This is what anxiety looks like


What happens when you feel anxious? Does your heart rate rise? Do your palms get sweaty? Would you like to run away?

We all experience some form of anxiety and worry, but for people who live with an anxiety disorder, these feelings are more extreme.

In this infographic by Mental Health America, we learn that anxiety doesn’t just affect someone’s thoughts—it also affects the body and their behaviours.  People without anxiety may tell a friend to ‘get over it’, ‘it’s not as bad as it seems,’ or to simply, ‘stop worrying,’ but a person struggling knows this won’t do anything—in fact, the stress of thinking it’s ‘wrong’ to feel so anxious, may make the symptoms worse.

Anxiety is broad and can appear different for each person. Anxiety disorders range from panic disorder, to obsessive compulsive tendencies, social anxiety to post traumatic stress disorder. The cause of anxiety and it’s symptoms vary, but, as the infographic says below, it is marked by feelings of being completely overwhelmed, feeling powerless, experiencing incredibly heightened physical responses like heart palpitations, and/or living in a constant state of fear.

People who experience anxiety will often feel isolated and alone. The good news though, is they are not. In recent years, we’ve learnt that two millions Australians experience anxiety every year, and more than 21 per cent of American adults have an anxiety disorder. By talking about this mental illness, we let our friends and family know that they can get through life and not just survive, but thrive.

If you struggle with anxiety, take a look at the coping techniques listed below. Talking to someone you trust, doing exercise, practicing deep breathing and doing mindfulness are all great strategies when you feel inhibited and your body is in panic mode.


Do you struggle with feelings of anxiety, fear and being isolated? Would you like to break free of your anxiety? Contact us on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute discussion or go to BOOK ONLINE NOW and follow the prompts to make an appointment.

5 Questions to Ask a Loved One At Risk

5 Questions to Ask a Loved One At Risk

It can be scary to ask a loved one if they are at risk of suicide. There is a stigma within society that insists asking someone about suicide attempts, thoughts or plans will perpetuate the act of suicide—but this is simply not true. In fact, asking someone if they are struggling, and giving them the opportunity to share their pain with you, can actually alleviate the risk of the behaviour occurring.

If a friend or loved one has been acting uncharacteristically, either withdrawing from people or acting irrationally and stepping out in risk-taking behaviour, then you may need to ask them if they have thought about suicide. Other indicators they are thinking about it are unexplained injuries, death or self-harm related content being posted on their social media, increased substance abuse, previous suicidal thoughts or attempts and a sense of hopelessness.

Here are five questions that will help you assess the risk of a loved one carrying out the act of suicide.

1. Have you had any suicidal thoughts?

The presence of suicidal thoughts doesn’t mean a person will act on them—but it is still essential you know they are there. Suicidal thoughts will often perpetuate and can become more vivid as a person feels a greater sense of hopelessness.

Asking them this question doesn’t imply they want to suicide. Actually, finding out when the thoughts began and how prevalent they may be allows you to understand the weight of what your friend is experiencing.

2. Do you have a suicide plan?

Asking a loved one if they have a plan in place to carry out the act of suicide is essential. If they do have a plan to suicide, either a carefully constructed and well thought out plan, or a fleeting idea of what it would look like, you know they are high risk and immediate action needs to be taken to care for their wellbeing.

A person who has a set time and place for the act of suicide, and who has begun putting their affairs in order (writing letters, cancelling registrations etc.) is at extremely high risk of carrying out the act of suicide.

3. Do you have access to any weapons or means of suicide?

A person who has already acquired a weapon or means of suicide is at serious risk. Other people who know weapons or tools are available in their work place or at a friends or relatives place are also in danger.

If your loved one has access to a weapon, ask them how regularly this occurs, if they have considered how they would access it and the likelihood of this.

4. Have you felt like this before?

Understanding if your loved one has struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past will help you to support them and keep them alive.  Ask if they have attempted suicide in the past, or thought about it. See if they have previously harmed themselves, and if they’ve created a suicide plan in the past.

If this has occurred in the past, the risk for your loved one increases, but this does not mean they won’t be open to help.

5. Why have you chosen to stay alive?

Up to this point, your loved one has made the decision to stay alive. Irrespective of their struggles, they have chosen to remain. When people have suicidal thoughts, they resist them for any number of reasons: their love for family and friends, obligations, fear, the hope that things will change.

Take this reason and run with it. If a person is afraid of dying, they don’t want to die—they are likely exhausted and don’t know how to fight anymore. If family or friends is their motivation, remind them of the profound love they experience and the future events and moments they want to witness. If obligations are keeping someone alive, ask them what these mean and how they affect the people near them.

If a loved one answers yes to one or more of these questions, they need further help. Please call 000 or 911 in an emergency. If they are experiencing thoughts of suicide, or you are concerned for their wellbeing, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.  For crisis hotlines in other countries, visit Hope Movement’s International database here.

Your G.P. and/or a Professional Counsellor can give you the additional support you need. Visit Hope Movement to find support near you. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or you can book an appointment press Book Now to book in our online diary.

10 Online Mental Health Resources You Should Know About


Mental health resources are at your your fingertips with the World Wide Web, but it can be overwhelming to dig through Google and find the most useful tools for yourself or a loved one.

We’ve spent some time exploring what mental health initiatives are out there and selected 10 of the best to share with you. Some we’ve used ourselves, others we have worked with, volunteer for, or often refer people to.

Take a look and let us know what you think of these resources and organisations. Have we missed any great ones? Let us know in the comments!

  1. eHeadspace

Not only does Headspace have centres all around Australia, but they also have a great online community. Designed to support 15-25 year olds struggling with mental health issues, this website links with the Headspace website and includes fact sheets, discussion, a helpline, online chat and email crisis help. eHeadspace will also point you to your closest Headspace centre so you can receive further help.

  1. To Write Love On Her Arms

This Florida based non-profit exists to bring help and hope to people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide, and is particularly appealing to teens and young adults as it has built its following around popular culture and music. TWLOHA’s website includes national helplines in America, great service providers in each US capital city, and a blog with contributions from people around the globe.

  1. The Black Dog Institute

A world leader in diagnosis, treatment and suicide prevention, this non-profit organisation focuses on mental illness, specifically mood disorders. Partnering their research and hard facts with tips and tools to overcome depression, they have some great videos and campaigns that can be shared on social media.

  1. RAAIN

RAAIN (Rape, abuse, and incest national network) is America’s largest anti-sexual assault organisation, partnering with rape crisis centres around the country. On their website, they educate the public around the sexual assault of children and adults, share stories of survivors, and provide extensive victim services. Aside from their online help service at, they also have a DoD safeline for members of the Defence community and a 24/7 phone line available for the public (+1 800 656-HOPE).

  1. The Trevor Project

Created for LGBTQ and questioning youth, The Trevor Project fills the gap in educating and supporting teens as they explore their sexuality. Informing and supporting young people aged 13-24, this is a pivotal organisation for LGBTQ youth who struggle with mental illness or need an understanding community. Along with their website, they also have online chat, text and a 24/7 the ‘Trevor Lifeline’ (+1 866-488-7386)

  1. Touchbase

Touchbase is an Australian website launched by the VAC that supports and educates LGBTQ people of all ages. It covers a variety of relevant topics, discussing everything from the effects of drugs and alcohol, to sexual health and mental health. Touchbase uses real stories from LGBTQ Australians to support and educate the community, and they also provide a toolkit and links to helplines and resources in each state.

  1. Beyond Blue

The primary mental health initiative in Australia, this organisation raises awareness and educates people about depression and anxiety. They provide a suicide safety planning app ‘BeyondNow’, and use stories of Australians to educate the public so they can recognise mental illness in themselves and their loves ones. Beyond Blue also have a 24 hour support line (1300 22 4636).

  1. Hope Movement

Based in Geelong, Victoria, this non-profit facilitates an online community that links people with services in their hometown. They provide an online database that points people to the organisations, community groups, churches and professionals in each catchment of Victoria, and also have a blog covering the topics of mental health, self-worth and community.

  1. Active Minds, Inc.

Based in Washington DC, Active Minds exists to ‘eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness’. Empowering college students around the US to begin chapters on campus to educate and support the student body, the non-profit empowers young adults to speak up about mental illness and seek help during this pivotal time in life. You’ll find Active Mind’s social media activity useful for reaching teens and raising awareness in your own circles.

  1. Ted Talks

Ted Talks cover a vast range of topics, and if you delve into their archives, you’ll find some gems surrounding the topics of mental illness, community and vulnerability. Usually running for 10 minutes, talks are available for professionals like Brené Brown, and mental health advocates like comedian Kevin Breel. The Ted-Ed section also covers the educational aspect of mental illness, using simple graphics to explain the complexities of depression.

Are you or a loved one experiencing depression or anxiety? Do you need some support through a difficult situation? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

The 8 Faces of Grief


There is no one-way to grieve. If you think back to a time when you have grieved the loss of a loved one, you might notice that you reacted very differently to another family member or friend. In this article Colleen wrote for PsychCentral, she talks about the 8 faces of grief, and how they may appear in your own life. Whether you have experienced abbreviated grief from a need to ‘move on’, a chronic grief that causes you ongoing pain, or a delayed grief, each experience is valid and needs to be acknowledged. You can read the article here.

Are you grieving a loss? Do you know someone who is grieving a loss and you don’t know how to help them? Talking to a Counselling Professional about your experience in a safe and nurturing space may be the support you need to navigate your grief experience. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or press book now to book on the online diary.

How to Cope with Traumatic News


Often when we watch the news, it feels like a constant barrage of heart break, negativity and evil is being thrown at us. It is important that we are informed and know what is going on in the world, but what do we do when it all becomes too much? There is a fine line between awareness and feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. Many of us will feel a ball of anxiety sitting in our chest, may find it harder to sleep, and can replay scenes and headlines through our head long after the event has passed.

It is important that you know it is okay to feel like this. You don’t have to be directly impacted by traumatic news or a crisis to feel the effects of it, and we will frequently see our loved ones respond to these reports in a way that is damaging to their physical and mental health.

In this illustrated guide prepared by Lucy Fahey of ABC News, we are shown how traumatic news affects us. In fact, over 6 hours of news coverage a day has been shown to significantly impact people. It can change our mindsets, make us feel isolated, and can impact our normal, everyday activities. By highlighting the basic steps we can take to care for children and ourselves when traumatic news airs, we can implement the coping strategies we need to care for our wellbeing.

How to Cope with Traumatic News Infographic

Do you struggle with traumatic news coverage? Do you find it impeding on your everyday life? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

Boy Meets Depression

World Mental Health Day Banner

Image of Kevin Breel via


What does it mean to meet depression? What does it look like, to have it take you by the hand and slowly infiltrate your life, until you forget what your existence was like before it was present?

This World Mental Health Day, we want to explore what it means to meet depression. Few people explain it so vividly as 21- year-old comedian Kevin Breel, in his book “Boy Meets Depression.”

Depression Quote

Beyond Blue tells us that Depression is the leading cause of disability, and that it is estimated 1 million Australian’s experience Depression every year. In Australia, 1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness, yet 65% of people with a mental illness do not seek treatment (Black Dog Institute). Statistically, you know someone with depression, or perhaps you live with it yourself. In any case, it is common. And while we tend to sweep it under the rug, as it’s something we can’t visibly see- like a broken limb- we are incapacitated by it on a daily basis.

In “Boy Meets Depression” we are given a close up account of what this unwelcome and often unexpected guest (or permanent resident) looks like through the eyes of a teenager. We also see the warning signs and the scenarios that pre-empt it.

Family of Origin

Family Quote

Even as a child, Breel knew his family was unhealthy. His parents slept in different bedrooms and showed no love to each other, and his father, being severely depressed, constantly drank alcohol to numb his pain. His older sister was never home in an effort to escape the conflict. But 5-year-old Breel was unable to escape, so he simply came home to an empty house, living inside his own imagination to pass the time.

Every family of origin will look different, but a broken relationship between spouses and with one or both parents sets the stage for depression. This may appear early for children and adolescents, but for some adults it may occur later in life as they confront unresolved issues.

Social Environment

Bully Quote

There are few things harsher than the school environment. Breel found this first hand when he was the victim of perpetual bullying from a young age. There is no rhyme or reason to bullying, but an awareness of it in the schoolyard, work place or home, is key to understanding depression. Breel’s constant torment fed him lies about his lack of value and identity, and ultimately resulted in a misrepresentation of himself as he entered his teens and was diagnosed with severe depression.


Grief Quote

Grief over a loved one, a past relationship or an experience, can all play an instrumental role as Depression extends it’s hand towards us. After losing his best friend in a car accident at 12, Breel felt even more alone in the world and lived in a perpetual state of grief. He changed schools to escape the questions and concern that followed.


Mask quote

 When we are experiencing depression, we will often try to cloak this from the people around us. Breel’s insecurities were virtually invisible to the people around him as he threw himself into the role of the class clown and the comedian. His persona protected him from being fully known, while inside he hated himself. It was this mask that followed Breel into his darkest moments, as he penned a suicide note to his mother.

It was in this moment that things began to change for Breel. There is no easy ‘cure’ for Depression, and after deciding to literally stay alive, a long and difficult journey followed for Breel. It took time for him to open up and share his struggles with his mother, and countless therapy session to begin working through the depression that had nearly taken his life.

When we meet Depression, we become a shell of who we are. While it ultimately comes down to the individual to choose recovery, understanding these warning signs gives us the ability to ask the question, “Are you ok?” This opens the door for help, showing the people we care about that there is a way out. There is life beyond depression.

Recovery quote

Kevin Breel’s book ‘Boy Meet’s Depression’ is available on Amazon.

For more information on what it means to meet depression, watch Kevin’s TedX Talk ‘Confessions of a Depressed Comic’ here.

If you are struggling with Depression or thoughts of self harm or suicide, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If you are struggling with feelings of sadness, despair, depression, severe anxiety or thoughts of suicide, it is important that you seek professional health assistance as soon as possible to help you recover. Your G.P. and/or a Professional Counsellor can give you the additional support you need. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or you can book an appointment with Colleen or Duncan by going to the orange button titled CLICK ONLINE NOW and follow the prompts.

Australia Counsellling mental health blogger

The 34 Best Bloggers Who Advocate for Mental Health and Wellness

The-34-Best-Bloggers-Who-Advocate-for-Mental-Health-and-WellnessWatersedgeCounselling has just been named one of the Top 34 Best Blogs on the Internet Who Advocate and Inform People About Mental Health and Wellness. We are so excited to have been recognised by Australian Counselling, and are thrilled our weekly blog posts are not only reaching people, but also making an impact.

To peruse the list, you can visit Australian Counselling here.

To celebrate, we want to ask you a question.

What do you want to see more of on WatersedgeCounselling?

Whether you are a fan of infographics, relationship centred pieces, wellness based blogs ,or drug and alcohol education themed posts; we want to know what most interests you.

Let us know by commenting below. Thank you for being a part of the Watersedge journey and reading our work every week. We look forward to bringing you more thoughtful and useful content in the future.

~ Colleen and the Watersedge Team

Do you want to learn how to take better care of your mental health? Would you like to discuss how to create a lifestyle of wellness?  Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How to Deal with Depression


Beyond the statistics that tell us depression is the most common mental illness in the western world, we know it is an illness that inhibits millions of people. It drains you of energy, sapping the light from your life and makes you feel isolated and alone. This week Colleen was asked by Australian Counselling to share some of her advice on how to deal with depression. Joining other therapists, she gives us some simple and effective advice on the steps we can take to recover from depression and feel healthy and motivated again.

Focusing on the more creative methods of working through depression; including colouring in, going for a walk and embracing your inner child, she shares some often looked over tips that can brighten your mood and assist you as you walk through it.

You can see Colleen’s tips on how to deal with depression and the thoughts of seven other counsellors by reading the blog here.

If you are struggling with feelings of sadness, despair, depression, severe anxiety or thoughts of suicide, it is important that you seek professional health assistance as soon as possible to help you recover.

Your G.P. and/or a Professional Counsellor can give you the additional support you need. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or you can book an appointment with Colleen or Duncan or press Book Now to book in our online diary.

Understanding Bulimia


What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Bulimia’?

Perhaps you think it’s the same as Anorexia. Maybe to you, it’s a problem ‘skinny people’ have, a self-indulgent fad that people overcome when they enter adulthood. Maybe the word Bulimia means nothing to you, after all you’ve never struggled with not eating. In fact, you might think you could use some more self-control in this area.

Take all your pre conceptions about Bulimia and eating disorders, and put them aside. Because whether or not we are aware of it, approximately 3 per cent of the population struggle with Bulimia Nervosa, and eating disorders has the highest mortality rate of any mental health issue. Men and women, young and old; Bulimia can affect anyone. So what is it, and how can we know if a friend is simply dieting or is living with Bulimia or another eating disorder?

Bulimia is identified as an eating disorder where a person binges on food before purging it from their body. Some people will retain a cycle of binge and purge through forced vomiting, and others will manage their weight using extreme measures such as fasting, laxatives or dieting.

We don’t always understand why people participate in this behaviour, but it is important to remember that eating disorders are a mental health issue. Just like depression or anxiety, this illness comes with its own set of symptoms and side effects. Many people who struggle with Bulimia have an unrealistic image of their body and are intensely self-critical. Even though this is a serious illness, we often miss it because people who struggle with Bulimia are often perceived to be of average weight or over weight.

There are physical side effects of Bulimia that we can pick up on. This infographic by Healthline shows us what to look out for.

This blog was put together using information from Healthline. Look at the infographic below and visit their website for more information on Bulimia.


Do you struggle with Bulimia? Are you looking for a way to help a friend who has an eating disorder? Then here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.

A Creative Way to Combat Stress

Secret Garden An Inky Treasure Hunt & Colouring Book via

Secret Garden An Inky Treasure Hunt & Colouring Book via

Stress can creep in to every part of our lives, and even when we are at home it can be difficult to relax. The good news is there is a rather unconventional and creative way to get out all your tension: colouring in. That’s right, a simple children’s activity can affect your mood and help you to live a happier and healthier life.

In an article with the Huffington Post, psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala says it “brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress.”

By taking out some pencils and colouring in, you generate wellness, peace and enhance the fine motor skills in your brain. The science of the practice shows us that the combination of creativity and logic, along with the collaboration of our sight and motor skills, makes it an excellent go to strategy next time you have a stress headache.

So where do you start? It can be as simple as taking out a blank sheet of paper and using colours and shapes that flow from your current feelings. Print some colouring sheets off, or even purchase a colouring book especially made for adults. Now the trend has taken off, especially in Europe, you’ll find colouring books especially suited to your tastes. Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book (M & E Books) is a favourite, and Colleen frequently goes between this and books specifically dedicated to mandalas.

Take a look at the colouring sheets below and see what sparks your imagination. Next time you feel stressed; try returning to your childhood. You’ll be amazed at the positive affect it can have on your health.

Found on

Found on

Do you feel stressed? Are you looking for creative ways to relax and enjoy life? Then here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.