Depression and Anxiety Counselling

Is This Normal?

Have you ever felt a constant worrying feeling about all the things that need to be done? Have you ever felt guilty about something that has happened in your past? Do you ever feel like there just isn’t enough time in a day to get things done?

If you occasionally have these feelings of depression or anxiety, then the answer is yes, this is quite normal. As humans, we experience a variety of different feelings throughout our lifetime.

If these feelings do not go away, and you can’t quite figure out why you are feeling this way, then there may be a bigger problem. This is very common for lots of people.

Thankfully, with a little help and self work, you do not have to keep feeling this way for long.

How to Recognize Depression/Anxiety

  • Little or no energy
  • Trouble concentrating/forgetfulness
  • Loss of Interest
  • Feeling tired constantly
  • Feeling irritable or argumentative
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Loss of appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide

What to Avoid

It is not uncommon for someone experiencing severe depression or anxiety to use drugs or alcohol as a form of self medicating.

This can be extremely harmful as these ‘masks` tend to actually enhance the already present feelings of shame, guilt, or worthlessness. What is meant to temporarily cover up or numb these hurtful feelings actually creates more problems.

If you are spending more money on drugs or alcohol than usual, drinking more than you intended to, or you are becoming increasingly secretive in regards to your substance intake, then you may want to seek help for your depression and reclaim your happiness.

Anxiety Disorders

Everyone feels some form of anxiety when we perceive a situation as threatening, like public speaking, or having a near-miss accident. This type of anxiety is normal, is not harmful and only lasts for a short period of time.

If anxiety becomes persistent and severe enough to interfere with normal daily function and you find yourself feeling unable to cope, you may have an anxiety disorder.

There are several types of anxiety disorders.

  • panic attack or panic disorder (sudden anxiety that occurs without warning) with or without agoraphobia (avoiding specific situations that trigger anxiety)
  • specific phobias (many types of intense fear reactions of specific objects or situations, such as fear of spiders, flying, or heights)
  • social anxiety or social phobia (fear of being embarrassed in social situations)
  • generalized anxiety disorder (general feeling of anxiety most of the time)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (unwanted thoughts or behaviors that are repetitive and unnecessary)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (anxiety associated with and may occur after a stressful life event)

Anxiety disorders may occur together with other conditions, such as depression, eating disorders, or substance abuse problems. Anxiety is difficult to get through without treatment. It is advisable to see a physician as well as a counsellor for your anxiety.

Causes of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders may be a result of a combination of biological, psychological, and other individual factors. For example, altered brain chemistry can contribute to the cause of anxiety. How we think or perceive a situation can trigger anxiety (e.g. fear of flying) Bad past experiences may also cause present day anxiety when the fear arises that it may happen again. Genetic components, bad childhood experiences, or traumatic life events also have their part in anxiety disorders.

Symptoms and Complications of Anxiety Disorders

Many symptoms of anxiety are common to all types of anxiety disorders. Other symptoms are more specific to a certain type of anxiety disorder. Listed below are some of the most common symptoms associated with each type of anxiety disorder.

  • Panic attacks, involves sudden anxiety that occurs without warning. Symptoms can includes chest pain, heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, feeling of unreality, trembling, dizziness, nausea, hot flashes or chills, a feeling of losing control, or a fear of dying. Panic attacks are common – Some people start to avoid situations that might trigger a panic attack – this is called panic attack with agoraphobia. A panic attack usually lasts 10 minutes or less, but it can last longer. Panic disorder is much less common. Panic disorder refers to recurring feelings of terror and fear, which come on unpredictably without any clear trigger.
  • Phobias involve a fear of something specific, such as an animal, storms, heights, or flying. Symptoms can include sweating, muscle tension, and dizziness. People may also go to extremes to avoid the situation they fear. Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, involves excessive anxiety in social situations where people fear being embarrassed or made fun of. Situations that can trigger social anxiety include small group discussions, dating, going to a party. Common symptoms of social anxiety include blushing, sweating, and dry mouth. People with social phobia often avoid social situations that cause anxiety.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is associated with continual excessive anxiety and worry about a number of things (e.g., work, money, and health). There is no specific source of fear. Symptoms can include muscle tension, trembling, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, sleeping problems, and poor concentration.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) involves recurring thoughts that are unpleasant (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). The thoughts may be connected to the repetitive behaviors. For example, people who fear getting an infection may constantly wash their hands. Thought at times, there’s no connection at all between the thoughts and the behaviors.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) disorder is associated with extreme anxiety that appears after a traumatic experience. Symptoms usually start within 3 months of the traumatic event but may take years to start. PTSD can be associated with sleep problems, nightmares, irritability, and anger. Feelings of guilt and unworthiness are common with PTSD. Traumatic experiences that can trigger PTSD include wars, plane crashes, natural disasters (e.g., hurricane, earthquake), and violent crimes (e.g., rape, abuse).

Complications of anxiety disorders are mostly linked to feelings of inadequacy or depression, because people with these conditions know their behavior is irrational and damaging to their lives. Depression is particularly common with anxiety.

Treating and Preventing Anxiety Disorders

Most anxiety disorders are treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Deanne uses cognitive behavioral therapy which challenges irrational thoughts and fears. Sometimes this may entail exposure therapy which involves slowly confronting the fear. She helps you to gain perspective by encouraging you to talk about your thought and feelings in a safe, secure environment.