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High-functioning depression
The term “high-functioning depression” refers to someone who, from the outside, seems to be anything but depressed, but underneath is masking symptoms like feeling guilty or worthless, and even having thoughts of self-harm or suicide.’ There are many forms of depression. Depression takes many forms and can range greatly in severeness. Some people will be severely depressed to the extent that they can’t get through the day, or out of bed, while some people will still be able to function while their insides are screaming into the void. Getting through the day with severe depression is not the same as ‘feeling a bit down but still managing’. It’s normal to feel sad sometimes. It’s normal to go through low periods just as it’s normal to be tired, grumpy, or in a particularly sunny mood. When you’re generally feeling low, you know that it will pass and that you’re in a crap mood, but that it won’t be forever. Depression is more than just a low mood. It’s a combination of negative thoughts and cognitive distortions (feelings of worthlessness, re-living negative experiences and events, overgeneralisation, distorted interpretations of perfection), and physical reactions (poor concentration, low energy, problems sleeping, changes in appetite and loss of libido). Like most mental illnesses, depression can restrict an individual’s ability to go about their day-to-day activities or even complete the most basic task. What is High Functioning Depression High-functioning depression isn\'t a clinical diagnosis. It’s more of a buzz word. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. If an individual is described as having high-functioning depression it usually means that they are able to maintain their relationships, their work life and fulfil all their duties and life responsibilities, while also living with depression. Generally, sufferers of high-functioning depression tend to be driven by their own unrealistic ideas of perfection. By trying to attain unachievable levels of perfection, individuals nurture feelings of failure and worthlessness when an unrealistic goal they set for themselves was not achieved. Stigma around High-Functioning Depression Loosely defined as a form of depression in which someone experiences the common symptoms of depression without it affecting their ability to complete day-to-day activities, people who are dealing with high functioning depression often struggle to access support precisely because they “seem fine” on the outside. Because their symptoms are not significantly affecting behavior, friends, coworkers, and family members often don’t understand or even believe a serious illness is present. Sometimes people struggling with this form of depression face stigma that makes them feel as if their disorder is not legitimate.  Someone with high functioning depression may also believe they’re “doing too well” to have depression and therefore avoid seeking help, or put their low mood and lack of energy down to other reasons such as poor sleep or not eating well (both of which can also be symptoms of depression).  Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression For the most part, the symptoms of high functioning depression are the same as the typical depression symptoms – the main difference between the two is that people with high functioning depression typically don’t experience much disruption to their everyday life.  Apart from this the symptoms of high functioning depression are the same as depressive disorder – for example, feeling hopeless, helpless and/ or empty inside, experiencing tearfulness and irritability, feeling tired or easily fatigued either with or without sleep dysfunction, experiencing changes in eating behaviour and cognitive problems such as concentration on tasks that used to be completed without difficulty. People suffering from high functioning depression tend also to have lost their interest in life. They may no longer have goals, enjoy their life, hobbies, friendships, or feel motivated to do anything.  This said, high-functioning depression carry some of the same symptoms as any other form of the disorder, including: - Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood - Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism - Irritability - Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness - Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities - Decreased energy or fatigue - Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still - Appetite and/or weight changes - Thoughts of death or suicide - Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause Triggers Depression does not always require a trigger. However, certain situations and factors may be more likely to trigger a negative mindset. Examples include: - financial problems - extremely high levels of stress  - the death of a loved one - loneliness - major life changes How to Manage and Treat High-Functioning Depression If you do have high-functioning depression, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re functioning it must mean everything is fine and manageable. You still need to keep tabs on how you’re doing, as chances are your daily life won’t stay exactly the same forever and any changes you encounter will need to be considered for impact on your mental health. Check yourself, prioritise yourself, and schedule time for yourself into your high-functioning life, even if it’s just to go outside for a five minute walk around and cry.  The importance of therapy Therapy is the best place a person can start treatment if they’re experiencing symptoms of depression. Therapists can help a person identify the negative thoughts, beliefs, and habits that may be contributing to feeling depressed. It could also include things like medication, learning mindfulness skills, and doing activities linked to improving mood, such as exercise According to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is recommended as an effective psychological treatment to overcome depression and maintain your mental health. An accredited CBT therapist will help sufferers recognise their negative thinking and behavioural patterns and work with them to take the steps to challenge their thoughts, beliefs and assumptions Coping with depression If you’re struggling with depression right now, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and that there are places and people who are able to help.  And for more information on depression, including what it is, how to cope and when and where to seek help, you can check out NHS Every Mind Matters or contact us for support. Online therapy can help with depression Improve your quality of life with the support of BAC online therapists. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, you can find a qualified BAC counsellor ready to help you anytime anywhere.  
Jul 2, 2021
Mental Health professionals: what are the differences?
Finding the right mental health professional can help you take control of any issue in your life. But which mental health professional is right for  you? We’ve gathered together the basic information you need to learn about different types of mental health professionals to help understand the differences between the services they offer. Psychotherapist  Psychotherapy is a term that covers all talking therapies and the many associated approaches/methods. Due to the broad use of the terms, the titles psychotherapist and counsellor are often used interchangeably. People with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or other similar illnesses can be supported by a psychotherapist. Psychotherapists can work in mental health settings, hospitals, clinics or health centres and can work with individuals, groups, couples or families. There are many different methods when it comes to this profession. Some therapists also teach skills to help you manage difficult emotions more effectively. For more severe conditions, such as psychosis, a psychotherapist will normally work with other professionals (such as psychiatrists). This allows for an effective, robust treatment plan. Psychotherapists will typically meet with clients on a regular basis (once a week is considered the norm). This is a longer-termed process that will identify emotional issues tied with personal backgrounds and life challenges that have been faced. The method may be a longer one, but you are more than likely to come out enlightened, and have a more substantial capability to take control of your life. There are many different types of therapy that psychotherapists can train in. They include: - cognitive and behavioural therapies (focusing on the way people think and behave) - psychoanalytic therapies (looking at how past experiences affect the present) - humanistic therapies (with a focus on self-development and growth) - arts therapies (using the creative arts in a therapeutic way) - other therapies (includes all other therapies such as group therapies and mindfulness). Role of a psychotherapist - Provides a solution to your problem - Helps you get better - Engage in dialogue - Processes communication - Implements behaviour change It’s important to check that any Psychotherapist you see is accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. These are voluntary registers which ensure that your therapist meets stringent training criteria and has committed themselves to ethical practice. Psychotherapy is now commonly available online. These digital approaches aim to deliver therapy through video conferencing software or other platforms. They are easy and convenient ways to receive prompt mental health support. Psychologists A psychologist is someone who has an academic qualification in psychology (they are qualified in Psychology through a degree from a university and then usually complete a 3-year Doctorate, which results in a DPsych degree) and deals, in general, with the study of the human mind and behaviours, and they are great at evaluating and treating both mental and emotional disorders.  They are accredited through the Health Care and Professions Council (HCPC) as Practitioner/ Registered Psychologists. Although not legally required, it is also good practice for Psychologists to also be Chartered with The British Psychological Society (BPS). To help them achieve their aims, psychologists use a range of scientific methods and tools, including lab tests, studies, surveys and interviews. Sometimes they form part of a treatment team in a care setting such as a hospital, using this knowledge to counsel patients. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication, but provide assessment and brief therapy. Psychologists can specialise in a number of areas, such as mental health and educational and occupational psychology. In healthcare, psychologists specialise in clinical, counselling, forensic or health psychology.  They typically work alongside psychiatrists, who are the only ones allowed to make diagnoses or prescribe drugs, when assessing clients. Role of a psychologist - Helps you identify why you have a problem - Helps you identify what caused the problem - Helps you understand How you discovered this problem - Helps you identify what your motivations are - They cannot prescribe medications Counsellor Counsellors and psychotherapists are terms some people use interchangeably. However, although both professionals can offer talking therapy without medications, they are different.  Counsellors work with clients to help them identify their goals, aspirations, potential and come up with viable solutions to problems that cause them emotional distress. They are great at growing communication, coping, self-esteem, and promoting positive behaviour.  Some counsellors work more generally over a wide range of issues, while there are others who specialise in certain areas such as depression, relationship problems, or children. Keep in mind that some counsellors offer non-licensed services, so make sure you find someone who is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). Counsellors do not have the same extensive educational requirements or clinical licensing as other forms of therapy. They must at least have a diploma level training (2 years), but many can hold degrees (3 years) and masters (a total of 5 years training). Checking a professional\'s experience, training and qualifications is always advised. This will give you a better understanding of how they can help support your needs. Counselling is oftentimes a short-term process for long term mental health benefits. The actual duration can certainly vary depending on your situation, but in general, it is usually 12 weeks or less. If your mental health is more severe, they will most likely refer you to someone more equipped to handle your case and diagnose you. Psychiatrists Psychiatrists must be medically qualified doctors who have chosen to specialise in psychiatry. This means they can prescribe medication as well as recommend other forms of treatment.  The term psychiatry refers to the study of mental disorders. This includes their diagnosis, management and prevention. Psychiatrists often work on a broad range of cases alongside an area of expertise and research. Treatment from a psychiatrist can also provide general medical care. Many people with mental health conditions also have physical health problems that psychiatrists can help with. However, they will typically refer people to other specialists and providers for general healthcare. Most psychiatrists work as part of community mental health teams (CMHTs), in outpatient clinics or hospital wards. Some carry out sessions in GP surgeries. They can diagnose and treat mental health disorders such as depression, severe anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  Psychiatrists can work with people of any age. Yet they tend to work with those with more severe conditions and/or those that require medical intervention. Peer workers  They are trained mental health professionals who have their own experience of mental health issues and recovery. This allows them to make a strong connection with those going through similar mental health challenges. By sharing their own experiences, they can help you feel more empowered and know you’re not alone. There are different types of peer support, but they all involve both giving and receiving support. This could be sharing knowledge or providing emotional support, social interaction or practical help, for example. Everyone’s experiences are treated as equally important and no-one is more of an expert than anyone else. There are many different types of peer support. Some examples include: - support groups or self-help groups. These are run by trained peers and focus on emotional support, sharing experiences, education and practical activities - one-to-one support, sometimes called mentoring or befriending. You meet someone to talk about how you’re feeling or to set goals, for example - online forums. Peer support programmes can help with various issues, including: - addiction - anxiety - depression - bereavement / divorce - relationship problems - dementia - other mental health conditions. Social Worker  Mental health social workers empower individuals with mental illness—and their families, carers, and communities—to lead fulfilling, independent lives. Through talking therapy, support, and advocacy, they enable people to manage the social factors in their lives—like relationships, housing, and employment—that allow them to get well and stay well. Building resilience in individuals, their networks, and their communities transforms people’s wellbeing and improves our society and economy. Some social workers are specially trained in mental health and can offer talking therapies,practical support, referrals to other services, counselling, information and emotional support.  Doctors/general practitioners (GP)  GPs are usually the first point of contact for seeking any type of help.  A GP can diagnose health problems, as well as recognise symptoms of mental health difficulties that you might be experiencing. A GP can refer you to a mental health professional if you need one. When you see your GP, they can: - talk through problems - prescribe medication where necessary - refer you to a specialist counsellor or psychiatrist when necessary Contact your GP immediately if you\'re concerned about your physical or mental health. How do I know which mental health professional is right for me? Seeing a GP will help you identify which mental health professional is the right fit for you. For example, if you have a mental health disorder, a psychologist and/or psychiatrist might be best, but if you need help with an external life issue, a social worker may be a better fit. When choosing a mental health professional, a person should consider: -  their qualifications and experience - the area they specialize in - the techniques they use - whether or not they prescribe medication Summary Many mental health professionals can help a person understand and recover from mental health conditions. People should consider what kind of treatment they want to receive when choosing a mental health professional. The nature of the mental health condition is also important. A family doctor can guide on this. Psychotherapy is a common form of treatment for many conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders. Licensed psychotherapists could be psychologists or psychiatrists.  Many people also take medications to help with mental health conditions, such as antidepressants. A family doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe these medications. People who are experiencing specific issues that they need help with can consider counseling. For example, counseling can help couples with relationship difficulties that may be affecting their mental health. If you are seeking help and don\'t know which mental health professional is the right fit for you, get in contact with us!   Disclaimer: BAC blog is mainly for information purposes only. Materials on this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on this website.   
Jun 25, 2021
Toxic friendship: what is it and how to recognize it 
Toxic friendship vs Healthy friendship A toxic friendship can take different forms, but they generally drain you mentally and have a way of bringing you down instead of building you up. Friends help make life more meaningful.  They provide social and emotional support, ease feelings of loneliness, and help you feel happier and more satisfied with life. Maintaining social connections can even lengthen your lifespan and lower your risk of mental and physical health concerns, including depression and high blood pressure. Some friendships might not have such a positive effect.. What is a toxic friendship There are times when friendships become so consuming that they begin to affect our lives negatively. These friendships are referred to as toxic friendships. In toxic friendships, this friend turns all of the time and attention to themselves. They leave very little room for your needs. They may make you feel as though there is something wrong with you and suggest that you change who you are. These friendships sap away at your energy and emotions, and it is important to get out of them as soon as you can. It will not be easy, but with the support of other friends, family, or a therapist, it can be made easier. What are the warning sign of a toxic friendship. If you’re not sure the friendship is healthy—it just feels off somehow—watch (and feel) for signs. If someone is always draining your energy with their endless complaints, there is a reason for it. The signs of a toxic friend can include:  1. You’re Being Manipulated. Speaking from a general perspective when we want to manipulate someone, we want them to do things our way. A very common form of manipulation is where someone makes a smaller request and eventually, that smaller request over time becomes something much bigger than the initial request. Sound familiar? You’ve probably had someone like this in your life before. Most of us have. 2. You’re Being Lied To. We all know those people that are lying straight through their teeth to make themselves appear more captivating to individuals. Most of the time we just keep our mouths shut to avoid any conflict between ourselves and the individual, it just seems easier that way. However, if we are subjecting ourselves to people that are generally lying to others, maybe it’s time we ditch those that aren’t satisfied enough with themselves to be honest and truthful friends. Like they say, honesty is the best policy. 3. They’re Self Centered. It is not hard to tell when someone just simply cares about themselves, but just in case you missed the signs, they show very little concern for others and plenty of concern for themselves. They never ask about others and just simply go on and on about themselves. They may pretend to care for all of 10 seconds by asking how you are and what not, but very soon after they’re telling story after story about themselves. It’s more concerning to them that you know about their lives than for them to know about yours. 4. The Relationship is One-sided: When you find yourself doing most of the work in a relationship, that’s a huge negative no matter what. We are only disappointing ourselves by setting these unrealistic expectations for someone. We personally provide them with something we know they can’t return. So as human beings, why do we keep these kinds of friends? Maybe we should reflect on our own confidence and try to understand that we are worth more than a friend that can’t provide us with the love and support we need from them. 5. You’re Almost Always in Constant Conflict. Being in a toxic friendship doesn’t always mean that someone in the relationship is a bad human being. It just so happens that sometimes our lives are headed in completely different directions so the friendship itself becomes toxic. We fight with our friends here and there, but there’s way more to conflict than just simply fighting with each other. Schedules become an issue, relationships with others become an issue, work becomes an issue, basically anything in life that you both have becomes an issue. A healthy relationship will work around these situations in order to maintain the friendship, otherwise it’s not a healthy relationship. It’s important for us to remember that it’s okay to let go of friendships that just simply aren’t working, forcing these relationships only makes it intolerable for both parties. What Are Characteristics Of A Supportive Friend? Usually, the most supportive friends are those that start in the casual friend category, and over time grows and deepens. A supportive friend is someone who understands who you are and what you need. You will quickly learn that they will be with you through thick and thin. You both will go through some tough times and some very good times. However, a simple thing such as a fight isn\'t going to hold you two back from a healthy friendship. Instead, you two will learn and grow from your fight and come out stronger from it. Even in your worst of days, a supportive friend will be there for you. They may not always agree with your decisions or opinions, but they care deeply for you. They will stand up for you to anyone that may try to cross or hurt you. They are loyal and trustworthy. You will not need to question where you stand in your friendship with them, as they will remind you frequently with their actions just how important you are to them. A supportive friend is the most important kind of friend to go through life with. Whether you live together or are thousands of miles apart, a truly supportive friendship will feel secure and overall just good, with both of you knowing that you are appreciated, validated, and loved by the other whether you talk often or not. Can you fix a toxic relationship?  We all grow and change throughout our lives, and it’s neither realistic nor healthy to expect to stay friends with everyone. If you no longer share interests or a mindset with someone, it’s okay to be honest with yourself and them that your friendship was great but has had its time. It is possible to mend a toxic relationship in certain instances — and when each partner is committed to trying. The relationship must become healthy and mutually beneficial for any potential to continue. If possible, meeting with a counsellor is a great step to take.  In the end... Friendships are essential to help us grow and enjoy life. Most friends are important enough to us that we’re willing to overlook their flaws, just as they overlook ours. Some relationships, though, can’t be sustained in a healthy way. If you’re in a toxic friendship, someone who takes advantage of you or doesn’t treat you well, it might be time to put yourself first and set the limits you need. Learning how to handle toxic individuals is an essential skill in today\'s world. Identifying the toxic and then deciding to end it can be challenging , and it’s completely normal to need a little extra support at any part of the process. A therapist can help you begin exploring your feelings about the friendship and consider options for ending it or repairing it. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment with one of our experienced counsellor.       
Jun 17, 2021
Therapy for trauma and PTSD
What is Trauma therapy  Trauma therapy is just that – a form of talk therapy aimed at treating the emotional and mental health consequences of trauma. Trauma therapy is not one specific type of therapy. Instead, a variety of therapies can be used alone or together to help you deal with the trauma and move on with your life. If you seek trauma therapy, the best way to begin is to find out what type of therapy the counselor uses to treat trauma patients. Trauma Trauma generally involves an event or prolonged period where you feel helpless, shocked or even experience a threat to your life. Trauma can occur once, or on multiple occasions and an individual can experience more than one type of trauma. Types of trauma can be: - Physical or life-threatening events (i.e. domestic abuse, car wreck, etc.) - Psychological trauma - Neglect - Sexual abuse/assault - Medical trauma - Community violence (i.e. gang-related violence, interracial violence, police and citizen altercations, etc.) - School violence/bullying - Military trauma - Traumatic grief/separation - Natural disasters - Forced displacement (i.e. refugees) - War/terrorism/political violence and/or being a witness to any of the above traumatic events Individuals who have experienced one or more traumatic events might experience behavioral, social, and/or emotional issues following the event. The effects can be so severe that they interfere with an individual’s ability to live a normal life. Some severe effects can be anxiety, depression and Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Difference between trauma and PTSD Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Trauma are often used interchangeably in society. Even though these two issues are related, they are different.  The main difference between PTSD and the experience of trauma is important to note. A traumatic event is time-based, while PTSD is a longer-term condition where one continues to have flashbacks and re-experiencing the traumatic event. In addition, to meet criteria for PTSD there must be a high level of ongoing distress and life impairment.  PTSD often follows a traumatic event, however not all traumatic events lead to the development of the disorder  Childhood sexual abuse is foremost in the media currently and often causes complex PTSD. However, even being made redundant from a lifetime of employment, has proved to cause PTSD in people, especially when redundancies first began. Complex PTSD often involves a lonely life-long struggle with self-esteem, depression, anxiety and relationship problems.< When trauma continues along the life path, a person may be diagnosed with personality disorders. Common type of trauma therapy Several treatments can help people with trauma to cope with their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Therapy is a first-line treatment for trauma. While there are numerous therapy approaches, the purpose of all trauma therapy is to integrate the traumatic event into your life, not subtract it.  Types of therapy a person with trauma could benefit from include: Cognitive behavioral therapy Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people identify behaviors and attitudes that reflect negatively on their lives. Patients then work to replace these negative attitudes with positive ones. Patients will often utilize these new skills in their daily lives. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR, is another common trauma therapy.  During EMDR, individuals briefly relive specific traumatic experiences while the therapist directs their eye movements. EMDR aims to help people process and integrate traumatic memories. Recently the Duke of Sussex has been seen in the documentary \"The me you can\'t see\" undergoing an EMDR online session to treat unresolved anxiety stemming from his anger at the media and the death of his mother, Princess Diana, when he was 12. Dialectical behaviour therapy Like other types of trauma therapy, dialectical behavior therapy aims to better regulate emotions. This form of therapy has been effective in helping those who experience suicidal thoughts. This method has been effective for a number of mental health disorders inclu ding PTSD. It helps instill new skills to help people change unhealthy behaviors. Group Therapy Group therapy is beneficial because it shows that patients are not alone in their struggles. By being in a supportive and safe environment, group members become more comfortable sharing their stories and helping others through Other things you can do to help yourself As well as getting help and professional treatment, and aiming to do regular exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle, there are other things you can try to help yourself. Practicing self-care can help individuals to cope with the emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms of trauma. Examples of self-care for trauma include: Exercise Trauma can activate the body’s fight-or-flight response. Exercise may help mitigate some of these effects.  Mindfulness Mindful breathing and other mindfulness-based exercises can ground people in the present, which can stop them from reliving the traumatic event. mindfulness-based treatments are a promising intervention for PTSD, whether alone or in conjunction with other treatments. Connections with others Withdrawal from others is a common symptom of trauma. However, connecting with friends and family is important.  Staying in contact with people can help to prevent trauma from becoming PTSD. It is not necessary to talk about the trauma with other people if it is too difficult. Simply engaging with others can improve mood and well-being. Some people feel a benefit from disclosing the trauma with people they trust. A balanced lifestyle A person with trauma may find it difficult to relax or to sleep well. However, sleep, relaxation, and diet all play a role in mental health. If possible, a person should try to: sleep for 7–9 hours a night eat a balanced diet avoid alcohol and drugs relieve stress with mindful or enjoyable activities The importance to find the right help for your trauma Most people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives. Some may experience symptoms of shock and distress, and most will recover within a short period. A minority will experience more long-term traumatic effects, such as the development of PTSD. Trauma Therapy in conjunction with self-care can help those with persistent trauma symptoms to manage these symptoms and improve their quality of life. People who experience persistent or severe symptoms of trauma should seek help from a mental health professional. It is especially important to seek help if the trauma symptoms interfere with daily functioning or relationships with others. Even those with mild symptoms can feel better once they talk to someone. Working with trauma is a highly specialized area of psychological practice, which is why it is important you seek treatment from a trained and experienced trauma psychologist or therapist. Find the best treatment for you Everybody has a different experience. Your symptoms, any co-conditions (like anxiety or depression), and your personal preferences will influence which treatments are best for you. Talk to your GP or mental health professional about the best treatment for you. Sometimes, a team will be involved in your care. It’s still important that one professional coordinates and has overall responsibility for your treatment. Reach out to us if you need any support to overcome your trauma. This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not render individual professional advice or endorse any particular treatment for any individuals.
May 27, 2021
Why is it important to set personal boundaries?
Personal Boundaries - What they are? Personal boundaries are basic guidelines that people create to establish how others are able to behave around them.  Setting personal boundaries is the key to ensuring relationships are mutually respectful, supportive and caring. Boundaries can be physical or emotional in nature, and they help distinguish the desires, needs, and preferences of one person from another.  Why are personal boundaries important? Personal boundaries are vital in order for us to thrive and be in healthy relationships. Having them in place allows us to communicate our needs and desires clearly without fear of repercussions. It is also used to set limits so that others don’t take advantage of us or are allowed to hurt us. It is a way for us to practice self-care and self-respect. Individual’s boundaries can help them to determine who to let into their lives and to what extent. Boundaries also serve to help an individual establish and maintain their own identity by creating a clear distinction between them and others. When a person has weak boundaries, it may be more difficult to separate their own feelings from those of others. How weak boundaries can impact us? People with weak personal boundaries tend to be good listeners and the forever reliable friends that others will ‘emotionally dump’ on. This can leave them constantly feeling emotionally drained as they easily take on the emotions and needs of others. If you don’t set personal boundaries, you are likely to constantly be at the mercies of others. This means you allow others to tell you how to think, act, and feel. It also means you tend to spend your time and energy doing what others want you to do over what you deep down want to do. In the long term this can lead to frustration and depression because you will feel unfulfilled. Boundaries help protect people from intrusions from others. When an individual feels overwhelmed by the needs and requests of others, they may eventually come to feel as if their life has become chaotic and/or disorganized. That individual may have difficulty dealing with their own issues because they have come to feel responsible for helping others before themselves. Why is it hard to set personal boundaries? We all put other peoples’ needs and feelings before our own at some point in our lives. Setting boundaries isn’t selfish, it’s self-care. The guilt we feel is self-imposed based on a fear, when we don’t help we will not be liked or someone will abandon us. Boundaries aren’t meant to punish others; they are for our personal well-being and protection. We aren’t being rude or mean for not wanting your friend’s to kiss us every time we see them. But we fear any confrontation with them so we say nothing.  6 Tips on how to set personal boundaries 1. Define your core values  Who are you? What do you value? Once you get clear on what matters most to you, then you can take the bigger step of communicating this to others. Instead of creating your boundaries around a difficult relationship in your life, you must make your boundaries about you. 2. Be consistent and practice. We can’t expect others to know how we’re feeling at any given moment, so we have to clearly communicate with others if they cross our boundaries.  Because you are not used to it, at first, you may feel selfish, guilty or embarrassed when setting boundaries. It takes practice and determination. Remind yourself that you have a right to prioritise your own self-care. Don’t let anxiety, fear or guilt prevent you from taking care of yourself in this way. 3. Say No No is a complete sentence. That truth may seem inconceivable, particularly if you hold onto biases that “no” makes you a mean person or bad friend. But saying “no” to other people often means saying “yes” to yourself. Try to avoid lying about why you’re saying no. Although a white lie may seem harmless, it’s easy to forget what you said or get caught in your own deception. If someone finds out you lied to them, they will probably feel more betrayed and hurt than if you had just told them the truth. 4. Be direct, clear, and simple.  When setting and enforcing boundaries, state what you need as clearly and calmly as possible. You don’t need to justify, defend, or apologize for your boundaries. You can always adjust the tone or manner with which you enforce your boundaries if you like, as well and get to decide how assertive to be, depending on your relationship with the other person, the circumstances, or even where your emotional ability lies on that day. If you are nervous or sensitive about certain boundaries, you can plan what you’d like to say to protect those limits in advance..  5. Respect others\' boundaries.  Even though this step isn\'t a part of creating your own boundaries, it\'s an important part of enforcing them. When you respect the boundaries that the people around you have put in place, it sets an example for how you\'d like your boundaries to be respected, too. It also gives you a foothold in case they don\'t treat you with the same respect. You can explain that, just as you\'ve respected their boundaries, they need to respect yours as well. 6. Seek Professional Support Therapy can help you understand the barriers that make boundaries challenging. Your therapist can work with you on skills related to self-empowerment and assertiveness training. They can also teach you healthy coping skills to manage the emotional discomfort associated with setting limits. Some common barriers include: - Having a history of trauma - Being in an abusive relationship - Struggling with a mental health condition like depression or anxiety - Low self-esteem - Growing up in a household with overly rigid boundaries or no boundaries at all It’s important for all of us to set personal boundaries. They dictate how we approach relationships with others. Our boundaries help us live in-tune with our desires, needs, and feelings. We can say no to the things that we don’t want to do and yes to the things that we want to do.. If you’re experiencing challenges with setting boundaries, or if someone is causing you difficulty by crossing them, never hesitate to reach out to an online therapist.
Apr 29, 2021