Blog

Feeling Blah

Ugh. It’s a bit heavy right now isn’t it. Our feelings are all over the place. We felt anxious, maybe even panicky a few weeks ago. Maybe we managed that by being really productive and planning. Maybe we managed it by just panicking. Maybe just by shutting down. The anxiety might still be there, maybe even fear. Maybe sadness and grief, depending...

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The ABCD of Coronavirus Anxiety

This is a strange time we are living in. Here in the UK, it is likely that as you are reading this life is not so different to normal. There may be real, valid anxieties about what is coming – not just in responding to illness but in the changes that might come as a result. But it is possible to manage our anxiety and not let it overwhelm us....

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The Social Media Psychologist (long read)

A funny thing happened to me lately. I got to over 10k followers on Instagram. I have always had a policy not to check the number of followers (although of course I don’t always keep this policy) because this keeps social media a healthy place for me, and stops me from making comparisons (which inevitably lead to an unhealthy place). I was pretty...

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When Will I, Will I be Famous?

It’s Saturday night and around the country people are sitting down to watch The Voice. Or it could be Love Island, or the Only Way is Essex, or Real Housewives. Reality TV, which became popular in the early 90s (remember the Real World?) showed us that anyone could (should?) be famous. And while we watch, we scroll on our phones, reading about...

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Where are the Dads?

It's International Fathers' Mental Health Day, following on from Fathers' Day in the UK yesterday. We have increased awareness - at last - that becoming a parent can impact upon mothers' mental health, and Mark Williams and Dr Andrew Mayers (among others) are campaigning hard to ensure that fathers' mental health has similar...

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The Spectrum

It's the end of the second Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, organised by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership. Last year, there were campaigns and live events all over the UK which you can read about here. This year, themes and campaigns about Maternal Mental Health seem to have exploded all over the internet. Instagram saw at least 5...

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The virtual and the valuable

Last week saw the V for village campaign, celebrating the support which can be available on social media especially for new parents. I was blown away by the response and continue to be awed by the show of solidarity.But questions were also raised about certain aspects of the campaign, and of Instagram in general. One was the cliquey-ness, another...

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V is for Village

Three days into the V is for Village campaign and it's been heartwarming (and also a little surprising!) to see how far it's spread. We started at 8am on Monday morning, spreading peace signs all over Instagram. I'm writing this 48 hours later, and there are 400 members of this Village and counting! It's spread to the US, Denmark, New Zealand and...

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Unravelling the Onion

When my daughter was about 2, she asked me why I was shaving my legs.. Like many other women, this was something that I had never questioned. I hit puberty, I grew hair on my body, and then I spent the next twenty odd years spending my time and money removing it. It was only when she asked me why that I started to think about the ideals of...

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Just One Thing

It's been a while since I blogged myself, but I just wanted to make sure you've seen the Just One Thing series. One of the things I frequently hear from new parents is just how much conflicting advice there is out there. At the same time, while you could build a library out of books about infant sleep, it's hard to find information about...

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The Silent Army

The Silent Army My footsteps echo around meThere is birdsong in my earsA plugged-in jogger passesThe wind brings salty tearsMy heart stops at a carhornBut she slumbers onA dog walker slows to greet meFinger on lips, I move on             Left right...

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Don’t make me Blush

Recently, I found myself obsessively searching for cushions. In my spare moments, when I could have been playing with my kids, talking to my husband, reading a book…anything else  at all… I was discreetly picking up my phone and scrolling through endless websites looking for cushions. Two cushions, to be precise, in ‘blush’. For my bedroom....

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Worlds apart (but still neighbours)

One of the many weird and wonderful things I did on the journey to becoming a psychologist was interviewing a range of teenagers from all over the UK. I was doing a study exploring how teenagers cope when one parent is seriously unwell. What impressed me the most about every single teen was their resilience – having to become a carer to their own...

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How was your day?

They tell me to appreciateThese days before they’re gone, I can’t appreciate regurgitate Even of my angel son.We’re meant to not complain,Stay restrained, each and every oneGo to Stay & Play , where I Sit & Pray I’mNot the only lonely one.A house is to be lived in not died in(Same four walls, Once white hallsGrubby all)And...

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The Stuff of Legend

One of the first things I talk about in my sessions with hypnobirthing couples is the influence of stories. In particular, negative  birth stories. There exists an implicit understanding in our society that birth is just going to be awful. In the West, it’s commonly viewed as a medical procedure for which you need to be in hospital, with...

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The Storm Before the Calm

There’s a process you start to realise when you’ve been doing therapy for a while – either as a therapist or a client. After the initial meetings when you’re getting to know what the situation is and make a plan, you move into a slower phase of ‘doing the work’. Depending on what kind of therapy it is, this could be very directed or this could be...

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Drowning in Information

There is a scene in Wall-E, the 2008 Disney film about a robot left to clean up an abandoned Earth. Humans are living on a spaceship, hugely overweight and shunted around in automatic chairs, slurping up their fizzy pop while watching a permanent screen.I think of this scene all the time lately, a scene created as a science fiction, a dystopian...

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Nobody Tells You

Nobody tells youIt’s the best feeling everIt’s the worst feeling everNobody tells you Nobody tells youContractions are murderLabour is harderNobody tells you Nobody tells youYou’ll bleed like a geyserYou’ll feed and you’ll feed herNobody tells you Nobody tells youYour breasts leak all overYour sex life’s all overNobody tells you Nobody tells...

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F*!?rs

When my eldest was about 6 months old, I called my husband at work and asked if he could be home before bathtime. His colleague, a dad himself, heard us on the phone and said to him: “The sooner she realises she can’t rely on you, the better for both of you”. I don’t remember even why that day was so particularly difficult, we all know those days...

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The New Blue

I’m finding it hard to write this. Partly because it’s very personal. Mainly because, as I write, I have a loud whooshing sound in my ears, zaps of bright light attacking the edges of my vision and a throbbing pressure on my head which gets worse when I move my head, walk, lie down or breathe.I’m currently withdrawing (and believe me, withdrawing...

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Your Children are not your Children

Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.They come through you but not from you,And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. – Khalil GibranThe first time your child takes a step away from you, it can be heart wrenching. Exciting, even a relief too, but heart wrenching....

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A Toddler Ate My Baby

A toddler ate my babyShe was lying over thereGazing at a shadowNow I can’t find her anywhere A toddler ate my babyShe was sitting over thereBatting at a mobileNow I can’t find her anywhere A toddler ate my babyShe was rolling over thereTurning turning back and forthNow I can’t find her anywhere A toddler ate my babyShe was balancing over...

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Sorry Not Sorry

Do you make your kids say sorry? It’s a question I’ve asked myself countless times during the various shoves, whacks, hair yanks and occasional bites I’ve dealt with over the past few years. When I was growing up, misdemeanours were immediately rectified with a parroted “Sorrrrrrry”, while we glared at each other. More serious misdemeanours...

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(Pause)

Stop.How are you reading this?Are you on your phone?At work?On a laptop in front of the TV?Would you mind taking a moment to focus just on this screen?Just notice your breathing.Is it fast? Slow?Just take a moment to slow it down. Take a nice long deep breath in through your nose, and breathe a long sigh out of your mouth. Do it again. Make sure...

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