Pregnant and Anxious? There is hope!
Most of us have heard about postnatal depression. We have all heard the phrase countless times and many of us know people that have been through it. However, not many have heard of perinatal anxiety. So what is it? What does it feel like? And what can be done about it?
Firstly, perinatal refers to the period from the start of pregnancy to a year after baby is born. Anxiety refers to feelings of worry and / or nervousness that don't go away and can make it extremely difficult to function on a day to day basis. Anxiety can range from mild to severe and can be debilitating.
The perinatal period is a period of considerable change and during this time women could become anxious. This anxiety could centre around the safety of the baby. A pregnant woman may be anxious about eating the wrong thing, she may scan and worry about whether baby is moving enough. Equally a mom-to-be may be anxious about the changes to her body or how she will cope once baby comes along. This anxiety may continue when baby is born, leading to anxiety about the baby's ongoing safety, the mother's ability to cope, and compromise overall feelings of well being.
Seeking help early and reaching out is important to help someone feeling this way. To begin with:
Perinatal and Post Natal Depression Interest Area
*One mature adult
*Another mature adult
A healthy relationship is often referred to as the union between two mature adults.
But what IS a mature adult?
Someone old enough to drive? Old enough to vote? Rich enough to finance kids?
An eclectic definition, once offered, states that adult maturity involves the ability to take responsibility, make logical decisions, empathise with others, accept minor frustrations, accept one’s social roles, and know oneself (secure identity).
Why take responsibility in marriage?
Nature offers some insight. A marriage is not a union of parasites. In nature, dependent ticks feed off dogs – a one-sided benefit to the detriment of the other. Rather we are to be like the symbiotic and equally beneficial relationship that exists between the ox and the ox pecker. We each take responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and actions and then we come together in an interdependent and mutually satisfying relationship where both parties gain.
Why make logical decisions in marriage?
Because we are not children. We aren’t meant to have self-serving emotional knee-jerk reactions to situations that don’t please or suit us. We are to exercise self-restraint and engage our minds, so that heartfelt reactivity can be delayed long enough to appeal to rational, reasonable and well thought out cognitive responsiveness.
Why empathise with others in marriage?
Because it’s no longer all about ME. Our task as married partners (and indeed as humans) is to engage in the US: cooperative, mutually beneficial living rather than competitively, where we deliberately assign room for only one beneficiary in the relationship. We understand that life is difficult at times. We recognise the struggles of others because we have insight into our own struggles and can relate. We do to and for others, therefore, what we would appreciate done to or for us.
Why accept minor frustrations in marriage?
Because we don’t live in utopia. We understand that life and people aren’t perfect. So we give grace to the minor imperfections that exist, as opposed to torment our partners into unrealistic and unattainable perfection. We do this because we stand before a mirror and recognise that the person staring back at us in the reflection is also imperfect!
Why accept one’s social roles in marriage?
Because men and women are distinctly different. They were made differently to fulfil different purposes in their marriages. Accepting and accommodating these differences (and how these are executed within the context of marriage) is the key to success with the opposite gender. We recognise that the two genders have complementary (not competitive) roles and so we seek to fulfil our own unique roles in the marriage, while encouraging and supporting our different partners to fulfil their different unique roles.
Why know oneself and have a secure identity in marriage?
Because we don’t get married to MAKE EACH OTHER HAPPY. Happiness is largely a choice. We seek to know ourselves and create our own happiness, within the context of consideration for our partners. Our partners seek to know themselves and create their own happiness, within the context of consideration for us. With little else added to that, security can be established.
Selfish ME gives way to Selfless US.
“In youth you find out what you care to do and whom you care to be - even in changing roles. In young adulthood you learn whom you care to be with - at work and in private life, not only exchanging intimacies but sharing intimacy. In adulthood, however, you learn to know what and whom you can take care of” (Erikson, 1973)
Written by Debbie Collaros, Psychologist
Do you feel like you fit the male stereotype? Do you experience frequent negative thoughts saying you should?
Men, just like women, can be often plagued by self-doubt or insecurities. Many of the male clients I come across say to me that they are not good enough or are a failure. There are a number of reasons they give me. These range from not being successful enough at work, to not having a built up physique, to being too anxious or shy. Common statements I hear are “If I am not successful then I am a failure”, “If I am not an attractive male then I’m not good enough”, and “If I am too shy and awkward then I’m less of a man”.
It is quite common for men to seek out a psychologist to address their underlying negative beliefs about themselves or to address their self-doubt. In therapy, a psychologist can help you to adjust the rules or expectations you place on yourself to be good enough. A psychologist can help you in understanding what makes you good enough, regardless of how successful, confident or attractive you may be.
To start off challenging what you believe makes you a ‘good enough’ man, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I think I need to be good enough?
- What made me believe I need this to be good enough?
- In what ways is this expectation unreasonable? Unrealistic? Unfair? Unhelpful?
- What are the negative consequences of having this expectation?
- What is an alternate healthy expectation?
- What can I do to put this into practice on a daily basis?
Many men find that having a trusted professional can help them in the journey to develop a more healthy view of themselves and a greater sense of confidence. Along with this, men see psychologists for a variety of other reasons, including anxiety in social situations, stress at work, and depression. Should you wish to see a psychologist, please give us a call on 1800 832 588
Lean bodies, taut muscles, chiselled noses and waif bodies. We cannot escape these images around us. The gym and boot camp culture pushes exercise and body sculpting to a consumer product. The message is clear - produce the perfect body.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? Are you happy? Is your body your friend or your enemy?
What is body image?
Your body image is your mental representation of what you believe your body looks like, and includes some sort of an evaluation as to how acceptable it is. Positive body image means that you see yourself as the way you are, accept what you see, and feel good about it.
A negative or distorted body image on the other hand is not compatible with reality. You believe yourself to be larger than you are for instance. You also believe that you look worse than others, and you feel ashamed of your body. You feel uncomfortable in your own body and very self-conscious of it.
During the time that their body is constantly changing, teenagers feel a great need to belong and be accepted. This could make them feel insecure about their bodies, especially when they feel as if theirs is different from the norm. As we mature, this self criticism of our body leads to negative self talk. “I hate my thighs”, “I can’t stand my body in a swimsuit”. This soon leads to avoidance of activities and situations where your predicted negative body image will be on display to others. We avoid swimming. Avoid certain clothes. In the extreme we may even avoid looking at ourselves in the mirror altogether.
Men and women can equally be perfectionistic about their expectations of their bodies. Except perfection is based on unrealistic images and goals. It is not uncommon knowledge that what is published in the media have been through alterations.
Body image is also affected by the people around us. Negative comments on your appearance can make a person feel worse about their body. A family culture of dieting and paying particular attention to appearances can also lead to a skewed self value based on appearance.
When Body Image Becomes An Issue
Body image issues can become an obsession, interrupting sleep, eating patterns and health. If you find that a majority of the time you are thinking about how you look, how to look better, and especially if this is starting to impact on your mood and eating habits, it probably is a good idea to speak to a professional. Body image issues go hand in hand with Eating Disorders. If you are finding that you world mainly revolves around your negative thoughts about your body and your eating, seek help.
Clinton and Trump have been all over the news with debating turning into feuding. Self-respect, integrity, professional courtesy all goes out the door. What does it mean to disagree with someone, and how do you do this without losing your dignity and causing injury to others?
Is it really your argument to have?
You may have a difference of opinion with someone, but does it really mean you need to speak out about it? Work out what you feel about the issue – is it mild irritation, or is it a sense of injustice? Work out what you think about the issue – is it something that is about shaping each other’s thoughts? If the discussion about the disagreement does not bring about clarity or mutual growth – maybe walk away from it.
Disagree but do not Disintegrate or Detonate
Disagreeing with people can lead to high-rising emotions, which ultimately may not benefit your own well being. Check on your emotional barometer. Are you starting the conversation with your blood pressure rising? Or is it at a calm level. This may make the difference between shooting a missile, and volleying an objective contribution. Making sure the disagreement does not lead to a personal attack will ensure not only your dignity, but also bring the highest chance or retaining a relationship that might be valuable.
Mind your language
It might help to script out what you want to say. Write an email and save it in the drafts folder. Sleep on it. Write down a couple of versions of what you would like to say about an issue to someone, and then narrate it out loud – in front of the mirror. This way you hear what you sound like, AND you get visual feedback on all those non-verbal cues as well.
Stick to the facts
Maintaining objectivity means sticking with what you know, and admitting what you do not know. Not only will this help you keep your dignity intact, but it will also help you be more credible and believable. When you are that person with plenty of well-supported arguments, you might deter fruitless conversation in the future.
When in doubt, walk away
Sometimes it may be the season to walk away. Agree to disagree. Or seek to understand more than to rebut. Using a different emotion – curiosity, a sense of adventure can also help to diffuse negative emotions from bubbling away, making it easier to walk away with a nugget gained, than an ammunition shot.
The baby blues. Some mothers know this from personal experience, and feel conflicted, confused, and often very guilty. However, the term has become so commonly used, that you can be certain that you if you are feeling this way, you are not the only one. Motherhood is a major transition in life. Just like any major change in our lives, we can expect that there will be a time of adjustment. For some, this adjustment resolves with time, while for others, it may take support and help to come out the other end.
The "baby blues" is commonly understood as the period of time immediately after the birth of a child, where the mother feels teary, down-hearted, anxious and irritable. This is largely due to the hormonal changes, lifestyle adjustments and fatigue a new mother feels straight after the birth of a baby. It is estimated about 80% of mothers go through this phase, which occurs within a week or two of giving birth. However, in most cases, the "baby blues" tend to pass quickly with rest and support.In about 16% of cases, a mother may continue to feel depressed for a longer period of time, and experience other symptoms which resemble clinical depression. These symptoms include a profound and pervasive sadness that cannot be explained, disrupted appetite, sleep disturbances that are not a result of waking up for their baby, a despairing view of the future, deep-seated guilt and sense of worthlessness, and thoughts about harming themselves, or even ending their lives.When this happens, a mother may be experiencing Post Natal Depression. The distress experienced can overwhelm a mother's ability to cope. It can make it very hard to feel positive about their baby. Guilt starts to set in, and the vicious cycle of depression continues.
Post Natal Depression will not last for ever. With help and support, a mother can overcome the burden of depression and enjoy their time with their child. If you think you are experiencing Post Natal Depression:* Talk to someone you trust. Carrying the burden yourself can be very hard. Sharing how you feel will help to alleviate some of the stress you feel, and perhaps help you to find the support you so desire.* Take time for yourself. Go for a walk, schedule some pampering time, pick up that hobby that you have been neglecting. You don't have to devote large amounts of time. Pick short periods that you peper during your day. Or schedule a longer block once a week and have someone babysit for you.* Practice relaxation as part of a daily routine. Listen to soothing music, enjoy a wonderful stretch, or simply lie down. You deserve it!* Remind yourself that you are still the same person, eventhough you are going through a season of change. Jot down all the things you have done well before having a baby. Remember your successes, and deliberate on your personality strengths. Acknowledge that this is a difficult time, but it is a season.* Be kind to yourself. Motherhood does not come with a manual. You're working it out, and you will get there.* If you are finding it hard to cope, talk to a professional, there are many ways a trained psychologist or counsellor can help you find your way.
Do you find yourself putting off today and then just not bothering tomorrow? Do you find yourself falling behind due dates and then feeling very guilty afterwards? Procrastination is a common phenomenon that has a fairly standard pattern. Due to certain assumptions or unrealistic rules we have for ourselves (such as fear of failure, believing we don't have enough energy to complete tasks, experiencing discomfort when we think of the tasks ahead) we set up excuses for why we cannot start our tasks and then engage in activities to either distract us or delay us from making a start. We then experience guilt, and start to feel like there is not point to trying. This then further increases the discomfort and reinforces the belief that the task really is too big an obstacle to overcome. Procrastination starts like a small pebble that lands up rolling down a hill of time and unfinished business which ends up looking like a huge boulder to move. The trick is to make small but effective changes at various points in the cycle so that you don't allow the downward tumble to become overwhelming. One trick to helping you feel like you are making some movement is to break up the tasks into 10 to 15 minute chunks at a time. You might also decided to attack the middle of the task, rather than start at the beginning. You might try backward planning instead of forward planning. That is, list out the steps you need to take towards completion, but begin at the endpoint. Then reward each step you take towards starting, not just leaving the rewards for the big finish at the end. Talking things through with a psychologist can also help to uncover some of the self-sabotaging thoughts you might have about your ability to start or finish things, and to work a way to fuel that all important motivation.
You felt fantastic over the weekend. The sun was out, there was a lift in your step. Then it comes around. That deadweight feeling in your gut. Work is back on tomorrow. Maybe you start to feel anxious. You notice that you are feeling irritable and maybe even a little depressed. Sleep does not come easy, and you are tossing and turning with each deafening tick-tock of the clock.
For most people, there comes a point in their work life where they may feel bored by their job. Perhaps some conflict in the workplace leaves you with a bitter taste. Perhaps it is simply time to find a new job. There may be two psychological conditions, however, which may have crept into the picture. Does your Back To Work Doldrums have any of these features?
Burnout: Burnout is caused by prolonged psychological stress that comes from a chronic state of feeling overly taxed by work demands. There are three indicators of burnout. Firstly - exhaustion, thinking about work brings about a heavy sense of fatigue. Waking up in the morning thinking about going to work leaves you with a big sigh of fatigue - and you have not even started. a lack of enthusiasm for what lies ahead. You cannot find a single element of your work which engages you. You are just not interested, and the thought of picking yourself up to go into work is beyond uninspiring. Secondly, you feel cynical about your work. You ask yourself what the point is. You feel quite isolated from the people you work with and you are just going through the motions. You find yourself withdrawing more and more from your colleagues and soon you're eating lunch on your own, or not even eating lunch. Thirdly, you do not feel like you are achieving much. The demoralisation leads to a sense of unworthiness or incompetence in even the most basic things at work. These three elements combine to result in reduced efficacy, efficiency and ultimately impacts on job performance. Many professionals in the caring profession experience high levels of burn-out. Those in very demanding jobs with constant time pressures can also experience burn-out.
Adjustment Disorder: Adjustment Disorder is a diagnosable mental health condition that is characterised by some depressive features due to a stressor. Work conflict, financial worries, relationship concerns and any number of significant life stressors can combine to overwhelm an individual's coping mechanisms. In this case, it may not just be something at work that is stressful, but a combination of stressful life events and work that leads to distress. Adjustment Disorder shares some symptoms of clinical depression, such as tearfulness, feelings of hopelessness, and loss of interest in work or activities, however, sleep and eating may not be impacted, and it does not lead to suicidal thinking. It can cause problems with your ability to function at work.
Both of these conditions would benefit from professional help. Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to further vulnerability to clinical depression and if treated early can resolve quite easily. So if you are feeling the Back To Work Doldrums, and if it doesn't lift within a week or two, maybe it's time to seek help.
This week we have had the news that the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie love cord has snapped. The tension of the past probably caught up and with it came a break – divorce. We do not know them personally, and yet, you may have noticed a tinge of sadness that this couple who seemed to represent a model of united human compassion and unconditional love have come to their own love end. Relationships require a certain degree of flexibility, give and take, a kind of elasticity. Here are our 5 tips for the week to keep some give and take in yours:
Paint a positive picture
When you “fall in love” everything about your partner seems to be perfect and you only see the positive aspects of their character. At some point you’ll notice the negative traits of your partner, after all they are only human, and they might annoy you. Avoid the temptation to keep a mental log of these annoyances. Negativity is a powerful lens and it takes very little for a small behaviour to be seen as an overall character flaw. Instead make a mental note of every unique and positive behaviour you note in your partner – and tell your partner. Don’t head for a Perfect picture, head for a Positive one.
Try random acts of kindness
This is one of the more fun tips, and it can be done in so many different ways. Just think of one random act of kindness a day, and surprise them with it. This could be giving him a surprise gift, cooking a surprise dinner or even telling him a simple, but unexpected ‘I love you.’ Affirmation can be a powerful key to a happy relationship. Giving compliments and thanking them for things they do are forms of affirmation as well. Letting your spouse know how much you appreciate that they cleaned the house or that you think that they’re beautiful can lift their mood greatly. How much simpler than a few nice words does it get? Need some ideas? Check out https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas.
Spend quality time together; Keep it fresh
Elastic love cords requires a bank account of positive moments together. So make the time to share a little quality time every day, even just talking ten minutes before going to bed will do. And don’t forget that marriage isn’t a reason to stop dating each other. Go out on a romantic date at least once a month, and change up what you consider a romantic date. Explore a new city or simply visit a different restaurant. Growing together and exploring new activities together might carry the excitement into the relationship, input new topics of conversation and builds up memories of good times. For some ideas of what to do
Choose what you remember
Holding on to grudges and remembering the disappointing aspects of the relationship breeds contempt, and is not only tiring, but also a sure sign that your relationship is heading for rocky waters. Choose to remember the benefits in your relationship, count your blessings, and write them down, just like you would in everyday life. Before going to bed, remember one thing you are grateful for in your relationship and in your partnership.
Trust is priority number one
Maybe the most important thing in any relationship is that you can trust each other fully. Ask your partner what it is that helps them to feel like you trust them. Ask them where they are struggling to feel trusted. Make a mental note of what this is and protect this area. Be prepared to work on the trust fortress, it goes a long way in extending the benefit of the doubt and keeping those love cords elastic.
"What if I am late for my interview tomorrow?" "What if I made a mistake in the report I handed in?" "What if I am sick for the presentation?"
At some point in your day or week such worries would have passed through your mind. Worrying is a common and potentially helpful process that can lead to effective problem solving. Worry as an emotion can help indicate to us that there is something important we need to addresss and can lead to a push in the right direction towards resolving the worry. Healthy worrying is usually short-lived and easily filed away either in the "let's fix it" basket or the "can't do anything about it" basket. Sometimes we are able to postpone the worry in acknowledgement that we cannot fix it straight away. We may need time to pass, more information or more help from others.
Excessive worrying on the other hand can paralyse an individual with its never ending chase for resolution, intolerance for uncertainty and an unquenchable thirst to make sure that no detail in the quest for resolution is left unchecked. The worries tend to manifest in several areas (health, finances, the future, family, relationships, daily tasks that need to be done) and can be crippling. If excessive worrying leads to disrupted sleep, impaired functioning at work or school, low mood, and loss of coping this can be a form of anxiety called Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder can go undetected. As worrying is a normal response in people, Generalised Anxiety Disorder can be dismissed easily. Without treatment, however, it is a never ending cycle of anxiety for impending catastrophe. Seeing a Psychologist can bring relief and ultimate refuge from such worries. Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a very treatable condition.
Location 1: 130 Duffy Avenue, Westleigh 2120
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Ph: 1800 832 588
Location2: Suite 112, 33 Lexington Drive, Bella Vista 2153
Ph: 1800 832 588
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Hornsby and Hills Psychologists. Pennant Hills, Thornleigh, Normanhurst, Beecroft, Turramurra, Baulkham Hills, Castle Hill, Bella Vista, Norwest Areas.