Beating Anxiety and Depression
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
26th July, 20120 Comments
Depression is an illness that can affect us all. Both it, and its almost constant companion anxiety, are the most common mental illness in the UK today. Anxiety fears the future and what might happen; how, or if, we might cope. Depression prevents us taking action; often we will feel that we can’t achieve anything, or that we are not worth bothering about - or that, in some way, we deserve what is happening to us.
Anxiety is not a bad thing; it evolved to help us anticipate problems so that we could avoid or take action against problems that arose. Anxiety is a response to feelings of stress or pressure, and the bigger or more persistent the pressure the more the anxiety grows. It is the response to a series of events that persists and doesn't allow the mind to return to normal that begins to cause problems.
Depression is a term which is used very loosely; it covers a range of conditions. Indeed, it is often used in the vernacular to mean feeling unhappy, rather than feeling so low that you can’t function. Often, depression will have come on slowly so the individual themselves may not know how bad the problem had become; they simply have a persistent feeling of unhappiness that they are trying to cope with. It can make the simplest of daily tasks almost impossible.
People who are depressed and anxious are not crazy - they are ill. As with many other illnesses, it is possible to treat them and help them back to a life they enjoy. So, what can you do?
There is a lot of research to show that diet has a role in depression, so it makes sense to take care of yourself with a healthy diet and light exercise. Although alcohol and illegal drugs may seem to help in the short term, they usually make the problems worse.
Your GP is able not only to prescribe a range of medicines (that you take for a short time) that help with the causes and symptoms; they also have access to a range of resources such as local charities or groups as well as NHS treatments.
Talking therapies or counselling has also been shown to be very effective with depression and anxiety. It gives a safe space to challenge some of the thoughts you have been having and looking at alternative ways of dealing with your problems.
Many people seem to get relief from relaxation or yoga, and these are options that you may want to try.
While there are many common elements to feeling better, some elements will be individual. Some people will respond better to relaxation, with others getting more from talking treatments. Whatever your chosen path is, you will find it easier with the help of friends and family, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. They can help you through panics or the moments that you feel helpless. Perhaps you need their support as you make changes in your life.
Remember that depression can be beaten and IS beaten every day, and you can become well again too by sticking to the treatment.
Related articles from our experts
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- 30 something: Depression and anxiety
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- When good changes stir up difficult feelings
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