Helping Ourselves When We Hurt by Jo Johnson – Guest Post

Helping Ourselves When We Hurt by Jo Johnson – Guest Post

Today on the blog we welcome author Jo Johnson, with her guest post ‘Helping Ourselves When We Hurt‘, as part of the blog tour for her new book ‘Surviving Me’, which was released on the 19th November 2019. Post contains giveaway which you can find at the bottom of the page. This post contains affiliate links.

Surviving Me - Jo Johnson PHOTO 2 Helping Ourselves

I’m very excited that my debut novel ‘Surviving Me’. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.

I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects. I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.

Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”.

In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.

Guest Post sign Helping Ourselves

Helping Ourselves When We Hurt

Tom Cleary, the main character in the new novel ‘Surviving Me’, has a successful job and a wife ten years his junior. He has no need to pay attention to the inner voice he learnt in childhood that shouts “NOT GOOD ENOUGH”.

When he is bullied out of his job and discovers he is infertile, historical negative thoughts resurface. Over time, he listens more to his inner bully and less to the people who love him.

Negative thoughts are normal, we all have them but when life is good we find it easier to ignore them. When bad things happen, our minds can drive us to a dark and unsafe place if we don’t spot what’s happening.

The good news is that research shows we can train our minds just like we can improve the fitness of our bodies. Here are three simple things that will help when life feels difficult.

1. Keep a gratitude diary.

When life is tough it’s easy to lose sight of the good things. Research shows recognising the good things that are happening strengthens the ability of the brain to focus on positive things.


At the end of each day, write down five things that have gone well or for which you are grateful. Regularly thank those who help you, be specific, write thank you cards or send a text of thanks.

2. Treat yourself with compassion.

When you feel low, do you treat yourself like you would treat a friend and offer yourself support and understanding? Or are you a self bully, harsh and critical? Unsurprisingly people who can show themselves kindness feel mentally better.


Be aware of what you say to yourself and try to be more friendly. Ask yourself how you would treat your child or a friend when they are hurting and do those things for yourself. Notice the tone you use when speaking to yourself. Instead of berating yourself for being pathetic or telling yourself to get over it, give yourself permission to feel hurt.

3. Think about food and mood and exercise.

There is good evidence that a diet containing high sugar and fat, as well as too much alcohol, makes people more depressed and anxious. It is also true that a little regular exercise is better than anti-depressants for lots of people. Often people set themselves up to fail by setting unrealistic goals around food and exercise.


Try making small, achievable changes that are more likely to succeed. For instance, giving up butter on a Tuesday, parking the car slightly further from the school and walking the last bit or swapping one cup of coffee for water. If you can make even tiny changes but keep them up you will notice benefits to your body and your mind.

Surviving Me, tackles hard issues such as male depression, suicidal thoughts and degenerative disease in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way.

A review on Goodreads describes Surviving Ms as follows “a refreshingly different novel which cleverly combines difficult emotional issues with just the right amount of humour. Be prepared to laugh, cry and think about the big stuff.”

Surviving Me Cover

Surviving Me

Author – Jo Johnson
Publisher – Unbound Digital
Pages – 304
Release Date – 19th November 2019
ISBN 13 – 978-1789650617
Format – ebook, paperback

Interview synopsis 2020 Helping Ourselves

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal.

Tom has decided he doesn’t want to live. Adam wishes he had a choice.

Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.

If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

Purchase online from: BooksBlackwell

Author Links

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Share your thoughts on ‘Helping Ourselves When We Hurt’ in the comment section below!

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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7 Responses

  1. This sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  2. DJ Sakata says:

    She is a new name for me, thanx for sharing her info

  3. Stormi says:

    I’ve never kept a gratitude journal, but I’ve heard great things about the practice.

  4. Bianca says:

    This sounds super interesting, thanks for putting it on my radar.

  5. Kathy West says:

    This is a new author to me.

  6. Robin Loves Reading says:

    New name, but very insightful.

  7. Heidi says:

    Sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing!