A Must-Read on Depression

Finding Your Silver Lining: 3 Signs It’s Time to Improve Your Emotional Wellness

It can be hard to see the bright side of life, when suffering from a form of depression and anxiety. Overtime, these mental conditions can wear us down and put not only our mental health in peril, but also our emotional and physical health as well. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, nearly 10 percent to 20 percent of Canadians suffer from some form of depression or anxiety. If you, or someone close to you, is suffering from some form of mental illness, it’s important to check up on personal wellness and know when depression goes too far and becomes potentially dangerous.

When Depression Goes Too Far

Those who have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, will know that the emotional ups and downs they experience are nothing like typical bouts of sadness. Depression affects how we think, feel and perceive the world around us. When depression begins to take control of your life, you need to be wary of falling down the path of suicide and self-harm.

Here are a few warning signs that indicate if a person’s depression is taking over their life and that it might be time to seek help:

  1. Becoming Withdrawn

When people become withdrawn due to severe anxiety or depression, they almost become ghost-like in their own daily lives. Not only do they stop going out or doing activities they usually love, they also will not communicate with friends or family. They may resign themselves to their bed for hours or maybe even all day. Depression can make you a prisoner in your own mind and keep you from coming out of your shell. Becoming so detached from the outside world will only worsen the depression and could push an individual to consider the inconsiderable.

  1. Changes in Behavior

Another sign that depression has gone too far is when a person starts acting strangely or erratically. You might notice a person say or do something completely out of character for them. Depression can cause this sudden transitory behavior in people as a mental defense mechanism. Sometimes this change of behavior can verge on the extreme. Normally sober, straight-edged people may turn to drugs or alcohol to distract from their depression, which of course, only exacerbates the underlying problems.

  1. Suicidal Thoughts or Verbalization

Finally, the biggest indicator that a person’s mental health is quickly deteriorating is when they begin to express a will to end their own life. Sometimes these cues can be subtle, but they should never be ignored. Suicide begins with an idea, and as depression builds this idea may become more prominent in the mind of the individual. If you start thinking regularly about killing yourself, or if you ever hear another person openly considering it, you should take action and seek help immediately.

How to Promote Emotional Wellness at Home

The best way to take control of your depression is by taking control of various aspects of your life. For many, this begins with the home. A cluttered home reflects a cluttered mind. Keeping your home neat and tidy will not only make you feel better, but also reassure you that you have control over your life, and depression.

Lighting has also been proven to help combat serious bouts of depression. By adding a little more lighting to your home, you can encourage yourself to remain active and push back gloomy thoughts. Candles are great for setting a mood, but also can help depression through aromatherapy. These are just a few ideas to make your home a safe place and take control of your depression.

Everyone is going through something; no one lives a perfect life. The best we can do is take whatever steps we can, big or small, to make our own lives a little better. Even when facing depression, there’s always someone out there who cares, and a silver lining just around the corner.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Our deep gratitude goes out to Melissa Howard whose mission is to make the world a safer place for people struggling with mental illness, especially suicidality. Find out more at stopsuicide.info.

Toward Vitality: Chronic Pain Treatment

How Counselling Therapy can Help Manage Chronic Pain

It may seem odd to get counselling for chronic pain management. Read on to find out why it may be a good idea to consider skilled counselling for pain management.

Has chronic pain taken your life away?

Are you noticing that you are slower, stiffer and more limited in your lifestyle, and it is not just age that is slowing you down?

It can feel awful and isolating to notice that pain is taking more and more of your freedom. Maybe the pain is from an accident or injury or something that has increased slowly over the years. Either way is take a toll on your zest for life, it can isolate you from friends and family, and it can be depressing.

Everyone experiences pain from time to time. Chronic pain is when that pain is not an event that comes to and end, but the pain continues. Perhaps with ebbs and flows, but the pain is more or less a new reality in your life – like an unwanted house guest!

Certainly, when a person experiences chronic pain, the first thing to do is bring it to one’s physician so it can be medically assessed, monitored and managed. As Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. says, “Pain is like the oil light on your body’s dashboard telling you that something desperately needs attention,” Dr. Teitelbaum, M.D., is the medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers. So, it just makes sense to bring the pain to the attention of one’s physician to identify what is causing the pain and see what can be done to manage it medically.

What is the Role of Counselling in Chronic Pain Managment?

Fortunately, there are often more pathways to successfully manage chronic pain. The American Chronic Pain Association states that alternative therapies often lessen the need for medications and other more invasive procedures. Alternative therapies moderate exercise, progressive relaxation and guided imagery, acupuncture and acupressure, biofeedback and EMDR, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Some of these therapies are helping the body to send less pain signals to the brain, where pain is registered. Others of these therapies work through the mind itself to change the way the pain signal arriving from the body is processed in the brain. These counselling therapies can be very helpful alongside medical management of chronic pain. This article will address some of these alternate therapies for pain management.

These forms of chronic pain management  also allow people to take a more active role in pain management.


Regular exercise and physical therapy are usually part of any pain management plan.

It is well established that light to moderate exercise is critical in the relief of pain. A large percentage of pain comes from tight muscles. These may be triggered by overuse, inflammation, or other conditions.

Regular exercise is important for treating chronic pain because it helps:

  • strengthen muscles
  • increase joint mobility
  • improve sleep
  • release endorphins
  • reduce overall pain


Relaxation techniques are often recommended as part of a treatment plan. You may find some of the information and approaches related to anxiety management can be very helpful.They help to reduce stress and decrease muscle tension. Relaxation techniques include:

  • meditation
  • massage
  • yoga

Some people find Yoga also has other benefits for chronic pain. It can help strengthen muscles and improve flexibility.

Acupuncture and acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are types of traditional Chinese medicine. They relieve pain by manipulating key points of the body. This prompts the body to release endorphins which can block messages of pain from being delivered to the brain.

The late Dr. John Sarno spent his career treating chronic back pain and claims to have brought relief to many, many people without expensive, invasive surgery. Briefly, Dr. Sarno maintained that some cases of chronic pain are best understood in terms of an interaction between the mind and body creating real, genuine pain symptoms. Particularly, that the brain is attempting to be helpful by distracting the person from painful and distressing emotions by generating back pain. Again, the pain is real. But the pain is psychogenetic. You can read a popular article on Dr. Sarno here.

As with any medical issue, it is critical to primarily be under the care of your family doctor. Don Russell  can bring other resources and approaches to complement you medical care.

Photo credit: Gisela Giardino. Used under license

Toward Freedom: Anxiety Therapy

Do You Need Anxiety Treatment?

Does it feel you feel that your worries are taking over your life? Do you find yourself rehearsing difficulties from the past as if that will protect you from problems in the future? Are you noticing your anxiety is preventing you from engaging in, and fully enjoying your life? Read on to learn more about anxiety treatment.

If the questions above strike a chord with you, we have good news!
Anxiety, the kind of anxiety that starts to get in the way of life is very common, in fact about a third of the population will have a diagnosable anxiety disorder during their lifetime. Since anxiety typically shows up with unpleasant and frightening physical symptoms, many people with anxiety find themselves in their doctor’s offices on a regular basis with physical complaints such as stomach aches and headaches. Anxiety can lead to social and professional withdrawal. People with anxiety often complain of restlessness, difficulty concentrating, physical tension and sleep issues. The not-so-good news is that left untreated, anxiety tends to grow and take over more and more ‘space’ in a person’s life. Part of this is because anxiety tends to trick people into doing things that maintain or even grow the anxiety, instead of reduce it. That’s why some people say, ‘I’m trying to get a grip on this, but it just seems to get worse’.
Anxiety issues are among the most common issues that brings people to the therapist’s office. The good news is that anxiety is also among the most treatable disorders.
The therapists in our group are very familiar with how anxiety works and familiar with what helps and what doesn’t. With recent advances in interpersonal neuro-science, we know more than ever what helps and why it helps.So, whether it is panic, of a trauma-related anxiety; whether it is a fear of flying, or public speaking or small spaces, let us help you get your life back.

What Can you Expect in Anxiety Treatment?

Your therapist will listen carefully to your description of anxiety so we can understand together the history, context, the triggers and the impact anxiety is having in your life. We will also listen to hear what resources and strategies you already have in place that are helping. Then will will begin treatment by working together to help you develop new strategies to manage worry and stress in your life. Likely, we will address beliefs about the protective value of worrying. In anxiety disorder treatment, we will engage in active problem solving and the development of applied relaxation techniques, mindfulness techniques, and perhaps guided imagery exercises. For some people and situations, a more advanced technique of EMDR will be offered to repair the dysfunctionally stored information processing that is maintaining the anxiety. Anxiety disorder treatment will help you implement evidence-based techniques for managing anxiety and worry in your life. Treatment for anxiety disorders will help you develop productive worry and preparation techniques, and learn to keep excessive anxiety in its place.
Contact us today to get your life back from anxiety!