Anxiety has many forms, but at its core it is a fear of what could happen. This fear is so significant that it prevents you from living life as you want. It may take the form of persistent worrying or planning, overthinking, rigidly avoiding feared situations, and/or a strong physiological reaction (e.g., an increase in heart rate, flushing, or shortness of breath). Rigidity in the way you think or behave, a need to be in control, and hypervigilance are other signs of anxiety.
Bipolar Disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings, swinging between depression and mania or hypomania. Mania is often experienced as having loads of energy and not needing sleep, having racing thoughts, feeling extraordinarily amazing and productive, and being extremely talkative. It might also include risky and impulsive behavior such as reckless driving, shopping sprees, and unsafe sex. People with mania often love feeling manic. Mania is typically followed by the crash of depression. These mood swings might happen daily, weekly, monthly, or less frequently.
Depression is not just feeling sad. It is much bigger and more complex. It often includes feeling hopeless, feeling like you don’t matter, feeling apathetic, unmotivated, or irritable. Other common symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decrease or increase in appetite, dwelling on unhelpful thoughts, and wanting to be alone. A depressive episode can be triggered by an upsetting event or can come out of the blue. Depression cannot simply be shaken off.
Eating Disorders include Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder. The myth is that they are about ego and vanity. The reality is that they are attempts to feel emotionally safe and acceptable as a human. A person with an eating disorder uses food – eating too little, too much, getting rid of it, keeping records of it, focusing on it to an extreme degree, and/or being very, very regimented about it – as a tool to feeling emotional safety or comfort. Their ability to control food and make their body look the way they want it to become primary sources of self-esteem and worth. Their inability to control food and their body as they want to becomes a primary source of shame.
Individual therapy can be useful if you have a pattern of unhelpful behavior(s) in relationships, if you are not sure what a healthy relationship/partner looks like for you, or if you are at an impasse with your current partner and recognize that you play a role in the impasse.
Most people come to therapy because they are looking for relief from some kind of emotional pain. Their experience may fit within the parameters of a formal diagnosis such as Major Depressive Disorder or Social Anxiety. For others it is a more general insecurity or discontentment. Self-acceptance is a powerful way to address a wide spectrum of emotional pain. Working towards self-acceptance involves increasing self-understanding and self-compassion.