Being courageous, looking for the positive and asking for help when necessary are all very helpful things to remember when recovering from Stress Illness. Full story here…. Last year I attended a seminar being run by Richard McCann whose Mother was the Yorkshire Ripper’s first victim. I heard him speak a few years ago when he was just starting out as a professional speaker and he is very good and so inspiring. You can imagine what he went through after finding out his Mum had been murdered when he was just 5 years old. Life hadn’t even been that stable before then, apart from having a loving Mum although she drank. He then went to live with his alcoholic Father who beat them and he ended up after a long hard childhood in prison inLeedsfor selling drugs. His sister who was 2 years older than him just couldn’t get over all that had happened and in the end committed suicide a couple of years ago. Richard talks about how he managed to overcome all this and end up being a confident and respectable guy in a loving relationship with 3 young kids. He speaks to school kids as well as at corporate events trying to motivate and inspire people to overcome things that have happened in their lives. His answer is being able to look for the positive in things, being courageous by doing things even though you aren’t sure you will be able to succeed and asking for help when you need it. I thought it was worth mentioning his story because it is so relevant to anyone in life, including people who have TMS. Not only do you have to be courageous in taking the blinkers off and opening up to a very different approach to your pain, but many have to be courageous in even looking at the underlying causes of their pain. Asking for help is one of Richard’s suggestions and this is what many of you are doing, although it may have taken some time to find the answer you were really looking for. Another step is to always look for something positive which can help you overcome self induced fears and the fears related to your Stress Illness, where courage is definitely required. Positive self talk, positive visualisation and a number of other helpful tools can all be helpful with this. On the subject of self induced pressure, I had an email a few years ago from an ex client who wanted to know how I dealt with the stress of having teenagers who were not only able to go clubbing now, but had also started driving! We nurture them and try to help them become independent as they mature. Unfortunately if we aren’t careful our worrying about them and fussing over them can not only cause us a lot of inner turmoil, but they begin to think we don’t trust them, which can then negatively affect our relationship with them. I have to say that thanks to my understanding about this work and the tools I teach on the SIRPA Recovery Programme, this awareness did really help me cope with this stage in our ‘children’s’ lives. I realised quickly that I could either lie awake worrying about what might happen until I feel completely wound up or even ill, or I can trust that they are sensible and that it is very unlikely that they would end up in serious trouble. On rare occasions there might be a problem, but usually it’s not the end of the world and you will have saved yourself months of worry for that one occasion! So not only can you look for the positive in everything, but you can teach yourself not to look for the negative which just churns up even more inner turmoil and of course can result in painful symptoms! This isn’t always easy though as many of us seem to have been tuned into looking for the negative in everything and worrying about things in case they happen. It is possible to begin to change your automatic responses though, although it does take commitment and persistence because you are trying to change behaviour you have been automatically doing probably for many years. This is where having the courage to ask for help if you need it can make such a difference and where necessary, this is where I come in.