Bank Holiday Joy





5.29.17



There's something about Bank Holidays that has always disturbed me. I know it relates back to my childhood and the feeling of being alone, even when I wasn't physically alone.

Later down the line, when I became a single mum, bank holidays became a dread. Not because I didn't want to spend time with my son, but because I felt so alone. It was as though the rest of the world was happy and doing fun family type things and we were alone. I craved the family unit so much when Joe was little, to recreate those feelings of connection, togetherness and love.





We would see family or friends and do fun stuff, but somehow Bank Holidays felt wrong and I each time I couldn't wait for them to pass. They seemed to stand for family times, happy days.

The pressure to be having fun and doing bank holiday activities. I craved the normality of a regular day to feel more comfortable again.

Nowadays my son is grown up, at eighteen. Today is a Bank Holiday and he is spending time with his dad. I am pampering myself at the hairdressers before I settle down to work on my business. I feel a slight twinge of the bank holiday blues but mostly not and happy to spend the day as I am. There has been much healing to get to this place as once upon a time it would have been incredibly painful and lonely to be on my own.

So a haircut and a colour later, a nice coffee at a cafe and the tap tap on my laptop doing what I love is a big achievement for me coming from the place I used to be.



Something called Trust





5/24/17



Being able to trust another adult, or another person come to that after an unsolid start in life is a mammoth task indeed. When a child has not had the healthy, safe and nurturing foundation to develop within, then asking them to trust another is an alien concept.
Why should they? What makes it safe for them to do that?
When you have been let down by your parents, or guardians, or whomever your main caregiver is, why would anyone else be anything different? Why when the people whom were supposed to love you, whom were meant to look out for you, ensure you were safe, didn’t they?





It hurts. It hurts so badly that the pain feels unbearable. The pain that cuts so deep inside and reaches you right to the core of your very being, your soul and rips your heart out. Or so it feels. And you don’t always let anyone know this, you keep it hidden. You suppress the pain, the fear, the rage and it damages you further.
So this may give you a little insight into why trusting is not so easy for these people that have bore this extreme pain.


Now lets say they got to know you, they felt good and safe with you. They overcame some painful and seemingly impossible barriers as it would feel to get to that point. To go the step further and to give their feelings up to trust, to have and hold that faith is the scariest hurdle. It may appear as though they have let go and trusted, but often they are holding back but are adept at putting on a very convincing “trust “ front. Then in comes more complexities. No wonder they are such deep people, they have layer upon layer of protective armour to shield their already damaged wounds.
What would be running through the mind of such a person to make them feel as much as they do and behave in the secretive ways that they do when faced with this predicament. Yes we are still talking about being able to trust another. It really is such a big deal.


“Will you let me down”? “Will you hurt me”? “How do I really know”? “Are your actions or words going to cause me pain”?
If the mind lingers a moment too long and the thoughts are allowed to turn to IF those predictions came true, then that scared person will back away further, from the sheer feeling of piercing pain this creates within. Unbearable pain.
The reality is that this creates more pain, even though it feels like you are protecting yourself, it really isn’t. It deepens the problem, it creates more layers to break through, it’s insidious. What really is happening as well is that in your attempt to protect yourself, you are creating unease with everyone. Your mind becomes so consumed in what could happen, the anticipated pain that you create such intense anxiety for yourself. Then you have the symptoms of that to deal with as well. Sometimes you can add a little more to the mix and get into the twisted habit of setting yourself up for it in another warped defense strategy.


Do you see the unhealthy pattern forming here? Do you see how if they continued for a long time, how difficult it is for a person to trust, to ever break free?
It can be overcome, or certainly greatly healed with a lot of time and a lot of healing and the right people to guide you through it. It will be a lot of steps forward then backwards, then forwards then backwards.



I am “The Invisible Girl” – My book and why I wrote it





5/22/17



In February this year, 2017, I sat down with a purpose and within sixteen days I had written my book in it’s entirety. It flooded out of me as soon as I put pen to paper, which soon turned to directly typing it out, after I had copied four chapters onto a word document.
From a young age, I can remember feeling “invisible”. After time, the feelings of invalidation and rage, were turned inwardly and I became very introverted and did not open up to anyone very much about anything. That was until it got to the point in my life where all my hidden feelings and emotions that were stuffed deeply away could not be contained any longer. They had begun to seep out and I felt that I was drowning in sorrow.
I now know as a healed adult that I was living with the burden and consequence of something that is now referred to as CEN, also known as Childhood Emotional Neglect.
However, this was not identified whilst I was a young girl, partly through neither me nor my family revealing anything. It was manifesting in other ways, trauma induced mental illness and behaviours. The real cause, the core of it all, firmly hidden away.





I became severely depressed and alienated myself. At fifteen I was absent from school, when I should have been studying for my exams, a prime time after all of your years of schooling. I hid away in libraries mostly, searching through book after book to find out what was wrong with me and what could I do to help myself. I soon became very knowledgeable about psychology, psychiatry and all things mental health. Once home again, I locked myself away in my room, and would spend hours crying, and self harmed feeling so tormented within.
I worried incessantly about my future and how to cope as an adult in an adult world, as back then I had no “toolbox” of coping skills. I was ridden with anxiety which also turned into obsessions and compulsions. My life was very hard and I felt very alone.
I reached out to The Samaritans in the end, as I felt desperate and did not know how to cope with my overwhelming emotions. They were wonderful and helped me so much, someone to listen to me, it made such a difference to be heard.
Eventually my school reported to my parents about my absenteeism ,my mum took me to see our GP. I was diagnosed with depression and prescribed medication. Then I was referred to the authority of Educational Psychology as I still refused to attend school.


Inbetween this, I was getting worse, my symptoms and felt suicidal most days. I saw an adult Psychiatrist and was prescribed different meds. He saw how angry I was but no other help was offered. I was only fifteen.


Not long after this, I was admitted to an adolescent psychiatric unit. I was there for sixteen months. This obviously had a big impact on me and on my family.
On discharge, I was no further moved on and went back to the same environment and I was as full of fear as ever about my future and how to cope day to day.
I went onto find new ways to “cope” and became ill with an eating disorder, Bulimia nervosa, for twelve years not long after this. I flipped from one unhealthy strategy to another, living a life of chaos, inside and out as it affected every aspect of my life for a long time. Stays in adult psychiatric hospitals.


Anyway, fast forward to now, aged forty six, and I am thriving. I went through years of therapies and treatments and dissected my entire life. I learnt a lot about myself, how I operate and how to change from very debilitating circumstances. Through a huge desire to help others that are struggling I worked for two charities prior to starting a business, supporting and advocating for disabled people.
My mission now is to help others suffering from the impact of CEN , childhood emotional neglect. I unfortunetly know this inside out but the silver lining is that I came through it intact and with this shining light to help others find their way too.
My book which can be purchased here from Amazon https://tinyurl.com/krpbfja is just the beginning. I am creating online courses currently and also organising workshops for local people.


You can find out more about me and what I am doing here www.samanthahoughton.co.uk and I have a very active Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/Theinvisiblegirlsamanthahoughton/



Self Doubt Related To CEN





5/19/17



I want to share something with you. I have been triggered but have managed to nip it in the bud very quick and move forward and it has prompted me to write this.
There are certain moments when you are faced with dilemmas in life, about things that really matter to you and would impact other people. However, when you come from a background when your feelings have been invalidated for such a long time, starting in your developmental years, this poses a different issue.





The SELF DOUBT is absolutely crushing. I now understand that this is because when you don't get a solid start, when your feelings and worries are not validated, that is taken seriously, mattered to those whom are guiding you, then you learn to internalise them. Or maybe you act out. But they do not get dealt with and are pushed down, deep down until you have layers upon layers of unvalidated feelings. Everything becomes distorted.
When you don't receive this essential validation you are guaranteed to doubt yourself, of course, it makes complete sense. The longer this continues the harder it becomes until you have a real issue with self belief, self confidence, it affects everything and every decision you make.
The only way I was able to improve this self sabotaging behaviour was to become aware of it and then to keep working away at it each time it came up, which was very frequently for quite some time.
It's not easy to see it in yourself or others if you don't know what you are looking for.



Misery Memoirs





5/15/17



Several years ago I managed a second hand bookshop. The first thing that struck me as I walked into the storage room was the label on a shelf "Misery Memoirs". It shocked me. I had never heard the term before and it evoked feelings of anger, I felt satisfied when I had ripped it down and discarded the piece of paper. I renamed them "Inspirational Stories".

I was sensitive to this term which felt very cold and harsh. You see I saw it and still do, very differently. To me, if a person is brave enough and disciplined enough to write an entire book about their personal life, their inner most thoughts and experiences and struggles, then they are in my eyes, amazing! It takes a whole load of courage to do this and then a whole lot more to make it public. It is to be rejoiced and congratulated not to be dismissed or made fun of.





Throughout my own struggles, I found reading and hearing other peoples stories an incredible source of comfort and help. I took great strength in what the author had so bravely shared with me, truly inspiring. It gave me a lot of hope, it gave me strength to continue when I really wanted to give up. I would adapt the mindset of "Well if they can get through that then I can get through my stuff". I would go as far to say that some books were so incredible in delivering their message that they changed my life. It worked. It helped and I always say this to people.

In fact, other peoples memoirs had such a powerful impact on me that I vowed that one day, in the future, when I had come to a better place in my life, I too would write mine. I did and I have to say it has already changed my life.

Some books I wholeheartedly recommend are Dave Pelzer's series of memoirs about his horrific childhood of abuse, he is a hero to me to come through to the other side from what that guy suffered and to do what he is doing now, wow. The series begins with "A Child Called It".

Another book is "Scarred" by Sophie Andrews, again a truly remarkable person.

"The Trouble with Alex" by Melanie Allen, absolutely compelling about the story of a young boy suffering with a condition called RAD.

Then two books with the focus on Borderline Personality Disorder called "Get me out of here" by Rachel Reiland and "The Buddha and the Borderline" by Kiera Van Gelder.

All of these books have had a very positive impact on me , my life, realisations and in moving forward.

​I truly hope for my book to touch others on such a deep level and help the reader in some way.



Emotional Abuse Through Invalidation





5/11/17



Feelings of invalidation were always something I greatly struggled with, and over time they lead me to feel "invisible" in my every day life. I did not realise what was going on to me for a long time as invalidation can be so subtle that it can seep into your life in a rather insidious way and become entwined with a whole host of other feelings and emotions.
Abuse can be demonstrated in several ways, physically, mentally and emotionally, as I am going to talk about today.





When you experience this and are not aware of what is actually happening you change. I became very introverted, as the more I felt that my feelings were ignored and did not count, then neither must I as a person. That is quite a big jump, but when something is experienced regularly and continually it chips away at your beliefs, your self esteem and affects your entire being. As emotional abuse/ neglect is also not seen usually by the most observant eye, then it is so easy for it to slip under the radar. Also, you are not sure why you feel as you do as there is nothing to see as in having physical scars. This is not to say one form is worse than another, but to explain how it can be difficult to detect and to overcome.


As time passed for me, I now think I attracted people to treat me this way, in an unknowing way. I became a victim of invalidation and therefore expected to be treated in that manner and frequently received it, believing eventually that I deserved no better. It becoming a self fulfilled prophecy.


I no longer experience this very much as I learnt to become aware of what was happening and changed my behaviour in order to be treated differently by others. I learnt to know what to look out for, to recognise when I felt bad ( as this had its own feelings separate to depression/anxiety) , to challenge my thoughts and feelings. Then I used visualisation a lot to deal differently until it became a habit.


I still have some remnant feelings about it as it was deeply ingrained within me, but I have changed a lot.



Anxiety and understanding how it works





5.4.17



ThisI always found that the more I could understand a problem the more likely I would be to find a solution or at the very least, a better way of dealing with it. And this was definitely the case for my own mental health. I was then thankful for my obsessive behaviour, so again, there is always some goodness in a not so good situation.
Understanding anxiety and how it operates took away the fear and power that panic attacks used to hold over me. If they ever dare try to appear nowadays I can just talk them away. This simple diagram explains the cycle it is very easy to get trapped into.
#understanding #anxiety





The Book Launch and what has happened since...





5/4/17



The Choice Unlimited event and my book launch was an amazingly inspirational and emotionally touching day. It was a privilege to attend and have my launch there. I met so many brave people, that continue to thrive in their lives despite whatever disability they may have. Be it a visible or invisible disability, we all shared the same courage and the strength that shined through on so many peoples faces and in their words.





I was very proud to have the opportunity to speak on the stage for a while and share just a little of my story. To be honest, I am always a little nervous at the start, but with my purpose driving me forwards and once I grab that microphone I am away! I love it!
The thing is, I was once that very quiet, shy and insecure girl, that became a woman whom was the same. Change can happen, transformation can happen, you just have to find your way and never give up hope or looking for it.


What has happened since the book launch has blown me away really, it has been so incredible. People reaching out to me to share their stories, asking for help, and I am actually going to be meeting one lady as she turned out to not be living too far away whom said that reading my book was like parts of her diary, quite incredible. Am sure it will be an emotional meeting next week.
My book is selling well through Facebook, please feel free to message me for a signed copy and also on Amazon, these are the links should you be interested
: https://www.facebook.com/Theinvisiblegirlsamanthahoughton/


https://tinyurl.com/krpbfja

I am working towards creating online courses for teenagers and parents and surrounding mental health issues. I continue to provide a mentoring service also for people whom are struggling with emotional issues.

​I have included a few special photos from the book launch and I especially was inspired by my very own mum and her courage for being on the stand with me.