Depression is known as the most common form of mental distress these days. But what exactly is depression? The experience of depression can differ from person to person. But there are some common symptoms: When we are depressed, we are not only feeling low and sad, we also often feel anxious, hopeless and bleak. We are getting very little or no enjoyment out of life and everything can feel like a struggle. Depression frequently also manifests in our bodies e.g. with aches and pains and drains our energy. We also tend to become enmeshed in negative thought patterns which leave us with very little space for anything positive. Depression is frequently described by my clients as a deep, black hole in which they got stuck. As if these feelings and thoughts weren’t painful and difficult enough, we also tend to conclude that something must be wrong with us because we are feeling this way. We think we should be stronger and just get on with life. We often compare ourselves with others who apparently are coping much better with life. This way of thinking worsens our condition and will keep us stuck in the very hole we are trying to get out of. Do those lines sound familiar to you? Are you wondering whether there is a way out of this hole? The answer is yes, there is!
Research clearly indicates that through counselling and psychotherapy it is possible to recover from depression or at least experience significant improvement. However it is important that the right therapeutic approaches are used for the treatment of depression since certain approaches are less suitable. Also, since the experience of depression differs from person to person a combination of treatment options might provide the best results.
Anxiety together with Depression are the most common forms of mental distress these days. Latest research now also confirms that both depression and anxiety are deeply linked. Every person who experiences depression also struggles with some form of anxiety.
People suffering from anxiety tend to interpret the world in a more negative (frightening) way. They are often quite judgemental about themselves and tend to apply “black and white” or “all or nothing” thinking. If we think “black and white” a certain part of our brain gets activated which we call the sympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system is also responsible for the “fight or flight” response which produces stress hormones in order to prepare or bodies (increased heartbeat, sweating, tension etc.) for either fight or flight. This response is extremely helpful when our life is in danger but is rarely helpful when we deal with our modern world problems such as relationships, workplace, family etc. These problems are much more complex and very often not solvable with “black and white” thinking. Nevertheless, these stress hormones can either cause panic (severe reaction triggered by a certain event) or can cause more chronic issues such as anxiety or stress, which is also a form of anxiety. All of those reactions can be very debilitating and can hinder us to live a fulfilling life. They also provide an ideal breeding ground for other mental health issues such as depression.
It is therefore very advisable to address issues such as panic, anxiety and stress not only in order to life a more fulfilling life but also to prevent other mental health issues. Counselling and Psychotherapy provide very effective help for people with anxiety issues.