Feeling Depressed in Reaction to Anxiety
People are often unclear about the differences between anxiety and depression, and confused as to which is causing their symptoms. One person can easily have both anxiety and depression, and some people may have developed depression symptoms as a result of their anxiety disorder.
The Oxford Dictionary defines anxiety as “A feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”.
Anxiety can be identified as a sense of doubt and vulnerability about future events. The attention of anxious people is focused on their future, and the fear that the future will in some way be bad. The anxiety may be mild and free floating with no particular apparent target, or it may be intense and focussed on one aspect of life, such as money, health, relationships or environmental security.
Just wanted to drop you a quick line to thank you for our first session this morning. I hadn’t expected to feel this much happier and like a huge, huge weight had been lifted; quite so early on in our sessions.
I know it will take time and there isn’t a ‘quick fix’, but I’m looking forward to working with you and getting to a much happier and content me!’
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Anxiety is an unconscious response in the present to a perceived threat in the future. As our unconscious minds produce a person’s behaviour for approximately 90% of the time, with the conscious mind having an input of around 10%, it is not surprising to learn that most of our responses are based on instincts we have inherited from our ancestors, over which we have no conscious control. The subconscious has no way of differentiating between a real or perceived threat, and so it will produce a response based on a combination of ancestral instincts and past experiences.
The main cause of anxiety can be the result of inability to cope with one or more stressful or traumatic events. Some people learn to be anxious, based on the environment in which they grew up. Intense anxiety results in the fight or flight response being triggered, resulting in rapid changes in the body’s physiology. This response was extremely useful in the days of cavemen, when it was literally kill or be killed, but in our modern society, anxiety is often a result of an imagined or perceived threat.
As adrenaline and cortisol are released into the bloodstream, blood pressure rises, glucose levels in the blood are raised, and the digestive system slows down as energy is directed towards muscles and limbs, in readiness for fight or flight. During the fight or flight response, our awareness is increased dramatically, and we are on high alert for danger in our surroundings. Modern day anxiety can be attributed to the body’s natural response (fight or flight), but to an inappropriate trigger or triggers. As we don’t usually need to run away or fight a situation, the chemicals released during the initiating stage of fight or flight remain circulating in the bloodstream which can make a person feel very edgy.
People may have constant anxious thoughts on a daily basis, and this programme of thoughts may be reflected in unexplained physical disorders if left untreated. A person who is constantly in a state of high anxiety may develop behaviours that are out of character.
“I had been suffering from quite severe stress and anxiety over a prolonged period. I found the weekly therapy very beneficial, and now feel as though I control my anxiety, rather than it controlling me. I am now looking to the future with a renewed sense of confidence and inner calm”
A person suffering from depression as opposed to anxiety doesn’t usually display the fear of the future that anxiety itself can produce. People who are depressed may feel absolutely certain that everything in their life is negative, the past, present and future.
One of my clients described depression as a black cloak that had wrapped itself around her without being invited.
Working with your therapist to identify whether your life’s needs are being met is the first step to wellness.
The key symptoms of depression include:
Feeling low/sad/ hopeless/helpless
Lack of interest and enjoyment in favourite activities
Physical aches and pains without known cause
No energy or enthusiasm
Unable to concentrate
Poor memory recall
Feeling very tired due to poor sleep quality (excessive dreaming)
A depressed person may be unreceptive to offers of help, as they feel no one can change the way they feel.
Feeling Depressed in Reaction to Anxiety
It’s also common for people who are suffering from anxiety to feel depressed as a result of the way anxiety is interfering with their lives. Once the anxiety has been released, the feelings of depression lift.
There are circumstances under which an anxiety patient may need to seek help for depression. One is if he or she has become so depressed in response to anxiety that they no longer have the energy and motivation to overcome the anxiety. In this case, the person’s GP will either prescribe medication or therapeutic intervention. If a person is suffering from a long term depressive disorder, known as primary depression, anxiety may set in. Again, medication and/or therapeutic intervention may be offered by the GP.
Whatever your symptoms, making that initial contact to have a confidential informal and supportive chat will enable you to start taking back control of your life. CALL TODAY – confidential help and support is waiting for you.
Panic Attacks – Why they happen and how to stop them
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