Stress is a common feeling that everyone experiences at some time. Most stress is short-lived and manageable, for instance feeling nervous about an upcoming exam or work project, or feeling over-whelmed with daily chores, finances or parenting.
While stress and nervousness are natural responses to situations where a person feels under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed, or when the ‘stressor’ is removed.
Anxiety is when those feelings don’t pass: it is a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with everyday life.
Anxiety can range from emotional discomfort to paralysing fear. Sometimes this can be in relation to certain situations.
For example, fear of socialising, public speaking, being left alone, or being in a busy public place. Sometimes it can be a fear of specific things; for example spiders or germs. Then there are other times where Anxiety is generalised, and unrelated to anything other than the fear of experiencing Anxiety itself.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety can cause people to worry excessively about how they are perceived by others, about ‘losing control’, and about their future. A common symptom of anxiety is the tendency to over-think or over-analyse. Most people with anxiety describe racing thoughts, thinking the worst will always happen, and sleep difficulties. There can be physical symptoms such as a pounding heart, shortness of breath, nausea and sweating.
Anxiety can severely impact personal and work relationships, friendships and social connection. Thus, Anxiety can be a debilitating issue impacting all areas of life. Ironically, for all the fear and discomfort that Anxiety can create, its treatment can be relatively straight-forward and highly effective.
There are different types of Anxiety and also different severity levels, therefore treatment options vary according to the individual. In a lot of cases counselling is enough, and there are a number of different therapies that are available and effective.
In most cases, there is a focus on looking at how a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours are interacting, and then providing support and guidance to change these patterns. In other cases, counselling combined with medication is the best option. In each and every case one thing is clear: doing what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always got. Doing something different by seeking help is the first step towards change and recovery.
From time to time we all go through periods of feeling sad or lonely. But when these feelings last for 2 weeks or more, it is likely to be a lot more than just being ‘down in the dumps’.
When you are Depressed your thoughts are your own worst enemy; sucking the life out of things you used to enjoy, making even the simplest task seem like climbing a mountain, causing conflict in your relationships, and overall making you feel hopeless and helpless to stop or change it.
A lot of people avoid seeking help because it just seems like another thing they have to do, or they think if they ignore it they will eventually get better, or “how can talking about it possibly help?!” However, what we know from research is that if left untreated, Depression actually tends to get worse, and that the talking therapies are a crucial piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is recovery from Depression.
Whilst friends and family are vitally important in recovery, the importance of seeking the assistance of a mental health professional, such as a Psychologist, cannot be underestimated.
It is the Psychologist’s job to provide a safe, non-judgemental space for you to explore your thoughts and emotions with an objective person whose only agenda is to help you recover, through providing well-researched guidance and support along the way.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of Depression include: having a low or irritable mood most of the time, loss of interest and pleasure in things previously enjoyed, and feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness or helplessness.
Other symptoms may include eating much more or much less than usual, trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep or alternatively sleeping too long, increased anger, lack of energy or motivation, and difficulties with memory or concentration.
It is quite common for people with Depression to have changes to their libido (sex drive), socially isolate themselves, have negative thoughts about their relationship, and at times think excessively about death or suicide.
Treatment Options for Depression
There are different types of Depression and also different severity levels, therefore treatment options vary according to the individual. For many people, counselling is enough, and there are a number of different therapies that are available and effective.
In some of the more severe cases, counselling combined with medication is the best option. In each and every case one thing is clear: doing what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always got. Doing something different by seeking help is the first step towards change and recovery.