Online Counselling -Making Talking To Someone Easy.

The official definition of Telemedicine is: ‘the diagnosis and treatment of patients via telecommunications technology.’

When I first heard that medicine was branching out into Telemedicine, I really wasn’t sure how it would work. How could a doctor diagnose your symptoms based on what you described in a live chat? Surely they would not be able to their job accurately without feeling your abdomen, or manipulating a limb, or taking your vital signs with their equipment. But then I thought about all the areas of medicine there are and how the approach to helping patients needs to be different for each and every patient to get the best care possible. Not everyone needs to have their pulse taken. Sometimes they just need to know that someone is listening to them.

There is such a big campaign at the moment in the media and through out the Internet to try and get help to anyone out there who is suffering from mental health issues. There are many people who suffer in silence, for a number of reasons, but often because they are unsure of where to turn to for help or because asking for help is just too frightening.

BetterHelp, who are an excellent online counselling company, approached me and asked me to write this article about how Telemedicine can be so helpful to someone who has some mental health issues, whether they are looking for some guidance and counselling or just to talk to someone about a difficult period in their life.

BetterHelp is made up of a bank of qualified therapists who all have knowledge and expertise in the field of mental health. You are matched with a therapist, who you can speak to through the Internet either on your computer or phone via video chatting or instant messaging facilities.

There are many benefits of talking to a counsellor online, but the one that I feel is most prominent is that sometimes it is easier to talk to someone about how you feel through a keyboard than it is face to face. We live in a world where many people make friends through social media because there is a greater sense of ease when typing how you feel rather than trying to explain it in words while feeling the social pressures that come with face to face conversations. Especially when the subject matter you are talking about is sensitive and difficult for you to express. Talking to a counsellor online means you can take the time to review what you have typed, make adjustments so you can say exactly what you want to, and send it when you are absolutely ready.

You can have these conversations with your online counsellor from the comfort of your own home, or in an environment where you feel safe, rather than going to a medical office, which can be a very stressful experience.  As these services are online, another positive of online counselling is that everyone can access these services. It doesn’t matter if there are factors in your life which make leaving the house extremely difficult or if you need to fit the appointments around the other commitments in your life, having resources online means it can fit in with you.

Obviously, online counselling might not be the right path for everyone,  but the positives of it may reduce the stresses and the reasons why someone has not sought out help before now, giving them a real opportunity to access some much needed professional help.

The Internet has changed so many ways in which we do things, and the ideas of Telemedicine shows that the Internet can help us in the medical world too, by eliminating barriers and spreading help to hard to reach places and to people feeling vulnerable and unable to speak out.

To find out more about BetterHelp and the services they provide, please follow the link: https://www.betterhelp.com/online-counseling/

When suffering from mental health issues, sometimes the help you need can come from the most surprising places. I hope that one of you out there reading this finds this article helpful and it gives you some confidence that there is a pathway to some help that is perfect for you.

Much love at this festive time,

Sarah x

Please note: This is a paid partnership with BetterHelp, however the speech and thoughts explained in this article are my own. This article cannot be used as a substitute for medical advice. I am just presenting an alternative way to access mental health advice. Thank you.

Positive Quotations

In this week’s post, I would to share with you some of my favourite quotes which help me in everyday life. If you put ‘positive quotes’ into Google, all sorts of results come at you and it can be quite overwhelming. Sometimes they can be so idealistic that you think it will be totally impossible to achieve that. I am hoping that by sharing a few quotes with you, it will make them seem more accessible and hopefully speak out to you. Please note, the way I have interpreted these quotes is my opinion only and not related to the accreditation of the quote. Things can be interpreted differently and this is only my opinion!

 

Keep facing the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow...

Keep facing the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow – Helen Keller.

I see this quote as a reminder that we always have a choice. If you choose to face the sun, the warmth, the bright and peachy side of life, then you won’t see the darkness that can cloud our judgement. It is a reminder than what you focus on occupies your thoughts. If you choose to look at the light and the positive, then you won’t be thinking about the negative. Your brain can only think about one thing at once, so make it a positive thought.

 

Be mindful

Be Mindful, Be Grateful, Be Positive, Be True, Be Kind. – Roy T Bennett.

Each of these statements are all things that we know. Each one seems obvious. But in the hectic lifestyles we live today, sometimes it is nice to just stop and think about the things that are really important to you. In this world that we live in today, with all the anger and the hate that flies around us, it is nice to think about how we should live our lives. Be mindful of others, be kind to all, be true to yourself and what you believe in. The real core of what being alive really means.

 

be the reason someone smiles,be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness of people

Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness of people. – Roy T Bennett

It’s Mr Bennett again! I love this quote because it is such a reminder that sometimes we can be so obsessed with what is happening to ourselves that we forget to take a look around and see what is happening to those around us. There may be someone closer than you think who is having a rough time and would really appreciate a hug or for you to stop and say hello. I am not saying get talking to strangers on the bus, but have a think about a friend you haven’t heard from for a while and just check they are OK. There are so many people in the world who have mental health issues and a lot of people often say: ‘It didn’t look like there was anything wrong.’ when that person feels like they cannot go on. Checking up on that friend who is a bit quiet might just be what they needed to hear.

 

Henry Ford

Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you will always be right. – Henry Ford.

This quote for me totally sums up the mind/body connection. If you believe you can do something, you will do it. If you convince yourself you cannot do it, you won’t. Simple as. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from or what you are doing, if you tell yourself you can’t, then you won’t! I have had this quote of my bedroom wall throughout all of my exam periods, GCSEs, A-Levels and University to remind me that when the going gets tough, I will do it. It may be hard, it may take time but I will get there.

 

Thank you for reading my four favourite quotes and I hope my explanations and thoughts on each one will have given those reading this some food for thought and hopefully made each quote a little more accessible. Hopefully you can see the applications they would have to your own life and I hope they spread a little positive and love!

Sarah x

Are you being cyber bullied?

Cyber bullying post

The last 20 years has seen the rise in the wonderful world that is social media, without which I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. But what happens when this amazing tool designed to connect people together is misused? Unfortunately, being concealed behind a screen seems to give people the confidence to say hurtful and direct things that would not be said in real life.

I touched on this subject a few weeks ago about being more mindful about what we say over the Internet and how written words are different from spoken ones. Leading on from this, this blog post is a practical guide for those of you out there experiencing cyber-bullying.

Cyber-bullying is when messages of threat, intimidation or upset are sent to another individual or group with the intent of causing hurt or harm. Unfortunately, wherever you go in life, there is always going to be someone who gets a little bit of pleasure from upsetting others, for whatever reason. But when this upset is coming at you through your phone or laptop, when you cannot even see the person, it can be so intimidating.

Here are a few advice points that I have written to help someone experiencing cyber bullying:

1.You do not deserve to be treated like that.

Firstly, remind yourself that you don’t deserve to be treated badly by ANYONE. That’s a general rule of life. No one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself. EVER. Tell yourself that it is not your fault that you are in this situation. If someone else chooses to say nasty things to you, that is their choice, but how you deal with the situation is totally your decision and in your control.

 

2.Don’t respond or retaliate.

This is an important one. However tempting it might be to let rip and put this bully in their place, don’t! Because A) throwing shade back makes you just as bad as them, but also B) it is not going to help the situation, it is 100% going to make it worse and more often than not, it is going to make the situation escalate. More often than not, bullies are looking for a reaction from you so they know they have upset you. Retaliating to hurtful texts is just playing into their hands.

 

3.Don’t take matters into your own hands.

In the world of social media, things very easily go viral. So don’t be tempted, instead of messaging back, to share the posts/text messages with as many people as possible to ‘make an example of the bullies.’ This is cyber bullying too. Plain and simple. Don’t sink to their level. You are better than that.

 

4.Save the evidence.

The best thing about cyber bullying is that everything is written down, meaning you can save, screenshot or print what has been said. It eliminates the ‘well, she said…’ ‘No I didn’t…’ argument because it is written down for all to see. Save the evidence of abusive messages with the date and time stamp on them if possible. If things escalate, then you have proof to support what you are saying.

 

5.Tell an trusted adult and think about your next move together.

Whatever is being sent to you, you must tell an adult. A parent, a teacher, a neighbour, anyone you trust. Not so they can sort the problem out for you but so you can talk through what you want to do together. Two heads are always better than one. It also gives you a good opportunity to calm down and talk through what has happened before you decide what to do next. Anything done in the heat of the moment is often regretted. Take some time and get someone else’s opinion.

A trusted adult on your side will also be able to give some support if you want to make your school aware of what is going on on social media or if it is a matter for the police to deal with. This obviously depends on your individual situation but it is something to consider with someone you can openly talk to.

 

6.Use the social media tools available.

As standard and as a tool to protect their users, all social media platforms have a ‘Report User’ function for you to make them aware of unwanted happenings. They can then decide if the bully needs a time out or if they have violated the platform rules and need their account disabling all together.

If this feels a bit drastic to you, you might feel like blocking the person from contacting you is a more appropriate action for your situation. You should probably do that anyway so they cannot make contact with you.

 

7.Resilience is learnt.

One positive outcome of cyber bullying is a built up resilience, which is a skill that will be super helpful later in life. If someone is sending you horrible messages, the best thing to do would really be to ignore it. As hard as that sounds, they will soon stop it if they get no reaction.

When a new message pops up from that dreaded account, don’t open it. Just delete it. Whatever it contains, it won’t be helpful or add joy to your life so you don’t need to see it. If it carries on, use a different social media platform to connect with your friends. Remove yourself from the situation. The bullies will soon get bored and move on. It can be so hard to think like this when you are in the middle of a horrible situation but I promise you, it will end at some point. Each time you ignore a message, it will strengthen you. It will get easier. It will make you laugh at how ridiculous they are. Cue funny picture about how silly online bullies are:

IMG_1517

You are in control because you can walk away. Or turn off your phone in this case.

 

If you know someone who is being cyber bullied, be there for them. They would really appreciate someone to talk to about it. Quite often people don’t want someone to swoop in and save the day, just knowing there is someone there so they are not going through it alone is often just the support they need.

My final piece of advice, and it is an important one, is this:

Please, please, PLEASE think about the things you are sending to other people electronically, whether it is over social media or texts or emails. Even when you are sending things to people who are your friends. How often do we see in the news that a celebrity’s sex tape has been leaked, or naked pictures that were sent to a boyfriend have ended up on the Internet for the world to see? Once it is on the Internet, it will always be on the Internet, you loose control over who sees it or shares it. Please think before sending anything so that you don’t end up in a difficult situation in the future. Please protect yourself. As sad as it sounds, people who are your friends currently may not always be your friends. If you aren’t prepared to put it on a bulletin board for the world to see then don’t send it to anyone!

Sarah x