Depression is a common and serious mood disorder. Those who suffer from depression experience persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness and lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed. Aside from the emotional problems caused by depression, individuals can also present with a physical symptom such as chronic pain or digestive issues. To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
- Continuous low mood or sadness
- Feeling hopeless and helpless
- Having low self-esteem
- Feeling tearful
- Feeling worthless or guilt-ridden
- Feeling irritable and intolerant of others
- Having no motivation or interest in things
- Finding it difficult to make decisions
- Not getting any enjoyment out of life
- Irritable mood
- Feeling anxious or worried
- Having suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts of harming yourself
Depression is not the same as sadness, although there is a lot of sadness in depression.
Sadness is a normal emotion that everyone will experience at some point in his or her life and is usually caused by a specific situation, person, or event. When it comes to depression, however, no such trigger is needed. A person suffering from depression feels sad or hopeless about everything. This person may have every reason in the world to be happy and yet they lose the ability to experience joy or pleasure.
People who have depression may have thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
People who are depressed usually block off their feelings or sub-consciously do not allow certain feelings. When they are not expressed, they are turned inwards and affect how a person feels about themselves.
Psychotherapy can be very useful for depressions. It provides an outlet where a person can explore and face feelings and emotions that they have otherwise avoided.
Often people who are depressed do not like making mistakes, want to be perfect, and when they don’t live up to their standard they feel hopeless. In the therapeutic relationship there is room for expression and for looking at these expectations.
Anxiety is a natural emotion which we all experience.
Anxiety is characterised by feelings of tension, worry, intrusive thoughts, stress and can be felt in the body as tension. Anxiety can make us more alert and help us cope better with stressful situations where we need to perform, for example, exams, job and interviews etc. Therefore, in certain circumstances, anxiety is a positive thing.
However, when anxiety persists and is not related to any specific event, then it becomes problematic and can affect the quality of your life.
There are six main classifications of problematic anxiety:
- Generalised anxiety disorder – this is where a person tends to feel anxious most of the time for no specific reason. They might have fears of death, humiliations, separation etc.
- Social anxiety – Where a person feels uncomfortable or embarrassed in social situations or crowds. They have intrusive thoughts and beliefs about what people think of them.
- A specific phobia
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – where certain routines need to be performed in order to ease each persons anxiety.
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – where a traumatic event gets relived and the feelings are as strong as when the event happened.
- Panic disorders – where people get triggered and get panic attacks where they feel they can’t breathe and feel that they might die. Panic attacks cannot kill you.
Anxiety can lead to panic. Most people try to avoid the feeling of anxiety as it is so uncomfortable. However, Anxiety is merely a replacement for the true feelings which the person is not expressing. For example, anxiety is felt instead of feeling sad, angry, hurt, vulnerable etc.
In therapy, we would look at the anxiety and the thoughts and feelings behind it. As a person looks at their beliefs and assumptions, and deals with their issues, the anxiety tends to naturally ease.
Page 1 of 6