Welcome to the Blog section of the website. I will be writing about a few different issues that people use Counselling for and that I have extensive experience of working with. I hope to cover some of the main features of each issue, any helpful resources and interesting pointers. I am happy to discuss any of these further or if you would like to book a session to explore any of these issues further through Counselling please feel free to get in touch.
Some of the issues I hope to cover in due course include Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Panic Attacks, Addiction, Relationship issues, Family difficulties, Work related issues, Personal Development, Identity, Bereavement, Loss, Grief, Self-harm, Low self-esteem, Confidence and Insecurity. Feedback and suggestions welcome.
Depression can be a hugely disabling issue. Millions of people suffer from it in varying degrees and anti-depressant prescriptions have doubled in just a decade. One of the most accurate and powerful videos that I have seen that gives an insight into Depression, is the "black dog" video which you can see below:
There is a lot of debate about whether depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, genetic, things that happen in our lives, predisposed mood, lifestyle or a mixture of all of the above. It can also vary greatly in its severity and impact on day to day life. Some people may experience mild depression which could be similar to a constant low mood and some people experience severe depression which can lead to not being able to function day-to-day and may also lead to suicide.
Having worked with Depression a great deal as a Counsellor, I have seen many different forms and heard a huge range of ways that people deal with and get through such a harrowing battle. For some people, the more that they have explored their depression, they have realised that it is actually the cause of low self-worth or self-esteem. If we really detest ourselves then understandably, our mood and outlook on life will be drastically impacted by this. Given time to unpick what the depression actually is and what underlies its presence, we then have some chance to see it for what it really is and begin to find a way through it. Alternatively, some people develop ways to deal with the day to day struggle of depression. This could just be setting yourself tasks such as getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, having breakfast, and then as you find your way through these, there can be a sense of achievement and progress. For many people, these may be everyday activities that do not get a second thought but for someone battling depression, leaving your bed in the morning can feel like climbing Mount Everest.
Whatever your situation, I really do believe that there is a way through it. This may just be ways to find your way through each day, making life-changing decisions, taking some time to talk to someone else about your struggles or changing your lifestyle for the better. Mind give a great overview of depression, sources of help and other mental health issues. There is also a whole host of information out there to help inform you and help you on your road to understanding and recovery. If Counselling is not accessible for some reason then finding a friend or family member that you can confide in and talk to may be just as helpful. Equally, having time for and looking after yourself can be hugely beneficial. Overcoming such a debilitating illness can take time and be hard work but I have seen time and time again just how possible this can be with the right support. If you would like to ask any further questions about this post or any other issues then please feel free to get in touch.
Along with Depression, Anxiety has been one of the most prominent and increasing conditions that I have dealt with over the last few years as a Counsellor. There are many suggestions as to why this may be the case; some say it is a result of modern life, others because of the lessening stigma of mental health and so more people talking about it or accessing treatment and a further suggestion may be a result of people holding too much, their buckets just too full with life and its many demands and challenges, resulting in anxiety, stress, panic.
My personal experience, as a Therapist and also just in day to day life, has been a mixture of all of these things mentioned above. Our modern world demands so much of us and also gives us so much information, and at a breakneck speed. Social media is portraying images of perfect lives that we feel we have to live up to, but are completely unrealistic. This very apt quote from Action for Happiness seems to capture it so well: "So often we compare our insides to other people's outsides." Alongside this, we are flooded with products, images and advertising that promise to fill our deficits with very impermanent and unsubstantial things (can a can of coke really make me feel that happy?!) And all this is even before you begin to add the many challenges that life can throw up; relationship issues, bereavements, illness, finances, parenting, the list goes on and on.
What this can often lead to is a feeling of being overwhelmed, inadequate, confused, unfulfilled and stressed. What I have experienced happen so frequently with clients is that they carry all these things around with them, making each day a struggle but also it can then just take one more thing to tip people over into panic attacks, breakdowns or just having enough of everything.
This can also be paired with a feeling that we "should" be able to deal with all these things, that they are only little things that everyone else can deal with and feeling so weak and insignificant when we struggle with these "minor" issues. We might not even know why we are feeling the way that we are but are just aware of a uncomfortable, unsettling, difficult feeling that remains with us and can vary depending on our situation or state of mind.
Anxiety can also often be a private battle saved for bed time routines, when we are alone, internal battles that we have with ourselves and that those around us may not be in the least bit aware of. Although sharing this with someone else is sometimes the last thing we want to do, the relief and impact of doing so can be huge. If we are lucky, we have friends that will understand and accept what we are going through and can offer you support through talking about it. Often, this may not be the case and can lead people to access Counselling and other support services.
Knowing that you will be listened to with understanding and not be judged can be such a relief, especially when often we feel as though we are damaged, inadequate and going crazy. Sometimes people are unable to access services like this for a number of reasons (money, time, motivation, embarrassment etc) and so other resources are helpful. I have found the information and support available on www.panic-attacks.co.uk very useful. It is informative, free and helpful. As well as this, mindfulness or meditation has been repeatedly proven to reduce anxiety as well as offering many further benefits to everyday living. I have found that Headspace is a great introduction into meditation. It is free (to begin with), is very accessible, guides you the whole way and explains things in a very simple and clear way. Give it a try and you will have the basics to continue the practice without having to subscribe after 10 days!
There are many further practices that are probably no surprise to see that help anxiety; exercise, good diet, being active and doing meaningful activities, spending time with others, doing things you enjoy, having purpose in life. However, sometimes there can be underlying issues which cause anxiety and so some people find that merely reading, practice and changing habits is not enough and a deeper exploration can be helpful. There really is a host of possible solutions but it is such a unique journey that only you will know what feels achievable amongst all these things and which things do and don't work for you. There is not one or the same fix for each person and anxiety is very much an individual journey that you need to find your way on (sometimes getting lost, sometimes needing help).
If you feel that there is anything that you would like to add to this blog post, feedback or to discuss further then please feel free to get in touch..