While millions of Canadians suffer from depression, many hesitate to call it that. But although it is common for everyone to go through temporary “down” or “blue” periods, depression is a clinical condition that can be helped with treatment. Signs of depression include lack of interest in hobbies and friends, feelings of hopelessness and despair, too much (or not enough) sleep, lack of appetite, short temper, substance abuse, lack of concentration.
Fear of people, fear of leaving your home, fear of life in general – anxiety can be as mild as apprehension before a social gathering to a full-blown panic attack that leaves the sufferer unable to cope with the smallest obstacle. An anxiety disorder can be characterized by everything from excessive worry about everyday problems and difficulty making decisions to a feelings of intense terror and apprehension with physical symptoms such as trembling, shaking, and dizziness.
Low Self Esteem/Self-Worth
Like depression, low self-esteem and feelings of self-worth are fairly common. Yet these feelings can also be debilitating. If you find yourself constantly putting others first, letting others’ judgments (real or perceived) affect how you see yourself, and unable to assert yourself or even identify your feelings, then you might suffer from more than the passing self-doubt that afflicts us all.
Only in recent years have eating disorders been identified with mental illness. But high-profile cases where eating disorders have led to hospitalization or even death have brought bulimia, anorexia and binge-eating into focus. Often associated in the public mind with conditions such as low self-esteem and anxiety disorders, eating disorders and its causes are still not fully understood. Nevertheless, they can be treated.
With people marrying later in life, with media images of perfection all around us, with seemingly endless opportunity for dating but very little happiness in evidence, relationships between partners are often under stress. Uncertainty, insecurity and infidelity can cause rifts between people that are almost impossible to mend. Breakups can lead to emotional devastation that feels as strong as the loss of a family member. When one’s life is shattered, therapy can be not only a source of help but of comfort as well.
Grief and Loss
Perhaps nothing is as devastating as the loss of a loved one, whether a family member, lover, friend or even a pet. While there are no shortcuts in the stages of grief, there are ways to manage and cope with these feelings, which come to all of us sooner or later.
For some, questions of sexual orientation or gender identity, or fears concerning “coming out”, can be huge, overwhelming issues. Internalized homophobia, fear of judgment and rejection from friends, family and co-workers, fear of discrimination and harassment (or even job-loss) in the work-place are all issues those in the LGBTQ community face. For the transgendered, the transitioning process can be extremely stressful, like going through a second adolescence. Whether you are questioning your sexual orientation, gender identity, or have fears and concerns about “coming out”, Glenda provides a safe and supportive environment as you work through your process.
When we doubt ourselves, when we lack confidence or simply are in the presence of people whose certainty seems to overpower our own thoughts and instincts, we lose sight of our assertiveness and boundaries. When we give up this power, we lose some of the qualities that make us who we are – and this can lead to further feelings of low self-esteem and uncertainty. Talking about these feelings and recognizing them for what they are, of realizing the beliefs behind them, can help us sort through the confusion and get back to the core of ourselves.
For many, alcohol, drugs and other substances become an easy way to escape other problems. We might seek escape, comfort and numbness as we try to avoid real issues and feelings. By coming to the realization of what we are doing, by confronting and overcoming our innermost demons, we can lose the psychological and physical dependency that traps us into making mistakes we can’t afford.