Waiting - What to do if you are on our waiting list?

Unfortunately, folks we have had to start a waiting list, the first time in 9 years! We appreciate how frustrating it can be to be told that there aren’t any immediate spaces. Sarah left us at Christmas and as you may or may not know, finding a disability affirmative therapist is tricky and training them up to be one also takes a while. So, what can you do to support yourself in the meantime?

A large chunk of what we do is helping each other grow in confidence, learn new skills and improve our resilience against stressors, of which we know there are many. Things that can drain our energy, wellbeing and confidence, like medical appointments, assessments, and dealing with members of the public as well as impairment effects like pain and fatigue.

All these stressors can put our bodies into a chronic survival state of fight/flight/freeze which over time can cause ill health and low wellbeing. Our brains are working overtime assessing situations and people. Being in survival mode can limit the amount of positivity, motivation and creativity we may notice and experience. This heightened level of monitoring or anxiety means that our brain waves could be elevated or too quick (in high beta) which could prevent us from accessing the slower waves which are more healing, creative and reflective (these are called alpha and theta).

The good news is that you can actively start working on improving your wellbeing today! How? We suggest you browse through all of the options below and then come up with a plan about what you want to do when. Do make sure you start small so you gain motivation through the process. If you want to, you can also run your ideas by Allie, drop her a line on allie@spokzpeople.org.uk, she would love to hear from you!

Free Online Member Resources: email Mel on mel@spokzpeople.org.uk to ask to join our free members area. You will find lots of links to self help books, DVDs and information and support on many topics such as pain, sex, trauma, sleeping, conflict management and assertiveness and ideas on how to boost your self esteem. You can even start your own therapy by doing a lifeline and keeping a journal or diary to see what triggers good and bad moods.

Slowing down our brain waves - there are several ways we all can work on slowing overactive brains which will reduce anxiety and low mood and in turn improve many things such as awareness, feeling you have choices, peace, clarity, positivity, relaxation, healing and resilience.

Mindfulness, Meditation and Relaxation: I cannot recommend this 8 week self-help programme enough*. It’s only £10 on Amazon (even free if you download a free trial of Audible) (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mindfulness-Eight-Week-Meditation-Programme-Frantic/dp/B004ZFZJWA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_audd_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1523557072&sr=8-1&keywords=mark+williams) and there are several free trial tracks here: http://franticworld.com/. Slow creative activities like mindful colouring or lego are another way to focus the brain, stop spiralling thoughts and in the process slow down the brainwaves.

External brain wave stimulation: there are several on the market and there are also free audio tracks you can search for (type in alpha/alpha-theta/delta brain training). One example of these we are familiar with is Holosync*: this programme uses meditation (music and rain/waves) as well as external stimuli to help your brain change it’s brainwaves. You can read more here: http://www.centerpointe.com/ This is not a cheap programme and costs around £110, but if you are interested, we have this programme and you can trial it with us during one of our sessions. Neurofeedback is another method to achieve this, if we manage to get a hold of this equipment we will let you know as its a service we would like to offer. We recommend you do some research before purchasing anything of this value.

Positive experiences: keep a journal of anything positive (however small) that happens each day. If you get a compliment, how do you deal with it? Bat it away, take it on board? There’s several exercises on our Free Members Area to help you with this. Mindfulness is also good at helping us take more note of the positives in each day, which is a good combattant against those disability hassles and strains.

CBD oil (cannabidiol - cannabis plant without the 'high'/THC, so similar to a herbal supplement) is showing to have remarkable healing properties. However, because CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant, it is not yet legal to make claims about what results CBD oil can achieve for you besides general wellbeing. However, it is worth doing some research into this area and reading our blog on CBD oil.

PA support: we know that this can cause a lot of stress in various ways. Do check out this book which you can view FREE online here https://www.independentliving.org/docs6/vasey2000.html and we also have a 6 week online training*, drop us a line if you want to sign up for the next one.

If you no longer want to wait for 1-2-1 support, we totally get that. In that case we suggest the following:

Your GP can refer you to the local IAPT service which usually offers 6 sessions of in person or computerised CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). There is usually a wait and usually therapist don’t have disability affirmative experience, but it is an option. Sometimes it is good to try what the NHS has on offer, after all it doesn't cost you anything. Many clients say it either helped or if it didn't it helped motivate them to look for something that was right.

https://www.bacp.co.uk/search/Therapists Is a directory* of qualified therapists who are members of BACP. You can select disability in the advanced search, but do check whether therapists are just ticking that box as part of many options, or whether they actually have experience in this area. Ultimately what matters most is that you connect with the therapist and feel they can hold your experiences and provide you with a respectful space where you are treated as an equal.

There are a few other disability therapists we know who have personal experience of disability and have done further study on the topic, many of them offer Skype work as well if you are not in the locality. We will add their names and links soon.

We hope that we will be in a position to offer more spaces this year and will keep you posted. For now, look after yourselves, use as many resources as you can, ours, friends, family, online groups and forums and we will keep you updated of where you are on the waiting list.

Best wishes, Mel

*We do not receive any commission for these recommended products, it is purely our experiences with them that leads us to suggest them.