Counselling and Psychology
- Emotional disorders are not glamorous. People rarely talk about their depressive illness over coffee like they might talk about their knee operation. But emotional illness is every bit as disabling as physical illness yet people often suffer in silence. We often find it extremely difficult to acknowledge painful feelings even to ourselves, let alone to ask for help. And we often feel very alone in this suffering, believing that everyone else is fine.
- This is a very big misconception. Figures collected by the Black Dog Institute show that depression affects one in five Australians in any year and almost half of all Australians will experience some degree of mental illness in their lifetime. These are significant figures and these conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress and bipolar disorder create a huge burden for people to carry.
- While depression or anxiety can sometimes be quite obvious, at other times people may experience a range of very real physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, abdominal pain, muscle pains that are a result of emotional or mental health issues. These people may undergo many investigations and when the result are normal, they are told there is nothing wrong. There is clearly something wrong but it won't show up on a blood test. It is very important that we understand the link between physical and emotional health because one cannot exist without the other if we are to be truly healthy.
- There are a number of approaches to managing mental illness. Some include medication, others are talking therapies like counselling or behavioral therapy. Sometimes simple things like lifestyle changes and exercise can make a huge difference. The biggest hurdle is often acknowledging that there is a problem and allowing ourselves to accept help. From there I am almost always able to help my patients to move on and to feel better.