The Friendship Timeline Theory That Changed My Attitude.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, when I explained the game of ‘Friendship Tennis’ I went through counselling with my local NHS mental health service. I knew I needed to seek a little guidance and help to boost myself and get me out of the dark hole I had found myself in. This was when I found out about the friendship timeline theory that changed my attitude.

One of the reassuring themes that we discussed was my overwhelming habit of feeling negative about myself and not feeling good enough.

Friendships were the reason I felt bad about myself.

Or so I thought, anyway. But I felt bad about myself because I wasn’t investing in myself enough. Thankfully, with my counsellor, I began working on my self-esteem and building it back up by doing things for myself.

Building up my self esteem is ultimately what made me feel better about myself, my life and those in it. More of that another time! If you need to boost your self esteem- this book on Amazon is amazing.

At the time though, I was always dwelling on the past. It’s an extremely common thing to do when you have anxieties. In particular, I was dwelling on those that had left my life. I was constantly blaming myself for the friendships that had departed. I was constantly questioning what was wrong with me.

It all changed when I learnt about timelines and friendships.

I once questioned my counsellor on why people leave. It was then that he gave me advice that I have taken away and never forgotten. It has completely changed my view on life and friendships. I will explain the theory below.

In life, we have a timeline. This runs linear. But what if our friendships don’t run linear? Also, imagine all of the hundreds of people that will cross our path in life. Do we really imagine that we can carry them forwards, for the rest of our lives along side us?

Friendships can’t last the entirety of our lives. There are far too many people to meet, that will weave in and out of our lives. Friendships also don’t have to run in a straight line. Some friendships come and go and come back at a later date again. Some come and then go, on with their own pathway in life.

Some friends are for a season, a reason or a lifetime.

This is a well known saying that I have heard hundreds of time. But now more than ever it makes sense. Not everyone can always be a part of your life. Some are there for a season. Some suit your current lifestyle and situation, but will not always. For example, I had a lovely group of friends at university but I haven’t remained in touch with all of them. But the ones I have, are extremely special to me.

Some people are there for a reason. They could be there to teach you something, show you want you don’t want in a friendship, or teach you about yourself. For example, a recent friend of mine I thought the absolute world of, however, after some time she became distant and then just stopped talking altogether and went on her own way. I was so upset when it initially happened, but I learnt a lot from the friendship.

I learnt not to afraid to be myself, not to cover up the good things in my life just to stop a friend getting envious. I also learnt a big lesson- if someone is talking negatively about friends of theirs, there is a good chance that is how they speak about you too. That is something I watch out for now.

Then there are lifetime friends.

Life time friends are the one that stick around for the long haul. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t weave in and out of your life. My best friend and I have been through times where we’ve been so close, then haven’t spoken as we’ve both been busy with our own lives, seeing each other all of the time to now catching up where we can. But because she is a lifetime friend, I know she’s there if I need her.

You can go weeks, months, even years not talking to these lifetime friends. When you do eventually talk, it feels like no time has past. So just because a friend is being distant with you now, if they are meant to be in your life in the long haul, they will weave in and out.

If you wanted to learn more about friendships, check out this book on Amazon.

Some friends are there for a season, a reason or a lifetime.

The correlation between friends and the effort made.

Another thing that I learnt, is you need to realistically look at how close a friend is currently and expect a certain level of effort based on that.

It doesn’t mean they will always be at that point, but take note for now;

  • If a friend isn’t a close friend, you don’t need to be talking or seeing them regularly at all. They don’t fit into your life as easily as maybe they once did. Make sure you are playing the tennis game. Effort should work both ways, but don’t expect it to be too regular.
  • If they are fairly close, but not a best friend or a daily part of your life, you will speak fairly regularly but don’t have to catch up too often in person.
  • If they are close and fit into your life perfectly at this moment in time, you will probably be speaking most days and meeting up a couple of times a month. These are your close friends for now but who knows where they will be on the friendship line in the future?

I hope that this has helped you to realise that a persons effort should be based on where they’re at in your life. I hope it has shown you that just because a friend isn’t close with you currently, that might just be for now, but in the future you may be closer.

If they have departed and are on their own pathway in life, then wish them well but know that they have served their purpose, season or reason.

Don’t forget- watch out for the toxic friendships and make sure that you are being treated right too.

This blog post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase an item, you will be charged nothing extra, however I will receive a small commission which helps towards the running of this blog, thank you.

12 Resources You Need To Help Understand Mental Health.

It’s been over 5 years since I really started to struggle with anxiety. Those 5 years have flown by. Some days, weeks, months and even years have been harder than others. But I have always stayed determined that anxiety will not beat me. I will not let it have control over the whole of my life. A massive way of helping with this, has been to research mental health and anxiety from home.

Where can you gain knowledge on mental health and anxiety from?

Lots of places! Mental health and anxiety are no different from the other topics that you’ve had to study over the course of your lifetime, from Shakespeare, photosynthesis and media studies. You can research mental health on the internet (be aware of what sites you use and make sure they are credible and the information has been well researched), books, podcasts and factual videos. So what have I found to be useful?

Books.

I have only read a few books on mental health so far, but I have read a few on mindfulness too which has also helped with anxiety symptoms. I am always reading something new that will help with mental health and anxiety. Here are a few books I would recommend so far;

  1. DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Barry McDonagh. This book helped me to learn all about anxiety and how it works. I learned so much about the brain and its functions. It also goes through the symptoms of anxiety and breaks them down with the aim that you stop being fearful of those symptoms happening but more importantly it teaches an amazing technique to help calm you down during a panic attack. This technique you can implement whenever your anxiety is rising. I could not recommend this book enough.
  2. Mental Health Wisdom: Developing Understanding & Empathy by Antony Simpson. This is a perfect starting point for anyone that wants to get clued up on mental health. It goes through the many different mental health illnesses, symptoms and has so much invaluable knowledge and wisdom embedded in it. It then goes on to list some tips on how to manage and look after your mental health and well- being. I thoroughly recommend purchasing this book. I was lucky and had this book gifted to me by the Author in return for an honest and impartial review. This review is of my own opinions and thoughts. I genuinely believe that this book will teach you a lot about mental health. I love the ideas throughout on how to top up your mental health and wellbeing. The pages on the seven essentials to be mentally and emotionally healthy and happy are especially useful for those suffering.
  3. Mindfulness in Eight Weeks: The 8 week plan to clear your mind and calm your life. If you want an extensive place to start learning about mindfulness and practising it daily in your life, then this is the book to start with. It is full of absolutely everything you need to learn about mindfulness. Practising mindfulness is shown to help improve your mental wellbeing.
  4. Like a Queen by Constance Hall. Although this isn’t aimed at people to tackle mental health, this book was invaluable. It had me laughing, tearing up and laughing some more. It was great to realise that we are all in the same boat and that we should all be less judgement and show kindness.

Apps.

We are in the age of technology. Most people find it far easier to pick up their phone these days than to open and read a book. Thankfully, you can get some great apps that are really helpful when it comes to helping with mental health issues. What have I discovered or been reccomended?

  1. 7 Cups: Online Therapy for Anxiety and Depression. This app helps you to connect with trained volunteer listeners and licensed therapists. So, if you need to reach out and connect with someone, they are there right at the other side of your phone. I think this is great for anyone that doesn’t feel confident talking over the phone or in person about anxiety or depression.
  2. Headspace: Meditation. This is a great place where you can begin to start mediation. It takes you through the process step by step. It helps to establish calm and wellbeing in your life.

For more recommendations on apps to use to help promote healthy mental health, check out this link.

Resources for Mental Health.

We are at a time where, thankfully, mental health is being spoken about a lot more these days. There are heaps of resources to help you through a trying and testing time in life. Type into Amazon ‘mental health’, ‘mindfulness’ or ‘self help’ and you will find a ton of books dedicated to those that will help you. Do the same on your app store and you will find free and paid apps that you can download. Not only is it spoken about more now, but there are loads of resources and charities that are helping end the stigma and offer help with these draining and horrendous illnesses. Here are some websites worth checking out:

  1. Time to Change.
  2. Mental Health Foundation.
  3. NHS England.
  4. Mental Health UK.
  5. Mind; Dorset.
  6. Samaritans.

This month is Mental Health Awareness month. So if you or a loved one is suffering with your mental health, then looking at the above resources will help to gain knowledge and understanding in the area. It will not only give you wisdom, but it will also help give tips and help so that you can help yourself or your loved one make it through this difficult and testing time. Next week is Mental Health Awareness week. Show your support by sharing this blog, or any of the above resources on your social media pages. Spread the information like wildfire. Open up about it, as it’s extremely important to talk about mental health. You never know, you could be saving a life.

If you need somewhere to start, then my post on How to begin tackling anxiety should be of some help.

Mental health awareness month is May.

Keep an eye out next week for my very first post with Dorset Mind. It’s on a topic I think we can all relate to; Body Image. In the mean time, I would appreciate it if you could share or like this post on here and on social media. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter too (links above).

If you have any questions, then please leave a comment below and get in touch. I would love to hear from you.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click on these and order the items, it will not cost you anymore but I will receive a small commission which helps to keep the running of this blog.

Why It’s OK To Change Direction In Life And Quit What Drains You

For anyone that follows me on my Facebook page you will know that last week was a difficult week for me. It started off positively. Then a curveball came.

Life is good at throwing curveballs. They knock you off your feet and it’s up to you to scramble to get up again. If this has ever happened to you, you’ll know that at times it’s difficult to continue as normal. So, we have to adjust and redirect ourselves back to a path. Perhaps this is a new path, but still, it’s one that is going forwards and that’s all that matters.

What caused me to change direction?

Well for a few months now, I was questioning things. I had my fingers in too many pies, so to speak and I was stretching myself out way too much over various different things. How could I go on like this? I was exhausted, drained. So, I had my doubts for a few months that I may need to switch things up and to make a few sacrifices. But I needed a push, a reminder that this was necessary. So I had an appointment with a business coach.

He reminded me why I shouldn’t be so stretched out; all of my projects required a certain level of commitment and energy and I didn’t have enough to go round so everything suffered. By putting limited time and energy into all of it, I wasn’t getting anywhere fast but I was fastly exhausting myself. Enough was enough.

I hate making difficult decisions.

But as we know, throughout life there will be a great number of times when we do need to make a decision. We need to be logical, weigh up the advantages and disadvantages and come to a conclusion. And that’s what I did. Now for someone that often suffers with anxiety, let me tell you now, decision making is really not a strong point. But nether the less, I made one.

If you want to read what the 6 positives of having anxiety are, click here.

Once I made my decision, I cried. Anxiety thrives off uncertainty and suddenly that’s all I could see- an uncertain future. I am never one to quit things or to give in- you can thank my fear of failure and stubbornness for that- and so my anxiety set in. Then my emotions went. I cried. I cried for what I saw as failure, embarrassment but I cried because I knew I had to give up on something that I genuinely loved doing. But I knew it was for the best.

4 years ago I started writing a parenting blog.

I have put in so many hours into this blog and worked so hard on it. But after a while, I was putting in so much more than I was getting back. It became a chore. But it was a brand I’d built up that I didn’t want to let go of. Only I knew I had to.

It was the first thing I ever did for myself and to help me indulge in my writing passion. It was my project. Another baby of mine. But by the end, it had me drained. So many hours went into it and I got no return.

I was sick of never catching up with my jobs. I was tired of how much I had to juggle. Then I got the advice I needed to hear- that I needed to give something up.

It didn’t make me a failure.

If anything I had 4 years worth of written work to act as a portfolio for my future writing projects and clients. But more than that- it showed the growth of me as a writer, a mother and a person. I had grown. My blog had grown. My writing had gotten better, more emotive and the blogs were more attractive looking. My very first writing project had done what was needed- it had taught me so much, helped me to connect with wonderful people, given me experience and most importantly enjoyment. Now it was time to move on.

So that’s what I’ve done. I’m now focusing my time and efforts into writing projects for other people. Why other people and not myself? Well it lessens my work load this way- I’m not the one solely responsible for the words from start to finish. Meaning, I have more time on my hands to enjoy my family and to stop burning myself out.

It also means that I have more time on my hands to grow this blog- one that I started only a year ago but already I see so much promise with it. A blog that can actually help other people. I have a passion for parenting, yes, as I enjoy my children and love them to pieces but now they’re older- I want to keep moments with them more private as I’m sure they will respect that. But I have a passion for opening up about mental health; not enough people talk about it and the world needs that now more than ever.

Read more about my journey of mental health in my blog post Me Against Anxiety.

So, here I am.

I look forward to writing many more posts for you all.

So if you’ve ever had a project that is draining you, but you’re too stubborn to give it up- just try and let go. As they say; as one door closes, another one opens.

Don’t let the anxiety and uncertainty scare you- take a leap into the unknown. You never know, what you think is a failure is actually a lesson- and it’s time to take that forward.

Also- you can always return when you’ve grown elsewhere. Which I may well do one day. 

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I am taking a break over the Easter holidays to focus on some much needed family time and on another exciting opportunity. I will be back to publishing some fresh new content in a few weeks. So please do go and follow this Facebook page and get some mini doses till then.