Many of us feel anxious or sad from time to time. It’s not uncommon for pivotal shifts in our lives to impact our mental state, but persistent feelings of anxiety and depression may signify an underlying mental health disorder.
Anxiety and depression are different conditions, but they can also co-occur.
For example, anxiety can cause isolation, which often leads to feelings of sadness, and depression can make it challenging to engage with others, provoking anxiety when faced with social interactions.
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY SYMPTOMS
Hallmark signs of depression can include: feelings of sadness and hopelessness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping, feeling exhausted, a change in appetite, unexplained physical pain or aches and feeling like small tasks take extra effort.
Symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder can include: persistent and severe worrying (that’s sometimes not proportional to what’s actually going on), overthinking and envisioning worst-case scenarios, obsessing over situations or outcomes, indecisiveness, fear, inability to relax, feelings of restlessness, trouble focusing or physical agitation.
There are many similarities between the symptoms and treatments for both disorders:
- They can have a significant impact on your everyday activities;
- They can have mental and physical symptoms;
- They are very common;
- They follow a similar treatment approach;
- They can respond well to therapy and medications.
If it turns out that you have both conditions, THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO GET HELP!
- TALK THERAPY/ COUNSELLING
A professional therapist can develop a plan to treat your anxiety and depression at the same time. Some types of therapy that can help are: cognitive behavioural (teaches you to adjust your thoughts and actions), interpersonal (shows you how to communicate better) and problem-solving (gives you skills to manage your symptoms).
Your doctor may prescribe medication that treats both depression and anxiety symptoms. It’s important to mention all your symptoms and what you may be currently doing to help yourself, e.g. natural supplements, so they can decide which medication is best for you.
And be patient: it does take a few weeks or so for the medication to start working as it should.
Exercise is a proven mood-booster that’s good for your body and mind, improving your self-esteem, confidence and even your relationships. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These endorphins trigger positive feelings in the body and diminish the perception of pain. If you need motivation, go with friends or join a group.
- RELAXATION TECHNIQUES
Give yoga, meditation and breathing exercises a try, and then choose what you like the most. For example, meditating for just 2-5 minutes during the day can ease your anxiety and lighten your mood.
- GET CREATIVE
Direct your focus into something constructive, and don’t forget to rediscover your strengths. If you have a long-lost talent or interest (poetry, music, photography, design or whatever it is), dive back into it.
- EAT HEALTHY
Don’t let ‘comfort food’ put your eating habits out of balance. Anxiety and depression often trigger cravings for carbs and processed foods. If you want to feel more satisfied and calmer, choose lean protein with ‘good’ fats and fill your plate with fruits and veggies. And don’t forget to limit or avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
- SEEK HELP
Undoubtedly, strong relationships help you feel better. So reach out to family and friends and let them know what you’re going through so that they can encourage you. You can also join a support group where you’ll meet people going through some of the same things you are.
If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or another mental health disorder, you aren’t alone. Get the help you need to get through the most challenging times.
A Place of Calm is always here to provide you with professional help! Don’t hesitate to contact us and tell us about your problem, especially if your space and environment are impacting your mental health – there is always a way out and together we’ll find it!