Constantly worried, nervous, avoidant, procrastination, tired, exhausted even, have low energy, unhappy, never satisfied, unmotivated, confused, directionless and cannot seem to make any decisions, difficult to control anger, irritable, exaggerated sense of responsibility and excessive guilt, and dislike of who I am. These are a few of the common experiences people have reached out for help because it interferes with their ability to be happy, to live authentically, and to have real and deep connections with themselves and others.
Working one-on-one with one of our therapists can help you become aware of your experiences, make sense of your situation, and learn ways to improve your responses to the triggers in your life. Our therapists work tirelessly to help you explicitly identify your goals into achievable targets, and then take small incremental steps towards them.
Ultimately, your wellbeing is our priority. Working with one of our therapists will help you move towards your goals. Your therapist will support you using various strategies so that at the end of treatment, you will be that much closer to living the life you want.
Do you feel constantly worried, or feel that some terrible is going to happen, or that you need to ensure that everything goes smoothly and according to plan? Does it cause you to stress out when there are unfamiliar or uncertainties in the situation?
Anxiety can have a strong grip on our life and impact us in our waking moments and may keep us from having restful sleep and relaxation. Our team of counsellors work with you to make sense of your worries and find strategies to challenge them so that you can slowly let go of the worry thoughts and enjoy yourself.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
If you experience intense, persistent, and excessive anxiety, you may have a diagnosable anxiety disorder. The most common types of anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Individuals with GAD struggle with chronic anxiety, nervousness, and worry, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia): Those with social anxiety disorder experience excessive worry, low self-esteem, and excessive self-consciousness in social situations. In some cases, social phobia is limited to a specific type of situation. In more severe cases, social phobia can cause significant psychological distress in everyday social situations, leading to avoidant behavior.
- Panic disorder: Unexpected and repeated panic attacks characterize panic disorder. For some people, the fear of experiencing a panic attack can make it difficult to function daily.
- Phobias: Individuals with specific phobias struggle with severe anxiety toward a particular object or situation. In more severe cases, particular phobias can lead to avoidant behavior, causing individuals to avoid everyday circumstances. For example, agoraphobia, which involves an overwhelming fear of situations where there is no “escape,” can make it challenging to leave the house.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Those with OCD experience persistent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions), which lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Individuals with OCD typically use compulsions such as counting or cleaning to reduce the anxiety caused by obsessions.
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): After exposure to a traumatic event, some individuals develop PTSD. Those with post-traumatic stress disorder experience intense anxiety symptoms after an adverse event ranging from nightmares to self-destructive behaviors, such as substance misuse.
- Separation anxiety disorder: Individuals with separation anxiety experience excessive anxiety when separated from home or loved ones. Separation anxiety is a normal part of development, but extreme separation anxiety is one of the most common childhood anxiety disorders. In some cases, separation anxiety can occur during adolescence and adulthood.
Symptoms of Anxiety
For most people, anxiety involves a combination of psychological and physical symptoms. When the symptoms of anxiety interfere with your everyday life, they could be signs of an anxiety disorder.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the symptoms of anxiety include:
- Sleeping problems, such as fatigue and insomnia
- Unexplained aches, muscle tension, dizziness, and headaches
- Digestive problems, such as nausea, stomach aches
- Excessive worry thoughts or sensations
- People pleasing
- Rapid heart rate, shallow breathing
- Difficulty concentrating
Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life, but when emotions such as hopelessness and despair take hold and just won’t go away, you may have depression. More than just sadness in response to life’s struggles and setbacks, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in daily activities. It can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy life. Just trying to get through the day can be overwhelming.
While some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom, others feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic. Men in particular can feel angry and restless. However you experience the problem, left untreated it can become a serious health condition. But it’s important to remember that feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are symptoms of depression—not the reality of your situation.
No matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better. By understanding the causes and recognizing the different symptoms and types of depression, you can take the first steps to feeling better and overcoming the problem.
Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression.
10 common depression symptoms
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
- Loss of interest in daily activities. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
- Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
- Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
- Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
- Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
- Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
- Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
- Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
We all experience anger at some point in our day or week, but sometimes, it can dominate our experiences, or it is highly reactive that it interferes with our ability to have deep and enriching relationships.
Anger, like all emotions, is a normative and purposeful emotion, yet we still need to have an understanding about our reactions and impulses that trigger our anger and rage so that we can choose how to respond in the moment to not rupture the relationship. Our team of counsellors are experienced to support you in gaining this insight and then find adaptive and functional behaviors to meet your needs during moments of frustration and distress.
After a traumatic experience, it’s normal to feel frightened, sad, anxious, and disconnected. But if the upset doesn’t fade, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can develop following any event that makes you fear for your safety. Most people associate PTSD with rape or battle-scarred soldiers—and military combat is the most common cause in men. But any event, or series of events, that overwhelms you with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and leaves you emotionally shattered, can trigger PTSD—especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable.
PTSD can affect people who personally experience the traumatic event, those who witness the event, or those who pick up the pieces afterwards, such as emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma. Whatever the cause for your PTSD, by seeking treatment, reaching out for support, and developing new coping skills, you can learn to manage your symptoms, reduce painful memories, and move on with your life.
Signs and symptoms of PTSD
PTSD develops differently from person to person because everyone’s nervous system and tolerance for stress is a little different. While you’re most likely to develop symptoms of PTSD in the hours or days following a traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell.
While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are four main types of symptoms.
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event through intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, or intense mental or physical reactions when reminded of the trauma.
- Avoidance and numbing, such as avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma, being unable to remember aspects of the ordeal, a loss of interest in activities and life in general, feeling emotionally numb and detached from others and a sense of a limited future.
- Hyperarousal, including sleep problems, irritability, hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”), feeling jumpy or easily startled, angry outbursts, and aggressive, self-destructive, or reckless behavior.
- Negative thought and mood changes like feeling alienated and alone, difficulty concentrating or remembering, depression and hopelessness, feeling mistrust and betrayal, and feeling guilt, shame, or self-blame.
Sexuality and Gender Identity
Everyone walks through this world through the eyes of their inner experiences, and which informs us how we relate to others as we interact with the outside world. Our team will support you to live an authentic and aligned life in your romantic relationships, social relationships, familial relationships, and most importantly, relationship with yourself.
Loneliness can be a hard hitting, painful in deepest corners of our heart feeling that cannot be explained but only felt. Despite there being billions of people on this Earth, you may feel like you are all alone, and this can make you feel insignificant. Attachment, belonging, and togetherness, is what we know we are designed to thrive. It’s not about quantity of connections, but to have enriching, high quality relationships that help us thrive.
One of the most important aspects to living your life to the fullest is knowing who you are. When you know what you like, what you dislike, who makes you smile and why somethings irk you so deeply, you will be able to make decisions about yourself that feel “just right”.
Many people experience anxiety, self-doubt, and the imposter phenomenon is one of the examples of this. Working on knowing your true value and appreciating your worth despite what you may have been told by others so that you may step into the task and room with a balance of gravitas and humility.
Life can be a balancing act for any adult, but if you find yourself constantly late, disorganized, forgetful, and overwhelmed by your responsibilities, you may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), previously known as ADD. ADHD affects many adults, and its wide variety of frustrating symptoms can hinder everything from your relationships to your career.
While scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes ADHD, they think it’s likely caused by a combination of genes, environment, and slight differences in how the brain is hardwired. If you were diagnosed with childhood ADHD or ADD, chances are you’ve carried at least some of the symptoms into adulthood. But even if you were never diagnosed as a child, that doesn’t mean ADHD can’t affect you as an adult.
ADHD often goes unrecognized throughout childhood. This was especially common in the past, when very few people were aware of it. Instead of recognizing your symptoms and identifying the real issue, your family, teachers, or others may have labeled you as a dreamer, goof-off, slacker, troublemaker, or just a bad student. Alternately, you may have been able to compensate for the symptoms of ADHD when you were young, only to run into problems as your responsibilities increased as an adult. The more balls you’re now trying to keep in the air—pursuing a career, raising a family, running a household—the greater the demand on your abilities to organize, focus, and remain calm. This can be challenging for anyone, but if you have ADHD, it can feel downright impossible.
The good news is that no matter how overwhelming it feels, the challenges of attention deficit disorder are beatable. With education, support, and a little creativity, you can learn to manage the symptoms of adult ADHD—even turning some of your weaknesses into strengths. It’s never too late to turn the difficulties of adult ADHD around and start succeeding on your own terms.
Trouble concentrating and staying focused
“Attention deficit” can be a misleading label. Adults with ADHD are able to focus on tasks they find stimulating or engaging, but have difficulty staying focused on and attending to mundane tasks. You may become easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds, bounce from one activity to another, or become bored quickly. Symptoms in this category are sometimes overlooked because they are less outwardly disruptive than the ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity—but they can be every bit as troublesome:
- Becoming easily distracted by low-priority activities or external events that others tend to ignore.
- Having so many simultaneous thoughts that it’s difficult to follow just one.
- Difficulty paying attention or focusing, such as when reading or listening to others.
- Frequently daydreaming or “zoning out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation.
- Struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple.
- A tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work.
- Poor listening skills; for example, having a hard time remembering conversations and following directions.
- Getting quickly bored and seeking out new stimulating experiences.
Cultural and Transgenerational Conflicts
Growing up and living in Canada is a unique scenario because many households have multiple generations and cultures living together. Our relationships with our family members play an important role in our development of self and in relationship with others. You may feel the stress of being good, being loved, being capable, or being important because of the challenge of growing up where there may be friction between two or more cultures or generations. The gap in the mutual expectations and the disappointment in the failure of the other person not meeting those imagined expectations create an increasing amount of distance in the relationship, when all everyone wants is closeness and understanding.