Anxiety - What's worrying you?
As part of our initial meeting, I use a simple questionnaire, which gives me a sense of how much anxiety you are experiencing. The questionnaire looks at generalized anxiety, and according to your score, places your anxiety in the category of mild, moderate or severe. I use this information to plan how we can best work together. I have found the results to be quite accurate, and will ask you to retake the questionnaire every few weeks whilst we work together. The general trend for my clients' results, is downwards, a spike in results, usually matches accurately, something that is happening in their lives, or the point that we have reached in our work, i.e. getting in touch with formerly unexpressed emotions. I don't use the results to label you, I simple find the scores to be useful markers, that can change.
Some common signs of anxiety are:
An inability to relax, perhaps feeling tense and pressured instead.
Finding it difficult to control how much you worry and what you worry about.
Physical symptoms such as panic attacks, heachaches or disturbed sleep.
I use a mix of approaches when working with clients who are struggling with anxiety, one of the first things that we do is breathe..
Mindful breathing has a way of helping us to feel relaxed and grounded, and it is an easy thing to practice at home or when needed.
Feeling grounded, I have found, makes it easier to be in the here and now, and easier to think. From the place of being grounded, we can begin to explore the underlying causes of your anxiety.
If you are struggling with anxiety and you would like to explore working together, please give me a call or send me an email.
Depression - What's getting you down?
As a therapist, my training enables me to welcome and connect with the real you, so, I welcome your truth.
Perhaps, you are someone who feels that you have to lie, because no one wants to know that you're feeling sad, or that you still feel sad, despite all the support that they have given. Sometimes, our friends and family can feel helpless when faced with our pain, or need for support. This can lead to strained relationships, and feelings of guilt, but this doesn't define you, or what you need, as a problem. It doesn't necessarily make your friends and family into selfish people. It may simply be an indicator that it's time to look beyond your social circle, for more specific forms of help, ideally, where you wont be expected to provide support.
What is Depression?
Anybody can suffer from feeling a bit “down” following a sad event or when things just haven’t gone to plan. However, if you suffer from depression, you are likely to experience feelings of sadness for much longer, maybe for some weeks or even months.
Some people believe that depression is not really an “illness” and that sufferers should just “pull themselves together”. From experience, I know that depression is a real condition, and that it can have a very serious impact on your an individual's life. Fortunately, all in NOT lost. Depression can be treated, and psychotherapy is one of many effective approaches.
How do I know if I have depression or am just feeling “down”?
Depression and Depressive Disorders can affect people in a wide variety of ways, ranging from feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy (including a loss of interest in sex), through to much more significant problems such as total withdrawal from society and suicidal thoughts. Depression can also lead to physical symptoms too, for example persistent tiredness, an inability to sleep, and various aches and pains.
When Clinical depression occurs it is indicated by symptoms that last nearly all day long for two weeks or more. These Symptoms will either be a generally depressed mood or a lowering of interest in being active. In order to be “classified” as Clinical Depression we would normally expect there to be about four, or perhaps more, of the following additional symptoms to be present:
Weight Loss or Weight Gain
A loss or an increase in appetite
Sleeping for much longer
Loss of Energy
Feelings of worthlessness
Feeling of Guilt
Thoughts or plans of Suicide
Physical symptoms of Depression can include:-
Speech or Movement may become slowed down
Loss or Increase of appetite
Aches and Pains with no apparent physical reason
Lack of Energy
Loss of interest in sex
Sudden changes to the Menstrual Cycle
Radical shifts in sleeping patterns, both sleeping longer and not needing sleep
Social symptoms of Depression can include:-
Underperforming at work
Reducing your Social Interaction
Problems in your home life
It is not always easy to recognise that you may be depressed, and it often surfaces quite slowly, and over a protracted period of time. During this time the slow adaptation to these new feelings can mean that it often takes a friend or family to notice the changes.
Is Grief Depression?
Although grief and depression share some of the same symptoms they are not the same. Grief, for example due to the loss of a loved one, is a normal response to that loss. When the bereft person has the space to grieve, the pain of the loss, usually eases with time. On the other hand, depression is a mental illness, which can be triggered by any experience, including loss. Unlike normal grief, the intensity of depression can remain the same or increase with time.
Some women are particularly vulnerable to depression during and after pregnancy. The hormonal and physical changes, that a woman experiences during pregancy, can cause exsiting problems to feel worse. Alternatively, new issues can arise, such as excessive sickness of hyperemesis gravidarum or gestational diabetes. Coupled with the added responsibility of a new life, these emotional and physical changes, can lead to prenatal and postnatal depression and the bonding between a mother and baby may be disrupted. Fathers can also experience following the birth of their child. The myths around motherhood or fatherhood, can lead a depressed parent to feel guilt or shame. However, depression doesn't mean that you are a bad parent, it's an indication that you could use some support and your G.P. is a good place to start.
Tips for Coping with Depression
Stay in touch
Socialising might be the last thing that you want to do if you're feeling depressed. However, it could improve your mood and keeping in touch with friends and family means you have someone to talk to or confide in when you feel low. In the early hours of the morning, when things might feel particularly bleak, a good friend will gladly lose sleep to listen to you. Staying in touch, can help you to see that you're loved.
Be more active
Exercise, no matter how gentle, can be the last thing on your mind if you're feeling depressed. However movement, fresh air, and sunlight are all recommended 'antidotes' as they have been shown to have positive effects on our mood. If you haven't exercised for a while, start gently, for example, try walking for 20 minutes every day and build up from there.
Have a routine
When feeling down, it can be easy to develop unhelpful habits such as: staying up late and sleeping during the day, skipping meals or binge eating. Try to develop a routine that supports your well-being, even if you don't feel like it at the moment.
If you feel able, be kind to yourself, and do something that will nurture your mind, body and spirit. This could be as simple as sitting in the garden in the sunshine, adding a few drops of your favourite essential oils to a warm bath, or listening to a favourite song. It can also include exploring your diet, as there is sometimes a link between the foods that we do or don't eat, and the emotions that we experience.
It is OK to ask for help, you don't have to suffer alone.
If possible, share what you're going through, with people you trust, who can be there for you.
Your GP is a good source of help, as they will be able to suggest possible ways to manage, i.e in some cases, medication may help with your recovery, or they may refer you to an appropriate service.
Talking therapy: counselling and psychotherapy, can also be beneficial, enabling you to develop strategies for everyday life, whilst discovering the underlying reason(s) for your depression.
If you are feeling down and you would like things to change, please reach out, I'll be happy to explore the way forward with you.