First We Make The Beast Beautiful By Sarah Wilson
Focuses on: AnxietyType: Feeling Less Alone and Greater Understanding/Research
I loved this book but I dont think everyone will. This is mostly due to Wilsons writing style and, I suppose, the way her brain works. Like a chronically anxious person, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful is frenetic and at times, overly-energetic, leaping from story to story, back ten years to ahead five years to childhood to imagined old age, from personal disaster to scientific research to that thing my meditation teacher told me that, by the way, totally didnt work, but hey, its funny now, looking back.
I enjoyed it because my brain sometimes operates in the same way. But Ive seen reviews online from anxious people who have commented that the book actually made them more anxious, just by reading it. Obviously, thats not the goal.
Prevalence Of Anxiety And Depression In Men
On average, one in 8 men will have depression and one in 5 men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives.
Men are less likely to experience anxiety and depression than women. They are also less likely to talk about it. This increases the risk of their anxiety or depression going unrecognised and untreated.
Untreated depression is a high risk factor for suicide. In Australia, there are about 3,000 suicides each year. Around 75% of people who take their lives are men, with an average of almost 7 men taking their lives every day.
Its important to remember that anxiety and depression are conditions, not weaknesses, and effective treatments are available.
Small Steps Big Impact
Depression can drain your energy, leaving you feeling empty and fatigued. This can make it difficult to muster the strength or desire to seek treatment.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you feel more in control and improve your overall sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
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Talking With Friends And Family About Suicide
Its important to watch for signs and symptoms of depression or suicide. Dont shy away from asking if a family member or friend is feeling depressed or suicidal. It may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it is important. Asking if someone is having thoughts of suicide will not make them more likely to act on those thoughts. Your questions may help the person open up about how theyve been feeling and encourage them to seek treatment.
Cognitive And Emotional Exercises
The worksheet Inside and Outside helps children articulate the way they feel and how they can change their thinking . This exercise is currently more suitable for younger children, but it could be easily adapted to suit older children.
Some of the exercises described previously are also appropriate for teenagers and young adults.
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Who Is At Risk For Depression
Depression can affect anyone, no matter their age, gender or circumstances. About 16 million Americans experience depression each year.
Women may experience depression more often than men. And your genetics or other health conditions can increase the likelihood that youll have at least one depressive episode in your lifetime.
What To Do When Depression And Anxiety Mix
You’ve noticed some changes lately. Maybe you feel sad, hopeless, or donât get any joy out of activities that used to be fun. Sounds like depression, right?
Maybe that’s not all. Sometimes you’re worried, afraid, and just plain uneasy. Isn’t that a sign of anxiety?
Not so fast. Itâs normal to have ups and downs or to have things youâre concerned about. You might be going through a difficult time. Your doctor can help you figure out if itâs actually a condition and what would help.
If you have both conditions, there are lots of ways to get help.
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How To Manage Your Symptoms
In addition to a formal treatment plan from your doctor, these strategies may help you find relief from symptoms. Its important to know, though, that these tips may not work for everyone, and they may not work each time.
The goal of managing depression and anxiety is to create a series of treatment options that can all work together to help, to some degree, whenever you need to use them.
Questions To Ask Yourself
Again, its very common to feel low or sad, stressed or anxious, or any combination of the above, on occasion.
All the same, youre the best person to recognize whats typical for you. If you start to experience new, uncomfortable feelings, changes in your energy and motivation, or any other unusual symptoms, it never hurts to connect with a mental health professional for more guidance.
You might wonder whether an online self-test for anxiety or depression could offer more insight about the changes youve noticed. Some people do find these a helpful place to start but a more personalized route might involve asking yourself a few questions:
- Do I spend a lot more time worrying than I have in the past?
- Do I feel sad, empty, or hopeless often?
- Have I lost interest in the things I used to enjoy?
- Have I started to avoid spending time with friends and loved ones?
- Do I worry about things I cant control to the point where I have a hard time thinking about anything else?
- Do I become irritable or annoyed more quickly than I have in the past?
- Do I often feel restless, on edge, or unable to relax?
- Do I cycle through dark, unwanted, or fearful thoughts I cant seem to stop?
- Is it difficult to fall asleep, get enough sleep, or wake up on time most days?
- Have I noticed unexplained pain, tension, or other physical symptoms?
- Do these changes affect my daily life or relationships?
If you answered yes to most of the questions above, it may be time to reach out to a therapist.
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Simple Ways To Deal With Anxiety
Its important to note that these coping strategies are not passive and wont happen by themselves, without your attention and care.
Think of it like going to the gym to improve your strength and endurance, you need to work out regularly. But to work out regularly, you need to make the time and monitor how you feel. If youre feeling tired, you might complete an easier exercise session that day, but you can work harder when you feel mentally strong. Use this same approach when dealing with anxiety.
Summary Of Previous Findings And Conflicting Evidence
Even though a number of studies suggested different mechanisms of the impact of perceived social support on mental health outcomes, the specific pathways through which perceived social support promotes young adults mental health are not well-known . At the same time, some findings suggest that high perceived social support may not always promote mental health, but may actually be associated with increased distress . Specifically, receiving high levels of support may activate self-doubting and low self-worth due to the perception that one is not capable to take care of himself . Perceived social support may actually be a mixed blessing that helps to reduce negative outcomes for some people, but increases psychological distress for others . Specifically, receiving more or less support that a person has provided can be psychologically distressing, as this may be related to lower self-esteem and depressed mood.
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Supporting Friends And Family With Depression
Depression is a medical condition that requires treatment from a doctor. While family and friends can help by offering support in finding treatment, they cannot treat a persons depression.
As a friend or family member of a person with depression, here are a few things you can do:
- Encourage the person to seek medical treatment and stick with the treatment plan the doctor prescribes.
- Help set up medical appointments or accompany the person to the doctors office or a support group.
- Participate in activities the person likes to do.
- Ask if the person wants to go for a walk or a bike ride. Physical activity can be great for boosting mood.
People With Social Anxiety Don’t Want To Be Alone
Chances are likely, depending on the severity of your symptoms, that you may benefit from being on medication. If youre thinking, Nope, absolutely notI dont want to rely on anything, then Ill challenge you with this: Is your quality of life getting better each day, or you struggling to make it through the day? Is your own contempt about medication, prior to investigation, really worth it? Have you done your research on anti-anxiety and depression medications, such as SSRIs, to the point where you know enough about them, or are you making a blanket statement that you refuse to take medications?
Ask yourself these difficult questions. For me, it was incredibly helpful to be working with a therapist who I trusted and with whom I developed a strong rapport with before making these decisions with her help and guidance.
We dont overcome depression we dont prevail over anxiety. We accept that we have them, and we treat them effectively. We cant think our way out of a clinical or chemical issue. We cant self will our way into happiness, groundedness, and wholeness.
There is so much freedom in surrendering to the stark truth that we cant do this on our own.
This post became way more clinical than I had intended it to be, but I found that after posting a poll on Instagram about what topics people want to read about, overcoming depression and anxiety beat out the other topics by a landslide.
This is a real issue. You are not alone.
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What Are The Treatments For Depression
Many helpful treatments for depression are available. Treatment for depression can help reduce symptoms and shorten how long the depression lasts. Treatment can include getting therapy and/or taking medications. Your doctor or a qualified mental health professional can help you determine what treatment is best for you.
- Therapy. Many people benefit from psychotherapyalso called therapy or counseling.7,8 Most therapy lasts for a short time and focuses on thoughts feelings and issues that are happening in your life now. In some cases understanding your past can help but finding ways to address what is happening in your life now can help you cope and prepare you for challenges in the future.With therapy, youll work with your therapist to learn skills to help you cope with life, change behaviors that are causing problems and find solutions. Do not feel shy or embarrassed about talking openly and honestly about your feelings and concerns. This is an important part of getting better.Some common goals of therapy include:
- Getting healthier
- Making sense of past painful events
- Identifying things that worsen your depression
- Having better relationships with family and friends
- Understanding why something bothers you and creating a plan to deal with it
Counseling With A Professional
You can learn many techniques to cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression from a licensed professional counselor. Sometimes just talking with a therapist can help you figure out the source of your symptoms and how to overcome them. Talk therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is the most popular counseling method used today.
Interpersonal therapy, trauma-focused therapy, psychodynamic therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and motivational enhancement therapy are some of the ways a counselor can help you overcome anxiety and depression. You can also learn self-care and mindfulness techniques like relaxation, stress management, desensitization, and lifestyle changes.
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The Reality Is That We Cannot Overcome It We Can Accept It Treat It And Heal
Authors note: This is not an article about how to practice self-care and take a bubble bath until your anxiety goes away. This is not going to be a quick and easy how-to guide for feeling better. But this post will be real, and thats what we all need.
One of my favorite lectures to present at work is about emotional wellness. While vague and all-encompassing, the topics that continuously come up are relationships, self-worth, and dealing with depression and/or anxiety.
Toward the end of my lecture a few weeks ago, one of the audience members asked, But how do you overcome depression?
I was taken off guard by his question, which seemed almost impossible to answer in the moment. But then I realized how significant the wording that he used was. The semantics of the word choice overcome, especially when used in a sentence about something as severe as depression or anxiety, was incredibly significant here.
The etymology of the word overcome goes back to Old English times. It is synonymous with prevail over and defeat.
But we dont defeat depression. We dont defeat anxiety. We dont prevail over addiction or any other co-occurring disorder. We dont power our way through it to not have to deal with it anymore. Before we do anything, we need to accept that we have it.
Anxiety And Depression: What Are The Possible Links
Although clearly not identical emotional states, mental health research suggests that depression and anxiety often coexist because they can be caused by the same or similar factors. According to an article published May 2020 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, those overlapping causes can include:
- Genetic Factors Genetic factors contribute to 40 percent of the predisposition to depressive and anxious symptoms, with 60 percent being attributed to environmental, noninherited factors. “Especially with anxiety, more so than depression, there often is some family history, and so therefore we think that there may be some genetic predisposition to this,” Connolly explains.
- Environmental Factors Also referred to as social factors, these include experiences like trauma or neglect in early childhood, and current stressors such as relationship difficulties, unemployment, social isolation, and physical illness. People who have post-traumatic stress disorder , an anxiety disorder, are particularly likely to also develop depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health .
- Pain Chronic pain, and particularly disabling pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome , low back pain, headaches, and nerve pain, are closely linked to psychological distress, including both anxiety and depression, notes Harvard Health. In fact, they say, research suggests that pain shares some biological mechanisms with anxiety and depression.
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Get A Handle On Your Household Chores
Depression can make it difficult to complete household chores, such as doing the dishes or paying bills.
But a pile of paperwork, the stack of dirty dishes, and floor covered in dirty clothes will only magnify your feelings of worthlessness.
Take control of your daily chores. Start small and work on one project at a time. Getting up and moving can help you start to feel better in itself. But, seeing your progress in the home can be key to helping you feel better.
Tips For Coping With An Anxiety Disorder
Having occasional feelings of anxiety is a normal part of life, but people with anxiety disorders experience frequent and excessive anxiety, fear, terror and panic in everyday situations. These feelings are unhealthy if they affect your quality of life and prevent you from functioning normally.
Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:
- Feeling nervous
- A sense of impending panic, danger or doom
- Increased heart rate
- Obsessively thinking about the panic trigger
These feelings of anxiety and panic can interfere with daily activities and be difficult to control. They are out of proportion to the actual danger and can cause you to avoid places or situations.
You should see your health care provider if your anxiety is affecting your life and relationships. Your provider can help rule out any underlying physical health issue before seeing a mental health professional.
While most people with anxiety disorders need psychotherapy or medications to get anxiety under control, lifestyle changes and coping strategies also can make a difference.
Here are 11 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder:
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Ways You Can Look After Yourself
If youre depressed, there are steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery. These steps can help if youve been depressed in the past and want to stay well.
- Talk about how youre feeling. Talking to someone you trust, or finding peer support, can help you feel better and less alone.
- Eat well. A healthy diet can lift your mood and maintain your mental health.
- Stay physically active. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can ease the symptoms of depression. Research suggests it may be as effective as antidepressants in helping you feel better.
- Spend time in nature. Research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier, feel our lives are more worthwhile, and reduce our levels of depression
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. They may feel like theyre helping at first, but they make things worse in the long run.
- Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.