It is natural to feel low at times in your life perhaps due to change, ongoing pressures or unresolved experiences including but not limited to:
If you don’t have the space, time or support to cope with the emotions that accompany these events low mood, can develop into depression. This can happen to anyone and it’s possible you will experience a loss of interest or pleasure in life, have feelings of guilt or low self worth, disturbances in appetite and sleep, low energy and poor levels of concentration. You may withdraw from your normal activities and distance yourself from friends and family, your world could feel very lonely. You could be aware of the changes and able to identify the cause or you may be finding it hard to understand what you are feeling and struggle to recognise why. Asking for help can be hard but using counselling to share and gradually make sense of your situation can be the first step to lifting your mood and gradually reclaiming your life.
Anxiety is a type of fear, worry or dread that is usually associated with the thought of a threat or something going wrong now or in the future. This unpleasant but natural reaction with the primary function of alerting us to danger can also be triggered by the many stressors throughout our life course such as exams, work pressure, house moves, relationship changes or a previous traumatic incident. Whilst the cause of your anxiety may be easily identified, it is not uncommon for it to build up gradually with no obvious reason as to why… you may wonder what is happening and feel nobody understands. Whether you can pinpoint the cause or not you may be experiencing any number of the physical sensations or symptoms including but not limited to:
And any number of thoughts like:
It is common to avoid a situation that is going to make you feel anxious. Why wouldn’t you, when it can bring immediate relief from those awful feelings and thoughts. Unfortunately, it is only a short-term solution with your anxiety returning when you are placed in the same position again. Avoidance works to psychologically reinforce the message that there is something to be worried or scared of, it prevents you from having the opportunity to discover whether your fears about the situation and what would happen are actually true. Counselling can help to explore the problem situations and thoughts, support you to understand and work with the physical sensations and create a more tolerable response for you.
Anger is a normal emotion that provides us with a vital boost of physical and emotional energy to defend or attack a perceived threat or challenge, it is a feeling we all experience at times in our life. In some instances, it is an appropriate response or expression of how we feel, but it can be a problem when it is too frequent, too intense, lasts too long, leads to aggression or when it disrupts our relationships. You might be confused or embarrassed about your responses, struggling to recognise yourself and have no sense of where your anger is coming from while those close to you may describe walking on egg shells. There are many triggers both expected and unexpected:
Counselling can offer a safe non-judgemental space to explore your angry feelings, what fuels them and collaboratively work towards managing the unhelpful behaviours.
Self-esteem is a term regularly used but what is it? How do I know if it’s high or low?
It can be described as how you feel about yourself, how much you value who you are. If you think everything you do is wonderful and deserves praise, you have no self-esteem problems but if you feel like you’re not worthy of good things and you’ve lost sight of your qualities and strengths, you may have low self-esteem. It’s possible you’re saying to yourself:
You may have been aware of these thoughts for some time or they may have developed recently but they are impacting on how you live your life and relate to others. Counselling can give you the opportunity to explore your self-criticism and re-evaluate your strengths to develop a more realistic view of who you really are.
From birth to death, relationships are an essential part of human existence, as social animals we have a powerful need to read and respond to others. We find these connections in families, marriage/intimate partnerships and friendships, they evolve and change as we move through the stages of our own development. These connections can be disrupted or challenged often due to the pressures of raising children, bereavement, loss of a job/ job satisfaction, changes in financial circumstances, becoming carers for relatives or infidelity. You could be experiencing a mix of emotions, feeling trapped, manipulated, powerless and alone … unable to talk to those close to you. Counselling can give you the space to make sense of your relationships, explore your patterns of communication, and work towards what you would like to change.
Bereavement is the state of loss we experience when someone close to us has died. Grief is a normal healthy response at this time but there are moments when it can feel intense and overwhelming. It’s possible you are experiencing emotions such as shock, anger, disbelief, guilt, helplessness and profound sadness. Your physical health could be affected, you may experience sleep disturbances, aches and pains, appetite changes and a reluctance to engage socially. It’s not unusual for your spiritual or religious beliefs to be challenged as you try to make sense of your loss. It can be made more difficult if the death is sudden, traumatic or by suicide, if your relationship with that person was complex or the death wasn’t ordered as you had expected as in cases of child death. Grieving is a highly individual experience, there’s no right or wrong way to grieve… only your way. Counselling can give you the space to explore your feelings, to come to terms with the loss, to find new meaning and adjust to the changes in your life.
Myth: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.
Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.
Myth: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.
Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply
as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.
Myth: Grieving should last about a year.
Fact: There is no specific time frame for grieving. How long it takes differs from person to person.
Myth: Moving on with your life means forgetting about your loss.
Fact: Moving on means you've accepted your loss—but that's not the same as forgetting. You can move on with your life and keep the memory of someone or something you lost as an important part of you. In fact, as we move through life, these memories can become more and more integral to defining the people we are.
We can experience losses in so many areas of our life which will regularly trigger a grief response but it’s perhaps difficult to recognise. You may be aware of the change in your circumstances but be unable to make sense of the emotions you are experiencing. The loss could be associated with:
Counselling can offer a space to explore whatever loss or change you are experiencing, helping you to make sense of what you are feeling and aid your transition into a different phase of life.