You Don’t Have to Suffer from Anxiety or Depression in Silence – Let Us Help

More than 40% of Canadians report suffering from anxiety or depression at some point in their lives, with women reporting higher incidences than men.

With the right counselling, you can tame your anxiety and live the full life you deserve.

Four Seasons Counselling | Counselling for Anxiety & Depression

Dealing with Anxiety

Anxiety is a whole person response. Every part of you responds when anxiety gets triggered, a sense of threat or danger gets activated, rightly or wrongly.

Some of the most common anxiety triggers include:

  1. Genetic factors
  2. Chemical triggers (such as alcohol, marijuana, medications or medical issues)
  3. External stress triggers
  4. Self-talk or unrealistic self-demands
  5. Unhelpful lessons from past events that your brain might have learned from past experiences

What Happens to Your Body When You Feel Anxiety?

When you say whole person response, what happens in your body when you feel anxiety?

Answer:  The part of your brain that is in charge of keeping you alive and alerting you to danger, thinks that you are threatened, will trigger adrenalin and a number of things happen …

  • Muscles tense – to get you ready to run or fight
    • But this can lead to trembling, shakiness, tense, headaches, shoulder aches, neck aches, grith your teeth and grind almost as if you’re baring your teeth (as if telling a predator to back off)
  • Your heart rate speeds up – in order to pump more blood carrying oxygen, to bring fuel to the fighting muscles so you can run or fight at top capacity
    • Your heart will feel like it’s pounding, working harder so there is worry that you may be having a heart attack
  • Dilated pupils – widen to expand your field of vision so that you can see the threat if it’s coming at you
    • But this can cause things to be overly bright or blurry
    • You may get visual changes like spots
    • Feels like you have tunnel vision
    • Contribute to a feeling of being as if you are not present or as if things aren’t real
  • Your brain will shut down your digestive system – it wants all your energy going to the main fighting muscles and not going to waste any time on drinking or digesting
    • You may feel queasy/nausea
    • Butterflies in the stomach
    • Dry throat so you feel like there is a lump in the throat
  • The flow of blood in your body changes
    • Blood flow is constricted in the extremities so you feel cold, tingly, numb, dizzy or light headed
    • Changes your focus so you have trouble concentrating

Your emotions, mind and thinking all change because you are getting a message of threat or danger.

Emotions shift from happiness or calm to feeling:

  • uneasy
  • worried
  • anxious
  • alert and scared
  • panicked
  • terrified

If your emotions and body are telling you that you are in danger, and the reacting brain thinks you’re in danger IT WANTS YOU TO FIND THE DANGER!

This is a primitive message: DANGER!

This causes you to stop thinking about anything else!

  • You look for danger
  • You may see danger that’s not there
  • You misinterpret things as dangerous when they’re not
  • Or you decide that what is happening in your body is dangerous (i.e. heart attack, pass out as you are having a stroke)
  • You may feel that this feeling came out of nowhere and that makes you feel out of control or you’re going crazy
  • You may feel like the muscle tension is going to lead to you not being able to move your muscles

None of those things are true. But these experiences can create a vicious cycle that feeds anxiety over time. That’s the bad news.

We know what to do to break free of the vicious cycle of anxiety. Our body is well intentioned but can be misinformed.

The good is that the reacting brain is not the whole brain. We have the whole cerebral cortex – the whole more developed smarter part of the brain – that we can use and turn to balance our reacting brain to cope with anxiety, and to overcome anxiety problems.

The good is that the reacting brain is not the whole brain. We have the whole cerebral cortex – the whole more developed smarter part of the brain – that we can use and turn to balance our reacting brain to cope with anxiety, and to overcome anxiety problems.

Book a consult with me and let’s help you gain power back of your WHOLE BODY!

Four Seasons Counselling | Counselling for Anxiety
Four Seasons Counselling | Counselling for Depression

Dealing with Depression

Depression can occur to any of us at any time, when we are experiencing sadness, discouragement, hopeless and/or anxiousness.  Watching a sad movie, hearing a story about something tragic or hearing that war has broken out in the middle east.  These are all reasons to feel depressed.  But these feelings often pass within a day or two.

Clinical depression on the other hand, is a very serious state that interferes with someone’s life.  For example, eating, working, sleeping and other day to day activities that once brought you enjoyment or satisfaction.  With clinical depression, life is just not enjoyable.

The causes are specifically unknown, but likely a combination of:

  • Genetic factors
  • Biological factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Psychological factors

There is a connection between those who have depression, likely have a family member who also experiences depression; three times as likely.  And the chances increase with how closely related the family members are to each other.

There are three significant neurotransmitters that effect our sleep, appetite, thinking, mood and attention.  These are serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.  These are the three that effect how many neurotransmitters are released by a neuron, that function as anti-depressants that effect mood, appetite and so on.  If one of these neurotransmitters is low, this will affect the symptoms of depression that present.

When wondering if you are depressed, review this list and determine if 5/9 of these symptoms exist:

  1. Depressed mood
  2. Decreased interest or pleasure in activities
  3. Significant weight loss or gain
  4. Inability to sleep or oversleep
  5. Psycho-motor agitation (pacing or wringing of one’s hands) or psycho-impairment like slowing of one’s thoughts and movements
  6. Fatigue
  7. Feelings of worthlessness/guilt
  8. Lowered ability to think and concentrate
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidality (including thoughts, with or without specific plan as well as suicide attempts

Also consider whether you have experienced:

  • Significant distress to daily life
  • The depressive episode (that can’t be due to a substance or other medical conditions)
  • The symptoms can’t be better explained by another mental disorder like schizoaffective disorder
  • Can’t have had a manic or hypomanic episode at any point

Depression can be divided into three categories:

  1. Post-Partum depression
    • after giving birth but in many cases the onset of depression occurred prior to childbirth
    • the onset happens during pregnancy, or four weeks following delivery.
  2. Atypical depression
    • improved mood when exposed to pleasurable or positive events, called mood reactivity.
    • Other symptoms include weight gain, increased appetite, oversleeping, heavy feeling limbs and feeling anxiety at the slightest evidence of rejection
  3. Dysthymia or Persistent depressive disorder
    • milder symptoms of depression that occur over a longer period of time (2 or more years), with two or more of these symptoms:
      • Change in appetite
      • Change in sleep
      • Fatigue or low energy
      • Reduced self esteem
      • Decreased concentration or difficulty making decisions
      • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

Treatments for depression can come in many forms:

  1. Medication – for those who have more severe depression or milder depression for a long period of time than antidepressants are prescribed.
  2. No medication – studies have shown that things like:
    • Physical activity – increases the release of neurotransmitters, increases the release of endorphins and endocannabinoids and also raising the body temperature and relaxing tense muscles. Research has shown that exercising 20 minutes, three times a week can help alleviate depression symptoms.
    • Diet – more fruits and vegetables
    • Psychotherapy – talk therapy like CBT and interpersonal therapy

Depression is complicated but factors that can also support people who experience depression include having strong social network of family and friends.

Therapy along with medication, where longer episodes of depression occur, can be effective duo in improving your mood.

Book a consult with me and let’s help you become stable and feel happier!

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Let Us Help You Find Your Summer

If you’re struggling to deal with life’s challenges, you’re not alone and there’s no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. All people – and especially women – go through different phases of life. Life naturally presents us with challenges and obstacles, whether to do with our work, our families and friends, our relationships and even internal struggles with ourselves.

We help people explore and understand the problems that they face. By developing the right mindset and tools for articulating their feelings and having their voices heard, they are empowered to face and overcome their challenges.

Using their newfound confidence, courage and bravery, they emerge from their winter, through a spring season marked by personal growth, and into the joys and happiness of summer.

We’re ready to help you find your summer. Let’s connect and get started.

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Concord, ON L4K 3Z3