How can one small canine change somebodies life!

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Permission given by the writer to share, Thank you.
Wow, 9 weeks ago my life was turned upside down! The waiting was over and this bundle of fur had landed in my life. I was warned of the sleepless nights, the joys of toilet training and needing to puppy proof my house. Within hours this little man had made himself at home in both my house and my heart.
I struggled big time with the concept of me being his ‘mummy’, how could I be a mum to a dog when I had no children of my own? Surely you have to earn the right to be a mum? Yet I have become his mummy, he looks to me for food, for comfort, for reassurance, for guidance, to be told no and for unconditional love.
He has tested me, but also understands my limitations and needs. I need my sleep so he lies in at weekends and I’m often awake before him. My pain levels may be high some days and on those days he doesn’t jump as much or pull on the lead. Heknows sometimes just curling up on the sofa under a blanket is enough.
My boy is not perfect, he nips, he doesn’t listen, he chews,eats everything in sight, refuses to put his lead on a for a walk yet it’s always me he returns to for love and guidance.
They say dogs can be therapy and in 9 weeks I’ve learnt so much about myself. I’ve had to challenge myself to do things out of my comfort zone (puppy classes are suffered), meeting new people, not being number one, pushing my physical boundaries and accepting that my evenings are often not found. But I’ve also learnt to love walking again, to enjoy the world around me, the colours of autumn, the sun sets (we don’t see sun rises, he is too lazy to be up), the joy of watching a pup play. Having a reason to stop work everyday and take lunch breaks has been refreshing.
Some days I may shout, I may cry, I may wonder what I was thinking taking him on but each and every day he makes me smile, he makes me laugh and he gives the best cuddles and lots of love. So even when things are going wrong or I’ve had a bad day I can finish work and my boy is pleased to see me and wants to spend time with me.
I will end where I started, this pup has made his home in my house and my heart and I wouldn’t be without him and the love he has brought into my life.

Traditions

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So if you have read any of my recent blog posts you will most likely remember my spring cleaning blog from a couple of weeks ago.

Well here we are going from the miserable and lost spring and jumping straight head first into summer, and hasn’t it arrived quick.

I don’t know about you all but I started off my week in Leicestershire wearing a woolie jumper to work then yesterday found myself in a mini heatwave totally unprepared!

Yes I know it was all over the news!! But come on how many times has it been wrong? So I was caught out.

I follow a family tradition, don’t ask me why, but I do, every year in the spring I pack my winter clothes away into storage and out comes my summer stuff and vise versa.

For me I find it kind of cathartic, washing away the last season and getting ready for the next block. Ie warm vs chilly. Christmas season vs summer holidays.

My mum used to put her clothes away as did her mum and now do I. A family tradition that has passed down to me.

So yesterday I decided to have a therapeutic cleanse of my wardrobe, deciding what really does and doesn’t fit? What I actually do and do not wear, and what I will wear this year.

For me this was like washing away the emotions of the previous year, putting the emotions away with last seasons clothes. Challenging myself as I reflect over the positives and negatives of the previous months.

It was my time to take a little bit of positive control to make some choices for the future about me.

This gave me the chance to think about me as a person, about family traditions and how behaviours are inherited, whether healthy or unhealthy. Often this is without our knowledge.

Learned behaviours can cause us to stay in certain thinking patterns through life.

There is thought that we learn from parent’s, grandparents, teachers, friends, siblings, TV and nowadays the internet.

All of these modes of learning show the child examples of behaviour to observe and imitate for instance masculine and feminine, good and bad, angry and sad, positive and negative and so on.

Talking therapy can help to work through these emotional issues. You may be dealing with learned behaviour throughout your life, not realising that they are infact somebody else’s issues and not actually yours. You don’t have to carry them around any more.

click here to learn more about how counselling can help you.

Top trump problems vs unconditional listening.

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Who feels like they are wanting to talk about their problems yet find they are always being top trumped by somebody?

Why does this happen, when all you needed was somebody to really listen. So where do you find the right person?

Maybe this has been going through your thoughts?

Have you been considering going to your GP to ask for some help?

Are you feeling out of sorts and just don’t know why? Or maybe you do know why!

First of all do you have that somebody to talk to? When I say talk to, I mean somebody who you can really talk openly to, who will listen to you, without interruption, nonjudgemental and not go on about their issues.

Sometimes our friends and family without even knowing can give you their problem just when you don’t need it. When you need empathy, to be held in strength, whilst you talk openly to explore your emotions and feel your pain. Whilst a friend may offer you sympathy, this may be OK until your friend feels sorry for you. After all how can they feel your pain? For some individuals they may like this however it is non productive.

Remember this is not a game of top trumps. These are your emotions and you are allowed to talk about them.

You don’t have to compete to find our who has the worst problem.

Does it feel that way sometimes?

Is it time to consider counselling? When you enter your counselling initial session you will notice the counselling relationship, you may notice the difference. The counsellor is there for you. This is your time, a time and space for you to be open, to talk about you unconditionally in a confidential setting.

It may be the right time for you to be listened to.

Click here to find out more.

Battles

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Throughout life each and every one of us will face some kind of a battle, whether this is big or small, facing a loss, an illness, a breakup, trauma or work issues. It could be family or friendship battles or battles with your neighbours. Whatever this is, this battle to you is your own personal battle.

Are you living in a battle zone right now or do you feel that you are busy picking up the pieces?

Think about what is going on around you.

Who’s in battle right now? Is this you? Or are you watching a battle with family or friends.

Do you feel judged by the choices that you are making? Unable to take control? Struggling to decide what is right or wrong?

When you are in that battle zone with advise being thrown from all areas, what do you do? Who do you listen to?

It’s easy just to put your head down in the sand and wait until the all clear. Some may want to go full force and battle every corner come what may, and look back on the injured parties later. Then what. Is it too late either way?

Living in that battleground, protecting yourself is hard if you are feeling the judgment, the ‘haven’t you got over it yet, the lack of support or the ‘told you so’s’.

We all need some support, encouragment and a listening ear. But are family and friends often too close? Would an impartial ear help? Somebody you can trust, have confidence in and know they won’t judge you know matter what you tell them.

How does judging help a person? Because deep down we know it doesn’t but we all do it, don’t we? After all, we all need to make choices in our lives which can be tricky, testing and hard for us. Which for others may seem easy.

So outside looking in, the judgement begins, the shoulda, woulda, coulda.

When all that person needs is somebody to listen.

They have their own internal battle, they don’t need other people to help join in.

Independent support offers you a confidential place to talk openly about anything, somewhere you will not feel judged and a place you may find resolution.

Counselling at counselme.

My visit to meet Simon and Gloria at Claridges. Afternoon tea anyone?

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Wow, has it really been 5 years since that amazing day? The best tea party I could ever imagine being invited to (well apart from a ‘Mad Hatter’s’), I was sat eating cake and drinking tea with Brendan Cole at Claridges, just Wow. How surreal! I kept waiting for Alice to jump out of a hole! What an awesome feeling to be invited to meet Simon Cowell and Gloria Hunniford and their guests.

But I am forgetting the most important part, why I am there?

Let’s rewind a few months.

If you have read any of my other blogs you will know son no. 3 has a diagnosis of Autism, he was diagnosed at 6 yrs of age. Although we have always known from a very young age that something was just not quite right, this diagnosis still came as such a huge shock to us. I am sure many parents will probably agree.

Our path to diagnosis was rocky and took many years of battles, as people who are going through it will empathise, but throughout some if this we had some amazing support from an amazing charity called face2face. This charity was ran by scope. I had an amazing befriender who was a huge support, she was a listener, a friend, an ear and was there when nobody else was. Now I am not saying that nobody else was there, but at that time it felt like I was supermum and carried everyone, I had to because if I didn’t then everyone around me would collapse. William was born as a BBA, a bit of a traumatic experience which then led me onto PND which I coped with but didn’t really deal with when you have a child who never sleeps. She taught me that I could put my backpack down and learn to look after me. She was an amazing befriender.

Being a mum of a child living with a disability is hard work, nobody wanted to help, to listen, to be there when he screamed, punched, kicked or had a meltdown. Why would they I wouldn’t or would I.

So as the weeks went on and life got easier, I realised friendships were there as I released the grip on the backpack.

Then I was asked to make a film clip for the health lottery. Me? Talk about being a mum with a child living with Autism? Really? Wow.

So we did!

Me and my befriender talked about how she had helped me and I talked about living with son no.3.

What it’s like sleepless nights, a friendless boy, the struggles, the lack of invites to parties, the struggles of mainstream school, living with family who just don’t understand the issues of an invisible disability.

A child who doesn’t eat, doesn’t wear certain clothes, like loud noises, but loves the firmness of hugs and cuddles.

I remember reading a poem about going on a trip to Holland but thinking your going to Spain with your friends. You get off the plane and realise it’s not what you expect, it’s ok, its sunny, there are nice people, and you get on.

That is what Face2Face has taught me. I have met some wonderful people over the years. I am not where I started when he was born. That doesn’t matter life moves on. People can’t all be expected to cope with ‘my’ stuff.

He is an amazing boy making friends and going to parties. Life moves on and changes. Holland is good.

So now lets fast forward to the invite, we are both sat in a tea party at Claridges, there are television screens all around us. Dotted around are celebrities, I remember it just felt crazy. Then the film played. Finally we are asked to go on stage to a standing applause. Wow! hugs tears and emotions. Autism is noticed, Disability is noticed! My son has helped to make Autism heard.

World Autism Awareness Week.

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Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that happens all over the world, not just in your country. Autism affects how an individual communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

I see Autism every single day, this is not just because I am a counsellor offering my support.

This is because my child, son 3, has a diagnosis of Autism. He was diagnosed at 6 yrs of age.

So is that it for him now? Is that who he is now? Is that us as a family? Is that now the label forever?

Why?

Gosh, thinking back I remember buying and reading so many books when we were struggling. I would be that supermum who was prepared, who would get her son through the diagnosis and ensure him the help he needed but really my insides were like a washing machine on a fast cycle just Arrrrrrrrrrr. Constant thoughts of ‘Is this it forever????’

Thankfully we had amazing support and began our roller-coaster journey, which brought the lightbulb moment!

With this much needed help we learnt that Autism does not define who our son is, our son is who he wants to be!

After all, our number 2 son has asthma, but that is not who he is. So why should Autism be who our number 3 son is?

Ok so who knows what Autism is? How many of you would know the signs of Autism? Do you think you work with anybody diagnosed Autism, live with anybody with undiagnosed Autism?

Think about your work place?

Think about your friendship groups?

Maybe consider if you have children, yours or your children’s friends?

Now what is Autism for us?

I remember when we had son number 3, thinking there was something not quite right, he would never make eye contact, he did not sleep, this lasted until he was 6 years of age. He had huge sensory issues, loved lots of cuddles but then didn’t liked to be touched. As he was growing up he couldn’t cope with certain foods or clothes. Then there was the sensory issue with noise and light. His conversations were very much like a little old man rather than his age, very eccentric. He had a love/ obsessions and collections. This still continues, he can name every dinosaur, cat breed and Pokemon. Ask him a math question and he walks away (no he isn’t rain man)

Remember though, that if you meet one person with Autism you have met a person with Autism. My child still has a personality and he really has an amazing personality! Although he does miss the all important filter!!

Autism is not bad, it is not a disease. And no it is not catching. So yes children with a diagnosis of Autism can still be invited to play dates / to parties and sleep overs if they want. Adults still want friendships, want to go to work and want to be included in office parties even if they leave after an hour or only go when it’s paint balling or to a Spa day. It’s choice.

Autism needs awareness around the world, but not just for a week, because believe it or not, I will not be locking son no.3, in a closet after these 7 awareness days until the next Autism awareness week. 😉😉

He is extremely lucky, he attends an amazing Autism specific school, he is now achieving and has a supportive network around him. He has 2 supportive and loving older brothers. But soon, one day he will go out into the big wide world as an adult with autism. As a mum that is a scary thought when you think of what is out there.

Living with son no.3 has taught me so much. Autism is not to be scared of.

We need not judge a square peg in a round hole. We are all different in this world that we live in. Accept difference.

Find out more about counselling.

A little spring cleaning.

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Who’s ready for Spring?

The spring season is really here, the brighter nights are coming, believe it or not we will soon be changing the clocks and the spring flowers are starting to arrive. But we seem to be missing the important weather that we are so very used to. We keep having snow, rain, and freezing winds which is some what annoying! Well it is for Subconscious Healing and our beagle walks!

So we need to ensure that this weather does not make us feel negative, low or sad. These feelings could stop you wanting to do what you would normally want to do in the spring because it has dragged on for what seems to be such a long time.

So we need to make a change!!

Today was my change day! I decided it was my spring clean day! On went the music and out came the cleaning spray. Whilst I was enjoying this therapeutic cleaning, I was scrubbing away, singing and dancing away my winter blues, some of the beast from the east chills and also having a real warm up. It motivated me to think of some of the plans that I would like to achieve, it also allowed me to close a few doors and gave me a chance to move forward on a clean pathway.

I wonder what would help motivate you to move forward whilst the cold is still carrying on?

What do you feel a need to clear away? What would help to get you motivated? It is scary the amount of unnecessary stress and emotion that our bodie’s seem to hold. Start a clean slate for spring and summer! Visit counselme for more information.