ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Anxiety is a state of feeling constantly stressed out. It is caused by a certain specific fear or series of fears. The anxious individual tries to prevent the event or feeling they fear by performing certain actions or trying to think through their problems, which then cycle through the mind repetitively causing both psychological and physical symptoms of fear and panic. Obsessive behaviours and worry are not effective in alleviating the fear, so that the level of anxiety simply worsens.
Sometimes anxiety which is not dealt with can result in a mental health problem known as Panic Disorder. Panic disorder develops when a person begins to experience repeated episodes of intense fear known as Panic Attacks.
A panic attack occurs when the body goes into shock. It is an instinctual fight or flight response, which is triggered by something which the individual experiences as very frightening. However, often there is no real physical danger in the external world. The person experiences a certain feeling, circumstance or event as frightening because of a previous emotional association to that specific stimulus.
Many people, who experience a panic attack first believe that it is a more serious health issue, but later discover that it was a state of increased anxiety. Some Symptoms of a Panic Attack episode are:
- Pain in the Chest
- Shaking or Shivering
- Weak Knees
- Heart Palpitations and/or Arrhythmia
Panic attacks, and anxiety in general, can be extremely debilitating mental disorders. However with the right treatment, these conditions can be healed and overcome. During anxiety counselling, we will discuss situations which cause your anxiety. Discussing these issues need not make you more anxious since we will always move at a pace with which you feel comfortable. We will then develop and implement methods which will aid you in calming your anxious feelings during your everyday life.
The ultimate aim of counselling for anxiety is to help you feel safer in the world, more at ease with the anxiety-producing situation and more at peace with yourself.
It is normal to sometimes feel sad in reaction to certain circumstances in life. However, when these melancholic episodes become more common and continue over a period of weeks, you might be suffering from Clinical Depression.
Clinical Depression is characterised as a sense of despair or sorrow which persists for months or even years on end. This period of low mood is known as a Depressive Episode. It can be caused by a traumatic event, such as a death in the family, or it can develop slowly over the course of years and have either no specific cause or various specific causes. Sometimes depression even begins during childhood or adolescence and is often not treated until the individual reaches adulthood.
Some Symptoms Associated with Depression include:
- Constant Tiredness or Exhaustion
- Lack of Motivation
- Tearful Episodes
- Trouble Concentrating
- Insomnia or Oversleeping
- Disinterest in Eating or Overeating
- Disinterest in Sexual Activity
- Disinterest in Social Activities
- Self-inflicted Harm
A person going through a depressive episode experiences an intense sense of grief or simply feels an underlying sadness which cannot be willed away. Depression can also be characterised by the experience of self-hatred, so the individual may feel that they loathe themselves, their past, their behaviour and even their depressive attitude. The person might also feel worthless or useless.
They might be suffering from intensely guilty feelings for something that they have no control over, or experience unbearable regret, because they feel they have not accomplished what they have wanted to accomplish in life. It is important to understand that to the person who is clinically depressed these distressing thoughts and feelings are felt intensely and are deeply ingrained in their psyches.
During a depressive episode, an individual suffering from clinical depression may develop a specific set of symptoms. The most pervasive of these is the feeling of being sad, sorrowful or simply experiencing a low mood. As a result of this depressed mood, the person may be reluctant to engage in everyday activities.
They might also find it difficult to work, socialise, cook or clean because they will be experiencing low energy levels. They may begin to neglect their work, their friends and sometimes their personal care and hygiene, because they are simply too tired or because they feel unmotivated to engage in these activities. They will also likely lose interest in activities which they previously enjoyed.
Sometimes depressed individuals will also develop physiological disorders like tension headaches, migraines, frequent colds and flu and even digestive issues. In some rare cases, clinical depression might even cause delusions and hallucinations.
Depression and Withdrawal from Social Interaction
Most people with clinical depression experience an oppressive sense of isolation. They crave support from and interaction with others because of their condition, but they also experience low energy and low self-esteem. This makes it difficult for them to speak to or interact with others, so that their condition prevents them from getting the very support they need in order to heal.
Even if they have the support of family and friends, they might feel afraid to share their feelings of sorrow and despair, because they feel ashamed of these thoughts.
Sometimes when an individual suffering from clinical depression tries to share their thoughts and feelings with a close friend or family member, that person feels uncomfortable discussing the issue and therefore does not know how to help the person suffering with depression deal with their feelings.
Speaking to a qualified, experienced counsellor, can help individuals suffering from clinical depression feel less isolated.
Many people who suffer from clinical depression feel very alienated from conventional society because they feel that their thoughts of self-hatred, sadness and despair are not accepted by mainstream culture. The truth is that many people in modern society and in the past have experienced times of sadness, despair and hopeless which psychologists now identify as depressive episodes. Many famous poets, artists, politicians and even psychologists have experienced depression.
In short, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you feel you might be clinically depressed. It is a common problem, which many people experience and it is a well-researched, treatable disorder.
How Depression Counselling can Help
Talking to a trained therapist might be the first time a person experiencing feelings of grief is able to speak about these feelings without being ignored, judged or berated. Depression counselling provides an invaluable environment for the individual suffering from clinical depression, because the therapist fulfils the role of an active listener.
The counsellor listens thoughtfully to the client’s concerns and asks questions which help the client delve deeper into their own thoughts and feelings. In this way, the client is able to discover for themselves the true causes of their problem and learn to help themselves ask for and provide the support they need in order to recover from the depressive episode.