Depression & Anxiety

“Depression and anxiety are like brother and sister; they play off of each other and exacerbate the symptoms. You need to work through both. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anyone who solely experienced anxiety.”

Full Disclaimer: 

I do not diagnose or prescribe medication. I work with people who are experiencing depression-like and/or anxiety-like symptoms or people who have been assessed and diagnosed with a medical disorder who are seeking more support. 


Depression

“If someone told me that I could live my life again free of depression provided I was willing to give up the gifts depression has given me–the depth of awareness, the expanded consciousness, the increased sensitivity, the awareness of limitation, the tenderness of love, the meaning of friendship, the appreciation of life, the joy of a passionate heart–I would say, ‘This is a Faustian bargain! Give me my depression. Let the darkness descend. But do not take away the gifts that depression, with the help of some unseen hand, has dredged up from the deep ocean of my soul and strewn along the shores of my life. I can endure darkness if I must; but I cannot live without these gifts. I cannot live without my soul.’”

~ David N. Elkins, Beyond Religion, p. 188

Simply put, depression can feel debilitating. A feeling of lack. An unexplained emptiness. It can also lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. 

Mental Health Links that provide information on depression and anxiety:

The following links are a means to understanding and educating oneself about both depression and anxiety. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing severe and/or most of the symptoms of one or both, my suggestion is to speak to a physician. This isn’t about self-diagnosing oneself with a medical condition either. As well, many people experience depression-like and/or anxiety-like symptoms, however, that does not mean that they necessarily have a mental disorder.  


Depression Hurts

http://depressionhurts.ca/en/about/

Mayo Clinic

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

Health Link BC

https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/hw30709

CAMH

https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/depression


Anxiety

“Anxiety is about our future, and, because of this, it impedes our ability to live in the moment. In greater or lesser degree anxiety overwhelms the person’s awareness of existence, blots out the sense of time … attacks the center of one’s being.” ~ Rollo May

People who are faced with anxiety struggle to cope with their emotions when they’re faced with a triggering situation. This often results in attempts to avoid the situation. Instead of alleviating the anxiety, avoidance behavior can cause anxiety to increase.

CAMH

https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/anxiety-disorders

Anxiety Canada

https://anxietycanada.com/

CMHA

http://cmha.ca/documents/anxiety-disorders

Health Line

https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety


How can counseling help Depression and/or Anxiety 

The most commonly used form of therapy to combat depression and anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT teaches you how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors work together. A goal of CBT is to identify and change unhelpful patterns of thinking that are feeding the depressive and anxious thoughts and feelings. CBT can help identify problem behaviors and replace them with helpful strategies. The therapy is straightforward, structured, and is known to be a short-term, meaning, 8 to 10 sessions.  

I follow a client-centered approach, meaning that after building a therapeutic relationship with my clients, we can then decide what form of counselling would be the most beneficial for them. I may recommend CBT to one client and work with them using that therapy, and I may recommend Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to another client and work with them using that therapy. 

I primarily draw from existential – humanistic therapy/counselling as a foundation of my counselling and coaching practice. Often people are facing a lack of; whether it be, connection, or purpose and meaning, or it be struggling with identity; not having a strong sense of self, or little to no boundaries, more often than not, people carry unresolved trauma. The list goes on and on, and often, these struggles are the reason why people feel depressed and/or anxious.

Simply meeting with a counselor on a weekly or biweekly basis can open up space to address and be supported in different areas of one’s life. Some ways include;

  1. Provides Structure
  2. Gives encouragement 
  3. Breaks isolation 
  4. Explores underlying causes
  5. Explores the meaning of life,   

Counseling is not always in our budgets, or we may not be ready to step into a relationship with a counselor. So in the meantime, these are my recommendations as a way to support yourself: 

  • Learn; read, educate yourself, create self-awareness 
  • Connect with other people; create a support network, attend support groups online or in person, 
  • Adopt healthy lifestyle habits; sleep, exercise 
  • Reduce stress in your life; create healthy boundaries