Therapy for PTSD, Anxiety and Depression

Mental health awareness: symptoms of anxiety and depression

The unseen struggles of anxiety and depression

Living with anxiety and depression can affect every aspect of our lives, each and every day that we are unwell.
From the moment we wake up, our mental illness is there — a lead-weight pinning us to our bed. Whilst most people are looking forward to or planning the day ahead, our thoughts are being suffocated by the fog that is depression and the chaos that is anxiety.
The thought of even sticking a toe out from under the duvet is overwhelming. It will take every ounce of energy we have today, to climb out of bed, drag ourselves to the bathroom and prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.
A lady Unable To Get Out Of Bed With Depression

A complicated and exhausting struggle.

Once we've managed to get up and (maybe) washed, our next task is getting dressed. Our energy stores are starting to feel depleted. Anxiety may be building as we begin to think about our difficult journey into work. A meeting that is planned starts to weigh on our mind, and we get a sinking feeling thinking about standing next to the other parents in the school playground, holding our own.
Finding the right outfit isn't probably something we really care about. If our confidence and self-esteem are low, then a part of us might really dread looking in the mirror. We know we aren't going to like what stares back at us. Nothing we try on will look right. And some mornings we might exhaust ourselves trying on the whole wardrobe, before realising we are out of time and resigning ourselves to wearing anything that fits. Or on a really bad day, we might just give up and go back to bed or flake out on the sofa.
This is a real example of what someone suffering from anxiety or depression may go through in the first one or two hours of their day.
Is it even possible to imagine what they might be feeling by bedtime? Only to be faced with the reality of a full repeat the next day. And the next day. And the day after that. 
For some people, anxiety may be triggered by an event, person, situation or memory. For others, it is present from the minute they wake and may even be noticeable in sleep patterns.
Is it even possible to imagine what they might be feeling by bedtime? Only to be faced with the reality of a full repeat the next day. And the next day. And the day after that. Mental health affects different people in different ways, so it can be confusing for those who desperately want to understand and give support. It can be hard to explain to those who've never experienced anxiety, quite how it can seep into everything we try to do.

Anxiety and depression make everyday things seem extraordinarily difficult.

From the moment we wake up, our mental illness is there — a lead-weight pinning us to our bed. Whilst most people are looking forward to or planning the day ahead, our thoughts are being suffocated by the fog that is depression and the chaos that is anxiety. The social stigma attached to mental illness means there's already an existing prejudice around anxiety and depression, which creates a culture of fear – for both the sufferer and their loved ones.
The thought of even sticking a toe out from under the duvet is overwhelming. It will take every ounce of energy we have today, to climb out of bed, drag ourselves to the bathroom and prepare ourselves for what lies ahead. Often we become so used to managing our condition that we forget what it would be like to live without it. We develop maladaptive behaviours to manage triggers and keep the symptoms at bay. This can result in living a lonely and isolated life, with a limited capacity to reach our full potential.
Anxiety And Depression Symptoms word diagram

Do I have anxiety or depression?

Anxiety and depression can affect people as separate conditions (a person can have anxiety, without suffering from depression and vice versa). But they often go hand in hand, which aggravates symptoms and can result in a vicious cycle of self-defeating behaviours which seem impossible to break.
It is important to be aware that symptoms of anxiety and depression rarely just 'go away' and often when left untreated things become worse.
When we are depressed or suffer from high anxiety, we lock our attention and enter what can be described as an 'emotional trance'. Our attention is narrowed. We can only focus on what is upsetting us, making us feel inadequate or anxious.
It becomes difficult for us to multi-think, and our perspective on life becomes limited. We put our own 'spin' on things, and analytical thinking disappears. Critical thinking disappears. We tend to lose our 'meaning vacuum'.
Let me give you an example:
Someone doesn't phone us back, and we might immediately conclude 'oh I knew they didn't like me' instead of 'oh I wonder why they didn't phone back'. We are unable to relax with uncertainty or consider the other possible reasons that aren't an insult to ourselves. This demonstrates an example of how insecurity and paranoia may develop further aggravating symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Our state of mind – the emotional trance that we become locked in – becomes a barrier to logical or rational thinking. An so begins a vicious circle of subtle self-defeating thoughts and behaviours.

Depression and anxiety usually have a root cause.

This could be anything from going through significant trauma to a life-changing event such as redundancy, divorce or moving to a new house.
Figuring out what is behind your illness can be hard when your mind is always full of chaos and overwhelm. Whilst medication may help to relieve some of the symptoms you are suffering, it is unlikely to deal with the original cause. Therefore, once the dosage is stopped or reduced sufferers may find that the symptoms of anxiety and depression re-emerge.

Getting help for anxiety and depression.

Talking therapy can help you to work through and process any events that have contributed to the onset of your mental illness. Exploring your thoughts and emotions with someone impartial, empathetic and non-judgemental may help you to re-frame and process past events, so they become less disturbing to think about.
A lady having a talking therapy counselling session to help with anxiety and depression
Having an increased self-awareness of cause and effect can give you more control over your illness. Empowering you to start making life choices that will help you reconnect with healthy ways of living.

Have you suffered from significant trauma in the past?

If your symptoms of anxiety and depression are linked to a past trauma, you may benefit from therapy that encompasses treatment of PTSD . The Rewind Technique is a safe, fast and effective treatment for the symptoms of PTSD which may manifest themselves in anxiety and depression.
Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder can greatly reduce, or even remove, traumatic symptoms quickly, including nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and disturbing images.
People often see counselling as a last resort, when they have nowhere else to turn. They are at the point of desperation, they feel shame, guilt, embarrassment, worthless, weak and think that it is their fault.
However, when they leave counselling, people say they feel more at ease with themselves, and that everyone around them feels better too.

People report feeling:
  • Less stressed
  • Less depressed
  • They can now say no to people (so can be more assertive)
  • They feel lighter
  • They understand their anger
  • Understand their past
  • Understand their thoughts
  • Understand their feelings and behaviours
  • They go on to make positive relationships
  • They understand themselves
  • Give up coping mechanisms that no longer work
  • They can move on with their lives
  • Stop self-harming
  • They can let go of grief
  • Choose to live and give up the thought of dying
  • They can live authentic lives 

 

The list is huge, isn't it?

In conclusion - how can counselling help with symptoms of anxiety and depression

Living with anxiety and depression is an everyday struggle. You may be suffering with your own mental health, or know someone who is. Supporting someone with ill mental health can be as hard as dealing with the illness yourself. You feel helpless.
You don't have to be diagnosed with suffering from depression, anxiety or any mental health issue to access counselling.
Counselling is prevention – it should be before you find that you are on your knees, before your relationships break down and before you begin to get sick. Counselling should not really be a last resort; it should be the first port of call. Counselling is the ultimate self-care.
My name is Janine McCorry, and I'm a therapeutic counsellor registered with the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy. I specialise in helping people to recover & move forward from single or multiple trauma, symptoms of PTSD, anxiety & depression.
Making contact with a counsellor can feel like a daunting task. It may be something you've been considering for a long time, and if you have never had counselling before you may not know what to expect. You can contact me for an informal chat about any issue you are facing, or have read in this article.

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calmthechaoscounselling@gmail.com
07392 766 305

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