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Posts Categorised: Depression & anxiety

Many of us at some point in our lives will find ourselves in a situation where somebody probably should be asking us “Do you want to talk about it?”. We will be asked this because they have recognised that our behaviour has changed. To them, we may appear overwhelmed, angry or even withdrawn, or we are not performing the way we used to.

If we are lucky, there will be a family member, partner, friend or colleague that asks us this question. At other times we might find ourselves asking ourselves this question. Our response might not always be a positive one and we could find ourselves avoiding the conversation, walking away, or even getting angry. That’s when it might be useful to consider the benefits of talking to a qualified, experienced therapist.

Why do some of us find it so hard to talk to a therapist?

Historically many of us have become conditioned not to share how we feel. We can become embarrassed to talk about our feelings and can see ourselves as weak for doing so. We might even think that what we are feeling isn’t real, or sufficiently important for anyone to take us seriously and that we just need to pull ourselves together. Too often we have a perception that no one wants to listen to us, no one will hear us, and it will just be an uncomfortable experience for all concerned if we talk about how we feel. Thankfully, that is only the stigma and perception talking.

Some fear that there will be an impact on their lives if they show their vulnerability. In some cultures or in the workplace, it has been seen as wrong to talk about feelings or mental health. This has been unhelpful to those needing help. Thankfully, increasingly those that are finding the strength to talk are finding that they are being heard and respected for doing so. Many have found that their initial fears were unfounded and that talking was liberating.

If we don’t talk about how we feel it can lead to us suppressing our pain or loss, locking it up inside us and hoping it goes away. If we are experiencing serious pain, or have suffered trauma or abuse, then suppressing our thoughts and emotions about it can lead to further difficulties in the future. Left unchecked, both our physical and mental health can deteriorate as a result of our repressed emotions. Our mental health is so important to our overall wellness that unchecked mental health challenges can manifest themselves in physical symptoms.

Seeking help is brave, strong and courageous, not a sign of weakness.

If we had a broken leg or physical illness we would likely talk about it, seek treatment, and tell our employer about it. We’d take leave from work, and take action to improve our health. It comes naturally.

Successful people generally recognise that they can’t do everything in life themselves, and benefit from help. Did you know that even the CEO’s of top global companies frequently have coaches, mentors, and use counselling? Even Psychologists benefit from counselling and talking about their feelings with problems with others! These “successful” people recognise that at times they need a different perspective, guidance and direction. They know, that a non-judgemental, third-party perspective and insight into their home and work-lives can be beneficial. Many will say that its a key to their success and they couldn’t have done it on their own.

It shouldn’t be embarrassing to admit that at times we would benefit from a little help, or even just need to be able to talk, and know that someone will genuinely hear us. We all need help from time to time in our lives.

How can a Counsellor or therapist help me?

When you talk to a qualified Counsellor you will be talking to an individual who is trained to listen and really hear what you are saying. They’ll listen to you in non-judgemental way and allow you time to express yourself and how you are feeling. Importantly they’ll help you shape and put into context what you are feeling. Your Counsellor will explain to you that its far from unusual to feel the way you do and that you are certainly not alone in having to deal with whatever situation you find yourself in.

Importantly your qualified Counsellor will offer you the opportunity to talk in a “safe space”. You will be assured of confidentiality, and what you talk about will stay in the room. You won’t be judged and they’ll respect that you had the strength to seek help.

Your experienced Counsellor will know a number of techniques that can be applied to help you in your situation. Interestingly, many of these will help you learn how to manage your thoughts and feelings in different ways to how you have done it traditionally.

Amongst a number of techniques they can, for instance, help you recognise and explore negative thoughts to show you how you can help yourself respond differently in future. They’ll help you understand coping techniques for your situation, and how to perhaps respond differently to others around you and situations that you find yourself in. You may well find your experience with your counsellor life-changing and brings about far-reaching change and benefits beyond the initial reason that you went to them in the first

Our highly experienced Counsellor is waiting to hear from you

If you or a family member would benefit from counselling our experienced and highly qualified counsellor Maria Luedeke is available to help you.

Maria believes in using a collaborative approach with Clients to aid them in developing self-efficacy, resiliency and self-empowerment through their innate strengths and abilities. Utilising her experience, Maria empowers individuals to achieve what they aspire to and provide tools to respond, rather than react to life challenges. This enables growth, happiness and success in all facets of personal and professional life.

Aspire Counselling can be contacted, or you can make a booking for an online or face to face appointment on http://aspirecounselling.net or alternatively by emailing Maria Luedeke at marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

We have moved

Aspire Counselling Singapore is moving.  From 23rd October 2017 we will be providing counselling and psychotherapy from our new practice close to the Botanical Gardens.

Our new address will be:

9 Taman Serasi #02-17
Singapore 257720

Maria Luedeke will continue to provide mental healthcare and counselling services for individuals, couples, families, groups from this new location.

Book an appointment online at https://aspirecounselling.net – whether you want to meet face to face, or via confidential video link from somewhere you feel comfortable, we have a service that can help listen when you need to express how you feel.

It happens to all of us. We can sometimes get so caught up with whats happening that we struggle to see a way forward.

When we are so concerned by what has happened in the past or could happen in the future we can find ourselves struggling to know what is best to do right now today. Situations that would normally be so easy to deal with can become overwhelming.

At times like these, we clearly would benefit from a little extra help. Help that can listen, and give us the perspective we need, enabling us to move forward.

Asking for help is the sign of a courageous and smart person. Despite all the misconceptions and stigma it really has absolutely nothing to do with weakness or shame.

That’s where counselling and psychotherapy with Aspire Counselling comes in. Our highly trained counsellor can listen and hear you from an independent perspective. This can happen in person, or using online video counselling if that is what you prefer or if you are located overseas.

We can help you find the clarity of vision that you need to see what you should be doing next. Our training and experience will help you to learn the tools and mechanisms that will work for you. We can help you find a way forward for yourself. Whether it is a bump in the road or a longer term challenge that you are facing.

Our personal clients include both expatriates and locals; men, women, children, families, and couples. We help people overcome relationship and life challenges, change related issues, relocation, and career choices are all within our scope.

Book an appointment online at https://aspirecounselling.net – whether you want to meet face to face, or via confidential video link from somewhere you feel comfortable, we have a service that can help listen when you need to express how you feel.

Life was never intended to be an incomplete difficult jigsaw.

Although it sometimes feels just like that. A little extra help can be useful when you are needing to find direction in your life or to put the pieces of a puzzle together.

By talking about what you are experiencing to an experienced Psychotherapist you can often find the clarity you need and find your own way forward. At Aspire Counselling we focus on helping you realise your goals and living an empowered, fulfilled life.

Book an appointment online today at https://aspirecounselling.net or call 656570 2781, email  marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

In 1948 the World Health Organisation(WHO) was founded. Of its principles, the first is:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Yet, even today, many people struggle to achieve balanced health. For those lucky enough to have physical and even social health, mental health is often lacking. Despite mental health issues affecting 1 in 4 people (25% of the population of the world), it remains a taboo and stigmatized subject in society. 350 million people in the world suffer from depression.  These people are not odd “crazy” strangers, they are often amongst your closest family members, colleagues, and friends. So common are mental health challenges, that there’s absolutely no reason why it is not viewed as a normal, regular, yet managable condition.

Whilst some of these affected will need the help of specialists in order to function and maintain their mental health, we can all take basic steps to look after ourselves. Just as we invest in a healthy diet, gym memberships etc to maintain our physique and physical wellness, we can do similar things for our mental health. Both share exercise, diet and sleep in common.

When our physical health suffers we often feel the effect quite quickly in the form of tiredness, or even pain. With mental health, the signs can often be rather more subtle. For that reason, it is important that we frequently “check in with ourselves“. Daily self-monitoring and reaction to the changes we observe can be beneficial and helps with the identification of changes to our mental health. When changes are detected, or even before, we can learn numerous coping techniques to assist with the most common challenges such as depression and anxiety.

When we notice changes in our mental health that can’t simply be addressed by refocusing our thoughts or implementing healthy coping techniques then there is an abundance of help available in the form of psychotherapists, counsellors, peer support groups or even talking to family, colleagues, and friends.

Aspire Counselling is here to help when you need to talk or learn how to understand how you feel.  Psychotherapist and Counsellor Maria Luedeke specializes in empowering individuals, families, couples and teams in the corporate workplaces to achieve their goals and live fulfilled lives.

You can find out more or book an appointment with Maria at Aspire Counselling by visiting https://aspirecounselling.net or by going directly to our online appointment booking page.

Exercise, Sleep, Nutrition – tackling depression

On world health day 7th April, Maria shared with website Patients Engage 3 lifestyle habits that can support those affected by depression.

The following content was first, published on Patients Engage.  Read the original article here: https://goo.gl/HXVzQ3

According to the World Health Organization, there are over 350 million people globally who suffer from depression. Sadly, it is one of the most prevalent of mental health issues in the world. Maria Luedeke, Counsellor & Psychotherapist, CTRTC, stresses the urgent need to engage in a discussion of individually empowered self-management strategies.

Depression has a cyclical effect. Those with chronic illness are more susceptible to it and those with depression have a higher risk of other medical issues. This can become a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape from. Prioritizing physical self-care such as sleep, nutrition, exercise and medical conditions are imperative in breaking and prevention of this cycle.

Exercise

Exercising can be a powerful anti-depressant. Research has shown that consistency is more important than quantity in improving mood disorders, so it is more beneficial to walk daily for 10-15 minutes than to do a 3-hour workout once a week. Choosing an exercise that is enjoyable and fits well into daily life is also essential to maximize the likelihood of adherence. Ideally, exercise should be done first thing in the morning or at least 3 hours before trying to sleep.

Sleep

Sleep is an area that is often cited by depressed individuals as problematic. Many feel constantly fatigued, have disrupted sleep cycles or are unable to sleep/wake at typical times which interferes with their ability to function normally in daily life. Sleep hygiene is an important skill to learn in general for good wellness and becomes integral when managing depression. Establish regular sleep and wake times and be consistent with those throughout the week. Avoid electronics 1-2 hours before bed, this includes phones, iPads, computers and TVs as the blue light emitted from these devices stimulates brain activity at precisely the time we are trying to induce relaxation. Reading on a Kindle or iPad can be done by adjusting the backlight to a softer setting but online reading should be avoided as it is too tempting to flip back and forth between websites and “surf” which is another brain stimulating activity that should be avoided at bedtime. Those who have difficulty falling asleep can try progressive relaxation exercises or deep breathing exercise; both of which induce relaxation and calm.

Nutrition

There are numerous studies about the link between nutrition and mood. One such study by Harvard School of Public Health found that women were 41% more likely to suffer from depression when they regularly ate processed grains, sugary sodas, and red meats. Improving the quality of food eaten eliminates blood sugar spikes and dips that are linked to mood spikes and dips, can increase energy and brain clarity. The Indian Journal of Psychiatry states that patients with depression generally have inadequate nutritional intake, particularly foods high in essential vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Ensuring good nutrition, avoiding skipping meals and reducing high sugar foods can support mood stability.

Psychosocial Care

Practicing healthy physical habits is one piece of managing depression. Paired with Intellectual, emotional and spiritual self-care this is a power approach of depression treatment. Psychosocial therapy and medication are integral components and should not be dismissed but empowering individuals with proactive self-care practices dramatically improves the positive outcomes of depression and mood disorders.

Maria Luedeke is Director of Aspire Counselling Pte Ltd, Singapore. Maria is a highly qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist with educational qualifications from U.S. and Australian institutions and possesses a Certificate of Clearance from the Singapore Government authorizing her to work with children and adolescents in all settings. 

If you are affected by depression and would like to know more, or want to book an appointment with Maria you can go to https://aspirecounselling.net or click here to go directly to our appointment bookings page.

The signs of depression and what to do next

The symptoms of depression can vary depending upon the individual, age and gender. Even if you can spot the symptoms in yourself, they may be difficult to spot in others, particular when the individual becomes adept at “putting on a brave face” and pretending to the world (and sometimes themselves) that everything is ok.

In men there may be feelings of persistent anger, short-temperedness or frustration. Women may feel sadness, emptiness and loneliness. Children and teens experiencing depression may feel anxiety, fatigue, anger and withdrawal.

There are a number of general signs counsellors and therapists look out for to make a diagnosis.

These include:
• Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping
• Irritability and restlessness
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once pleasurable, including sex
• Overeating or loss of appetite Persistent aches, pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease with treatment
• Persistent sadness, anxiousness or feelings of emptiness
• Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details or making decisions
• Fatigue and decreased energy
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
• Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

Getting help is important, because depression tends to worsen over time, and research has shown that the sooner people seek help, the better the long-term outcome.

If you’ve experienced any of the above symptoms continually for two to four weeks, or if they’re impacting your daily routines or relationships, it’s time to check in with a qualified medical practitioner or mental health professional.

What can you do if you are affected by the symptoms of depression

The first step to managing mental health is likely to be a visit to your GP. A full medical history can first be taken, in order to rule out and treat any physical disease or disorder that can cause symptoms of depression.

A full personal and mental health history of yourself and your family will also be done, including alcohol and drug usage habits. Your doctor will then ask about your symptoms, their duration and severity. “If you’ve experienced these symptoms in the past, the practitioner will want to know how they were treated”.

Treatment for depression

There are three main ways that depression is treated: by antidepressant medication, psychotherapy or by a combination of both. In Singapore, medication can only be prescribed by a qualified medical doctor or psychiatrist. Psychotherapy is carried out by qualified counsellors, psychologists or social workers, and by some psychiatrists.

When it comes to depression, your doctor or mental health professional will make a treatment recommendation; ultimately, though, you may choose the treatment plan that best fits your needs. There are exceptions to this, however.

If the patient is a child, his or her parents would decide the treatment plan. Another exception is where the individual is a danger to themselves and shown by the attending psychiatrist to be mentally unable to make decisions.

In Singapore, under the Mental Disorders & Treatment Act (MDTA), police are empowered to bring mentally ill persons to the Institute of Mental Health for assessment if they are found or believed to be acting in a manner that is dangerous to themselves or to others.

Seeking help should never be seen as a sign of weakness or incompetence; it is a sign of intelligence, strength and honesty.

If you can identify with the symptoms of depression, you may need to seek the support of a qualified mental health professional. Maria Luedeke of Aspire Counselling is a highly qualified counsellor who will be able to advise you not he right course of action.

Aspire Counselling can be contacted, or you can make a booking for an online or face to face appointment on http://aspirecounselling.net or alternatively by emailing Maria Luedeke at marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

A version of this article which includes the specialist input of Maria Luedeke of Aspire Counselling first appeared in the January 2017 edition of Expat Living, Singapore.

 

Life as an expat, trailing spouse in Singapore isn’t what you expected?

Many of us have heard the terms expat wife and trailing spouse. But what are the unique challenges faced these people. And when difficulties arise, what can you do about it?

Trailing spouse is a term coined to describe the spouse or partner of someone who relocates for work away from their home base. Sometimes a couple or a whole family move overseas. The trailing spouse can be a wife or female partner, or even a man.

Relocation brings with it a change of culture, distance from friends and family, and new beginnings.  New friends, new food, new opportunities, but often also new stresses and challenges.

Many have been through this process, and many have had an amazing successful journey. But, many have found it challenging. How people deal with the challenges faced can define whether the posting overseas is a successful or negative one.

A new expat life full of hope

When starting the relocation journey, there is usually hope and optimism. There may be reservations, but the exotic location, career benefits, high salary etc. win over.  Moving tends to go well at first as employers cater for our every need. First or Business class flights for the family, hotels and service apartments all help to keep us distracted whilst settling. The luxury of the new surroundings and exploring the new location, it can seem idyllic at first. New places to eat and drink, or even the distraction of helping the kids settle in their new home and school. Reality can take a while to sink in.

Dealing with the change associated with expat life

For some, the move may take place without any real consideration as to how the change will affect their own and children’s lives. For a while, you might not even notice or understand how it is affecting you. Expats can be surprised when things settle down and the excitement of the move is replaced by normality. Normality that may be accompanied by disappointment and emotions that weren’t expected.

Spouses may at times just follow their partner, taking a passive role and becoming increasingly dependent in the process.  For others, the new surroundings can be intimidating, leading to them cutting themselves off, preferring instead to hide away and stay at home. There can also be challenges establishing one’s own identity in the new place. In too many cases, infidelity can rear its head, leading to disappointment, distance and even separation. When infidelity occurs, trailing spouses can be left debating the pros and cons of putting up with it, or returning home. Never an easy choice. Worse still if children are part of the expat scenario.

And for many, there comes a sense of grief.  Even if one enjoys the new life, there can be a very real sense of loss associated with the move.  Leaving behind family, friends, familiar situations etc. can be difficult.

Learning how to manage the changes in your life

Despite the challenges of life as a trailing or expat spouse, it is very possible to have a fulfilling and successful life.  Achieving your goals and dreams should not be put on hold whilst you live overseas.

Self-care, keeping occupied in a fulfiling way, finding work, making friends, exercising regularly, eating well, moderating alcohol intake, learning the local language(s), study etc.  These are all techniques that can help with finding identity and fulfilment in the new home.

Sometimes the difference between success and failure will come down to how you manage the change. It can also depend upon how you maintain your own identity. You may find that this is something you can’t do alone. You should not be afraid to discuss this and ask for help when necessary. You’ll find that you are not alone, and many have, or have had similar feelings and learnt how to manage them.

You are not alone – finding help

If you recognise yourself, then you may benefit from talking to someone who is professionally trained and experienced at handling such scenarios.

With professional support for you and/or your partner achieving your goals is a real possibility. Professional support can also help you find your own identity. It can help you decide for yourself what decisions you should make and discover what changes in your life will help you get what you need. Professional support can also teach you techniques to help you cope and manage how you feel.

If you are in need of help as an individual, couple or family, and wish to discuss this further then you may wish to book an appointment with Maria Luedeke at Aspire Counselling.

Maria Luedeke is a highly qualified counsellor who has lived and worked in America, Europe and Asia. Maria has extensive experience providing counselling to trailing spouses and expats in Singapore, as well as working with relationship and marital issues.

Contact Aspire Counselling today and book an appointment with Maria either through our website http://aspirecounselling.net or by emailing marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

http://aspirecounselling.net

#expat #expatlife #trailingspouse #depression #relationships #relationshipissues #aspirecounselling #singapore

Featured in Expat Living – January 2017

Aspire Counselling is featured in Expat Living Singapore, published 11th January 2017, read Maria’s thoughts on Cultural identify crisis and marital issues affecting expats

Read the full article at http://www.expatliving.sg/counselling-singapore-issues-exp…/

The following is an excerpt from the article:

Cultural identity crisis

Moving into an unknown culture can be a confusing, stressful and frustrating experience for both adults and children as they are suddenly made to adapt to a new way of life or set of values. Being far away from home and without family support can also create stresses of their own. Culture shock can cause symptoms like extreme homesickness, an abnormal change in appetite and depression.

Treatment options:

You can attend individual, couple or family therapy where counsellors can help you develop coping strategies for cultural adjustment issues. They can also assist you with any other underlying or coexisting issues such as marital strain or mood disorders.

Marital issues

Issues in a marriage can develop or become more pronounced during cultural adjustment periods. Both partners are experiencing high levels of stress as they get accustomed to the new environment, roles, cultural expectations and jobs. Excessive travel, loss of former careers and long work hours can add to daily frustrations of beginning a new life, creating temptation, loneliness, resentment and sparking arguments between spouses.

Treatment options:

You can go for individual or couple counselling sessions where counsellors can provide a framework for you to work through difficulties.

Aspire Counselling

1 Tanglin Road, Orchard Parade Hotel, #03-03
6570 2781 | aspirecounselling.net

Find out more about how Aspire Counselling can help under these circumstances at http://aspirecounselling.net or by calling 6570 2781

As we were growing up, we would often joke that some people would spend too much time looking in the mirror. How times have changed. These days we are just as likely to see ourselves in a selfie on Instagram than a mirror.

We see ourselves constantly, but do we really see ourselves properly?

What would you see in the mirror?

Have you thought about what you would see if you took time for self-reflection? What would you find? And if you have managed to spend time self-reflecting, could you fix anything you weren’t entirely happy with? Would you just see the symptoms, or the root cause? And would the fixes you make, have the lasting effect that you intended them to?

Even when we can see what is happening and make changes, do we monitor ourselves to prevent us from going “off the rails”, or deviate from your chosen path?”

Finding the root cause

It seems simple, but we are often so caught up in our lives ( and those of others ) that many of us find it harder to see who we are, or have become, take action, and then keep an eye on ourselves. If we realised that we were suffering from depression, anxiety, stress or were generally unhappy, are we able to see why we are feeling that way?

A simple way to get to where you want to be

If you feel you would benefit from guidance to find out who you really are, and then be empowered to change and keep it that way Aspire Counselling would like to help guide you.

At Aspire Counselling we believe in enabling you to live an empowered and fulfilled life, and importantly to keep it that way.

Aspire Counselling – book an online or face-to-face counselling, psychotherapy session and get instant confirmation of your appointment at https://aspirecounselling.net

Contact Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781 to find out more about our services for men, women, adolescents, couples counselling, relationship counselling, families and corporates.

Aspire Counselling Pte Ltd

9 Taman Serasi #02-17
Singapore 257720

tel:        8748 2964
fax:       6570 2751

email:  marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net