Depression, anxiety, stress and tension have become a daily companion for many. However, these mental states are not the nicest of companions and can drain a person’s vitality. This is compounded by the confusion and misconceptions surrounding these mental imbalances, which stem mainly from the diversity of each person’s individual experience and the many ways in which they manifest themselves. In this article, we will explore the nature of depression and anxiety, their causes, and how to give oneself initial self-help when low.
What is depression?
Depression is a condition in which a person has suppressed his or her needs for a long period of time and has come into conflict with his or her own values, letting his or her own boundaries overrun. Prolonged stress and self-reproduction constantly pulls them out of their centre and eventually the body can no longer cope. Brain chemistry changes.
Depression can often be accompanied by burnout. If a person has periods of stress in different areas of life and is constantly living in survival mode, putting out ‘fires’ and constantly dealing with different challenges, then burnout is an interference between body and mind. The body and mind say STOP to protect you from harming yourself.
Depression comes in different forms and therefore each person experiences it differently, but the main signs of depression are:
– Lowered mood,
– loss of interest and zest for life and people,
– loss of energy,
– Negative feelings towards oneself,
– becoming easily upset,
– concentration and memory problems,
– dissatisfaction with your body,
– feelings of guilt, hopelessness,
– feeling trapped, helpless,
– changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, fatigue, etc.
How to help yourself?
1. Move a lot. When you move, your body produces hormones for happiness and balance. You’ll release negative emotions in your body and mind, relieve stress and tension. Exercise is the panacea for getting out of a low emotional state.
2. Be easy on yourself. Give yourself time to heal. Coming out of burnout and depression is not a snap. It’s your chance to learn to be empathic and supportive. Finally, you will learn to live sustainably, in balance and in touch with your own needs.
3. Be grateful for this experience and ask yourself what value I can create for myself and others through my experience of depression or burnout.
4. Don’t be alone! Share your concerns with someone.
5. Start enriching your life with something new. Do non-routine activities. This will refresh your psyche and you will see new perspectives (e.g. brush your teeth with a non-dominant hand, try new recipes, etc.).
6. Give attention to yourself and your needs, tidy up your inner world, your thoughts and feelings. Create clarity within and around yourself (e.g. tidy up your home).
7. Start to reclaim self-love. Depression and other mental imbalances occur when we have betrayed ourselves for a long time. This can be caused by a limiting belief ‘I am not enough’. By restoring self-love, you rebuild the foundation of happiness in your life.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is in fact a natural and necessary human emotion. We feel anxious when we are faced with something new, when we are about to face something new, like a big event. People experience anxiety when they feel threatened, when they feel unsafe. It signals the need to react accordingly, to protect oneself. People also feel anxious when they cannot control the situation. Anxiety is necessary because it triggers mechanisms in us that help us to cope better in difficult situations. Anxiety prepares us to defend ourselves when we need to. But the real problem arises when the brain starts to see danger where it doesn’t really exist. This leads to anxiety that gets out of control and starts to interfere significantly with everyday life.
Why does the brain start to see danger? It’s a self-defence mechanism that your body switches on to stop you from hurting yourself. A wake-up call that something needs to change. We’ve lost our way and need to get back in balance. The body signals this with increased anxiety and hypersensitivity.
Because depression and anxiety come in many different forms, recovery is completely different for each person.
First steps to help yourself with anxiety disorder
1. Measuring anxiety
Measure your anxiety every day on a scale of 1 to 10. Write down why your anxiety is e.g. on a scale of 3, what caused my anxiety, why you feel this way, etc. 1. Measure your anxiety 3-4 times a day. If you are aware of the level of anxiety and what is driving it, it is possible to change it.
2. Anxiety is mainly caused by a lack of security. Whether you lack a sense of security with yourself or in the outside world.
How can you give yourself a sense of security? If you feel that the environment, people or situation around you is not safe for you, ask yourself how you can give yourself a sense of security. How can you live in a way that makes you feel comfortable and safe with yourself? What boundaries should you set? What needs should you express?
You have to be easy on yourself. How would you treat a loved one who is experiencing exactly the same condition as you? What would you say to them, how would you treat them, what would you suggest? The same goes for yourself! Increase empathy, understanding, gentleness towards yourself. Make your body feel safe with you. Stop the constant whipping and trust your own feelings.
Writing allows us to become aware and to look at ourselves from the side. You can unravel the tangles in your inner world, reframe them and then release them. Create new programmes for yourself through writing or speaking out loud. Start by keeping a regular journal, writing down your thoughts and feelings. I promise that anxiety will recede dramatically.
If you feel you need personal support in your experience, Maria Baydar and her trained therapists are here for you with their unique methods of polytherapy!