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Addiction, left untreated, is a life threatening issue that can take its form in drugs, alcohol, work, gambling, screens, self-harm, food and exercise to name a few. You will find that you are repeatedly prioritising your drug of choice over previously important aspects of your life. You will be repeatedly attempting to change how you may feel and suffer emotional or physical withdrawal when you stop, you might struggle to stay stopped or in control for any extended length of time. Fear and Shame clocked in denial often accompany an addiction so if you suspect you might need help...do it now.
Eating Disorders come in the form of Anorexia, Bulimia, Overeating/Binge Eating disorder and Orthorexia.
Anorexia - is the refusal to maintain a normal body weight. Anorexics might appear underweight and struggle with eating and drinking.
Bulimia - is a binge and purge cycle, how this manifests varies form person to person. Bulimics can purge through vomiting, laxative, exercising, starving, restricting and self harming. Bulimics can be any weight depending on their compulsive behaviours.
Overeating/Binge Eating Disorder - is the compulsive need to overeat. Be this through activley bingeing, feeling the need to snack throughout the day or night or overeating at or after meal times. Overeaters might present as overweight.
Orthorexia - is an obsession with healthy eating. Orthorexics can present as someone who is looking after their diet really well, however their need to control what they eat is causing them distinct pain and distress.
You may experience one, two, three or all of these manifestations of an eating disorder. Whatever your experience you will frequently find yourself lying about what you've eaten, when and where. You may feel like you are living in 'borrowed body' and have a highly distorted sense of self and body image.
Codependence is usually the result of developmental trauma or a family of origin experience that was less that nurturing. In order to protect our selves from being hurt again we create adapted parts of ourselves which allow us to look 'sorted' and feel 'in control' but move us further and further away from our authentic self - resulting in imense internal conflict and emotional pain. Codependents frequently present as either too dependent or anti dependent. They experience a desperate need to be liked, loved and accepted demonstrated through extensive people pleasing and dominant or submissive compulsive helping. Their self esteem depends on it. Codependents might have a sense of deep rooted resentment but have trouble expressing themselves honestly. They often find themselves in relationships with narcissistic or high maintenance partners. Recovery from codependence involves extensive self esteem work and boundary setting in order to develop a sense of self without the need to control others (submissivley or otherwise).
Most of the above symptoms are developed as a way to cope with complex trauma. This includes but is not limited to, emotional neglect and abuse, living with a mentally unwell or addicted family member, bullying, sexual abuse, bereavement, abandonment, rejection, enmeshment (when someone uses another to help themselves feel better), physical abuse, witnessing abuse of another the list goes on. Developmental trauma might also present in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) like symptoms, a difficulty getting into or out of relationships, over or under reactions as well as anxiety, depression, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and self harming behaviours. Recovery from trauma is challenging but very possible.
Self-Harm can manifest as cutting, bruising, burning, banging, picking, bone breaking and ingesting dangerous substances. Research shows that self-harmers are highly likely to have a history of trauma and the behaviour acts as a way to regulate long standing internal pain. Often associated with attachment disorders, self harm can be an attempt to cope with difficult feelings of abandonment and enmeshment. If you find your self hurting yourself or wanting to hurt yourself it is important you seek help as soon as possible
Depression is a common mental health problem that causes people to experience low mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. It looks different on everyone. Some people are very functional in their depression, others are confined to their bed for weeks on end. Depression sometimes need medical intervention but it is really worth trying a holistic approach before you go down that route. Often a reactive depression is an accumulation of difficult feelings that can be worked thorough in therapy.
Love addiction can manifest in obsession around another person, place or thing, you will seek out intensity in an attempt to create intimacy and connection. Love Avoidence shows up as a difficulty getting into relationships, fearing intimacy you may create intensity elsewhere to protect yourself from getting hurt, you fear vulnerability. Neither needs to have a sexual element although this is often a product of becoming love addicted/avoident. It can occur in romantic relationships, friendships, teaching situations and colleagues. A pre occupation or a compulsive need to avoid a person, place or thing is usually the main symptom. You may also feel constantly worried that you will be rejected, abandoned or depended on. You may also feel a desperate need to find out information and display stalking like behaviours. The pain and shame that comes with Love Addiction and avoidence often results in feelings of anxiety, depression and use of external substance to avoid difficult feelings.
Grief and Loss
Grief doesn't just happen when you lose a loved one or there's a death in the family or there's a breakup of a relationship. It happens every time you get disappointed it happens every time you lose something it happens every time an expectation isn't met it happens every time someone says no so quite often in life we are moved into a process of grief without realising.
Whether you have experienced a major loss or are strggling with something not going your way, psychotherapy can be a helpful form of support as you process what is going on.
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Anxiety is made of a number of different factors and often people need help and support to work through anxiety.
The word anxiety means something specific to you. No one's anxious response is the same as the next. It is a word that tells us you are not OK but it doesn’t tell us anything else.
You might need to 'unpack' your anxiety and start to understand your triggers, how to cope with it and you might need support while you go through a particularly stressful life event.
Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes so therapy around anxiety needs to be bespoke to you are yours personal experience.
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