First of all, having symptoms of anxiety or depression does not necessarily mean that you have a mental health disorder. This is important to know, because you may be worried that having symptoms of anxiety or depression (see list) means that you are broken or sick.
This is not the case.
It does mean that you are struggling with something that needs professional attention, and that may include an official diagnosis. Remember that a diagnosis means you have a specific label to describe what you are experiencing and it helps professionals target the best treatment for you.
Whether you have severe, moderate, or mild symptoms of either anxiety or depression, it is important to seek help to improve your quality of life.
Just because you can function with one arm tied behind your back does not mean you should live your life that way. Think how much more you can get out of your life if these symptoms were reduced?
What is Anxiety?
There are 11 different categories of anxiety disorders. That makes it impossible to say that anxiety is one thing for everyone.
Symptoms of adult anxieties:
Ready to talk with someone who can help?
What is Depression?
There are many theories of what difficult experience is, how it comes about, and how to treat it. I believe depression is the mind’s response to stress.
Unrelenting and seemingly-unfixable stress. Stress that has been around so long, we forget it is even there, and yet in the back of our minds, we continue to try to get relief from it. Stress that can come from the outside world in terms of expectations and comparisons from others. Stress that can come from within us in the form of unmet wants and needs, unfulfilled dreams, unfinished business, or a constant feeling of failing.
According to the stress theory of depression, our stress response system (called the HPA axis, or hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal axis) is being constantly tapped to respond to the stress we
experience and that it eventually fatigues and becomes over-sensitive to ANY stress. We withdraw from everything stressful or anything that might be stressful, even if we know it is probably good for us.
Physiologically, we are in constant high gear and our resources are drained, leaving us so tired and defeated. Psychologically, we are beaten-down by the unrelenting stress and have lost the belief that we can overcome it. This is also called “learned helplessness” and is usually present with depression.
Socially, we crave understanding but cannot tolerate even the slightest expectations from others. We pull away from people and activities that are good for us and we cannot muster the energy to be our usual social selves
Who is affected by anxiety & depression?
Anxiety and mood disorders affect Canadians more than any other mental health issue (about 75% of people seeking help). Another way to say this is that in any one year, 1 in 10 Canadians will seek help for clinical anxiety or mood disorder (including what is commonly called major depressive disorder).
Over a person’s lifetime, they have a 1 in 5 chance to suffer from clinical levels of anxiety or depression (this goes up to 1 in 3 if we include substance abuse such as alcohol).
Women are roughly twice as likely as men to report depression at any one time, or over their lives. Some researchers argue this is because men tend to underreport how they are really feeling or clinicians are not capturing what depression is really like for men.
How I address depression
I employ EFT (emotion focused therapy) for the treatment of depression. EFT helps people to identify and process emotions linked to underlying stressors that support the depression. This is done through careful exploration of when things began to feel harder for you, and how you feel about yourself and the world right now.
Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) for depression helps you identify, utilize, and process emotions. Depression is thought to involve inhibited processing of emotions and experiences. Facing such experiences requires a trusting relationship with a therapist. Once safety and trust is established, the anxiety and avoidance associated with difficult emotions can be overcome and a sense of relief is felt. Interestingly, our thought processes tend to slow down and become clearer when we are emotionally regulated and confident.
Emotion-focused therapy includes three specific phases: Emotion Awareness, Emotion Regulation, and Emotion Utilization or Transformation. You will learn to increase awareness of your emotions, deepen your emotional experiences, understand unhealthy emotional responses and feel more helpful emotional alternatives, which lead to new actions and outcomes.
Ready to talk with someone who can help?
How I address anxiety
For any kind of anxiety, the first step I employ is emotional regulation. This step involves getting to know your relationship with your emotions and how anxiety relates to your feelings. Emotion Focused Therapy as well as emotional regulation techniques are employed to achieve this step.
For performance-based anxiety, as well as trauma/PTSD treatment, I employ EMDR processing.