Dr Sheri Jacobson – Going Through The Emotions

3 months ago   |   Words: Jack Gough

Hailing from Canada, Dr Sheri Jacobsen is a retired senior therapist turned founder of innovative online therapy start up Harley Therapy Platform. The Mary Berry of Therapy if you like. Dr Sheri’s new platform makes getting counselling accessible and straightforward, either online via Skype, in person or by phone. Sheri believes therapy can help anyone to transform their lives, no matter who they are or how big a problem may seem. Read on as we uncover Sheri’s thoughts on self-care, her idea of a perfect day and her soft spot for rap music. 

What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?

I am engrossed in a podcast series called ‘How I Built This’ where the excellent interviewer Guy Raz uncovers the start up stories of the likes of Instagram, Stripe, Lululemon and Chipotle. I love learning from different industries. By complete contrast I also love listening to rap music – my shadow side is drawn to artists like Cardi B and the recently deceased Xxxtencion. I’ve got five books on the go – I pick up whichever one suits my mood. Currently ‘The New Codependency’ by Melody Beattie is my most read – a great book for people pleasers! I rarely watch TV but have recently reignited my love of foreign films and saw a macabre one lately at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (Pall Mall, London) called ‘Under the Trees’.

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

My biggest challenge is one that is ongoing – self-care. As a therapist seeing clients all week alongside being a business owner sacrificing everything to work, it was easy to overlook my wellbeing. Although people pleasing is a trademark in the helping professions it meant that I put myself last often and perpetuated low self-esteem. Tending to my physical and mental wellbeing was critical in surmounting this challenge. As is setting boundaries and learning to say no to incoming offers and invitations. I’ve made strides but it is still a work in progress.

What have you learned about yourself over the past five or so years?

That my appetite for learning and growth is larger than I thought. That I need to balance this with the reality of there only being 24 hours in a day. That I need to be selective in how and with whom I spend my time. And that if I don’t attend to my health then one of my psychological or psychosomatic issues will surface – anxiety, skin rashes or both (as I believe they are interlinked).

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

A perfect day to me is more or less how my current days unfold. Do the school run, walk or rollerblade in Hyde Park, have our daily catch up conference call (our fabulous team work remotely), make other calls, have two or three work meetings over a a vegan lunch or dinner, put my daughter to bed and do a bunch more work until as late as I can stretch it (sometimes ignoring that sleep is needed for good health…)

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

For the opportunity to make a difference to the world I came into. It’s the most incredible feeling to be able to craft something with talented people where collectively we can help thousands, and in time, millions of people.

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”

Seeing my therapist weekly, going to group therapy as often as possible, having at least one self-help book on the go and topping up with therapy retreats.

What do you eat to stay healthy?

I have a plant based diet primarily. I went off red meat at eight years old after a bad incident with a burger! I avoid dairy for lactose intolerance, environmental and moral reasons. I do sneak in fish though (still debating/discovering if fish have feelings…).

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

I’m fairly structured with exercise so there is no excuse for me to duck out. I go to the gym twice a week for weight training, boxing and treadmill sprints. I go on organised rollerblading skates from Hyde Park two to three times a week, weather dependent. Plus I walk (and take the stairs!) wherever I can.

What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?

I’ve read David Burn’s ‘Feeling Good’ over a dozen times and recommended it to countless clients. It covers anxiety and depression as well as anger management. It’s an old book now with a dated section on medication but is a classic in my eyes.

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?

Identify what you are feeling and how your body is reacting. Notice the thoughts that accompany it and what negative behaviours you are considering (binge eating, drinking, avoiding people). Dig into your tool kit and pull out something that you know from experience works for you. This could be anything from doing a gratitude exercise, deep breathing, mindfulness, self compassion, time in nature, to watching a comedy or calling a friend (me!).

https://harleytherapy.com/

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Tyson Fury details his battle with depression

3 weeks ago   |   Words: Wes Pilgrimage

“The worst thing someone suffering with their mental health can do is get into drugs and alcohol” said heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury in his candid interview with podcast host Joe Rogan this week.

Talking to Rogan ahead of his upcoming WBC title fight with Deontay Wilder on December 1, the 6ft 8 Mancunian opened up about his battle with depression and 2016 suicide attempt.

“I was waking up and I did not want to be alive,” Fury said. “Nobody could talk any sense into me at all and I felt very low.

“I had just bought a brand new car – a Ferrari convertible in summer 2016 – and I was on the motorway. At the bottom of about a five-mile stretch, there is a massive bridge and I got the car up to 190mph and did not care about anyone.

“I didn’t care about nothing, I just wanted to die.”

But Fury revealed how the thought of leaving behind his wife and children made him pull over.

With the help of a psychiatrist, Fury is back where he belongs, living a healthy life and fulfilling his ambitions.

Ending the interview in fighting spirits. Fury warned his upcoming opponent: “You’ve fought the Europeans and you’ve fought the Americans, but you’ve ain’t never fought the Gypsy King before!”

Fury’s response to his depression is a common one. The NHS state: “When life is getting them down, some people try to cope by drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs. This can result in a spiral of depression.

Cannabis can help you relax, but there’s evidence that it can also bring on depression, particularly in teenagers.

“Drowning your sorrows” with a drink is also not recommended. Alcohol is categorised as a “strong depressant”, which actually makes depression worse.”

To get help with depression or suicidal thoughts call Samaritans on 116 123 24 hours, 7 days a week or visit www.samaritans.org

There are also many services available in our ‘find help‘ section on our homepage.

THUMPER – Going Through The Emotions

3 weeks ago   |   Words: Natalie Lorimer

The clue is pretty much in the name with THUMPER. Earning a reputation as one of Ireland’s most exciting live acts, the noise-pop quintet unleash a whirlwind of frenzied energy both live and in the studio. Combining the best bits of rock, pop, and grunge to create a sound in which howling feedback and pounding rhythm mix harmoniously with pop hooks, THUMPER are an exercise in unpredictability. We caught up with frontman, Oisin Furlong, to chat about the process of growth, The Blindboy Podcast, and mental health in the Irish music industry. 

What are you working on at the moment?

We just brought out a single called ‘(You’re Bringing Me) Down’ which is part of an EP we’re releasing in November called ‘Out of Body Auto-Message.’ The whole thing was produced by Dan Fox from Girl Band, and it’s a body of work we’re really proud of.

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

Severe depression and anxiety hit me in my teens, and reared its head again in my early twenties. The public mental health sector in Ireland at the time was pretty threadbare but I did manage to get professional help and learn to unlearn negative thinking patterns. Overcoming issues with your mental health is more of a process than an event, but continued mindfulness has always been key for me.

What have you learned about yourself over the past five or so years?

When you’re younger, you think that there will come a moment at some point in your twenties when you arrive as a “grown up.” I guess the one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that we are always in a perpetual state of growth, and that’s the way it’s going to be for a long time! I’m not the same person I was last month, let alone last year.

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

Being with friends, creating something just for the sake of it (music, food, conversation), comfort in the familiar, excitement in something new.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I feel so grateful that I latched on to music as an outlet so early on. It has given endless joy and direction to my life. I also feel truly grateful to have found so many like-minded souls to play music with.

What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?

I’m listening to records by Idles, Bodega & Kojaque on a fairly continuous rotation at the moment, and I’m currently switching between reading ‘And The Ass Saw The Angel’ by Nick Cave, and Carrie Brownstein’s autobiography ‘Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.’

I also just finished the most recent season of Bojack Horseman, which is as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”

Ace mental health doesn’t mean never feeling anxious or low. Ace mental health for me means not being overwhelmed by these feelings, and recognising that life is ups and downs, good times and bad.

What do you eat to stay healthy?

I stopped eating meat about three years ago, which helped a lot as I had to start paying attention to what I was putting in my body. It’s hard to stay healthy when you’re gigging or touring a lot, but when at home I do try to get a decent breakfast and eat plenty of fruit during the day. I have a bad habit of not eating anything all day and then stuffing my face at three in the morning, which I don’t advise.

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

Does loading amps in and out of venues count? We were gigging so much during the summer that any semblance of an exercise routine fell apart, but I’ll get back on it for winter – promise!

Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?

I wasn’t the most athletic kid, but I did win a school-wide basketball tournament when I was about ten. A proud moment for sure. I also remember being very invested in nailing the Cha Cha Slide, though I didn’t pursue dancing in any sort of professional capacity…

What three songs lift your spirits?

Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song – Jeffrey Lewis
All My Friends – LCD Soundsystem
God Only Knows – The Beach Boys

What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?

I’ve never really responded to self-help books, or any kind of universal school of thought when it comes to mental health because I do believe everyone’s journey is unique, but I find it inspiring to hear individual stories of overcoming hard times.

The Blindboy Podcast is a great example of this, because he doesn’t prescribe any method but simply discusses his own journey to wellness, and what worked for him. I guess I empathised with his story because he’s also a performer (with the Rubber Bandits), and someone you would imagine is a massive extrovert, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?

Sometimes life is overwhelming, but making a point of noticing the good things you have is key to a balanced outlook. That said, emotions like grief and anger are sometimes healthy and normal reactions, so letting yourself feel these things and accepting them is sometimes the key to overcoming what life throws at you.

You recently played a show as part of the Hard Working Class Heroes showcase, which also featured a conference discussion on the importance of promoting good mental health within the Irish music industry. Would you like to see this topic more widely discussed by fellow musicians?

Increasingly the discussion on mental health in the music industry is coming to the fore in Ireland, which is great because even five years ago it wasn’t really talked about. It’s bizarre terrain to navigate as a performer because ultimately you have to balance the person you are offstage with the person who exists the rest of the time. Leaving a pound of flesh on stage after every gig can have its consequences if your mental health isn’t up to scratch. 

Lucy Spraggan – Going Through The Emotions

3 weeks ago   |   Words: Natalie Lorimer

Lucy Spraggan provided a breath of fresh air when she appeared on The X Factor in 2012, challenging the format with her unique brand of pop infused folk. Her songwriting helped her stand out amongst the years contestants, with songs ‘Last Night’ and ‘Tea and Toast’ finding humour and candid emotion in everyday scenarios. Now, with four albums behind her, Lucy continues to evolve her signature musical style and tours relentlessly to bring her songs to her loyal fanbase. We caught up with Lucy to chat about her new single which continues vital conversations about male suicide.

What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?

I am listening to Lana Del Rey – her ‘Born To Die’ album – because it’s iconic! I’m reading ‘Goodbye, Paris’ which is the American version of my mum’s newly published book, and I’m going to watch ‘A Star Is Born’ tomorrow as I’m in love with Lady Gaga.

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

I think at my darkest time in life I really struggled with my own thoughts. I got into a pretty terrible place and really had to pull myself out of it. The first part of that was letting my friends and family know how I was feeling – that was a pretty hard moment, but I was so much better for it.

Your new single ‘Stick The Kettle On’ was written in support of charity CALM to raise awareness of male suicide. What do you think are the pressures on young men?

There are too many pressures to list. Guys are expected to be this macho, indestructible superhero from pretty much late childhood ‘til the rest of time. Men are seen as providers, which isn’t always the case. They are pressured to look a certain way, to feel certain things, to be a certain sexuality, to not talk about their feelings in case they seem “weak.”

What help do you feel is out there?

There is help down many different avenues, but I know firsthand that reaching out to take that help is incredibly hard. At my lowest time I saw text services, phone numbers, email and online help but just couldn’t bring myself to go there. Looking back I’m not sure why I felt like that. There are so many important helplines and charities that are doing amazing things, I just feel like we need to normalise using them a bit more.

What have you learned about yourself over the past five or so years?

My best asset is my perseverance.

What would constitute a perfect day for you?

My wife, my dog, some autumnal weather, and our VW camper. Probably somewhere we could see the sea.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

Being and feeling alive.

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”

Ace mental health for me means that everything else will come naturally.

What do you eat to stay healthy?

Fruit and vegetables, fresh fish… Cakes, scones, chocolate…

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

I use a little timer app and rotate through several exercises. I find it useful to have a countdown as I lose interest quickly!

Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground every day and loving it – can you share a similar memory?

We used to run the cold tap and see who could keep their hand under it the longest. Weirdos.

What three songs lift your spirits?

Delicate – Taylor Swift

American Pie – Don McLean

There’s a Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis – Kirsty MacColl

What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” by Oscar Wilde.

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?

Take a break, find someone you trust, sit down and have a chat. You never know what might come out.

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