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Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a cruel and manipulative form of emotional abuse. The term comes from a 1938 play. In the play, a husband leads his wife along a convoluted path of deception and lies. To have her inheritance to himself, he needs his wife out of the picture, locked into what was then called an insane asylum. To convince her that she is indeed crazy, he plays mind games, such as turning down the gas lamps in the house and convincing her that she’s imagining or forgetting things. The play was so chilling that the title became synonymous with abusive behaviour that seeks to control someone fully and completely, essentially making him/ her a puppet. 

Is someone in your life trying to control you by sneakily and insidiously making you question your own thoughts and perceptions? Because it happens so gradually, you might not realize what’s going on. A few things to watch for:

  • Do you think someone is lying to you, but when you mention it, the person turns the lies on you?
  • Do you find yourself questioning yourself often?
  • Do you feel that you have no control in the relationship?
  • Do you feel like you’re slowly losing your mind?

​Gaslighting is harmful. Find at least one person you trust and begin to share what you’re experiencing.

Have you tried music therapy?

Music and music therapy help mental health. Research has shown it is of benefit as have numerous individuals who might listen to music without even realizing that it’s a powerful mental health tool. Music speaks to us at a deep level, impacting what we feel, think, and do.

Music plays an important role in healing from various challenges such as trauma, grief, and anxiety. It helps us create positive moods and build on those moods to increase mental health and well-being.

To reap the benefits of music, you can sing, dance, play an instrument, and listen. You can do these things informally on your own, and you can also participate in music therapy. I offer music therapy when indicated.  ​

Online? Avoid being Overwhelmed by information overload

Has information overload affected your mental health? With the advent of the world wide web we all have a wealth of information at our fingertips anytime we want it. This can be a good thing. Knowledge is power.However it can also be a hindrance. Too much time spent surfing for data can be overwhelming and increase feelings of depression and /or anxiety.  Sometimes, conflicting information on how to deal with mental health challenges can be found. Additionally, other people’s stories and struggles can become a weight on us. Stories can be inspiring, but  too much, can overload and be upsetting.

You can prevent or decrease information overload, by:

  • Limiting your time online
  • Establishing a purpose for being online and sticking to activities that match that reason
  • Dealing with a flood of information, some conflicting, by writing down a few “facts” for later consideration (and maybe further online searching) then putting it aside

The online world offers many benefits. When you take steps to buffer yourself against information overload, your experience will be less overwhelming and more mentally healthy.

Grief

Post originally written 13 May 2019

Two years to the day my father lost his battle with cancer. During these two years I have been through the five stages of grief as explained by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. During his battle I did most of my bargaining, not with the medical professionals, but with God, asking for a little more time with him. I got 9 months from the time of his diagnosis. Denial came soon after my father’s death, every car that looked like his I would look to see if it was my father. This was my unconscious denying what my conscious already knew. Depression or unexplained sadness has hit me during the most inopportune times during these two years.  I cope with this my letting it happen and allowing memories of my father to come to me. Allowing tears to slip down my face. Anger has popped up when life has happened, be it good or less than good events. I want to share these moments with my father only to realise he is no longer there, and then anger sets in. These moments pass by once again by me thinking of my father and remembering what he would say or do. I have moved back and forth through these stages, even acceptance. Two years later I can look back and say “Daddy you live on in my heart and in my mind. You helped shape me, in life and in death, into the  woman I am today”. 

Practicing gratitude when it’s hard to be grateful

Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness for someone or something in your life. However, what if you just don’t feel grateful? When you’re wrestling with mental health challenges, relationship problems, or other stressors, it can be difficult to find something for which to be thankful. It’s in difficult times like these, though, that cultivating gratitude is more important than ever.


Gratitude doesn’t always start with a feeling. It’s also not even a thought, at least not initially. Gratitude is a neutral observation that comes with a sense of openness to possibilities. Begin to notice things about yourself and your world in new ways. When your mind gravitates to the negative, gently shift it to more positive thoughts.  By simply noticing the good, the practice of gratitude is begun.  
Gratitude is empowering because it’s a choice. Shifting your focus is a choice you make, and in practicing this, you’re honing a skill. Gratitude is the ability to purposefully shift your attention to the positive. 

Clear mental and physical clutter to improve mental health

Clearing clutter in your mind as well as in your environment helps you feel and function better. Cleaning up inside and out will reduce the chaos in your head, energize you, relax you, and reduce anxiety and stress. Those living with these mental disorders can also benefit from decluttering and organising.

​Try these approaches to make it easier:

  • Start small, working in one room or one part of the room.
  • Plan what you want and the steps you need to take.
  • Use color-coded totes to group similar items.
  • Play music for enjoyment.
  • Take breaks. Set a reminder timer if needed.
  • Ask for help or companionship.
  • Reward yourself when you complete a task.

Decluttering your environment declutters your mind and positively impacts how you think, feel, and live. It can be a satisfying way to improve your mental health.

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