Could you be suffering from anxiety or depression? Do you recognize any of these symptoms?
• Apprehension over what’s about to happen and what could happen in the future—a constant inner sense of dread.
• Worried thoughts, or a belief that something could go wrong—worry without reason.
• Simple worries that become very distressing.
• Replaying possible mistakes over and over again in one’s mind.
• Overly responsible or perfectionistic.
• Inability to tolerate uncertainty.
• Feeling like you need to run away or avoid things that could cause further anxiety.
• Over-reactivity to stress—things appear bigger or worse than they are.
• Feeling sad or empty, tearful, loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, significant weight gain or weight loss, insomnia, lack of pleasure in life.
• Feeling sad, irritable, agitated, fatigue and low energy nearly every day.
• Difficulty being able to think or concentrate and poor memory.
• Low self-esteem, possible recurrent thoughts of suicide.
• Obsessing over negative thoughts or experiences, and feeling pessimistic about life, and unexplained chronic pain, headaches, backaches or stomach aches.
• Decreased performance at work/school, social withdrawal, fear of failure, and lack of self-confidence.
Are you struggling with anxiety or depression? Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health problems in Canada. Depression can cause anxiety, while having anxiety can bring on depression. Mental health is complex and sometimes symptoms overlap, says Chris Drummond, Registered Clinical Counsellor. “Many of the treatment protocols for depression are quite effective for anxiety as well,” Drummond said.
Both anxiety and depression are considered “whole body” conditions because the mind, the body, spirit, emotions, and relationships are all affected. “There are biologically-based and situationally-based causes of depression and anxiety. Biologically-based causes are a result of genetics, hormonal imbalances, chronic pain, drug/alcohol abuse, Hypothyroidism, Hypoglycemia, nutritional deficiencies, Seasonal Affective Disorder, low adrenal function, illness, etc.,” Drummond added.
Situationally-based causes of depression and anxiety include traumatic life events, relationship conflicts, difficulty balancing priorities in your life, fear and worries, overwhelming situations, unexpected change or loss, being physically ill, financial struggles, frustration over life issues, juggling work, family, and interests, disappointments, grief and deep loss, unrelenting stress, and neglecting to care for, and nurture yourself.
The good news is anxiety and depression are both treatable. The field of psychology has developed ways for a person to manage and reduce the symptoms of both anxiety and depression, “It takes a commitment and personal effort to improve your mental health over the long term,” Chris said. “No matter how hopeless it may feel, there are actually very effective ways to improve one’s mental health, and group therapy has proven to be one of the most effective ways to help individuals.”
Group therapy gives individuals an opportunity to discuss their experiences, share ideas and provide emotional support for one another. “Probably the biggest advantage of support groups is helping a person realize that he or she is not alone,” Chris said. “because there are other people out there who are experiencing the same things we are.”
When joining a support group for anxiety or depression, it is natural to feel uncomfortable at first about sharing and discussing problems in front of strangers, “But it doesn’t take long before the advantages become obvious,” Chris said. “Group therapy actually helps individuals open up and talk about their feelings. And everything that takes place within the support group is kept confidential.”
To help clients access the care they require, Chris will be offering evening group support sessions for individuals living with anxiety and depression. “Over the years, many of my clients have inquired about available Anxiety and Depression workshops/ support groups during the evening hours as they work during the day, and they have been unable to participate in the groups offered in the community as they are offered during daytime working hours,” she said.
Starting in February, Chris is offering two 8-week programs, one group for Anxiety and one group for Depression, during evening hours in Powell River. The groups will start February 15 and 16 and will run once a week for two hours in the evenings from 7-9 pm.
“I have incorporated into these 8-week programs the very best research-based treatments specifically designed to help individuals deal with persistent unwanted mood states,” Chris said. “Together we will learn how to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression that lead a person to feeling hopeless and not in control of their life.”
Chris Drummond has more than 25 years of experience in the helping field, and she has been offering counselling services to individuals, couples, families and youth in Powell River for the past six years. To learn more about the Anxiety and Depression Support Groups, check out chrisdrummondcounsellingservices.ca, call Chris at 604-483-6337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.