Psychotherapy work in Ukraine

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine passed its 100th day, with little sign of an end, I interviewed Kateryna by text, a woman from eastern Ukraine who is currently volunteering to provide psychotherapy support to her countrymen and women. Her words are a reminder of the people of Ukraine, amongst whom some 14 million have been displaced and thousands killed and injured. It also reminds me of my responsibility to do what I can to try and promote peace in a war that even risks global famines and, also, nuclear escalation.

(i) You mentioned that you’re learning English to help with your next job and you had to leave your last role due to the war. Can you explain why you had to leave your job? Did the war force you to move away?

The war affected every Ukrainian without exception. The company I worked for was badly damaged, almost half of the stores destroyed by rockets and bombs. The company lost any opportunities to provide employees with jobs and pay salaries.

I became a volunteer of psychological care in 2020, when the world learned about Covid and it turned out that people are not ready mentally for social isolation. The war is a severe test for my psyche also. And I understood perfectly well how all Ukrainians suffer. At the same time, the war has united our nation like never before, we all want the same thing now. And we all are thinking in terms of categories: What can I do to be useful for our victory ?! So I decided that my knowledge, skills and experience should work for a single purpose now. And this is Save my country from the enemy!!!

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Structured Journaling for Health

By Megan

Battling an eating disorder as well as general anxiety has been difficult through the winter months. I’m not ashamed to admit that I needed professional help to get myself on the right path but I was also willing to try any method to help myself feel better.

I’ve always been a bit of a sceptic when it comes to journaling and the whole idea of writing down my gratitude. What is the point of physically writing down the thoughts in my head?

Journaling is ‘simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly’. It was recommended to me that I give journaling a go as a form of self care so I thought I would give it a shot and see if it really made a difference.

I was gifted a beautiful Wellness Journal for Christmas that had a double page spread to fill out each day. I set out to write in my journal as often as I could in order to test whether journaling and writing down my gratitude could really improve my mental health.

My journal begins with a space for my daily intentions so I usually fill this out the night before. This helps me plan my day, meaning I start my day on a positive and productive note. My aims and goals are clearly set out in writing and it is satisfying to be able to physically tick off and cross out my tasks once they’re complete. It’s safe to say that this section has really kept my mind focused rather than allowing myself to float through each day in a cloud of anxiety and negative thoughts.

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There is always a reason to keep going – Finding Room to Fail

By Davey;

I have struggled with mental health issues my whole life. Varying degrees of sporadic anxiety and depression have prevented me from achieving past goals, helping others, taking care of my physical health, enjoying a good social life, pursuing several career paths. I look back at most of my life and realise that these two dark clouds – depression and anxiety – have covered me wherever I have been.

The key, I have found, is to not blame myself for any moments that may have occurred when mental health has prevented me from doing something. It took me many, many years to overcome the habit of laying heaps of blame at my own door, bemoaning my past actions, telling myself I should have pushed myself more. I found that such a way of thinking added many more layers to my already poor self-image. By blaming myself in such a harsh, direct way, I convinced myself that I was useless, powerless, and would never amount to anything. I held myself back, told myself that there was no point in applying for such and such a job, or pursuing a particular flight of fancy. I pitied myself. I bullied myself. Deep down, I hated myself.

I was wrong.

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Change and Growth

On being present for growth – Joshua;

Nothing seems to have certainty except for the three phases of existence (birth , life and death).

You ever feel like you wanna do something but your body won’t let you? Sometimes I feel like a prisoner in my own my body.

Not like those people who think they were meant to be a man but they were born female. No , I mean that gut wrenching feeling that you are meant to go in a certain direction but you can’t , you don’t know how or where that direction is. That’s what I feel right now.

To be honest that’s probably not the best description for it , but that’s the best way I can put it into words. I’ve done A LOT of meditation, hours upon hours for the past 3-4 years and there’s a sense you get when you’ve been doing it for that long. The sense is like feeling that your mind and body are two different beings? If that’s a way to put it. Or that the real you is separate from your ego, and your ego puts you in a blind autonomous state, just moving through life without too much thought. It’s a very trapped feeling when you want to get off that conveyor belt of life and move into the direction that you truly want to be. At least the direction that you THINK you want to be.

But now I feel like I’m off topic, there’s a sense in me that I am meant for more. There’s also images in my dreams that I see of possible futures I could have had but my choices led me here and now. (Not trying to get religious in my blog but) God has laid the path for me, and all my dreams I see the same ending. That must be the same for you (the reader) , what ever path in life you must take the ending is the same right? I see myself with some success, moderate fame and enough money that I can live and not worry about the mundane stuff that life throws at me , the stuff I worry about now.

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