Am I anxious or depressed?
Many clients come to see me wondering if they are anxious, depressed or both. So, how can you tell? Are they different? And does it really matter? Will they be treated the same?
We all have symptoms of worry or suffer from sadness at some moments in our lives. These are normal responses to difficult and challenging situations in life, triggered by a variety of situations, outcomes and life events. Examples of such situations, outcomes and life events include moving home or school, fallouts with family or friends, illness or injury, and poor health, a breakdown in a relationship, divorce, losing one's job, or the loss of a loved one and bereavement.
However, if you are consistently feeling sad and/or worried about things for six months or more, you may be suffering from anxiety, depression or both.
Further signs include no longer enjoying the things you used to enjoy doing, such as hobbies, socialising, and other pastimes. And you may also notice that your concerns and worries are taking over your life, preventing you from living the life you once loved.
If you are concerned about your symptoms, please consult a GP as soon as possible.
What is the difference between depression and anxiety?
What is depression?
Depression is an illness caused by changes in our brain chemistry. The World Health Organisation says that it is one of the most disabling disorders there is, and it is surprisingly common, affecting one in five women and one in ten men in their lifetime.
But, lots of people who have depression never recognise their symptoms and so don't get the help or support they need.
What are the symptoms of depression?
They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.
What is anxiety?
An anxiety disorder is illustrated and manifests itself as chronic worry. This constant worry impedes a person's ability to live their life to the full as they once did. You may worry about the past, the present, or the future, or them all. Long-term anxiety and panic attacks can cause your brain to release stress hormones on a regular basis.
Please note: By avoiding the people/events/things that make one anxious, the brain is trained and strengthened to associate the fear with the perceived threat.
Anxiety and depression commonly occur together, but you can experience them separately as well. While anxiety and depression have their own symptoms and clinical features, there is some overlap. Feeling depressed can cause us to worry and worrying can cause us to become depressed.
What factors can affect our mental health?
There are several factors that can affect our mental health and mental fitness, including:
1. Our genes, life experiences, upbringing and environment all affect our mental health and influence how we think and respond to situations. It can also depend on how well other parts of our lives are going or how supported we feel.
2. How we are physically affects how we feel mentally. Health issues, medical appointments and tests may make us anxious, and our mood may get worse from being in pain.
3. Some experiences can be devastating when they happen but also continue to have effects that last a long time. Children who witness or experience trauma are more likely to have problems as adults.
4. The impact and experience of the COVID-19 outbreak has been different for everyone, as has how we have reacted, but there is no doubt it has been a really difficult time for us all.
When challenging life events happen or we experience difficult or painful events, our mental health is challenged. As a result, it is our mental fitness that is then tested, often to the limit.
If we seek help, from a friend, a therapist, hypnotherapist or another medical practitioner, we can then begin to rebuild our mental fitness and improve our mental resilience.
However, sadly, sometimes people do not always seek or get the help needed and deserved. As a result, self-harm and suicide are now more prevalent in our society than ever before.
Please do speak to someone if you are affected by any of these issues.
Self-harm is when you hurt yourself on purpose as a way of dealing with difficult feelings, memories or overwhelming and difficult situations. Self-harm is a way to show the feelings you have inside on the outside.
After a short-term feeling of release, this short-lived release can then make you then feel even worse and can bring up extremely difficult feelings and painful emotions.
You can find further information and support at YoungMinds.
Are you experiencing suicidal thoughts?
Suicide can occur at any time and was the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally in 2019. Often, feeling actively suicidal is temporary, even if someone has been feeling low, anxious or struggling to cope for a long period of time. This is why getting the right kind of support at the right time is so important.
If you are having suicidal thoughts now, you may be feeling very alone, lost, frightened, confused. You may be feeling there is no other way out of your problem, difficulties, worries, feelings, or whatever reason you are contemplating taking your life.
You might be feeling so upset, angry and in pain that you believe these feelings will never end. But it's important to remember that they cannot and will not last. Like all feelings, these ones will pass. There are steps you can take right now to stop yourself from acting on your suicidal thoughts.
You can access help for suicidal thoughts via the NHS website, or please dial 999 in case of emergency.
Please know that help and support is available. Clinical hypnotherapy is a proven treatment in helping people overcome anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
If you would like further information on this, you can contact me via my Hypnotherapy Directory profile.
Thank you. Rebecca Jones.
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