Tel: 07930 155 347
info@wlchiswickcounselling.co.uk

Category Archives: depression

Fat Oppression – How to Reclaim Your Self-Esteem

In recent years fat oppression, more Eatingcommonly known as “fat shaming”, has become accepted as the “done thing”. Magazines, TV shows and public figures like Katie Hopkins have made “pointing out a person is fat” acceptable. When clicking on the comment section or a message board where people are discussing other people, more often than not the first things that is discussed is a person’s look and weight with their personality or accomplishments only mentioned as an afterthought. We are living in a shallow world, and anyone not possessing what is seen as the “ideal body” or just different in any way is in for scrutiny.

Being bigger than others has never been easy, except maybe when living in Rubenesque times, I can testify to this: even in the 1990’s growing up as a “big kid” was hell at school. But this was AT SCHOOL, kids usually grow up knowing better and stop the bullying when they reach 19. Not this generation: adults gleefully approach other adults in the street, asking “when is it due”, knowing a person isn’t pregnant. They think nothing of saying: “should you be doing that”, if they see what they consider to be a “fat person” eating in the street. This used to be taboo. Not anymore.
Many people think pointing out a person is fat helps the “fat person” in some twisted way. Well, no it doesn’t: usually they are aware of the problem, thank you, pointing it out only works demotivating.
Of course not everyone is like this, there are many people out there who don’t care about how you look. In fact, there are even so called “chubby chasers” out there, folk only falling for those that have “something to grab hold off”. Good to know, of course. But when you are feeling insecure about your weight and have suffered several upsetting altercations with people that judged you, knowing this won’t help: you are sure the entire world is against you and these people are just lying to be kind.
Nobody chooses to be fat and often it has little to do with food intake. My weight gain was sudden. When I was about 7 my weight suddenly changed, almost overnight. I had not changed eating habits, I was a dancer so got a lot of exercise. Still I became fat, and as a result people begun to treat me differently. “I’m not sure you should” were added when cake and candies were handed out at birthdays, judgemental looks were included with my chips, etc. I was never a binger, hardly able to empty my plate at the best of times. My mum schlepped me around from clinic to clinic to find what was wrong with me. At around age 12 I was virtually anorexic, dancing to Michael Jackson most of the day and still I did not lose weight. I tried diet after diet, miracle cure after miracle cure and guess what: I still have nothing to show for it.
This is true for many people.
Of course there are people that gain weight because of food, but it is not something they choose to do either. Usually there is something deeper than “I like to eat” that makes people reach out for comfort foods.
No matter how you gained weight, the end results are often the same: insecurity and a constant fear of being judged. This causes stress and stress often results in weight gain, even if you try to diet. Dieting and not losing weight is even more depressing and you can end up in a vicious self-hating cycle. Others may lose weight, but often find they are still not happy on the inside, not even after all that work.
This vicious cycle is something not many people are able to break, and only few are aware that counselling is an option that could help break it. It is understandable that a person that has been or at least felt judged all his or her life may find it difficult to seek help. This is understandable because some might have met, in the past, with unsympathetic doctors or others in the “care” industry that were not as caring as they could have been. The difference here is that a counsellor is not there to look at your shape and size of your body and judge you. He or she is there to look at your internal world and how this is reflected in your relation with your body and with others. He/she might assist you in finding your self-worth and self-love before you try changing anything about your body. Once you have accepted yourself on the inside, you might not even care about the outside. This is what a counsellor can help you to achieve: inner peace, self-respect to make you see that no one should be able to make you feel bad about yourself, no one has that power.
The support and advice of a counsellor can break years of bad programming you may have internalised. It can also help you on the road to reclaim your self-esteem and help you either accept yourself as you are or help you find a way to lose weight on your own terms. But accepting yourself comes first. Always. No matter how thin or big you are, only the love you have for yourself can make you look truly beautiful and once you find that, weight no longer matters.

...
Read more

Postnatal Depression

Postnatal DepressionThe hormonal rollercoaster experienced after giving birth can lead to what is commonly referred to as the “Baby Blues”.  One minute you’re cooing over your newborn infant, the next instant you’re weeping. This is perfectly normal and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks following birth.  However, if the symptoms continue or worsen, it could be Postnatal Depression.

Postnatal Depression, also referred to as postpartum depression, is a form of depression experienced after giving birth.  Postnatal depression is characterized by depressed mood, fatigue, anxiety, crying spells, feelings of guilt or shame, insomnia, poor concentration and suicidal thoughts.  The onset can occur within 4 weeks to 30 days postpartum.

The symptoms of postnatal depression do not only affect the mother, but the infant and the family, as well.  An infant’s level of care requires constant attention, which a mother experiencing postnatal depression may not be able to provide, given low energy and fatigue. Mothers with postnatal depression are less likely to hold their children, breast feed, or play with their children, all an important part of developing healthy attachments. An inability to provide developmentally appropriate care can result in a child who is withdrawn or insecure in later life.

A misconception of postnatal depression is that it is a rare occurrence.  Many women may believe that because they have a tendency toward a cheerful disposition that it cannot happen to them.  However, postnatal depression is more common than one may think and can affect all ethnic groups equally.

Princess Diana was among the most prominent women in the world to develop postnatal depression following the birth of her first son, Prince William.  In order to de-stigmatize postnatal depression, Princess Diana spoke openly about her symptoms and how it affected her ability to be the type of mother and wife she wanted to be.  A feeling that resonated among many women who were suffering in silence.

The American Psychology Association (APA) estimates that 9% – 16% of women will experience postpartum depression.  Those odds increase to 41% if the woman has experienced postpartum depression previously.  Although the risk of developing postnatal depression is increased for those with a history of mental illness, the statistics above show that it can (and does) happen to anyone.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing postnatal depression, there are treatment options.  It is imperative that anyone with postnatal depression seek immediate mental health care.  Women can consult their GP for further referral for mental health care.  You may be asking yourself, “Why should I seek counseling?”  Many believe that by asking for help they are admitting defeat and perceive themselves as weak.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Asking for help when you need it most is actually a sign of great strength.

Counseling for postnatal depression can provide much needed emotional support for new mothers by helping them to explore the meaning of this experience for themselves. Counselling can help women to make sense of their symptoms in the context of their entire lives, which can be significantly empowering for them, correcting maladaptive thinking such as “I’m a terrible mother” and thereby eradicating feelings of guilt or shame. It can also be an opportunity to work on unresolved emotional aspects of their lives.

Parenting courses are also offered to diminish levels of anxiety commonly experienced by new parents.  Ultimately, counseling and psychoeducational courses help women with postnatal depression to feel they are not alone and encourage bonding, which will result in a healthier mother and child.

In addition to seeking professional help, social support is crucial for all new mothers, particularly those suffering from postnatal depression.  Getting rest, exercising, good nutrition, the help and support of family and friends have all been proven to be successful strategies.

...
Read more

Tips For Climbing Out of the Pit of Depression

DepressionEver had a season of depression that just wiped you out?  You want to feel all happy, but for some reason you just can’t. You lie in bed at night thinking how yucky your life is and you wake up in the morning dreading yet another day.

Yes, depression is a real downer.

It really is such an energy zapper, sometimes even making everyday tasks difficult to accomplish. The severely depressed have a difficult time getting the gumption to shower or even cook a meal and eat.

The good news is that you don’t have to allow depression to completely rule your life.  You may have a day or two of the blues (everyone is entitled to those), but depression and darkness do not have to be your reality for weeks, months, or years.

By all means head to your GP if you’ve tried to beat your depression and can’t. He or she will be able to assess whether you’re dealing with long term depression or some temporary general unhappiness. Should your state of depression be situational, there are things you can do to take control of some symptoms by making lifestyle changes that have been found to alleviate many symptoms of depression.

Here are some great changes you can make:

  • Exercise regularly

If you want to take control over your depression, exercise is a great way to start.  By committing to an exercise regime throughout the week, your mood may be elevated.  When we exercise, our bodies produce a chemical that makes us feel more pleasant and we also tend to feel better about ourselves, as we are being constructive with our time.  You can take a brisk walk, join a gym, engage a friend in golf or tennis, or go for a swim. The exercise does not even need to be strenuous. Simply planting flowers or a small garden is an example of calm, light exercise that will give you a boost emotionally.

  • Change your eating habits

Another great lifestyle change involves your eating habits.  It is so easy to get caught up eating unhealthy foods, which have the effect of making one feel sluggish and possibly gain weight.  Our bodies need healthy foods to be at their optimal performance. Begin to eliminate unhealthy foods one at a time and introduce healthy foods into your diet.  Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, drink plenty of water, take vitamins, and stay away from sugar as much as possible.  You will find that as you progress in eating healthier, you will feel better about yourself mentally and your body will begin to feel better as well.

  • Acquire a supportive network

Having friends or family is important, as it is oftentimes a relief to be able to share concerns, stressors, fears, etc. with a supportive person.  If you communicate your problems to a person that you trust, you might feel better after sharing your experiences with them. You can also consider going for counseling for help.  You might be able to honestly communicate your problems and receive support, becoming more aware of your emotions and thoughts with someone who has been trained in listening attentively without judging you.

  • Consider getting a pet

Pets can be very therapeutic for those who struggle with loneliness or depression.  Consider getting a cat or a dog to offer company and unconditional love.  Plenty of men and women have gained a sense of approval and feel needed as their `pets’ lavish love on them.  If you are not able to have animals in your home, you could purchase a bird or even a hamster or guinea pig.

  • Meditate

Some people have found relief from depressive symptoms by regular meditation. Even just five or ten minutes of solitude deliberately paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way, may be all that is needed to get you feeling better.

  • Get out with a friend

Isolation will not do you any good or alleviate depressive symptoms. Make the effort to get out with a friend and do something that you enjoy. Being with another person, smiling, laughing, and talking will do wonders for your mood.

There are things that you can do to help alleviate symptoms of depression.  Give these tips a try for a few weeks and see if your mood improves. Sometimes you just have to dig deep and make yourself do the things you don’t really want to do to pull yourself up out of the pit of depression.  In the end, you’ll be glad you did. Today, make the decision to take action and do what you can to beat depression

...
Read more