Ordinary People Helping Ordinary People in Extraordinary circumstances!

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Healthy Eating week – Monday – Focus on Fibre

Healthy Eating Week

Healthy Eating Week 13th June2022 – 17th June 2022

Happy Monday everyone, I hope this week finds you well. The British Nutrition Foundation are encouraging us this week to take a look at our diets. There will be a different topic for each day. This got me thinking, how does the food we eat affect us mentally? So along with a few little tips I’ve researched to help us eat healthier, stay hydrated and waste less I thought it would be good to look into a little bit more depth as to why it is so important for us physically and mentally. If anyone has medical problems that could prevent them following these guidelines, consult with a doctor first.

Today’s topic is Focus on fibre – for meals and snacks.

Fibre is such an important part of our diet. It helps to maintain our gut health, normalizes bowel movements, lowers bad cholesterol levels and many many more things. There are so many ways we can increase the amount of fibre we are having, and some are very simple swaps we
can make in daily life, for example using whole grain products like wholegrain breads and pastas. Snacks like vegetable sticks or a piece of fruit are great ways to increase our fibre. If the thought of giving up our normal snacks isn’t appealing to you, did you know that dark chocolate (70-85% cacao) has a high percentage of dietary fibre? Popcorn is also a good source of fibre as long as too much salt and sugar has been added to it. This was great news for me because while I really love vegetables, the thought of eating celery and carrots sticks for the rest of my snacking life did leave a lot to be desired.

The Happier the gut, the happier the mind.

So, with the basics covered, we know what it is and how to get more, but, why is it important for our mental health? I got out my trusty laptop and did some research so that you don’t need to. Studies suggest that a high fibre diet can potentially lower inflammation. With inflammation there is pain present. I’m sure we can agree that when in pain we are not really our happiest. So the result of the lower inflammation is that symptoms of depression were reduced. Another study I found noticed a significant reduction in anxiety and high psychological distress. The gut can send signals to our brain when it’s troubled. Who would have thought that fibre could be so important for our mind? Basically, the happier the gut, the happier the mind. I know this to be true from personal health issues.

I hope this short piece has helped a little. Stay tuned for tomorrow, I have some great info on why getting our 5 a day really helps our mental health. Stay safe everyone

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What’s Strong or What’s Wrong??

This statement is a real mind bender for many – but one that has never been more needed than now, at this point in time. Never has it felt more needed that families and individuals are looking for support to cope with this truly shocking year that we have all had to endure. I’m sure I do not need to add to your stress by relating horror stories and relating what is wrong with so many different things – Lord knows we are all sadly aware of many of them. Often, we too have many things going on in our own families – that it can be overwhelming to hear about other people’s stories. However, we can often get very focussed on what is wrong with us, our family members, society or other people in general, and yet, just by shifting our perspective slightly – we can gain a little breathing space at least.

I came across this TED talk recently on the recommendation of a friend – and it really helped to highlight what is important especially when trying to help others. It can be difficult to see what is strong in a person when we only focus on what is wrong. And yet, when we stop to look, there are often many strengths which can be drawn on. And they can make a positive impact.

So without playing down any suffering and trauma, – look within yourself and see what strengths you have been using today. Even just getting out of bed to feed the cat – is a strength and shows you have not given up.

Seasons of ChangeMindfulness

Most of us will have noticed that the seasons have well and truly changed too as we move through the Covid crisis. But, as well as coping with the long drawn out process of what we do or don’t do with our time – it’s good to stop for a few moments whenever we can and tap into the season’s natural ebb and flow. Nature has a way of gently moving into her next season without us always noticing. There seems to be no panic about it – it all happens rythmically every year – despite what is happening in our own lives.

It’s this very reassuring and often calming repetativeness that can be really helpful when thinking about ‘mindfulness’. We may never have even thought about trying ‘mindfulness’ before – yet we may be looking for methods to calm our minds or our breathing as we become a little more stressed as each week passes. If you have never tried it before – there is a vast array of examples of this on You Tube – just use the search term ‘Mindfulness’ and you will be able to hear a few different people present their style – see if any of them suit you. You have nothing to lose – well maybe a little bit of anxiety 🙂

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Three and a half months may have gone speedily for some but dragged out for others. For us here at Families in Trauma, it has gone very fast due to the upsurge of interest in our work – which I am glad from that point of view. However, sad also for those who have suffered and families who are mourning.

Our eLearning course is to be launched next week – which seems like it couldn’t be more needed – a leaning post – to get us through these really tough times. We have been getting feedback from a few who have trialed the course. Our first podcast, was released through our social media pages – a discussion around the very supportive method of eCPR – emotional CPR – so so sorely needed just now especially.

We have also been busy developing workshops online (yes we do have a bit of Zoom fatigue too 🙂 ) but it seems to be an ideal way to interact with people at this time. We have a number of podcast discussions arranged to discuss what the different services in Fife are offering during this extremely pressured time period for families on the ground.

And finally, please remember that as well as creating our own resources, we can also help signpost to other organisations who we have worked along with. This often is an unsung service, and yet we have personally spoken with a number of individuals from various services in Fife and Scotland – who just weren’t aware of the vital services in their midst. So please, contact us if you need to – and we can often do the legwork for you – or we may already know exactly who you need to speak to.

“Still I rise” Maya Angelou

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How could I possibly add anything or take anything away from this wonderful piece shared time and again, and which resonates even more strongly during this most difficult time the human race is facing. Needs no explanation.

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“Still, I rise” Maya Angelou

How could I possibly add anything or take anything away from this wonderful piece, shared time and again – as it resonates so deeply within the human heart – and even more during such a time as this. Needs no explanation

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Suicide video at “Choose Life” Conference

I was recently asked to speak for 10 minutes at the “Choose Life” conference held in Kirkcaldy.  I was very humbled by many of the speakers and the work they are continuing to do, day in, day out!  It really is amazing to see individuals turn their trauma into something that helps other people.  And it is not done with ease – it is done often through a lot of pain and suffering.  But, it often get right to the heart of matters because it is coming from a place of experience.  Many of the organizations provide support at the most crucial moments in a person’s life – so is invaluable!!

We used the video on “Suicide of a Family Member”  and it certainly held the audience in suspense as they listened to 5 minutes of painful raw emotions, but also a message of courage from Jackie Easton of Curly Star Dream Foundation .  She has used the trauma of losing her daughter to set up a service which supports other families facing suicide of a family member.

This photo was taken at the conference while the video was being shown.

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For many people suicide is a word they don’t even want to utter, but it is a sad fact of daily life.  Statistics show there were 6,581 suicides in the Uk and Republic of Ireland in 2014 showing that many families and friends will be affected.  Even if you feel this is not something you have had to deal with, please share the information about the video whenever you can – because you might not even know which one of your friends or family who may need it.



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A Very Warm Welcome to All Our New Members :)

Our logo


After my very first Facebook Advertising campaign (and it was a very small campaign)  I was delighted to be able to have 65 new members sign up for the Facebook page – and hopefully you will all sign up for this blog too.  Families in Trauma is a  new social enterprise and we are aiming to record through video or audio – families who have undergone traumatic experiences – and in turn share these videos to help others on our website.

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We have fallen behind a few months due to believing that we were going to be moving premises – however, this has not materialised – and so – without boring you all with the details, I hope to be focusing more on my social media campaign and getting our videos on our website.


If you do check the website you will see that there is a lot to still be done – but hopefully you will also join me along this path and share in the journey of establishing a site which can realistically have families or individuals talking about their ‘real’ experiences. I am more than happy to respond to any suggestions any of you may have.

FAMILIES IN TRAUMAEast Neuk blog 006

Most people who catch a glimpse of this site are drawn to the title – either because they or their family have  suffered serious trauma.  The consequences of this trauma can often be severe and when we start to look around for help – we find that, in reality,  there is not much out there! Although doctors and specialists try their best to fill our needs, there is often so much more required and that is exactly why Families in Trauma has been set up.  We need to go straight to the ‘horse’s mouth’ so to speak.


So we really are at the beginning of a journey together and I want to take you all along with me.  Having experienced a family trauma personally, I know, it is not something you will ever forget.   If you can’t talk  to anyone at the moment – then just follow along online or share this link for the blog or for the Facebook page with someone else if you feel it will help them. Please do everything you can to keep reading and sharing this information because you never know who it will help.

I used to wonder what is the ultimate aim of this new social enterprise , and finally realised, I don’t need to have huge goals or unachievable aspirations – if I can help just one person to get through one more day – then I have achieved a huge amount!!  We all know that a day in the life of a person suffering trauma can be endless – and you never know from the beginning of that day till the end of it – whether you will survive it – but if we can help individuals who are feeling like this to survive one more day, then we have achieved something of worth.  I do not feel this is too huge a goal to aim for and I hope you also will join me in this whenever you can.

Don’t worry if you are not feeling up to much at the moment – just keep reading and checking in – then when you feel more able – share what you can to help others.  It’s a great way to heal – one step at a time.

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Anxiety – What Does it Feel like??

Families in Trauma web 150dpi tagline


So what exactly does anxiety feel like?  Have you ever wondered if anxiety is just a little palpitation here and there – nothing to worry about, a little stressful but nothing to write home about?

Many of us have experienced these type of feelings perhaps when starting a new job, school, moving home and or when attempting something new for the first time.    We may feel anxious about how we will be able to cope or will we appear completely stupid in front of our work mates etc  However, this type of anxiety is quite short lived and will often disappear as soon as we feel more comfortable with our new circumstances.

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Severe and chronic anxiety, however,  is a totally different feeling altogether.  It is not easy to “snap out of it” and if the anxiety becomes severe, it can feel like a life threatening condition.  Ask anyone who has suffered from this debilitating condition!!


Trauma of any sort can trigger anxiety and often does.  So the individual not only has to contend with whatever event has taken over their life – but also these very difficult feelings they are experiencing.  They can often be quite shocking and frightening for someone who has never experienced these before.


There are many different websites which can provide help for these feelings such as  http://www.mind.org.uk/ and often your own GP will be able to advise in these situations, but one of the things which helped me was to  turn to others who could support me at that time.  Many of them had no experience of what I was going through – but they were kind enough to give me a listening ear, often crying with me .  I had offers of counselling, which I took up on occasion and I read every book I could put my hands on.  I became a devourer of everything and anything which might help me to alleviate this anxiety but ultimately it was my connection to other human beings – and their willingness to stretch their hand out to me that really was the healer. There are still days when anxiety takes over – but nothing like it used to be.


So if you are suffering anxiety – reach out to others who can help especially family and friends you trust – and if you know someone is suffering anxiety – even if you don’t understand – never turn away – just reach out your hand by giving a little bit of time to someone else.  It will never be forgotten and you may need that help one day in the future.  As the saying goes – “There but for the grace of God go I.”

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“Stay in the Day”

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that many of the people I’ve spoken to seem to be suffering with depression or anxiety.    Now it’s easy to get a medical dictionary definition of what depression is but that often doesn’t seem to help much at all. It seems, that if we have a shared experience – and we feel we can talk to others – it can be a really helpful tool as the sufferer does not feel quite so alone. In all the different areas of trauma, it seems that humans really need to “connect” with others.

Here are some of the expressions I’ve read or heard recently in personal conversations about depression:

“It’s like drowning, except you can see everyone around you breathing.”

“You feel like you are moving in slow motion.”

“You can see everyone else getting on with their lives, yet somehow or other, you’re not a part of it – it’s like you are in a bubble.”

“Everything seems hopeless.”

“Its like you have lost all interest in everything – nothing motivates you any more”.

So it’s not difficult to see why depression and anxiety are major problems when they hit!   In fact, one in 4 people will experience some type of mental health problem over the course of a year.

Most people know the usual advice given by health professionals and try to put some of it into practise. The tried and tested methods often work – but it can sometimes take us a while to get there. However sharing our experience with others, talking to trusted friends, keeping a diary, reading as much as you can about your own illness can all help – but one thing i found which was extremely helpful was to “stay in the day”!!!

What does this really mean though??   When our mind’s are racing, we cant sleep for our thoughts, its painful to remember things, we feel panic when we think about doing anything – its extremely important to rein our minds in  (just as a thoroughbred horse needs to be reined in to train it), we need to do the same with our minds. Its one of the most important things I learned along my own journey.

Tomorrow will always take care of itself – the past is done and gone – but we must live in this day – here and now!  Take little steps – do not let your mind race ahead to next week, month, or year as it is impossible to  know what these will bring.

So if you feel you may be suffering depression or anxiety, try to find out as much as you can to help yourself – and try this one tip “stay in the day”!!