ANXIETY It is useful in moderation. It spurs us on, keeps us alert, organizes the brain. It helps us in a crisis. In excess it can take us over. It can dominate us when we need to do other things, or want to enjoy life. It can convince us that we are bad, that we are or will be failures. It can convince us that we "should" be what others want, not what we reasonably want. It can spiral us into panic. It can lead us to excessive worry or compulsive preventative measures. It can slide us into anger against ourselves, otherwise known as depression. Since excessive anxiety may lead to impossibly high expectations, we may eventually fail. Self blame is the result. There are many ways to address the skewed premises and habitual overreactions that create habitual anxiety. That is because there are so many different ways people may think. Each person has his own history, habits, viewpoints. Time, patience and repeated practice are all needed to gain balance. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the best known generic name for a group of techniques to reduce anxiety. This method has several offshoots. The idea is that mind, body and emotions are all connected in the brain. Change one, and you effect the other two. You can change your actions and that can effect your thoughts and emotions. Or you can change your thoughts to effect your actions and feelings. CBT has various offshoots, variations. Some types of anxiety require more specialized approaches. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an example. PTSD results from severely hurtful past experiences. The victim expects danger around every corner. There is no safe haven. Talking with a safe person in a safe place (counselling) can help. PTSD victims tend to avoid talking because the memories hurt. But then those memories lurk in the back of the mind, ready to emerge unexpectedly. DEPRESSION It is anger turned inward. It may be a temporary reaction to difficult circumstances. Or it may be a chronic mind habit which can destroy a life. The best way to change depression is to take action to change the situation. Even if you do not succeed, the effort will energize you and lead to another effort, which may succeed. With chronic depression a person loses hope and stops trying. Often that hopelessness stems from mental assumptions run amok. Governing one's life by haabitual assumption blocks flexibility, limits choices. As with anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often helpful for depression. CBT says that you can change your actions and that can eventually change your related thoughts and feelings. Or change your thoughts, your interpretations of events, and that can lead to changed feelings and actions. It takes practice, preferably daily practice. In time you develop new mental habits. You feel more hope, and more self esteem.
GRIEF & BEREAVEMENT Grief has as many forms as life has faces. Sudden loss brings shock. Long, drawn-out losses bring exhaustion. Both change the expectations of daily life, and bring disbelief and emotional pain. Grieving may be open and vocal. It may be silent and withdrawn. It always hurts. Losing a child, whether by separation or death, is like a cliff dropping off right before you. The death of a parent is facing our own, naked defenselessness. Losing a spouse is talking out loud to emptiness, receiving no answer. We are bereft. We are alone. We eventually will grieve the loss of our own abilities, our health, our lifestyle, our future. "Moving on" after a loss to death feels ugly, unfair, a betrayal. The grief is unbearable, but it is all we have of the one we lost. We suffer, and it seems right that we suffer. The time comes when we cannot go on living in constant pain. We need to find other ways to fill the emptiness. We need new routines, new roles, new interactions. We need to redirect our energy to share the gifts that once were between us and our loved one. We need to continue the memories of that time, make them count in this world. We are part of the vehicle, the chalice, the continued presence and influence of the departed person we will always love. Then the memories become part of our strength. We become different and better people for the love we received and gave and can pass on to others in the here and now.
Anxiety and Depression Attacking Anxiety & Depression, an audio cassette, Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety, Oak Harbor, Ohio Don't Panic, by Reid Wilson, Ph.D. Feeling Good, by David D. Burns, M.D. From Panic to Power, by Lucinda Bassett I Don't Want to Talk About It, by Terry Real Stop Overreacting, by Judith P. Siegel The Mindful Way through Depression , by Williams, et al When the Body Says No, by Gabor Mate anxieties.com anxietybc.com
Bereavement and Loss : A Grief Observed, by C. S. Lewis Beginnings, a Book for Widows, by B. J. Wylie brcniagararegion.org Healing After Loss, by Martha Whitmore Hickman How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies, by Therese Rando On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross The Empty Bed, by Susan Wallbank The Grief Recovery Handbook, by J. James When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold Kushner
Joan Worthington, MSA, RSW @ 30 Duke Street, 1st Floor, St. Catharines or @ 5400 Portage Road, Suite 501, Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada (905) 937-9706 firstname.lastname@example.org
When you know what you should do but you cannot do it, counselling helps.