Our Blog

 An ongoing series of informal entries

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Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

 Ways to cope with depression

July 5th 2018

  • Try to tell people who are close to you how you feel rather than 'bottling it up' and 'going alone'. It is not weak to cry or admit that you are struggling.
  • Try not to despair - most people with depression recover. It is important to remember this.
  • Do try to distract yourself by doing other things such as gentle exercise or  being creative. Try doing things that does not need much concentration, but can be distracting, such as watching TV or listening to music. TV may be useful late at night if sleeping is a problem.
  • Try to eat regularly, even if you do not feel like eating. If you are able to, eat a healthy diet.
  •  Drinking alcohol is tempting to some people with depression, as the immediate effect may seem to relieve the symptoms. However, drinking heavily is likely to make your situation worse in the long run. Also, it is very difficult either to assess or to treat depression if you are drinking a lot of alcohol.
  •  It may be tempting to give up a job or move away to solve the problem. If at all possible you should delay any major decisions about relationships, jobs, or money until you are well again.
  • Do tell your doctor if you feel that you are getting worse, particularly if suicidal thoughts are troubling you. Learn more about dealing with suicidal thoughts.
  • Sometimes a spell off work is needed. However, too long off work might not be so good, as dwelling on problems and brooding at home may make things worse. Getting back into the hurly-burly of normal life may help the healing process when things are improving. Each person is different and the ability to work will vary.
  • Sometimes a specific psychological problem can cause depression but some people are reluctant to mention it. One example is sexual abuse as a child, leading to depression or psychological difficulties as an adult. Tell your doctor if you feel something like this is the root cause of your depression. Counselling is available for such problems.

 Empty nest syndrome 

August 16th  2018 

In the simplest of terms, empty nest syndrome is grief and loneliness caused when someone moves out of your home. This can occur when a child leaves their parent’s household, or a spouse loses their partner to death or divorce. It can also take place when seniors enter retirement. This type of empty nest syndrome is the result of a change in one’s everyday environment. They are feeling a void caused when they are no longer spending most of their time in a workplace where they have social connections with coworkers and a daily routine. Empty nest syndrome is not a mental health disorder. Therefore, you cannot receive a clinical diagnosis for this condition. That does not mean empty nest syndrome is not a real condition that can be diagnosed by a therapist, social worker, or caregiver. Symptoms of empty nest syndrome to look for include: 

Being more sad than usual after a life-changing event, particularly one involving a change in living arrangements

Feeling distressed or easily aggravated

Crying easily

Experiencing depression

Suffering a loss of one’s meaning in life

Avoidance of social interaction or activities that were once enjoyable

Change in weight, either excessive weight loss or weight gain

If you are experiencing these symptoms in association with a change in your household, then continue reading to learn how to treat empty nest syndrome. Once you understand that you are suffering from empty nest syndrome, it puts a name on your feelings. This is a huge help in overcoming this condition. From there you will want to build up your social network. This helps you replace those social connections you lost, which lead to the condition. If you are an active senior, pick up old hobbies or start new activities, such as going to a senior centre, joining a community book club, or volunteering with a local organisation.

If you are struggling with health issues that prevent you from being active, or have become depressed, seek professional help through therapy or counselling. Counselling support can provide you with resources, such as reading materials or online support groups, that can benefit you. 

Our Latest Blog Entry:  The science of Sad: Understanding the causes of ‘winter depression’

September 22nd 2018 

The darker days and colder weather can bring with them a feeling of low spirits. So, what makes people susceptible to seasonal affective disorder, and what are the best ways to treat it?

Putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues.

Around 80% of Sad sufferers are women, particularly those in early adulthood. 

For many of us in the UK, the annual ritual of putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues as autumn well and truly beds in. This might be felt as a lack of energy, reduced enjoyment in activities and a need for more sleep than normal. But for around 6% of the UK population and between 2-8% of people in other higher latitude countries such as Canada, Denmark and Sweden, these symptoms are so severe that these people are unable to work or function normally. They suffer from a particular form of major depression, triggered by changes in the seasons, called seasonal affective disorder or Sad.

In addition to depressive episodes, Sad is characterised by various symptoms including chronic oversleeping and extreme carbohydrate cravings that lead to weight gain. As this is the opposite to major depressive disorder where patients suffer from disrupted sleep and loss of appetite, Sad has sometimes been mistakenly thought of as a “lighter” version of depression, but in reality it is simply a different version of the same illness.

 “People who truly have Sad are just as ill as people with major depressive disorder,”

 says Brenda McMahon, a psychiatry researcher at the University of Copenhagen.

“They will have non-seasonal depressive episodes, but the seasonal trigger is the most common. However it’s important to remember that this condition is a spectrum and there are a lot more people who have what we call sub-syndromal Sad.”

Around 10-15% of the population has sub-syndromal Sad. These individuals struggle through autumn and winter and suffer from many of the same symptoms but they do not have clinical depression. And in the northern hemisphere, as many as one in three of us may suffer from “winter blues” where we feel flat or uninterested in things and regularly fatigued.

One theory for why this condition exists is related to evolution. Around 80% of Sad sufferers are women, particularly those in early adulthood. In older women, the prevalence of Sad goes down and some researchers believe that this pattern is linked to the behavioural cycles of our ancient ancestors. 

“Because it affects such a large proportion of the population in a mild to moderate form, a lot of people in the field do feel that Sad is a remnant from our past, relating to energy conservation,”

 says Robert Levitan, a professor at the University of Toronto. 

“Ten thousand years ago, during the ice age, this biological tendency to slow down during the wintertime was useful, especially for women of reproductive age because pregnancy is very energy-intensive. But now we have a 24-hour society, we’re expected to be active all the time and it’s a nuisance. However, as to why a small proportion of people experience it so severely that it’s completely disabling, we don’t know.”

Counselling can help with SAD. Learn ways to manage your symptoms and reduce the severity.  

Reference: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/30/sad-winter-depression-seasonal-affective-disorder 

Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

 Existential Crisis

June 6th, 2018

Emmy van Deurzen talks about 'Existential Crisis'.  

Existential therapy is a unique form of psychotherapy that looks to explore difficulties from a philosophical perspective, rather than taking a technique-based approach. Focusing on the human condition as a whole, existential therapy applauds human capacities and encourages individuals to take responsibility for their successes.

Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

 Access To Therapy

May 31st 2018

Life can be unpredictable and for those struggling with finances wishing to access therapy, often face the additional stress and worry of funding counselling support.

 If you feel you need to see a counsellor and are burdened by the prospect of weeks or sometimes months on a waiting list, i can offer reduced fees to:

  • Students
  • Senior Citizens 
  • Low income families
  • Job Seekers
  • Carers
  • Counselling students  
Fees are negotiated on an ability to pay sliding scale, for up to twelve weeks of therapy and your first 50 minute  session is free. 

 Self -Care 

May 8th 2018

If you ever feel so overwhelmed that you just want to escape life, there’s a way to stave that off in advance by learning the best strategies to implement daily self-care.

Self-care can be many things, but today, I want to share a couple reasons why I choose to spend time in nature.

1. A Calm Mind & Steady Mood

Being in nature is proven to help reduce stress. It can help you heal more deeply, more quickly. 

It helps to feel more connected as you can get away from all the pressures of the busy world around and focus.

 “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better,”  Albert Einstein.

2. A Fully Alive Body

Sitting at the computer all day, commuting to work, and being stuck indoors, can  takes a toll on your body.

Getting out into nature and moving around helps you in so many ways. Reducing stress  can benefit your sleep, your hormones, and your mood. It also helps your energy levels and increases your cardiovascular health.

Walking is a great gentle weight bearing exercise that most people can tolerate.

Getting out into nature is an opportunity for you to create  self-care, clear your mind, improve your mood, and rejuvenate your whole body so you can flourish.