COUNSELLING BLOG

Posts tagged depression

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Supporting a Friend with Mental Health Concerns

1. People with mental health problems are likely to need different kinds of supports at different times.
2. Probably the most important thing you can do is to listen in a caring, and non-judgmental way. That simple act will usually mean a lot as mental health issues are often misunderstood by the general population.
3. Always treated the person with respect, acceptance and compassion.
4. You don’t have to do too much – just stay in contact with your friend, invite them over, or hang out with them.
5. Remember that your friend is looking for a friend – and not a counselor, or psychiatrist.
6. Offering practical support can be the right thing at times, as going through a hard can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

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7 Secret for Maintaining your Motivation

1. Grasp that it’s YOUR life, and no-one else’s life.
2. Decide to “live on purpose”.
3. Recognise that achievement has a price tag attached to it – and decide you’ll pay that price.
4. Work on constantly maintaining your focus.
5. Chose a skill or a field and become competent, or an expert, in that area.
6. Find other people who will hold you to your goals – and will believe in, and encourage you, to strive to reach your dreams.
7. Consciously notice the progress you are making, and remind yourself “it’s worth it” as you’re further on the path.

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How to Cope with not Being Liked

1. Expect some people to reject you. It’s a fact of life that we won’t like everyone – and there will be people who don’t like us. It often has to do with different personalities rather than something being wrong with you.

2. Learn how to brush off rejections and put downs – at the end what matters is how you handle it. If you still act as if you are comfortable with “you” then others will respect you for your healthy self-esteem.

3. It’s often about them and not about you so try not to take rejection personally. Perhaps they are jealous or envious of you; or perhaps they’re just taking their feelings out on you.

4. People rarely see us in absolute terms. There are some things they will like and others they’ll dislike. It may be they hate one particular trait – but we’re a mix of many things - so don’t worry about that.

5. Don’t over-think what other people think or say. Distract yourself, and think of something else instead. They’re not worth the effort or the wasted energy. Just get on with your life and enjoy being you.

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Overcoming Discouragement

Ignore those who say that they never feel down. We’re surrounded by messages on positive thinking because so many battle with discouragement. So what can you do when you’re living in a cloud, and everything seems pointless and negative?

1. Ask someone you respect if they ever feel discouraged. You’ll be surprised by how common, and how normal, it is.

2. Acknowledge how you feel – as it’s better to be real than to stuff your emotions and pretend that things are fine.

3. Encourage someone else … and see the difference it makes. It will not just help them, you will feel better, too.

4. Get some exercise. Exercise releases the “feel good” hormones (endorphins) so you’ll feel less depressed, and you’ll have more energy.

5. Set some short term goals, and then work to reach those goals. There’s nothing like success for improving how we feel.

6. Focus on the things that you naturally do well – to remind yourself, again, of your talents and your strengths.

7. Talk to a friend. There nothing worse than feeling isolated and alone. But spending time with others can raise your self-esteem. Also, it puts things in perspective and your problems start to shrink.

8. Reward yourself, or do something you enjoy. You deserve to be nurtured, affirmed and treated well. When you’re battling your feelings you need that extra boost.

9. Journal how you feel. It’s highly therapeutic to express what’s on your mind.

10. Take a break and rest. Feeling worn out and discouraged can sap your energy. You need to stop, be refreshed, and have your energy restored.

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Understanding depression in a friend or family member

- Depression is a serious condition. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will.

- The symptoms of depression aren’t personal. Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people he or she loves most. In addition, depressed people often say hurtful things and lash out in anger. Remember that this is the depression talking, not your loved one, so try not to take it personally.

- Hiding the problem won’t make it go away. Don’t be an enabler. It doesn’t help anyone involved if you are making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. In fact, this may keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.

- You can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. Don’t try to rescue your loved one from depression. It’s not up to you to fix the problem, nor can you. You’re not to blame for your loved one’s depression or responsible for his or her happiness (or lack thereof). Ultimately, recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.

Signs that your friend or family member may be depressed

· He or she doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore.

· He or she is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody.

· He or she has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities.

· He or she talks about feeling “helpless” or “hopeless.”

· He or she expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life.

· He or she frequently complains of aches and pains such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain.

· He or she complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.

· He or she has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.

· He or she is either sleeping less than usual or oversleeping.

· He or she is eating either more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.

· He or she has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and “out of it.”

· He or she is drinking more or abusing drugs, including prescription sleeping pills and painkillers.

How to talk to a loved one about depression

Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to a loved one about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries he or she will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.

If you don’t know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. Encourage the depressed person to talk about his or her feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment. And don’t expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.

Ways to start the conversation:

· I have been feeling concerned about you lately.

· Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.

· I wanted to check in with you because you have seemed pretty down lately.

Questions you can ask:

· When did you begin feeling like this?

· Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?

· How can I best support you right now?

· Do you ever feel so bad that you don’t want to be anymore?

· Have you thought about getting help?

Remember, being supportive involves offering encouragement and hope. Very often, this is a matter of talking to the person in language that he or she will understand and respond to while in a depressed mind frame.

What you can say that helps:

· You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.

· You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.

· I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.

· When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold of for just one more day, hour, minute — whatever you can manage.

· You are important to me. Your life is important to me.

· Tell me what I can do now to help you.

Avoid saying:

· It’s all in your head.

· We all go through times like this.

· Look on the bright side.

· You have so much to live for why do you want to die?

· I can’t do anything about your situation.

· Just snap out of it.

· What’s wrong with you?

· Shouldn’t you be better by now.

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/living_depressed_person.htm (abridged)

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Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder is a short-term condition that occurs when a person is unable to cope with, or adjust to, a particular source of stress, such as a major life change, loss, or event. Because people with adjustment disorders often have symptoms of depression, such as tearfulness, feelings of hopelessness, and loss of interest in work or activities, adjustment disorder is sometimes called “situational depression.” Unlike major depression, however, an adjustment disorder is triggered by an outside stress and generally goes away once the person has adapted to the situation. The type of stress that can trigger adjustment disorder varies depending on the person, but can include:

· Ending of a relationship or marriage.

· Losing or changing job.

· Death of a loved one

· Developing a serious illness (yourself or a loved one).

· Being a victim of a crime.

· Having an accident.

· Undergoing a major life change (such as getting married, having a baby, or retiring from a job).

· Living through a disaster, such as a fire, flood, or hurricane.

A person with adjustment disorder develops emotional and/or behavioral symptoms as a reaction to a stressful event. These symptoms generally begin within three months of the event and rarely last for longer than six months after the event or situation. In an adjustment disorder, the reaction to the stressor is greater than what is typical or expected for the situation or event. In addition, the symptoms may cause problems with a person’s ability to function; for example, the person may be unable to sleep, work, or study.

Symptoms may include:

· Feeling of hopelessness.

· Sadness.

· Frequent crying.

· Anxiety (nervousness).

· Worry.

· Headaches or stomachaches.

· Palpitations (an unpleasant sensation of irregular or forceful beating of the heart).

· Withdrawal or isolation from people and social activities.

· Absence from work or school.

· Dangerous or destructive behavior, such as fighting, reckless driving, and vandalism.

· Changes in appetite, either loss of appetite, or overeating.

· Problems sleeping.

· Feeling tired or without energy.

· Increase in the use of alcohol or other drugs.

Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) is the most common treatment for adjustment disorder. Therapy helps the person understand how the stressor has affected his or her life. It also helps the person develop better coping skills. Support groups can also be helpful by allowing the person to discuss his or her concerns and feelings with people who are coping with the same stress. In some cases, medication may be used to help control anxiety symptoms or sleeping problems.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-adjustment-disorder

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How to Start Loving Yourself

1. Start by being kind and gentle with yourself. There are plenty of people who would love to criticise … So be your own protector and your own best friend.
2. Choose self-love over self-hatred. Many people find they veer between these two extremes – but over time gravitate more towards one or the other (through automatic thinking and their inner dialogue) … So actively reject self-hatred, and then exercise self-love.
3. Stop being harsh and judgmental, and accept your imperfections. We’re all flawed and broken, and we all make bad mistakes.
4. Start enjoying who you are, and being alone with yourself. Embrace solitude, and the chance to be with “you”.
5. Think of all the different things you’re grateful for in life, and the people who have loved you, and have seen the good in you. As you do that, you will start to value who and what you are.

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