13 Feb Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression can co-exist for some people and for others they are completely separate. Both of these states of being greatly affect a person’s quality of life and that of family members.
Day to day life events become difficult. The mind feels agitated and scattered, and so we begin to anticipate that everything is going to be a disaster. Our mental activity builds upon experiences causing tension, self-criticism, frustration and despair. To prevent this from happening, we begin to avoid things that we used to do and so begins the shrinking of our world. Along with this shrinkage comes isolation. Our attempts to cope and reduce our venerability do not bring about positive results. Unfortunately, just the opposite occurs. Sometimes we begin to develop distorted thoughts like “No one wants to be my friend”, ”I’m different from others” or “people don’t understand me”. It is important to know that this type of thought processing can be a product of the depression or anxiety.
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress or fear. It develops when two significant parts of the body shift into high gear! (Those parts are the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis).
Anxiety can be useful in small amounts to sharpen our attention so that we can meet a particular challenge like standing in front of people to make a presentation or hurrying to catch the bus. However when physical symptoms become debilitating, and you can’t breathe or think straight and you lose perspective you may be dealing with some form of anxiety disorder. All types of anxiety disorders share the physical symptoms of severe stress response as well as thought misinterpretations of the situation. The common denominator is irrational dread. Getting to know, and understand self can, at first, be confusing and frightening but working with a clinical counsellor can assist you in acquiring insight and understanding into your situation.
Research clearly shows that exercise is an effective way to move through anxiety because of the effect on the brain. The difficulty can be finding the time and or motivation to exercise. Life feels frantic enough without adding something else! However by taking small steps to enter into some form of physical movement, you will begin the process.
Anxiety is fear. If we suffer from an anxiety disorder our thinking brain or cognitive processors, fail to tell us that there is no problem. The physical and mental tension is a result of our mind clouding our ability to clearly assess the situation. I will assist you to develop strategies that will aid in the development of focus and strengthen your ability to problem solve. You will begin to experience times of calm and clarity that have previously been unavailable to you. If anxiety is affecting the quality of your life, I encourage you to book an appointment for support in moving forward.
Over the past fifty years, or so of studying the brain research still does not know what causes depression. According to the World Health Organization depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States and Canada, ahead of coronary heart disease, any given cancer and AIDS (J. Ratley 2008).
Most of us are guilty of the Eeyore-like outlook of feeling grouchy, irritable, pessimistic, lethargic, apathetic, self-critical or melancholy on occasion. But instead of experiencing negative feelings as a temporary state someone with depression will have these feelings stay for an extended period. It is like descending a ladder into a black hole, and you are unable to climb back up to reach “self”. Within the spectrum of depression, there are different types. For some folks, medication helps, and they feel their mood lift and can get back on track with their life. Others are not so fortunate; the side effects of medication can be problematic, or the medication does not shift their low mood.
A difficulty with depression is that a person’s motivation becomes compromised so what was once a simple daily task can now feel overwhelming. This becomes a frustrating vicious cycle. Working with a clinical counsellor can be of assistance to work through the twists and turns to access coping skills that are currently unavailable. I will listen to what you are feeling and together we will develop practical strategies that are comfortable for you.
Perhaps you have spoken to your doctor about depression and heard the term SSRI’s (selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitor). These medications are designed to increase the activity of certain parts of the brain to reduce symptoms of depression.
Over the past years, research has been investigating the impact of exercise on depression by observing what changes happen in the neurotransmitters of the brain when a person exercises. This is the part of the brain that is targeted by antidepressants. The results have shown that exercise regulates all of the neurotransmitters targeted by the antidepressants. Results indicate that exercise elevates the levels of norepinephrine in certain areas of the brain. This is what wakes up the brain and gets it going and improves self-esteem. Dopamine was boosted as well which improves mood and feelings of wellness and is a motivator. Serotonin is equally affected by exercise. This is important for mood, impulse control and self-esteem.
It is always important to manage your mental health care under the guidance of your physician. The above information is intended to support you to increase your mental activity and to place value on a path toward a fuller experience of life and how to achieve that potential place of being. This will require new strategies and focusing on different thoughts and actions to enable your brain to develop new ways of responding. My work as a clinical counsellor will look at your unique personal experience and with respect and understanding focus on your strengths and resilience to access change.
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