fallen in love with the new flat and am just feeling incredibly grateful for the people I'm surrounded by and proud of the progress I've made so far this year.

All the essentials are now sorted for the flat, and I'm getting into a routine, continuing all the practices that have been helping me so much, such as yoga, exercise and running.

The next step is to start to get involved in things outside of the home. The first plans are to hunt down a boxing class, a yoga class and a church... and maybe another running group to add to weekly parkruns.

I can't wait to start to meet more like-minded…

Counselling via the NHS Part 3: Afterthoughts

My last two posts have been about my experience being referred for and waiting for NHS counselling, and about my experiences at the sessions themselves. The third and final post in this mini series will be my afterthoughts.

I've rounded up ten thoughts that go some way to summing up my experience of receiving counselling through the NHS, and here they are:

It's no lie that mental health services in this country are massively under-resourced. Waiting times are far longer than any of the practitioners would like them to be, and longer than is ideal for anybody struggling with their mental health. However, when you do get the help, the support on offer can be incredible. I have all sorts of thoughts on things that could surely be done to hep improve the current way of doing things, but I'll save you from seeing them all here.You've got to be persistent. Unfortunately, not all GPs are as clued up as one another when it comes to mental health, and even those that are are so …

Counselling via the NHS Part 2: The sessions

Having shared about the process of being referred for and waiting for NHS counselling, today I'm going to share some of my experiences of the sessions themselves. My final post in this three-part series will be my overall thoughts on the whole process.

Before my first appointment, I was scared.

Simple as that.

It's bad enough knowing you have to open up about your deepest thoughts with someone you've never met, but on top of that I get incredibly anxious about appointments in general, about going to a place I've never been before, and about the whole 'getting in an Uber to get there' thing.

My appointments were in the psychological services building of a local hospital a seven-minute car journey away from where I lived, and it was a hospital set in an old building in very open grounds. It didn't feel at all like a hospital, which made me feel more calm.

I signed in at reception and was directed to a waiting area, where there was a pile of questionnaires. Th…

Counselling via the NHS Part 1: The doctor, the referral and the wait

One of the questions I've been asked the most by those close to me or by other people struggling with their mental health is what my experience of counselling has been.

I've been down both the private and NHS route, and by far the counsellor who transformed my thinking the most was the NHS worker I had 12 sessions with while living in Ilford, during the second half of last year.

I thought I'd share a bit about the experience in a three-part series, over the next three days:
Day 1: The doctor, the referral and the wait
Day 2: The sessions
Day 3: Afterthoughts

I hope this is helpful to anyone nervous about asking about help themselves, or those wondering whether this would be the right route for them.

My anxiety and depression journey has spanned about four years, and halfway through 2016 I hit one of my very lowest points, and really needed proper help. I was actually sent home from work one day as they were so concerned about me, and told not to return until I had got prop…