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Sandra Dean – Registered Member


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Welcome to Amanda Green’s website

My Alien self my journey back to me Amanda Green e book cover march 2012

My name is Amanda Green (pen name). I was born and live in England, UK, and I set up this website and wrote two memoirs and one self-help book to share with my readers the stories of my issues with mental illness, therapy and recovery. I also write thought provoking, inspiring fiction including drama and women’s fiction, plus dark short story collections including psychological thrillers.

You can check out my books on Amazon by CLICKING HERE FOR AMAZON UK and CLICKING HERE FOR AMAZON US   

I regularly post blogs about mental health coping strategies, writing and inspirational things to do, but this site contains so much more. I hope you enjoy looking around.

I am also a BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) qualified Counsellor, and am humbled by my work with clients. I can help with many issues, but specialise in dealing with Anxiety, Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Join my MAILING LIST‘ by clicking the link down on the left hand side of this website, where you can also Subscribe to Amanda Green author by email – you will receive an email each time I publish a new article to the site, to keep you up to date.

Some of Amanda Green's books

Some of Amanda Green’s books

My personal website is SandraMDean

Counselling website is Essex Depression and Anxiety Counselling 

Twitter – @AmandaGreenUK and @SandraMDean and @EDACounselling

Goodreads – CLICK HERE

Dirty Laundry by Amanda Green

Dirty Laundry by Amanda Green

Instagram – CLICK HERE

Facebook book page – CLICK HERE

LinkedIn – CLICK HERE

Click on ‘read more’ to read or make comments…

…….Continue reading Welcome to Amanda Green’s website…

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Do you compare yourself to others’ or expect too much from yourself? Be different, be unique and stop thinking ‘I should…’

I have written about expectations other people put on us, and expectations we may have of others’, but I want to question the

Be unique

Be unique

expectations we put on ourselves. Possibly the worst type of expectation of them all. And are we just trying to fit in with the crowd or do we nurture our true selves?

Are you up for my challenge?

If we allowed ourselves to get carried away with social media, we might soon find that we are trying to be like the masses. Or rather what we perceive it is to be like everyone else. But, even if it were true that everyone is happy, or successful, or fully in charge of their lives and futures, why would we want to be like them? Why can’t we just be true to ourselves and happy with that?

Do we need to use filters in order to post a picture of ourselves?

Who are we trying to impress?

Who are we trying to be like? Is that person truly content anyway?

Being different is OK.

I’m the odd one out… I don’t have many friends like everyone else… I’m not like everyone else… I’m misunderstood…

Just a few of the things people say of themselves based on comparisons to others’.

Do we have to be the same and do we want to change ourselves completely in order to ‘fit in’? 

At what cost?

Just because five people agree in their thinking and you have a different opinion, does it mean that you are wrong? Or they are wrong? Or is it just OK that you think differently to them? 

Be unique.

Inventors may have help from others’ ideas or previous research, but the whole thing about being an inventor of anything, is that they do it their way, they imagine and design something that no-one else has. They are unique.

If a potential inventor wanted to be like someone else, or the masses they would never allow their creativity to thrive and be able to think up new ideas in the first place, let alone become an inventor.

Do you want to be unique or like someone else?

That is the question.

Stop thinking ‘I should’…

If you use the word ‘should’ towards yourself, it may be time to stop and work out why. 

I ‘should’ have a better job.

I ‘should’ have more money.

I ‘should’ be able to cope in this situation.

Is anyone saying this to you or is it just you being harsh on yourself?

‘Should’s’ are very unhelpful; they have a negative connotation and they stop us from achieving our full potential. …….Continue reading Do you compare yourself to others’ or expect too much from yourself? Be different, be unique and stop thinking ‘I should…’…

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Do you ever have dark negative thoughts you want to avoid? And is your avoidance of your ‘shadow’ harming you and your relationships? It’s OK to be human.

I want to talk about something I think could help a lot of people.

I recently did a course called ‘Shadow Mastery’ for my counselling profession, but found it extremely useful for myself also.  Our ‘shadow’ is a name for the side of ourselves that we do not wish to acknowledge, we want to avoid or we do not like. It could be thoughts, feelings or behaviours. We can be in denial of these parts, we can create personas to cover up these parts from others, or we can just keep them as secrets. Shadow mastery work is the therapy used to work on these parts, which is not what I want to talk about and is not a pure therapy I would use. I just want to bring to attention how avoiding parts of ourselves can create problems and if we can accept ourselves it can give us freedom.

I want to look at our thoughts and feelings.

Before I do, I want to say that by ‘thoughts and feelings’ I mean fleeting ones. If the thoughts and feelings become repetitive or you want to action them, then please seek the necessary help, as I am not condoning actual negative wishes or acting upon them.

A few things to ponder on:

Have you ever had a dark thought that has scared you? 

Have you wondered how you could possibly think of something so bad or unusual or unlike your ‘normal’ self?

Have you felt a certain way which made you feel bad? Negative thoughts about other people? 

How have these thoughts made you feel?

Have you ever changed your behaviour, told lies, made up a persona to cover up what you feel is bad about yourself?

Do you have secrets about how you have thought, felt or behaved, that you keep because you don’t want to acknowledge them or …….Continue reading Do you ever have dark negative thoughts you want to avoid? And is your avoidance of your ‘shadow’ harming you and your relationships? It’s OK to be human….

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I have some leftover books for sale from my last event! Including my best seller ‘My Alien Self’

Amanda Green books

Amanda Green books

I have some leftover books from my last event! Including my best seller ‘My Alien Self’. Going cheap as I’m clearing out my house. If you’d like one let me know. I can do sets as well 🙂 Check them out on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-Green/e/B0087O89QS

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It’s mental health awareness week; sharing the highs and lows of the coronavirus lockdown for me.

So, this week is mental health awareness week, and I wanted to write and share something personal for it, especially to say it’s OK to not be OK. It occurred to me when I woke this morning what has been good and what has been stressful about the lockdown in my experience and it was a very useful realisation and has made me ‘check in’ with myself – something I often promote with my counselling clients.

I had been following the coronavirus outbreak in China via some people I follow on Instagram who live out there. It became obvious in January that the virus would hit the UK at some point and I could see that it was a lot worse than it seemed in China. So, when it did come to the UK, I went into my own lockdown a week earlier than the government told us and cancelled all my clients booked in for the week of 17th March. It was stressful. I don’t like to let my clients down and am not used to cancelling appointments. My job is to be there for others, but I felt I had no choice, especially after a client I had seen said their husband had the virus and I work from home. I offered everyone telephone appointments while I found out about using Skype, and more than half said this was OK. I then researched Skype counselling and talked to the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP), to which I am a member, to make sure it was fine for me to offer it. I decided to offer discount rates for NHS staff.

The next day, I wrote an article on everything that could be done when we go into lockdown – it helped me to feel positive that we can still keep entertained without outside entertainment or shops and I felt positive that whatever happened, things would be a lot different after the lockdown and it could be in our control to make sure some of the changes would be positive ones. Maybe we could all work together on this pandemic and have a big check in with ourselves to reflect on what we would change after lockdown. One thing could be that we work from home more. 

Already fearing the virus myself, Michael offered for me to join him in lockdown at his home, as there’s a lot more space there for myself, my cats and hamster. So, I packed a few things and the animals and headed to his on Friday 20th March. A car load.

Michael and I agreed on the Friday of my arrival that we would not enter any more shops or indoor spaces from then on and had a walk around the local park whilst keeping away from everyone else. It seemed very odd. The next day was Sunday 22nd March – Mother’s Day – which brought up memories of my mum, so off to the cemetery we went, again keeping out of everyone’s way. A sad day.

First things first I continued working with clients via telephone and then Skype. I felt nervous as it was so different to face to face, but I slowly got used to it over a couple of weeks.

Michael’s business had to close temporarily which caused him a lot of work as to what to do for his employees. In the meantime, I found myself anxious about when we ate. I am used to eating when hungry, and not used to having to compromise on it. So, we had to sort that out. And who was to cook, how to get food etc. I had been supplying my dad with food before the lockdown to keep him inside, as he is vulnerable and now we had ourselves and dad to fend for. So, we got the food delivered to us weekly, I sanitised every product, bagged it up and took dad his supplies. Having Michael with me all the time helped me to cope with all the new things going on. It was odd to talk to dad from outside his house and be concerned with not getting near him in case either of us had the virus.

Boris Johnson began his daily government presentations telling us of his plans and the formal lockdown began, quickly followed …….Continue reading It’s mental health awareness week; sharing the highs and lows of the coronavirus lockdown for me….

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Mental health stigma, social media and counselling therapy

mental health stigmaMy mum was diagnosed with Catatonic Schizophrenia in the 1950’s and went into an asylum, which later were called psychiatric hospitals. There was a lot of stigma and I remember when I was six in 1979, word got out of my mum’s last stay in a psychiatric hospital and some children would chant about it to me, whilst some of their mum’s avoided contact with my mum leaving here standing alone at the school gates. It was a sad and confusing time for me, and most likely horrid for my mum, but she would never acknowledge any of it to me, despite me visiting her at that time when I was six. Maybe she thought I would forget, but I never could.

Thankfully, sigma today is being challenged by many, including myself in books, articles and using my voice, and so when I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I did not go to an asylum, I received medication, groups psychoanalysis and individual talking therapies. I got better. 

There is still stigma around, and as an integrative counsellor, I do notice that just a few of my clients still do not tell their loved ones about their therapy for fear of stigma or what they perceive as a mental weakness. This is managed in our sessions so that the fear of judgement is dealt with, but across the population in the UK, particularly in the older generation, many still feel that one should ‘Just get on with it’ or ‘pull yourself together’. 

Despite the many negatives of social media, mental health and well-being are discussed by a large amount of people, via personal blogs, posts, discussions and charities like ‘Time for Change’ sharing mental health stories etc. on Twitter and Facebook. The promotion of well-being is also a hot topic, with mindfulness, meditation, exercise, yoga, nutrition and relaxation holidays being …….Continue reading Mental health stigma, social media and counselling therapy…

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Art as therapy; giving it a go and Frida Kahlo and Lowry

art as therapy

During my level 4 counselling training, I had produce an individual presentation on any form of theory I wanted. I chose expressive writing therapy, as I had been using writing as therapy myself since the age of thirteen. To back up the theory, I researched art therapy and found it an incredibly interesting subject; one which I could relate to. 

 

During the same year, I began my 100 hours counselling placement. I worked with a client who found it incredibly hard to name even just one emotion he felt. They could not verbalise or write the feelings, but there was very clearly a lot inside them creating a low mood and low self esteem. They did little with their time but did enjoy drawing and painting, so I asked them if they would like to bring some of their art in. At the next session they were enthused as they presented me with quite a few personal art works, which was unusual for them, as they usually presented with the same, non emotional manner every week. The art was stunning. I went through them slowly with them and asked them to stop me if one particularly held meaning for them. They did this easily. It was a drawing of a beautiful figure with a particular feature. I asked them what feelings they had when they drew it and how they felt at the present about it, and a whole new story together with their feelings around a particular person and event, came out. It was very powerful and we made much therapeutic progress that day.

Famous artists have showcased (sometimes inadvertently) their own form of art therapy for the public eye. Watching the film ‘Frida’ about Frida Kahlo and how her paintings were depicting her physical and emotional pain really stood out more than words she could have said. Researching L. S. Lowry and how his paintings depicted people in poignant situations, but also of his own moods, like how the very pale painting of the sea depicted his depression, made me feel sad. But the brilliant thing is that their art goes on and on, for all of us to view, understand and take something away from. Like writing my own memoirs or reading the …….Continue reading Art as therapy; giving it a go and Frida Kahlo and Lowry…

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