When your teen wants a tattoo

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What to do… what to do… I’d imagine myself ruminating over the same thing if I had a daughter with ‘the tattoo itch’. But then being someone who has veered (well, purposefully steered) down the tattoo route herself I might be something of a big oul’ hypocrite if I were to dodge a conversation about this one.

So I organised my thoughts and wrote this for Family Friendly HQ – click if this is relevant to you – and if it is – good luck!#

Blue Monday – truth or myth?

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As I type it’s Blue Monday. Who knew?!

A lot of us apparently. But did you know that the idea that today is “the most depressing day of the year” was completely fabricated by PR company who were employed by a travel company in 2005? In fact a lot of mental health myths were created by PR companies but that’s for another blog post. With regard to this one:
“The formula was devised to help a travel company “analyze when people book holidays and holiday trends,” said Alex Kennedy, spokesperson for Porter Novelli, a London-basedPR agency.”
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Your child’s rage – might it be grief?

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I regularly receive calls from distraught parents who cannot make sense of their child’s anger. Over the years, personal as well as professional experience has taught me that rage is often – if not usually – a cover for fear, sadness and grief.

An effective one at that! So I wrote this piece for FamilyFriendlyHQ and maybe it will assist you in deciphering your child’s anger. Especially so if you’ve had a recent bereavement or loss. It might even assist in understanding your own anger – after all, we’re all adult-sized children! Click on the pic to read the article:

Forget Resolutions – try these instead!

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When a journalist contacted me last year for some quick “Be happier by—” tips for a piece she was doing on the dreaded New Year’s resolution tradition I was not thrilled. I’m really not a huge fan of New Years’ Resolutions.
But then I thought well,  hmm… “Be Happier by -” That’s FAR better than “Be miserable, unrealistic and give up stuff I love up by – “.  And so I replied to her with a list, she wrote the piece and I thought – that’d make a nice little post on my own blog some day. Then in true New Year’s fashion, I forgot all about it!

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“Not puréeing your loved ones – that’s the tricky part!” – Basil Fawlty

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OK, so a lot of us will be joining family for ‘The Dinner’. And for a lot of us that’s super cool and lovely and something we look forward to and truly relish.

For some of us though, that dinner is the most 'Hell' part of Christmas. Sitting with, eating with and spending time with people that drive us nuts, push our buttons, trigger us....at worst, we are sitting with people that are harmful. tweet to another dinner eater

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Why I won’t sell vouchers for therapy

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First the super good news: people are asking for Christmas gift therapy vouchers again this year and I think that’s amazing. It’s a sure sign that mental wellbeing is being taken more seriously than ever before and that therapy is being normalised. When I first started out in private practice this was one of my dreams and honestly, I didn’t think we’d get here.

But here we are!

That said, I won't sell vouchers for therapy. And here's why: #therapyvouchers #therapy #selfcare #christmasgifts #boundaries #relationships Click To Tweet

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Helping your Grieving Child at Christmas

Grieving Child
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Christmas has a way of jerking those tears right out of us doesn’t it? It’s a time where the pressure to be happy is really on – HO HO HO! Jeepers. It’s a cheer fest, that’s for sure.  One that would make the calmest people want to gouge their own eyes out if they are also trying to cope with feeling of loss and loneliness. Feelings that don’t “match” with how we are ‘supposed’ to feel Christmas.

Here’s the thing though:

Grief doesn't take holidays. Broken hearts know neither hour nor date #parentingthroughgrief #bereavement #grief #selfcare #christmasstress #mentalhealth Tweet to someone who might like this

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So THIS is why witches smile so much!

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This week I heard, for the first time, the origin of the iconic witch-on-a-broomstick image – and it’s AWESOME!

Halloween background with witch flying in the skyI have often wondered what the whole broom thing was about. I idly mused that it might be a phallic thing. Then I’d dismiss that, assuming that my brain was going off trying to find sex at the bottom of everything –  #typicaltherapist…

But hurrah for the radio! I caught a snippet of an interview on NewstalkFM where a guy was talking about witches, broomsticks and female masturbation. I missed most of it but my interest was piqued, naturally, so I decided I’d try the Google machine. It didn’t take much to find a few pieces written on this topic. Those witches – what amazing women, and what fun they had! When they weren’t being shunned, mistreated and murdered for being, well, women.

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ rolling –  or riding, or whatever…

From our modern viewpoint, female drug use and sexual pleasure are not quite so shocking as in the middle ages. Although it could be argued (and I do argue it, all the time) that people still seem to have enormous difficulty with women enjoying sex as much as men. Dare I say even more? The female arousal experience is one I’d love for men to experience – oh yes guys, you are missing out.  Apparently though, we all have similar orgasms – apart from ours being longer (a lot longer, but it’s not a competition so I won’t go on about it. But if it were, we’d win, just saying).

But I digress…

In enlightened and civilised circles, female enjoyment of sexuality is now seen as liberating. But witches were “invented” at a time when a woman choosing to do what she wished with her own body or mind was so unthinkable as to be synonymous with the devil himself. This might have echoes of a more recent discussion we had here in Ireland. Sometimes, OK often, I shudder at how little has changed.

In the “olden days” as we well know, women were tortured and killed because they dared to explore such personal liberties. And as we also well know, that still happens, although not here thankfully. Not in the literal sense at least.

The Science Bit (NSFW)

“Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble” – Macbeth IV, i

You might be wondering – what has this has got to do with broom sticks?

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Well, it turns out that the historical depiction of witches riding broomsticks has its origins in hallucinogenic plant pharmacology.  Shakespeare knew this, but the indigenous knowledge predates him.

Hallucinogenic compounds called tropane alkaloids are produced by several plants:

  • Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade)
  • Hyoscyamus niger (henbane)
  •  Mandragora officinarum (mandrake)
  • Datura stramonium (jimsonweed).

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You’ll have heard of some of these and their effects. During the Middle Ages, parts of these plants were used to make erm… ointments… for witchcraft, sorcery and other nefarious activities. Somewhere in their evolution, these crafty ladies discovered that these ointments could be absorbed through the armpits or via the mucous membranes of the anus or vagina – also bypassing intestinal discomfort which might y’know, ruin the mood.

And just how did they apply this ointment?

According to Mann, the earliest clue comes from the case of Lady Alice Kyteler (1324):

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“In rifleing the closet of the ladie, they found a pipe of oyntment, wherewith she greased a staffe, upon which she ambled and galloped through thick and thin.”

And from the 15th century records of Jordanes de Bergamo:

“But the vulgar believe, and the witches confess, that on certain days or nights they anoint a staff and ride on it to the appointed place or anoint themselves under the arms and in other hairy places.”

Other hairy places. Isn’t that brilliant?! Ann Summers eat your heart out.
And the flying? Well, they were high!!
So there you have it. All my favourite boxes ticked – a drop of drugs education, a sprinkling of sex education and dollop of female liberation all in the one post. No wonder witches are smilers.
Happy Halloween!! #wink
Now, hmm….does that floor need sweeping?