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By Better Days Global, May 11 2018 12:14PM


While tears are seen by many as a sign of weakness, not the trait of one who has dedicated their life to helping people to become the best versions of themselves, and quite the opposite of the better days that one proclaims, I feel it is essential for me to share the truth about these misconceptions.



Throughout my life, I have had an ongoing battle with depression. I didn’t always know what it was, but it was always there, sometimes right in front of me blocking my very vision of hope, and other times beside me waiting on me to drop my guard and think that everything is ok, before suffocating me once again. As the years went by, and I began to become more aware of this burning, deep dark and heavy sensation that would take over my mind, body and spirit, I had no energy left to hold back or hide my deep innermost feelings. Waking up on a cold pillow drenched in tears has been a normal part of my life and though I smile throughout the day and live to be an encouragement to everyone whom I encounter, the reality of the countless times my pillow needed to be turned over to the warm side, consumes me even now.



But what happens when both sides of the pillow are cold and wet and you’ve run out of contingency plans for your tears? What happens when you are left with a choice of cold and wet or discomfort? The reality for me was that the cold and discomfort were one and the same, as my pain wasn’t external, rather cold, wet and uncomfortable within. The feeling of treading carefully because you know that at any minute, it will show it’s ugly face. The moment I open my eyes in the morning and I check to see if it is there or if there is hope for another day. The reality that it doesn’t matter who is around you or what is happening in your life, it is no respecter of these variables. Many of these realities are not always obvious to others, for some of you, you may be able to relate to these descriptions. While there is no complete description of depression, it is personal but very recognisable once introduced.






Some days I know it is there, but I press on trying to stay busy so it doesn’t paralyse me. Most days it’s difficult to combat. It eats away at you from the inside, causing a silent and painful existence, an overwhelming feeling of heaviness and a deep burning that only your vulnerabilities can interpret. You feel off balance and at mercy to your own thoughts. For me, I feel out of control and weak with the inability to communicate that which I feel, and yet, the tears flow until they run dry. Society tells me that as a man I am to suck it up, man up, be strong, get myself together, but what happens when you have run out of every ounce of strength to continue pretending everything is alright? What happens when you don’t have it in you to bother another person with how you feel? What happens when you reach out for help but it’s not available? These questions are ones which I have had over the years, and I have many more unanswered than answered.



Sometimes in life you will be in situations where it seems that you're going round in circles. You overcome one storm and start to get your life back on track only to find yourself in a new whirlwind battered by the continuous trials of life. It feels like you never get a break and your energy is low. You feel invisible, heavy and like no one understands what you're living through. You feel like life is not worth living and that you'd be better off dead, free from the constant pain you feel in your mind and heart. It feels dark, lonely, cold and very painful. Your every effort is cancelled out by the heaviness of your heart. I know too well what this feels like and I have never claimed to be a guru with a perfect life, or someone who has all of the answers. I just want to share with you what has continuously worked for me. Experience teaches me that storms don't stop and that they are inevitable. Accepting this was the first part of my breakthrough. It was hard for many years because I didn't want to believe it. By me accepting it, I could then use all of my effort to planting myself deeper into the foundations of my faith so that when they do come, I'm shaken but not easily moved. It started with a diligent prayer life followed by a life detox. I had to let go of a lot of the negative influences in my life which included "friends" unhealthily relationships, career changes and what I allowed into my mind. This was a process and it took years of life shaping before it was my reality. My perception changed and altered my perspective. It gave me room to notice more of the good around me. Instead of complaining, I used my pain to inspire others, rebrand my life and be more productive. It lays dormant within me and often shows its ugly face, but I choose to feed myself life based on what God says about me and His plans for my life.



A few years ago I made a choice to step away. This decision lead to me being forced to my my own therapeutic space. It was uncomfortable as busy was no longer a refuge for me. I had to reevaluate my position and do a life audit. If you’re anything like me, you’ll know that this is a huge task as I do so much, but it still had to be done. This process however uncomfortable taught me a lot about myself, and it was challenging because I was doing it alongside managing the pain within my heart and mind. However, I committed to spending time with me and being still. It took a whole year before I began to see any results, and still I struggle with pain, but this grounding and balance has helped me to keep perspective, get closer to God and prioritise my health.






Sometimes we are looking for support, answers and help externally for things that only can be fixed internally. Once I took back the ownership of my internal world, I started to see my perspective of the external world change. The tears re-emerged, but I didn’t resist the healing power that comes from not holding them in. Contrary to the collective societal standard, crying is a part of my process. Sometimes the words are not enough and the inability to communicate them, often creates more frustration. Our language hasn’t evolved in sync with the complexities of our spirits, and so the non-verbal language of our heart connects with God and brings healing.



I’m writing this today as this is part of my healing, and I hope for someone a part of theirs too. Where ever you are and whatever you’re going through, together we stand and declare “This is not how my story ends;”



To the men and young men out there, your tears are not your weakness. They are your strength. Do not be ashamed of your feelings, experiences and vulnerabilities. They are an essential part of who you are in this moment, and they play a significant role in who you are growing into. To anyone out there who can relate to the above, be encouraged. If it sounds like I just described your life, be blessed. You're not alone.



Expressions from my life to yours. #SW



God Bless You All




By Better Days Global, Feb 15 2018 02:54PM



When I last wrote 'The One Constant in Mental Health', I was coming into a recovery phase in my journey with anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, since then, I have found myself struggling more than I ever have before. I still have my anxiety under control but the depression is consuming me in a way that it never has previously.


Just a few weeks after I was discharged from my CBT course and the Healthy Minds team, I woke up on a Monday morning feeling unwell. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something wasn’t right. Having attempted to get showered, dressed and have breakfast, I gave in and went back to bed. I stayed there for two days. On the Wednesday, I tried again but my head was pounding, I couldn’t concentrate, I felt so ill. I pushed myself and worked, probably a mistake. The rest of the week and into the weekend saw me trying to balance what I knew I needed for my mental health; going to the gym, running, eating healthily, not shutting people out, and what I needed physically; rest, time alone and convenience.


Fast forward two weeks, I still had the headache, I was still trying to maintain a balance. I had taken so many tablets, in attempts to relieve the pain, and tried so many other things, I had seen the doctor, I had listened to advice. I found myself signed off work. It felt like that week just kept throwing one thing after another at me, and the smallest (or biggest) thing would cause my eyes to well up. Sometimes I could hold the tears back, and sometimes it felt like I just couldn’t do anything to stop them.






Whilst I would like to say that in the last week I have improved dramatically, that isn’t the case. This is the worst I have ever been and I’m still struggling so very much. Each day is a battle. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve had to not care who sees me cry, because I can’t always control it.


Yet, in the midst of all of this, I know that God is still there. He is still so present in my life, even if right now it really doesn’t feel like it.


Some people will question how I can hold onto this. I’ll be honest, sometimes I really have no idea. But each morning I will read The Bible, because that is what I do. That is where I read the promises of God and can find His presence, even in the darkest of situations. You only need to read the story of Jesus dying on the cross to know that Jesus endured far more than I am, and you will see that God was still at work, still there, still God. I started this year being overcome by the obedience of the disciples, upping and leaving their families, their jobs, all to follow a man who just told them to ‘get up and follow me’. By apostles who were put in prison for proclaiming the name of Jesus but didn’t stop. For this reason, I will continue to be obedient. More recently, I have been focusing on the love, joy and peace that can be found in Christ. I have been focusing on the hope that I find in my Saviour. Whilst, I don’t always feel those things, I know that they are still there, still true. And they always will be. Some people might also question why I can believe in a God that would allow me to endure so much. This is harder for me to explain because I know that I have so many people praying for me and I too have prayed that this would be taken away. There are two things that I have held onto. The first is from The Bible. Romans 8 is my favourite chapter and it has my favourite verse, Romans 8:28,



‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’






I have held onto this verse so tightly for many years and I truly believe that God will use whatever happens for the glory of His name. This verse makes me think of sunrises and their beauty, but we can’t have those without the darkness of night. Or beautiful budding trees, unless they shed their leaves and withstand the bitterness of winter with nothing on their branches, they won’t flower. I trust that God is working behind the scenes and at some point, this will get better.



The second thing is a song. I love music and I listen to it all the time. A friend recently said, about me, ‘Kate lives her life through music’. This song is on a playlist I was listening to and I had never heard it until about a month ago. It’s called 'Even If' by MercyMe. This song has provided me with so much hope and comfort. I identify with these lyrics and it explains entirely how I feel as I am journeying through life right now.


For those of you who don’t understand the journey that people go on with mental health, please be patient, we can’t help what we’re feeling. For those of you don’t understand how I can trust in God, please don’t judge me, you don’t know the path I’m walking, and if you really knew God, you would understand.


People have told me how brave and strong I am to be able to speak out about my journey. Please believe me when I say that I really don’t feel brave, or strong. This is me being so vulnerable that it scares me. So many people are suffering in silence, and they needn’t. Another friend said recently, ‘we see vulnerability in others as a strength but in ourselves as a weakness’. That doesn’t add up. Vulnerability is vulnerability whoever it comes from. Being vulnerable is powerful, and I can assure you that once you’ve stepped out the first time, it’s not as bad as you think it might be (that doesn’t mean it’s not scary again though!).


Let us all live with patience and understanding, with an awareness of those around us. Let us stop being so quick to judge others when we haven’t walked in their shoes. Let us all become a little bit more vulnerable and let other people in, it helps. And ultimately let all of us hold onto hope that one day things will be better, and I believe that one day they will be. Remain hopeful, Romans 8:24-25 says this,

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.’





By Better Days Global, Dec 7 2017 11:08AM



“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.” ~Brené Brown


Every time I think I’ve unloaded most of the pain from my past, something surfaces that tells me I have more work to do. A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were cuddling one morning. I’m not sure what the trigger was, but out of nowhere, my thoughts rolled down a hill and into a painful memory that I must have blocked out.



Tears rolled down my cheeks as my whole body curled up into the fetal position. He asked me what was wrong and I slowly told him about a sexual trauma I had experienced. We are radically honest with one another. Sharing the not so beautiful has deepened our connection. I thought I had shared my darkest secrets that carry shame. I was wrong. I had minimized and buried this story. Maybe subconsciously, I was afraid he would see this situation as my fault. He absolutely didn’t, and sharing my experience with him made me feel like a heavy burden was lifted.



This last part rang especially true the following week when the #metoo hashtag went viral. It was during that week of teasing through my feelings and thoughts that I realized just how much confusion shame can create. The word shame can evoke such discomfort that we often don’t see how it shows up in our lives. If there’s one emotion I see as most prevalent and most hidden in the work I do, it’s shame. Every time I lead a workshop or retreat, there’s a common theme that I witness in nearly everyone. As humans, we all tend to feel in some way that we’re unworthy. Yet, the last thing we want to do is acknowledge our shame and vulnerability. But if left buried, shame inevitably causes harm to ourselves and our relationships. In my experience, I’ve seen firsthand how understanding and shedding light on shame can hold the key to healing.



Shame is the emotion that says, “I am bad. I am unworthy.”



It’s not that we did something bad and feel remorseful. That’s guilt. Guilt says, “I did something bad.” But shame is the internalization of “I am bad.” Most of us, even if we had kind, loving parents, grew up feeling a bit like we had to censor our true feelings and experiences. We may have done this to avoid dismay, protect others, or keep the peace in our families. We’re conditioned from a young age to feel shame when we learn who we shouldn’t be in the world. But as we get older, we don’t need others to make us feel shame. Shame becomes easily internalized and lives in that voice that says, “It’s dangerous to let others hear my story,” or, “They won’t love me if I share this secret.”



Who we are becomes fragmented so that we hide the parts of ourselves we want no one to see. We unconsciously employ defense mechanisms. While those defense mechanisms might help us to survive, they’re bound to stand in the way of having healthy relationships and growing a sense of self-love. When we’re afraid to share our vulnerable side because we believe it would render us flawed, dirty, weak, and so forth, we’re carrying shame. Shame is carried silently and secretly for fear of judgment; yet, it is the self-judgment that grows the longer we conceal our vulnerability. I refuse to keep painful secrets festering inside of me, as I know that will only keep me repressed and disempowered in the long run.



All humans experience shame, and it presents in many ways.

Here are a few examples I’ve noticed within myself that maybe you can relate to:



- Being too sensitive and emotional


- Not doing enough to “save” my mother from her death


- Being too selfish to fully want to be a mother myself


- Feeling I’m not ambitious or smart enough to live up to my potential


- Struggling to communicate clearly when I have too much in my head


- Feeling too “needy” with my partner at times


- Believing I was somehow at fault for the sexual abuses I have experienced



My personal list could go on… But what I noticed when writing this list is that while many of the original sources of shame might be specific people or society as a whole, the critic is still me. When we keep shame locked away inside, we get stuck in feelings of inadequacy. Shame may cause us to feel mentally or physically ill. Feelings of inadequacy can be accompanied by emotions such as anxiety, anger, and loneliness. And when we feel inadequate, we sometimes develop destructive ways of relating to others: avoidance, lying, blaming others, attempts to control others, and so forth.



So how can we deal with this lurking self-critic that wants to keep our stories in the dark?



1. Speak kindly to yourself.



Most likely, at some point you’ve heard the phrase, “Shame on you,” or, “You should be ashamed.” It can easily become habit to talk similarly to ourselves and challenging to learn to speak kindly.



Here’s a personal example of the latter:



- I’m sorry for making you feel the trauma you experienced was your fault.



- I forgive you for placing blame on yourself and carrying shame all these years.



- Thank you for your courage to shine light on your vulnerability and resilience.



- I love you and I commit to treating you with lovingkindness.




2. Self-soothe with movement and massage.



Think about what happens to your body when you recall a memory that carries shame. Often our bodies slump sinking our heart into the back body. Our gaze drops and our brows furrow. Emotions, including shame, reside in the body. Much of what I practice and teach relates to physical ways to release stuck emotion for this reason. If we want to reduce the unworthy and unlovable feelings we carry, it can help to self-soothe your body through dynamic movement practices like yoga and dance. Self-massage, tapping, and comforting touch while speaking kindly to yourself can help to release shame.



3. Share your story.



The most uncomfortable, but perhaps most effective method I can offer you is to share. You don’t have to share your vulnerability with the whole world. Many of my friends shared courageous, deeply personal stories on Facebook in response to #metoo. For a moment, I thought I had to share this way as well, but then I did some reflection. There are times I share my vulnerability through my blog or when I hold space for a group. But I don’t always want to share everything with strangers. In those cases, my partner is my greatest witness because of his ability to hold space for me.



Whether you share in a twelve-step program, with a loved one, or therapist, or in an article for the world to see, there’s immense healing power in this process. When our voices are heard and we’re seen just as we are, we open up the door to growing a new sense of self-love and self-worth.


Written By Melissa Noel



By Better Days Global, Oct 7 2017 07:02PM


Mental Health Illness has no face: This is something I say often, and when I further examine such a statement, I see two meanings. The first; is that anyone can be affected regardless of who they are or what they look like. The second and not so obvious is from the perspective of mental health itself. It’s hard to describe or put into a box, it disguises in many different cloaks, hides away for seasons and is somewhat a shape shifter in that it can manifest itself in different ways within different people. For the benefit of this piece, I’d like to discuss the topic of Depression. You’ll notice in the title of this article my use of the term ‘The Sunken Place’. After watching the movie ‘Get Out’, I found some words to closer describe the feeling of depression that lingers within my own life, and indeed it is like sinking into a hole within myself.


Although for many people, they may describe their experience in a different way, for me, the world saw my success and saw me as a beacon of hope and inspiration on the outside, but on the inside I was dying. I thought about my existence and sank deeper into a black hole within myself, saturated by the thickness and darkness of a troubled soul. I saw myself in a dark room. It was hot and steamy. The air was thick and was closing in on me. Through the fog I could see the outline of a door with a red beam penetrating the gaps beside and beneath it. I knew that whatever was behind that door wasn’t pleasant and wasn’t life, but I was suffocating in the room I were in. I wanted to leave the discomfort of one dark room, escape myself, and the deep torment by walking into a room of death. The idea of me leaving this pain was more pleasing to me than facing the reality that death was final. I held on longer trying to disregard my lungs seizing up, my vision became distorted, my hands clammy. I tried breathing through my mouth but felt the dark air quench my windpipe. My heart was pounding and darkness was consuming me. Every thought regarding anything other than this living hell was void and I was trapped within myself. This feeling of wanting to escape is how I feel when depression rears its ugly face and perhaps this is how you feel to, or aspects of it.


With a plethora of positive and self-help tools at my disposal, I first turned to this path trying to encourage myself. It was too late as I had layers to work through, and no amount of positive self-talk could undo the archives of internal damage residing within me. I turned to God as this is a fundamental part of my life, and learned that although my prayer is freedom from the pain, the depths of my darkness were not longer about escapism, rather learning how to navigate my way through the tunnel. This may be you today, looking for a way out of the darkness. Perhaps you have tried to get professional help, but had no success. Perhaps you have run out of options and are on the verge of giving up. Perhaps you have run out of energy and hope and your once desire to escape from dark to light is now escape from dark to nothingness. If this is you, take come ounce of comfort in knowing that you’re not alone as I too often feel like this.


For a long while I battled with what seemed at the time an oxymoron: me launching this positive platform Better-Days Global yet feeling so void. I then saw the power in taking each day one at a time and still choosing to live though I am in the sunken place. You see I believe that it’s in the pressing where we see that our prayers are indeed being answered. While I asked for an escape, God gave me strength sufficient for each day and moment. Brick by brick, step by step, I began to navigate through the dark trusting in His grace for each compartmentalized section of my life. With each hour that passed, I gain the courage to face the next until my hours turned into a full day. I’d keep the same approach for each hour of the following day until I successfully managed to make it through another day, and I am still doing the same. While some days are better than others, I know that I am making progress because I am still alive and sharing hope with others.


My actionable advice for you today is to keep pressing. Pressing doesn’t have to be a public display. Press in private. Set yourself small achievable goals just like I do. Make it through your next hour and then tackle the next. Don’t see these tiny achievements as insignificant. They are not. In-fact, they are major moments within your journey towards Better Days.


Keep your head up and your shoulders back my friend.


This is not how your story ends;



Signed Steve Whyte