NAVIGATING ANXIETY & DEPRESSION
UNDERSTANDING ANXIETY & DEPRESSION
What does tomorrow hold for each of us?
None of us can answer that question with any certainty. We may make plans for tomorrow, for the years ahead, or even for the next few minutes. Yet events may occur that force us to change those plans in large or small ways.
When we are blindsided by an occurrence that totally derails us from what we had hoped our future would look like, uncertainty, despair and a sense of extreme danger can overtake us. In the face of danger, natural physiological changes occur in our bodies. A surge of adrenaline causes our heart to race, and our mind moves to “high alert”. Our thoughts cycle rapidly between identifying the danger, possible solutions, and to other threats that may also be present. This automatic response is what enables us to survive when we are in jeopardy.
Depending on the magnitude of the perceived danger, the rush of adrenaline may simply cause us to feel “edgy” and if we determine that the threat is less than what we initially perceived (e.g. someone sneaks up from behind and shouts “boo”) our body will begin the process of filtering out the adrenaline, our heart will calm and our thought processes return to the way they had previously been.
However, if we continue to perceive that the threat is truly serious, a sustained high level of adrenaline can have us wondering if we are having a heart attack. This extreme manifestation of anxiety is known as a Panic Attack.
In comparison, depression brings us to a very low place. In the most severe circumstances, we become totally fixated on negative thoughts surrounding our past. Sleep becomes difficult. This combination drains our physical energy to the point that we may not even get ourselves out of bed.
When depression is severe, reaching out for help (especially for men) may even seem pointless. Similarly, anxiety is often viewed as being something to “get through”. We believe that “strength” alone will push us beyond our troubles. Thus, it is not uncommon for one to become trapped in anxiety or depression.
I can assure you that we do not need to stay in these places . . . Professional Counselling can provide us with the compassion, understanding and support that we need in these moments of despair. From counselling, we can also learn the tools and skills that we need to address similar situations in the future!
IF ANXIETY & DEPRESSION ARE
SO DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER,
WHY DISCUSS THEM TOGETHER?
Even though anxiety and depression are physiologically opposite to each other, they are usually discussed together. Why would this be?
While many people find one of theses states to be predominant over the other, it is quite likely that the two conditions will engage in a “dance” that can quickly shift us from one set of emotional and somatic experiences to the other. When this happens, life feels totally out of balance.
It is important to know that the manifestation of anxiety and depression is unique to each of us who have had these experiences. However, there are elements of these conditions that are common to us all. My professional training and personal experiences provide me with what I need to assist you.
WHAT TRIGGERED ME?
For many, anxiety and depression are triggered by a single traumatic event, while for others, it is created by a series of unsettling events, until we are faced with the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back”.
While I have experienced many events and losses that have “brought me down” in the moment (with some “moments” lingering a bit longer than others) they did not push me into a full blown depression.
However, the sudden loss of a loved one created a gigantic hole that was far too painful to even look at initially. I felt vulnerable, insecure and lost. I cycled between anxiety and depression.
While I would never wish this experience on anyone, I do value it as a precious tool that I can use to help you on your journey. Just as I reached out to a mental health professional when I was in need, I invite you to reach out to me by clicking on the “Contact” button, below. Or access my calendar to book your complimentary initial consultation (30 Minutes, Online Only).