Shall I Compare Me to a Shark?

As I mentioned in my last blog I have started an introductory course in counselling; during the introductions we were asked to say which animal we were most like, and then yesterday we had to talk about that while another person listened.

I had really struggled to decide which animal I think am like, and thought that I had avoided the question until it came up again yesterday.  In a way, I am glad it did because it meant I had to come up with something and then try to explain it.

The one animal that came to my mind was a shark, which seemed quite odd to me because I am not a fearsome predator at the top of a food chain; I would probably have thought I was more like a sardine, something small and insignificant, but I kept coming back to a shark. Read more

Back to School – Introduction to Counselling, Level 2

I left school when I was 17; I had finished my A-Levels and couldn’t get out of the place quick enough.

It is safe to say that I hated school, or maybe I should say my school; it was fine if you were one of the smart ones or really good at sports, but if you were somewhere in the middle you kind of went unnoticed.

The place was also a breeding ground for anxieties which I pretty much kept to myself. Read more

The Isolation of Anxiety & Depression

One of my main anxious fears is being around people, and talking to people.  When I first had my breakdown I struggled to leave home and could not walk up the local high road without feeling anxious; my body would be tense, I would look down at the pavement, and move quickly, just to try and avoid people.

Things are slightly better now; I can go out and not have the same level of fear that I did.  This is probably down to the fact that I am living in a different area.  In Chiswick I was in a block of flats, so the chances of bumping into a neighbour were greater, plus there was always the chance of seeing someone I knew when on the High Road or out walking Leo.  Where I am now, no one knows me, and so the chances of having to stop and talk to someone are a lot less. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 4: The Amygdala Pathway

The Amygdala is a tiny piece of the brain, but don’t let it’s size fool you, it is actually one of the biggest, most important pieces of the anxiety puzzle.

Located near the centre of the brain; it is the source of many of our emotional reactions, both positive and negative.

It also forms and recalls emotional memories; understanding this is key to making sense of your own emotional reactions. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 3: The Cortex Pathway

In part 2 of this series we looked at the basics of how anxiety is created in the brain, and highlighted the two main parts of the brain that cause anxiety and the physical responses we experience when feeling anxious.

In parts 3 and 4 we will look at the two key parts or pathways (the Cortex and the Amygdala) in more detail.

The Cortex:

The cortex is split into two halves, or HEMISPHERES; quite simply, the left and the right.  These hemispheres are then divided into smaller sections called LOBES.  Each of these lobes has a different function; for example, processing vision, hearing, and other information collected by the senses.  The lobes then put all of this information together and this allows you to perceive the world around you. Read more