The month of May marks the birthdays of several people in my personal circle, and as well that of Sigmund Freud whose birthday is May 6th. While many of Freud’s claims have been discredited, one of his insights remains a useful one today: ambivalence.
Ambivalence can be defined as the psychological experience of having opposite feelings or emotions simultaneously about someone or something.
There are many factors that increase the risk of depression and suicide risk: personal history of trauma, neglect and loss, social and cultural context, genetics, biological conditions and nutrition.
Recent research has focused on the relationship between Vitamin D status and depression and suicide risk. The Vitamin D council website ( http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/ ) comments that
“ A number of studies report some connection between vitamin D levels and the risk of depression. Low vitamin D levels may be related to depression rather than contributing to the disorder. In addition, an increased risk of depression may be related to several vitamin D–sensitive diseases”.
This week Edmontonians are invited to gather at City Hall on September 13, 2012 from 4 – 6 PM for the 10th annual Lift the Silence March to honour the memory of hundreds of beloved Albertans, and to raise much-needed awareness around the cause of their tragic deaths: suicide.
Suicide statistics indicate a serious public health issue that calls for much-needed increased public attention.
With the Edmonton Folk Fest season upon us, I am recalling kd Lang’s powerful rendition of Neil Young’s iconic song, Helpless. I love that song, the haunting melody, the profound lyrics, that refrain that anthems and honours one of our most painful human emotions: helplessness.
Now I know it’s commonly held view, and one recently portrayed in the newly released documentary, Neil Young Journeys, that the song Helpless is about his childhood years in Omemee, Ontario, but I think that is a mistaken conclusion. Yes, Omemee was where Neil’s formative childhood years occurred, but surely Helpless is much more likely about two other truly northern Ontario towns: Thunder Bay and Blind River. Read the rest of this entry »
Anxiety is that feeling we get of “butterflies in the stomach.” In its gentler forms, anxiety is a kind of nervousness, like when we performed at a piano recital when we were kids or when we give a speech in public. We can also feel anxious when we’re worried about a project that’s due at work, or we have trouble in our relationships or with our children. When this anxiety becomes troubling, we might begin to lose sleep about it or become easily irritable.
Anxiety is particularly scary, though, when it comes on like an attack. Sometimes these “panic attacks” come as a result of a frightening situation and sometimes they can come “out of the blue,” for no apparent reason. We have no control of it and we might even feel like we’re going to die. Read the rest of this entry »
Because, as human beings, we all need to give voice to the struggles we experience inside of us. Maybe there’s something troubling but you’re too embarrassed to tell your friends. A counsellor is trained to hear your story and to keep your confidence. Maybe you’ve tried telling those close to you what’s bothering you but all they do is give you cheap advice. A good psychotherapist is trained to listen first and then to help you look for you own inner wisdom. Read the rest of this entry »
Devastating news of the recent suicides of two young adults in my personal circle moves me to write about suicide bereavement.
As a counsellor who has met with hundreds of people grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide, and as one who years ago lost a best friend to suicide, I know that grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide is heart-wrenching, exhausting and complex. Read the rest of this entry »
The other day I was cycling to work along one of the river valley trails. Scanning the view I noticed that the nesting pair of Canada Geese was back. Going back 10 years now, a pair of Canada’s has nested on that same concrete pier supporting the footbridge crossing the river. I wonder if it is the same pair or if this is the second generation that has used this nesting site? Read the rest of this entry »
JOHN WALKER is a Pastoral Counselling Specialist, certified by CAPPE. He has post-graduate education in trauma focused therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and Myers-Brigg’s Type Indicator (MBTI). John is also pursuing social work education at the University of Calgary. Read the rest of this entry »