I first entered psychotherapy in my late 20s, when I was experiencing mental health issues that were disrupting my ability to function effectively at work. It was an important decision, not made lightly — and a huge commitment in terms of time and money. But I knew I needed help to change my patterns of thought and behaviour.

If you’re currently in therapy, you have already passed that same tipping point and recognized that you need professional help. You have committed to the process. You understand the value of working with a therapist. …

Many of us have experienced feelings of isolation at some point during the Covid-19 pandemic, but for those with severely impaired hearing it has probably been more profound.

According to the British Medical Journal, around one in seven Britons have hearing loss, rising to one in two of those aged over 70. Nearly two out of three feel socially isolated, and this has been exacerbated by continued and prolonged lockdowns.

To give an idea of the global scale, the World Health Organisation announced in 2018 that 466 million people (6.1 …

Donny Osmond wasn’t one of my teenage pin-ups, but he was certainly a fixture of my teenage years, with his single Puppy Love reaching No 1 in the UK charts in 1972.

He was an accomplished performer, constantly on TV and on stage. I would never have guessed that he suffered from stage fright, which is categorised as a form of social anxiety.

Many years after his pop heyday, he revealed in an interview that he was always nervous about his performances, but his anxiety increased exponentially in the mid-90s: “Once the fear of embarrassing myself grabbed me, I couldn’t…

Throughout my life I’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed a close circle of friends, many acquaintances and a loving family. Over the years I’ve also been able to tap into other support networks and communities. But not everybody finds it so easy to access this kind of social support.

So what exactly does social support mean? There are many definitions, but in general it means the support accessible to an individual through social ties to other individuals, groups and the larger community. You might receive different types of social support in times of physical, psychological, emotional and financial need.

What are the four types of social support?

As many countries begin to emerge from lockdown, there has been much discussion in the media about a return to normality. While some people are excited by the prospect, others are feeling a lot more cautious and concerned.

In fact, as Covid-19 restrictions continue to be lifted, there have been informal reports of an increase in social anxiety. According to an article in Marie Claire magazine, over the past three months, there has been a 3,100 percent increase in online searches in the UK for symptoms of anxiety, signs of social anxiety and medication for anxiety. …

Even if you can’t name them all, you have probably heard of the stages of grief. It’s a concept that has become received wisdom in the western world, but it’s one that has often been misinterpreted.

The idea was first introduced in the late 1960s by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who was an expert on death and dying. But she didn’t come up with the stages of grief to describe what happens when you lose a loved one — they were originally based on her studies of terminally-ill patients as they were coming to terms with their prognosis.

The stages…

My very first experience of social media was MySpace. I signed up primarily because I wanted to reconnect with some of the musicians I knew when I was a music journalist in the 80s and, in 2007, that’s where they were hanging out.

I succeeded in my aim, with the unexpected bonus that I started to receive messages from interesting people I didn’t know. One in particular — an Italian artist — became my virtual pen pal, and I began to understand the connective power of social media.

We built up a fun and trusting relationship simply through messaging each…

Nasty words on back of jacket

I was in the latter stages of my career as a national newspaper journalist when the internet went mainstream, and at the very end when social media arrived. I remember feeling grateful that I had grown up in the analogue age when it was easier to protect your privacy.

When I signed up to Facebook in 2007, I was careful about the content of my posts and the comments I made on other people’s posts. Why? Because I had spent years working in the media, with its stringent codes of conduct and libel laws.

I became increasingly horrified not only…

Box of eggs with happy/sad/mad faces.

It happens all the time — a work colleague, or someone you’ve just met, says: “Hi, how are you doing?” The usual answer is something like: “I’m OK, thanks,” or, “I’m fine.” There’s an unwritten rule in these polite, small-talk situations that you don’t reveal too much about how you’re really feeling.

But when these vague responses become habitual and you start using them with friends or family, you’re more likely to run into trouble. Even those closest to you aren’t mind-readers or able to attune to you emotionally in order to guess how you’re feeling.

Or maybe the real…

Woman wearing facemask, looking anxious

After more than a year of living in and out of lockdown, many of us have become accustomed to higher levels of stress and anxiety.

For example, a study conducted at the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, revealed that anxiety-related searches were about 11 per cent higher than usual over the 58 days after a national emergency was declared in the US on March 13, 2020. Overall, the study found 3.4 million total searches for anxiety, about 375,000 more than the usual numbers.

But now that vaccination programmes are accelerating, we are starting to see the light…

Beverley Glick

Beverley Glick is a former national newspaper journalist who believes in the magic of language and the power of a story well told.

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