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New Book: Answers in the Dark

The new book by Delphi Ellis, Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal is now available to pre-order on Amazon.

Synopsis

The 4am Mystery: that’s an actual thing by the way. Even before a global health crisis took the shape of COVID-19, people around the world were finding themselves sleep deprived, awake in the middle of the night.

You might be someone who says, no matter what you do, you just can’t sleep. Sometimes you know why: your thoughts are racing, or a nightmare has startled you into consciousness. Other nights you might toss and turn and, just as you finally doze off, the alarm blares.

This book was written for you.

It explores why you’re awake, how you can manage your mind at night, and what might help if it’s your dream content wreaking havoc.

Drawing on nearly two decades of therapeutic work, research, and an ancient wisdom proven to helpfully manage the mind, Delphi connects the dots between sleep, dreams and our mental health. She particularly highlights the impact of grief and loss on our well-being, which can ultimately affect the quality of our night-time rest – even if no one has died. Her book guides the reader on a journey to make friends with night-time, learning what the dark might have to offer, to achieve a calmer, healthier, happier life.

Watch Delphi on Loose Women

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021

Featured

Media: TV, Radio and Magazine appearances

I have a special interest in dreams and sleep, appearing on TV shows like Loose Women and ITV’s This Morning. (You can find out more about this further down the page).

Professional Career

I started my therapeutic career in 2002, where I supported those bereaved by murder and suicide, including attending inquests at coroner’s court. I now work in the community promoting well-being maintenance and recovery, through 1-1 sessions and group events.

I also work for a charity in my spare time, managing volunteers who provide a unique transport service for cancer patients, which won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2014.

Pregnancy Mental Health

In 2004, I established a unique website and peer support group dedicated to Pregnancy Mental Health, following my own experience of ante-natal depression and anxiety.

As a result, I have featured in several popular magazines on this topic, including Pregnancy and Birth and Natural Health magazines, and featured on radio programmes like Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. (You can see a full list of tv and media appearances below).

Volunteering

I am a community ambassador raising awareness of signs and prevention of domestic abuse. If you or someone you know may be affected there is a list of useful links on my services website here.

Qualifications and Training

My qualifications and training include Therapeutic Counselling, Delivering Adult Learning, Support for Insomnia, Positive Psychology, Pain Management, Mental Health First Aid (and Psychological First Aid for Pandemics), and Mindfulness.

I have also received training with the National Homicide Service, Victim Support, and Women’s Aid. I am accredited to work with victims of crime, including those escaping domestic abuse.

TV and Media Career

I have enjoyed a TV and media career talking about the subjects I am passionate about, including dreams and healthy sleep. You can view an expanded list of media appearances below:

Radio:

BBC Radio: BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 1 Xtra, BBC WM, BBC Shropshire, BBC Coventry, BBC Three Counties, BBC Radio 6 with George Lamb, BBC Suffolk Breakfast Show, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Drive Time, BBC Radio Leeds Drive Time, BBC Tees, BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour, BBC London with Sunny & Shay and on the Eddie Nestor show, Talk Sport, Beacon Radio, Hallam FM, Original 106 FM, Gemini FM, WLR FM, XFM, The Psychic Show (LBC 97.3), My Spirit Radio, Bridge Radio, Red FM

Television:

Loose Women, ITV’s This Morning, DayBreak (Presenter of The Guide to Sleep), , GMTV, The Wright Stuff, LK Today (Lorraine), Consultant to SO Television for My Lovely Audience (Graham Norton), Psychic TV

Featured work –

Natural Health, In Style Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Daily Express, Practical Parenting & Pregnancy Magazine, Soul & Spirit magazine, Huffington Post, Guardian (G2), Sunday Express, Pregnancy, Baby & You, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, Pregnancy & Birth magazine, Prima Baby magazine, Practical Parenting, Columnist for Spirit & Destiny Magazine, Contributor to Talk Mum, Contributor to Silent Voices, Columnist for Spirit Force Magazine, Mens Health magazine

PR Events

Dreams Bed Company, Maybelline New York, Sky + HD (article featured in Daily Telegraph), Johnson’s Beauty: Dreamy Skin, Snow Leopard Trust

Awards

  • Volunteer of the Year Cohesion Award for services to the community;
  • Nomination: “Women Who Keep Bedfordshire Safer”;
  • Regional Finalist for the Health and Social Care Awards for Mental Health and Wellbeing;
  • Spiritual Connextions Awards for Best Service to Others

Other Interests

As well as dreams and sleep, I have a keen interest in Buddhist psychology including mindfulness and have followed a Buddhist way of life since around 2009, most recently in the Theravada tradition. This means I hold a positive intention to be of service to others, bringing into my work, where appropriate, an intelligent philosophy which focuses on intentional living.

If you would like a dream interpreted, this is now a paid-for service – click here for details. To send an enquiry about services, click here.

You might also like:

Monday Mojo™ – A weekly email containing feel-good motivation for the week ahead. Sign up here.

With Delphi’s help, I have a new perspective on life and the strength to face new and challenging things in a positive way.” B.

© Delphi Ellis, Helping You Sparkle™ 2021

I had such a weird dream last night: night-time adventures to infinity and beyond

Probably, not many people can say they’ve pushed Vin Diesel in a shopping trolley. Although I can; except I haven’t. Confused? That’s dreams for you.

I’ve been exploring the subject of dreams and nightmares, and other night-time phenomena (like sleep walking, hearing your name at night and waking up with a song on your lips) for most of my adult life. Though, my story really begins in childhood, when we would sit around the breakfast table and talk about the night-time adventures we’d had whilst asleep the evening before.

In all the years I’ve spent as a qualified counsellor working mainly with the bereaved, attending speaking events all over the country, and appearing on TV and Radio, people have shared with me their dreams and nightmares, everything from being chased, losing teeth and their partner cheating. Some tell me they struggle to remember their dreams, others recall the content in such vivid detail it’s stayed with them for years. Most people say “I had such a weird dream last night”. Except, when we talk about it, they often have a light bulb moment that the weirdness contained a golden nugget of insight to help understand fears and frustrations, hopes and aspirations and even solutions to some of the problems they face – if we just take the time to explore them. It’s one reason I wrote Answers in the Dark, a genuine labour of love that covers all this and more.

Available to Order on Amazon

When I wrote the book I was acutely aware that there are loads of books on sleep and dreams, which is why I pride myself on the fact that I think this is different. It sets aside the science-y jargon that makes a lot of people glaze over, when what you probably really want to know is how to sleep better, right? It busts some big myths of sleep, like the idea we all need eight hours sleep every night; because, well, it’s just not that simple.

I offer a Sleep Cycle Repair Kit that offers tips and techniques to help people get a better night’s shut-eye, along with ideas on how to use mindfulness effectively – a proven strategy for helping people sleep better – in ways that actually might work for you. I also talk about grief, and why I think we need to talk about it in a different way.

The last part of the book, Part III, talks about how to explore dreams. It’s deliberately not a massive, complicated or convoluted section for one simple reason: in all the years I’ve been talking to people about the dreams they’ve been having, they actually just needed to know how to decode it. Answers in the Dark offers food for thought, recognising that there isn’t “one size that fits all”. It does contain a selection of different dreams people have; it looks at the types of dreams we might have around death, dying and loss as well as some common anxiety dreams like turning up somewhere naked (because that can feel like a nightmare) alongside what it means when you put your foot on the brake in a car in a dream and nothing happens.

But I’m careful to say the book is not a dream dictionary, mainly because most people I speak with know dream dictionaries only give you one bite of the apple, especially if it’s written from one specific theoretical model, rather than helping you try to unpack it. The thing about dreams, is that they speak to us in ways that are encrypted, so that only we can decipher them. My book aims to help you do that.

So if you had the weirdest dream last night, check it out. If you’ve ever dreamt you’re back at school taking exams you weren’t ready for, dreamt you were on the toilet with no walls to the cubicle or try to call out and you can’t, you might find the answers you’re looking for.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book is a life changer! Delphi literally goes under the covers and shares her vast experience and knowledge about the reasons why many of us struggle to get a peaceful and rejuvenating night’s sleep.

Beth Lee-Crowther, Pulse Talk Radio Presenter and Author – to read Beth’s full review, click here

Answers in the Dark is available to order on Amazon.

© Copyright Delphi Ellis 2022

The loneliness of grief and why I think we need to talk about it

⚠️ Content warning: This article is a discussion around death, dying, loss and bereavement.

When we talk about loneliness, we might think about the number of friends we have, or how much time we spend alone. Many people can relate to going days without speaking to a single person; this was almost certainly a reality for millions of people around the world during the pandemic.

But when I talk about loneliness, I include what it means to feel disconnected. For many people, they recognise what it’s like to be surrounded by those they know, yet who don’t really “get” them, and so feel out of place. Our “social norms” often set standards that we should “fit in” and not be different. We hide our authenticity or shift our values in a need to belong. We don’t feel heard or understood. And that can be lonely.

Lacking connection can also be felt heavily when we’re grieving, and particularly in a world that doesn’t recognise the many different layers of loss we experience throughout our lives.

In my book, Answers in the Dark, I talk about how grief shows up, even if no one has died. We assume when we speak about grief, that we mean following bereavement, and yet throughout our life we will have experienced loss after loss that we’ve either been able to process or not. It might have been parents divorcing at an early age. Being made to change schools and leave friends behind. As we get older, it may be through redundancy or retiring from a beloved job of 30 years. It all counts.

And yet, society doesn’t necessarily recognise these as “reasonable reasons to grieve” (sometimes referred to as “disenfranchised grief), or give us permission to explore them as such. When we feel like we can’t talk about how we feel, our grief can go underground. We may not even connect with the fact that we’ve experienced a loss, and yet nonetheless our body speaks to us in various ways, like not being able to sleep or the dreams we have when we do. Imagine if every loss you’ve experienced but couldn’t process is just resting underneath awareness, and its only outlet is in the darkness of night. It might not be an obvious thought about grief itself, just an ineffable noise that keeps you awake that’s implicitly saying “I’m not ok”. This is why I wrote this book.

Available to Order on Amazon

Creating safe spaces for people to talk about their grief should be a natural part of our every day conversation. And yet, discussions around death and dying are seen as morbid and taboo. We feel uncomfortable asking if someone’s ok, and we worry we might make things worse. The reality is, for grieving people, the worse has probably already happened, and not being able to talk about it can create further feelings of loneliness and isolation.

When we don’t feel connected or safe in the space around us, we instinctively shy away from the dialogue we may really need to have. Thankfully there are organisations there to help if you need time or space to talk about the loss you’ve been through.

What else can help?

In speaking to grieving people over the many years I’ve worked in this arena, they’ve often echoed similar things that can help. Many recognise that having a group of people that do understand is so important – connection and community are key to our well-being. This very idea of bringing grieving people together and holding space for each other was the concept behind the work I’ve done travelling around the country, training people how to run peer-support groups. Organisations like the Good Grief Trust also offer talking spaces for people to connect.

It can also help to find ways to reconnect with the world around you. It might be through yoga or meditation, music lyrics that uplift you or poetry that helps you feel seen. Have a think about what could bring back a sense of connection, even if in your own company. In the same way, think about what you’ve had to sacrifice in order to feel like you belong. Have you had to make changes which mean that you’re not living life aligned with your values? If your friends and family aren’t helping, see if you can find ways to communicate to them what you need, that allow you to show up authentically in all that you do. It’s ok to say “I’m grieving and how I feel is to be expected”.

If you know someone going through a difficult time processing a loss, it’s also important to let them feel what they feel. Our instinct as humans is to go in to what can be known as the Fixing Reflex, in an effort to “cheer them up” out of their pain. But grief just doesn’t work like that. It needs to be seen and understood in order for people to find their way forward, knowing that they may need to revisit that, time and again. Creating a safe space for someone to talk might be as simple as saying “how can I help?” or even something practical, like walk their dog.

If we can normalise conversations about grief we can bring people together. We can acknowledge that all grief is valid and equally unique. We can learn that whilst we may relate to each other’s pain in different ways, at the same time making comparisons can be unhealthy; it’s not a competition to see who had it worse. Instead we can acknowledge each other’s pain and say “this matters, I’ll sit beside you” for as long as we reasonably can. Grieving doesn’t have to be lonely. We can bring light in to the dark.

This article was written originally for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 and the theme is loneliness. Answers in the Dark is available to purchase on Amazon.

I wrote a book that talks about grief – so why do I keep on about misogyny? Because it’s all connected

⚠️ Content warning: this article speaks about suicide, and male violence against women and girls (MVAWG), including sexual assault and domestic abuse. It also contains links to research on male supr emacy which references known ‘actors’ in this arena.

I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been touched by loss.  I say that confidently because I’ve been working with the bereaved as a qualified counsellor for about 20 years.  But, as I explain in my book, loss extends beyond someone dying.  Grief doesn’t just belong to death.

It can show up as redundancy.  

A relationship breakdown.  

A child leaving home for university.

We might think of these as ‘little L’ losses because, to some, they might seem insignificant. That’s one reason we’re often met with unhelpful clichés – like “there’s people worse off than you” – when things really do feel just awful. (‘Big L’ losses are the ones most people recognise, like death, but society only lets us mourn those for a short time, before it somewhat disgracefully shames us into thinking we should be ‘over it’. More on that in the book too). In short, it takes its toll.

As a result, we push our losses away (in reality, it’s more like we push them down), and hope they never reach the surface of our awareness again. The cumulative effect of loss after loss can cause us to feel overwhelmed, without ever really being in touch with the storyline that explains why we feel like we do. And so there we are, awake in the middle of the night, caught up in our thoughts which take us, as I call it, down the plughole. And it’s dark down there.

The good news is, when the time is right, we can find ways to get our sparkle back. Not that we ‘move on’, we just find our way forward at a pace that’s healthy and right for us.

So what does this have to do with misogyny?  I’ll be the first to admit it’s quite the tangent.  Why would a woman who has spent two decades of her life supporting grieving people use her Twitter account to raise awareness of what seems to be a topic so grossly misunderstood.

Because, it’s all connected.  I spent time training with the National Homicide Service so that I could effectively help people bereaved by murder; I know many grieving families whose loved one has died as a result of male violence. I’ve supported people at coroner’s court, that knows all too well how men die by suicide because of the pressures from a ‘Man Box‘ that says “be more and feel less”. Misogyny kills.

In my book, I also briefly describe my own experience of being subjected to male-perpetrated domestic abuse. I don’t go in to detail, for lots of reasons, but suffice it to say it had a significant impact on me.

As a result of my experiences and over the course of many years since, I became accredited to support victims of crime, and continue to speak with those subjected to and bereaved by male violence today, all on a voluntary basis.  I have spoken with several policing leads on the subject, and looked at ways to create change that lasts, with the view that this all needs to be high on the agenda, long before the tragic events of ‘high profile cases’ that caught everyone’s attention in 2021.  

That’s not to say that men aren’t victims too – they are – or that women don’t show violent behaviour (they can and some do). But, as I explain in this blog, I think we need to talk about women’s safety and male violence.

I use my Twitter account to raise awareness of misogyny and how it’s rooted in a dangerous ideology that seeks to legitimise male supr emacy. Because it’s everywhere. As my very long thread explains, it even shows up in policy and, of course, drives male perpetrated sexual violence and domestic abuse. Even women can show internalised misogyny when they punch down on other women to get ahead with men at work (I talk about misandry in the thread as well). And when some men think other men don’t ‘conform’ to what it means to “be a man”, they harm each other too.

Vivek Shraya explains misogyny with these examples:

The disdain for women and femininity is insidious, infecting even those of us who profess to love women, and it takes many forms… Using “sensitive” as a pejorative and a mechanism of restraint [..] is a form of misogyny…Men’s assumptions that they are entitled to touch others’ bodies without consent and the dismissals of my boundaries were misogyny.

Vivek Shraya, I’m Afraid of Men

So in summary, I “keep on” about misogyny because it matters and I offer particularly a Call to Men (the thread explains why). Addressing it is important for everyone; to help reduce the number of bereaved families that may have to navigate an already creaking criminal justice system, and the volume of people subjected to rape and sexual assault; that has to be important.

If we can tackle misogyny and the ideology behind it as the root cause of male perpetrated violence, we will create a more enlightened society; one that creates a safer world for us all.

© Copyright Delphi Ellis 2022

Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal is available to purchase on Amazon. The book primarily joins the dots between sleep, dreams and our mental health, particularly how grief shows up even when no one has died. It discusses briefly my own experience of being subjected to male violence, but not the topic of misogyny in itself. (That may be for another book…)

Change that Lasts – A plan of action to create a safer world

⚠️ Content warning: this article refers to male violence, femicide, domestic abuse and rape.

On 8th March 2021, International Women’s Day, my Twitter feed was filled with potential male allies saying they would Choose to Challenge unhelpful behaviour and inequalities that affected women.

Later that week, we learned that another woman, Sarah Everard, had gone missing and subsequently been murdered, this time allegedly at the hands of a police officer. Since Sarah’s death (at the time of writing just two months later) there have been 28 more femicides in the U.K.. Globally, in 2017, 87,000 femicides were recorded – that’s a female being murdered approximately every six minutes around the world.

As our thoughts remained with Sarah’s family, we also remembered the 116 women we know died violently in the previous year in the U.K., the 149 the year before, and all those we know about since records began. In that time, millions of women in the U.K. will have also been subjected to rape and domestic abuse at the hands of their current / ex partner or other male. Latest ONS figures suggest 1 in 20 women will have experienced rape or rape attempts, and at least 1.6 million women will have suffered domestic abuse.

Many women have also spoken of their fears in reporting to the police, and flagged institutional misogyny in policing. The Centre for Women’s Justice Super-Complaint and subsequent Channel 4 coverage, highlighted one woman a week is coming forward to report their serving police officer partner has subjected them to domestic abuse. It was described by one former police commander as an “epidemic within the force”.

A long overdue national conversation began.

Women like me up and down the country, who know what it’s like to feel unsafe walking home – and in their own home – became more vocal. We felt frustrated at having to take precautions to stay safe (and being blamed for what happens to us even when we did), whilst many avoided talking about the significant reason we needed to, that being mainly: abusive and violent men.

Predictably, and at the same time alarmingly, voicing this opinion was met with defensive, derailing and minimising comments accusing campaigners of being “anti-men” and “male bashing”. Exclamations included “not all men” and “whataboutery” from many quarters – including other women.

And I get it. The possibility that if a man you’re close to isn’t a perpetrator, he probably knows one – it’s a hard reality to face. Meanwhile, my timeline stayed quiet from those same male allies who made a pledge on 8th March to stand with us.

The thing is, we can and do accept that men can be – and are – victims too. We know that not all men are abusive BUT we need to talk about the fact that some males are. We should – and need – to be able to have a conversation about women’s safety – and the types of violence against women and girls – and who in the main puts them at risk. Even men are overwhelmingly at risk from other men.

I began a personal plan of action: here’s what it has looked like so far, I’ve added some thoughts in case it helps inspire yours:

Use different platforms: On 13th March, I wrote this article about why we need to have a conversation about male violence and women’s safety. (It also explains why the “not all men” narrative and “whataboutery” is unhelpful, and how men can help.) Encouragingly, campaigners are coming forward like YesAllMen, and I’ve since seen and had helpful interaction with male allies on social media, who seem keen to hold a dialogue and take useful action.

Worryingly though there are other people – and organisations – out there who will say they take this issue seriously but their actions are more performative than progressive eg ticking a box. I recently attended an event billed at opening a healthy dialogue about women’s safety, only for the male facilitator to give the majority of the platform over to people who engaged in exactly the “not all men” and “whataboutery” that doesn’t help. You will also be met by uninformed or ill-informed comments especially on social media, particularly those trying to ignore or perpetuate the problem. So it’s important you pick and choose who to engage with and stay safe, especially online. Protect your mental health too; know your bandwidth for having these conversations and how much energy you have to participate.

• Engage with Police: As part of an Independent Advisory Group (IAG), was able to open a dialogue with our local police service to ask what their strategy is to tackle male violence, including domestic abuse. The Chief Constable warmly welcomed a conversation and has promised to include me and colleagues in discussions that can help shape meaningful change. They also released a statement with partners, that demonstrated that women’s safety is and must be a priority too.

You could ask who the domestic abuse lead is (for example) within your local police, to see if they welcome a dialogue. You could also see if they’re recruiting members for their IAG, whose purpose is to give the community a voice in police decision-making and provide advice on developing successful partnerships.

Engage with Communities: I’m part of several groups from our local area who also kindly help me understand and raise awareness of different challenges they face. Having an intersectional approach when helping people, means (for example) acknowledging that systemic discrimination due to a person’s sexuality, gender and gender identity, race and ability may adversely affect someone’s access to support.

Conversations with community groups are a key part of understanding these challenges. You could ask questions in your workplace or via business networks (see below), contact your local volunteering centre, join relevant Facebook groups or speak to different community leaders, or ask to visit (for example) your local Women’s Centre to make sure that the needs of your community are being heard and understood.

Have conversations at work: In recent years I’ve supported the 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse. This highlights that workplaces have a duty of care to provide an infrastructure that supports and protects victims and survivors. A recent BBC article explained the importance of paid leave (for example) for those subjected to domestic abuse.

You could ask your organisation if they have a policy that helps victims, or ensure that people at work know the signs and how to help; this could include checking on welfare as part of a 1-1. To make sure that companies are held to account, we could ask or encourage websites like Glass Door to include a rating as to whether or not the company is a safe place to work. Recruiters could also include notes on their website about whether an employer has a policy and infrastructure that helps protect people from domestic abuse.

Reach out to Government: I recently wrote to my MP and our new Police and Crime Commissioner to make them aware of the A Fearless Future campaign by Stylist Magazine; the PCC has since made a strong commitment that local services will be funded appropriately. I and other colleagues had also been talking with the Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner prior to that, to look at how local services can meet the needs of victims.

PCCs are elected to make sure that local police meet the needs of the community. They also have responsibilities under the The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. You can find out more about them, including who is yours, here.

Work with agencies: Prompted by research from Kent and Medway NHS Trust, I contacted our local branch of Samaritans to ensure that the link between domestic abuse and suicide – both by victims and perpetrators – is on the campaign agenda. They have passionately engaged with a view to raising awareness.

I also became a Community Ambassador for Women’s Aid. This isn’t a paid role, but part of a scheme called “Change that Lasts – Ask Me”. It identifies that communities which come together, raise awareness of and help break the silence around domestic abuse, can create meaningful change. Part of the role is to ensure that we talk about the signs and prevention of domestic abuse without victim blaming, and recognise that perpetrators are responsible for the harm they cause. We as communities (including statutory authorities) are encouraged to listen, believe and take helpful action (eg signposting) without judgement.

Check Women’s Aid website for availability

This is just the beginning. There is more work to do.

Whilst many organisations – including policing – could assert that “we’ve come a long way”, the change that’s needed isn’t being seen by those most affected. So whilst we continue a plan of action, we also rely on decision makers and communities being ready – and willing – to listen and create meaningful change that lasts. In doing so, we can strive to make the world a safer and healthier place for everyone.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247. If you are affected by content in this article you may find some helpful links to agencies and resources here.

Find out more about becoming a Community Ambassador for Women’s Aid here

Delphi is a qualified counsellor, well-being trainer and campaigner for the awareness and prevention of domestic abuse. To find out more about her click here.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021 – updated 22/5/21

This is a conversation about women’s safety and male violence. And we should be able to have it.

⚠️ Content Warning: refers to domestic abuse, sexual violence and femicide

There seems to be a pattern when we talk about male violence towards women. We often hear – including from some women – that we shouldn’t “tar all men with the same brush”.

Many believe, including me, that not all men are bad. So what’s the problem? Let’s open it up. 

Some might say the “not all men…” narrative is because those men – and women – simply want us to trust males and stop lumping them in with the bad ones. But that implies that because not all men are violent, it’s not fair to raise the issue – and reality – that some are.

When we walk the streets, sit at our desk at work, go on a date, or visit a bar – where we should feel safe – research shows we are not. Latest figures suggest that 97% of women have been subjected to sexual harassment in the U.K.. In 2017, the latest year for which figures are available, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that 3.4m women had been victims of sexual assault in their lives . This included one million who had been raped, or had faced attempted rape. If the argument is not all men are dangerous, how are women meant to know which men we can trust?

Many women have “safety tools” to help them feel safe in every day life. They have them because of the reality they face going about their business each and every day. They’re not “over-reacting”. They’re not being “hysterical”. They’re not being “over-sensitive”. The evidence shows women are disproportionately at risk, and have to take steps to ensure their safety.

But this is problematic. Women having to take these safety measures has become so normalised, that if they didn’t have or use these tools, they become the target for blame when they are attacked. It’s a problem because it puts accountability in the wrong place.

By saying we should “trust our instincts”, watch what we wear, not go out after dark, not wear headphones, it puts the focus – and responsibility – on women, to stop men being violent.

We want to be able to have a conversation that explains why that’s an unhelpful narrative.

We want to be able to explain that the only person responsible for hurting, controlling or killing is the perpetrator. That even though “not all men” are like that, that two women are being murdered every week, with reports that during lockdown a woman was killed every three days

We need to have a conversation about male violence and why women are too scared to report it. We need to address rape myths that “she must be lying” when only 4% of cases of sexual violence reported to the UK police are found or suspected to be false. 

We need to include a discussion with the LGBTQI community, including the fact that a quarter of trans people report domestic abuse. We also need to have a dialogue about whether or not safe spaces (like refuges) are accessible for people with disabilities, and why when black women go missing their safety is neglected – and ignored – in a way white women aren’t.  Anyone that goes missing or is attacked should be a cause for public concern equally. We should be able to talk about it. And hope that people want to listen. 

We need to allow this dialogue, appreciating the knowledge that men are victims too – including of domestic abuse (which many say makes it harder for them to report) – as well as on the streets. 

For those that say “but what about men?”, we can acknowledge that men are dying, and their lives matter too. But then we need to address the fact that in those cases the perpetrators are also overwhelmingly male. 

90% of murderers are male and 87% of crime against the person is committed by men. 97% of sexual offences are committed by men. Where the number of male homicide victims has decreased, the number of female victims has increased in the latest year. (ONS

Women are not safe. And this needs to stop. We need change that lasts.

Image by Women’s Aid

So we’re not saying all men are bad or violent. We’re saying all men can help us feel safe:

  • By demonstrating empathy for this conversation
  • Acknowledging and educating themselves on the issue of women’s safety and male violence
  • Recognising their own biases
  • Being an ally by learning, sharing and opening the dialogue
  • Intervening when they hear or see others being inappropriate
  • Not engaging in “banter” that objectifies women
  • Teaching other men they don’t have the right to control or kill anyone.

UN Women have also written about how men can help and I have my own “Call to Men” thread on Twitter that includes resources from men doing the work to help us all be safe.

Image via A Call to Men (added October 21)

To be an ally in the conversation around addressing misogyny in particular, a place to start is to understand the difference between sexism and misogyny, and help reduce the status of males who harass or make sexist comments against females; let them know that’s not what a good leader looks like. Because much misogynist language goes unchallenged, the assumption is that it’s societally acceptable; when men stay silent, they are saying “what you said was ok”.

When they call misogyny out it as it happens, it can stop there. This shows moral courage and integrity, and is good leadership. 

David Challen speaks on Channel 4

We know men get hurt too. But this conversation is about women’s safety and male violence. And we should be able to have it. We know that 78% of men say they would intervene if they saw a woman being harassed – that’s an important statistic. But we also know that when men are in groups this will likely fail.

When people use the unhelpful “not all men” narrative, engage in “whataboutery” or say it’s “anti-men” to raise this issue, it minimises and derails the conversation, and shuts it down. 

It says that because it’s not their experience it’s not their issue. It feels like they’re saying that “not all men can help”. 

It is. And they can. 

As Jackson Katz writes in “The Macho Paradox”, he “understands women’s skepticism, who for years have been frustrated by men’s complacency about something so basic as a woman’s right to live free from the threat of violence… isn’t it about time we had a national conversation about the male causes of violence?” I think so. I hope you do too.

If you or someone you know has been affected by these issues, here are some links that might help.

You can read my thread on the differences between sexism and misogyny as I talk about them here. This post first appeared on the Let’s Talk Lady Business website. Updated October 21 to include Women’s Aid video, and March 22 to add Call to Men Twitter thread.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021

COVID Dreams

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, people have been reporting that they’re remembering more vivid and disturbing dreams. According to the Lyon Neuroscience Centre’s research, our dream recall is up 35%. So what’s going on?

Because many of us are working from home, avoiding the morning commute right now, we might be sleeping in a bit longer. We know that the more sleep we have, the more dreaming we can achieve; we also understand that you’re more likely to remember the dream you have just before you wake up, especially if it’s troubling.

What types of COVID dreams are people having?

Everyone is different but COVID dreams appear to have some themes so far.

Insects

A radio presenter told me recently on air, that she’d had a dream where maggots were on her face. The following day, a journalist called me to say loads of people she’s speaking to are having dreams about creepy crawlies.  

Pre-covid and depending on your hobbies (like fishing for example), a dream about maggots might be about someone taking the bait.  

But in the COVID era, it’s also important to look at other metaphors. When we look at the language we use around insects, ie bugs this can align with the way we talk of a virus, e.g. you might say you “have a bug”. If you have an understandable fear and anxiety of catching coronavirus, then it makes sense you’d have a dream where insects are too close for comfort.

It might not be COVID related though. It could also be at the time of the dream, someone or something is “bugging” you.

On a much lighter note, insects like bees and butterflies are often seen as positive (for example around leadership, or transformation respectively), so again it helps to take the content of your dream into context with what’s happening in your life at the time – I always ask the questions “why this, and why now?” Keeping a dream diary can help you notice if these types of insects appear regularly, which can help you explore the meaning if it’s a recurring dream. 

How you feel about the insect is also key: eg., were you scared, or were you irritated in the dream? Do you like that type of insect, or do they make you anxious? All of this is worth considering when exploring your own dream. (If you’ve been stung by a bee or other insect in real life for example, how you feel about that will matter too).

Hands

People may also be having dreams which align with the government messaging. Someone I spoke with recently said their hands were dirty in the dream and couldn’t get them clean. With so much messaging telling us we need to be washing our hands regularly, it makes sense this would manifest in a dream this way. Incidentally, pre-COVID a dream about hands is often about the work we do (and our ability to do it). For example, we would say someone may “need to get their hands dirty” if we think they’re not pulling their weight.

Death

Whilst we are hearing so much about the impact of COVID-19 and daily death tolls around the world, it makes sense if the subject of our own mortality comes to the surface, alongside any worries about people we love. It’s natural then, to dream about our fear of death or something which represents that. People working in healthcare and particularly hospitals right now, are being faced with this reality on a daily basis. Worrying “am I doing enough?” can also play out in an anxiety dream like this. It’s important to engage in regular acts of self care and reassure yourself you’re doing all that you realistically can to help others.

Like any dream or nightmare, its worth talking about it with someone who will listen. Research from Swansea now supports that telling someone about the dream you have can help in many ways. It doesn’t have to be a professional exploration; a close friend or family member that you trust might help you make sense of it all.

If you are worried about your health and well-being, especially if it’s affecting your sleep, always speak to your doctor or healthcare team. Learning ways to manage anxiety, during the outbreak and beyond, can help too.

I talk about dreams, and offer a template for keeping a dream diary in my book Answers in the Dark.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021

About Delphi

I am a therapeutic counsellor, author and well-being trainer. I aim to help people find what I call their ‘mojo’ (feel-good energy or motivation) and get their sparkle back, often during or after a difficult time in their lives. You can find out more about my services here. My book Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal is due for publication in 2022.

I have a special interest in dreams and sleep, appearing on TV shows like Loose Women and ITV’s This Morning. (You can find out more about this further down the page).

I have designed and delivered nationwide training programmes, including promoting the benefits of peer support following the death of a loved one, and tailored bereavement awareness training to front line personnel including police officers, paramedics, and search and rescue teams. I currently run and facilitate peer support groups on well-being and bereavement.

My mission is to help improve and enhance the well-being of others through compassionate education and wholehearted, meaningful dialogue. I believe in human potential, helping people manage uncertainty and build resilience, building connection in communities. I am a strong advocate of self-compassion, encouraging regular restorative acts of self-care.

I campaign to raise awareness and discuss prevention of domestic abuse – the National Domestic Abuse Helpline us 0808 2000 247. I also actively challenge the taboo of talking about death, dying and grief.

I am based in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, with some services available nationwide and globally via call services like Zoom, Teams and Google Meet.

Professional Career

I started my therapeutic career in 2002, where I supported those bereaved by murder and suicide, including attending inquests at coroner’s court. I now work in the community promoting well-being maintenance and recovery, through 1-1 sessions and group events.

I also work for a charity in my spare time, managing volunteers who provide a unique transport service for cancer patients, which won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2014.

Pregnancy Mental Health

In 2004, I established a unique website and peer support group dedicated to Pregnancy Mental Health, following my own experience of ante-natal depression and anxiety.

As a result, I have featured in several popular magazines on this topic, including Pregnancy and Birth and Natural Health magazines, and featured on radio programmes like Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. (You can see a full list of tv and media appearances below).

Volunteering

I am a community ambassador raising awareness of signs and prevention of domestic abuse. If you or someone you know may be affected there is a list of useful links on my services website here.

Qualifications and Training

My qualifications and training include Therapeutic Counselling, Delivering Adult Learning, Support for Insomnia, Positive Psychology, Pain Management, Mental Health First Aid (and Psychological First Aid for Pandemics), and Mindfulness.

I have also received training with the National Homicide Service, Victim Support, and Women’s Aid. I am accredited to work with victims of crime, including those escaping domestic abuse.

TV and Media Career

I have enjoyed a TV and media career talking about the subjects I am passionate about, including dreams and healthy sleep. You can view an expanded list of media appearances below:

Radio:

BBC Radio: BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 1 Xtra, BBC WM, BBC Shropshire, BBC Coventry, BBC Three Counties, BBC Radio 6 with George Lamb, BBC Suffolk Breakfast Show, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Drive Time, BBC Radio Leeds Drive Time, BBC Tees, BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour, BBC London with Sunny & Shay and on the Eddie Nestor show, Talk Sport, Beacon Radio, Hallam FM, Original 106 FM, Gemini FM, WLR FM, XFM, The Psychic Show (LBC 97.3), My Spirit Radio, Bridge Radio, Red FM

Television:

Loose Women, ITV’s This Morning, DayBreak (Presenter of The Guide to Sleep), , GMTV, The Wright Stuff, LK Today (Lorraine), Consultant to SO Television for My Lovely Audience (Graham Norton), Psychic TV

Featured work –

Natural Health, In Style Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Daily Express, Practical Parenting & Pregnancy Magazine, Soul & Spirit magazine, Huffington Post, Guardian (G2), Sunday Express, Pregnancy, Baby & You, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, Pregnancy & Birth magazine, Prima Baby magazine, Practical Parenting, Columnist for Spirit & Destiny Magazine, Contributor to Talk Mum, Contributor to Silent Voices, Columnist for Spirit Force Magazine, Mens Health magazine

PR Events

Dreams Bed Company, Maybelline New York, Sky + HD (article featured in Daily Telegraph), Johnson’s Beauty: Dreamy Skin, Snow Leopard Trust

Awards

  • Volunteer of the Year Cohesion Award for services to the community;
  • Nomination: “Women Who Keep Bedfordshire Safer”;
  • Regional Finalist for the Health and Social Care Awards for Mental Health and Wellbeing;
  • Spiritual Connextions Awards for Best Service to Others

Other Interests

As well as dreams and sleep, I have a keen interest in Buddhist psychology including mindfulness and have followed a Buddhist way of life since around 2009, most recently in the Theravada tradition. This means I hold a positive intention to be of service to others, bringing into my work, where appropriate, an intelligent philosophy which focuses on intentional living.

If you would like a dream interpreted, this is now a paid-for service – click here for details. To send an enquiry about services, click here.

You might also like:

Monday Mojo™ – A weekly email containing feel-good motivation for the week ahead. Sign up here.

With Delphi’s help, I have a new perspective on life and the strength to face new and challenging things in a positive way.” B.

© Delphi Ellis, Helping You Sparkle™ 2021

Let’s Talk Lady Business

Women often face challenges that are difficult to talk about in public because we’ve been trained – and shamed – to keep these conversations to ourself. Saying “I’ve got my period” for example is still taboo, and women and girls are suffering as a result.  

Research by Plan International UK shows that one in 10 girls have been unable to afford period products and 48% are embarrassed talking about their periods. Period poverty isn’t about not being able to afford branded products; in the UK the research shows some women and girls can’t afford even the cheapest.

As Red Box Project pointed out on Twitter in this vital thread, there are a number of other reasons why girls may not have access to period products at home, including living with domestic abuse.

Women living in domestic abuse may have a partner who confiscates their pads or tampons as a means to control them and other females in the house.  Because they are embarrassed to talk about it, these women and girls miss school or work.

Thankfully these organisations including Bloody Good Period and Street Cramps are working hard to break the stigma. Charities like Refuge can also help support those affected by Domestic Abuse.

To help improve the conversation I also created the Let’s Talk Lady Business™ website and social media to encourage healthy conversation where challenges for females exist, especially around topics like pregnancy mental health, domestic abuse and menstrual health so that we can create meaningful change that lasts. I also run peer support groups for women to help explore the challenges we face and what helps. To find out more about me and what I do click here.

© Delphi Ellis All rights reserved 2019 – Article updated May 2021

What’s in a Dream?

Dreams have been described as “the window in to our soul”, but is there any value in exploring them? The short answer is most definitely “yes”.

Research shows that talking about a dream for approximately an hour “can result in “aha” moments for people”.  We also know that during the pandemic, according to the Lyon Neuroscience Centre, dream recall increased by up to 35%.

I have been fascinated by dreams all my life, and have worked professionally as a TV “Dream Expert” in the media.  As a therapist many of my clients have found it helpful to explore what their dreams and nightmares mean.

My new book – Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal looks at not only why we might be awake at night and what can help, but explores how our dreams can provide insights in to what’s really on our mind. It provides tips on interpreting your own dreams, as well as top tips for more refreshing sleep – even if you work shifts. It’s now available to pre-order on Amazon. Click here to pre-order your copy.

© Copyright Delphi Ellis 2006 – 2021

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