“Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Depression is a state of low mood and hatred to activity that can affect a person’s:
- Sense of well-being
People with a depressed mood can feel:
They may lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions, experience relationship difficulties and may contemplate to attempt or commit suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems or reduced energy may also be present.
Causes which may lead to depression
Difficulty in childhood, such as bereavement, neglect, mental abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and unequal parental treatment of siblings can contribute to depression in adulthood. A severe life events and changes may also lead to the depressed mood which include childbirth, menopause, financial difficulties, job problems, a medical diagnosis (cancer, HIV, etc.), bullying, loss of a loved one, natural disasters, social isolation, relationship troubles, jealousy, separation, and catastrophic injury. Adolescents may be especially prone to experiencing depressed mood following the social rejection, peer pressure and bullying.
Concerns about anti-depression medication (ADM)
Many people are prescribed and take anti-depression medication (ADMs). However, research studies indicate that at best they suppress symptoms, are not a cure. Moreover, the improvements in depression from drugs are usually short-lived, with worsening of depression in the long-term, sometimes as soon as the drug effects wear off. Various forms of psychological treatment, professional support and practical guidance have at least the same degree of success, however, do not have the potential highly dangerous side-effects of drugs and also intensely reduce the risk of relapse.
Psychologists and psychiatrists are two very diverse professionals. Psychiatrists’ initial training revolves around medicine, followed by pharmacological solutions. Psychotherapy forms part of a later stage in their practice. Unlike most psychiatrists, psychologists do not prescribe drugs or medication. Psychologists undertake years of theoretical and hands-on training in an array of psychotherapeutic methods which have been researched in great depth and implemented with proven long-term benefits.
The biomedical model of mental illness, which promotes the use of drugs in the treatment of mental health conditions, is continually being challenged by new research.
Numerous studies into the most prevalent conditions, such as depression and anxiety, have shown that psychological treatments are just as effective as drugs, without the side-effects. In most cases, they can be more productive and longer-lasting. Counselling, in conjunction with medication, can also be highly effective. A psychologist will refer you to your GP if they believe remedy could be an option to consider.
There are many success stories from people who have consulted with psychologists and learned strategies and practical skills helping free them from anxiety, depression, anger, relationship, family and career problems, addictions or chronic conditions that interfere with their lives, careers or studies.
It is a psychologist’s role to assist people with specific chronic health conditions, and guide them through stressful situations, bereavement issues, pain management and workplace problems, including bullying which child psychologists and continue to research and address.
How we will help you
The first step is recognising that you’re feeling depressed and seeking help. If you feel unsure about what you’re experiencing, speaking to professional about your concerns can clarify what is happening and how to set you back on the path of health and wellbeing.
I was clinically depressed for a while growing up, and I’ve been depressed on and off at random intervals. Thankfully, I have been depression free for a few years now, therefore I know what path you are embarking on, and I will help you from my life experiences to cure the depression in long-term. I will be there for you regularly to listen, provide feedback, tools and to guide you until you become free as well.
Symptoms and Facts
Anxiety can be a general emotional response, or specific situations or events can trigger it. Catastrophic thinking frequently occurs with stress, leaving you feeling like something awful may happen or anticipating the worst-case scenario in any given situation. You may feel preoccupied with everyday matters such as finances, work or your relationships, and experience compulsive worry and tension.
Common symptoms of generalised anxiety include:
- Frequent feelings of tension and worry
- Feeling unable to control the worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep difficulties
- Easily startled
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Pounding heart, sweating, trembling
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle tension
- Chest and abdominal pains
- Hot flushes and/or cold chills
- Fear of losing control, passing out or dying
Social anxiety is the most common form of anxiety, affecting many Australians at some point in their lives. It is an extremely devastating form of stress, as the fear of doing something to embarrass or humiliate yourself in public can cripple your ability to enjoy life and your interactions with other people. Common social phobias include public speaking, performing, eating and drinking, using public restrooms, dating, and general social encounters.
Common symptoms of social anxiety include:
- Extreme, apprehensive self-consciousness
- Intense fear of being watched, judged or criticised by others
- Persistent worry about social interactions (e.g. conversations, meeting people)
- Avoidance of social situations (including time off work or school)
- Difficulty eating in front of others
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Feeling withdrawn and shy
- Dislike and avoidance of communication with others, including phone calls
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects around 3% of the Australia population. This fearful form of anxiety can generate specific, repetitive behaviours that may be disruptive to a person’s daily life: for example, continually washing hands, or repeatedly checking that doors and windows are locked. You may sense that this behaviour is unusual, and interfering with your daily life, yet once the habit has been formed the compulsion to repeat the practice is difficult to resist.
Common symptoms of the obsessive-compulsive disorder include:
- Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches
- Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe
- Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Anxiety often arises after traumatic events, such as experiencing a death, injury or abuse. Experiencing a traumatic event may lead to feelings of extreme fear or helplessness. If these feelings continue long after the traumatic event has passed, and everyday activities start triggering unwanted flashbacks and involuntary stress responses, counselling is the recommended course of action to treat the symptoms of PTSD. Around 10% of people will experience PTSD at some point in their life, with an exceptional recovery rate of 95% amongst those who seek treatment.
Common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Disturbing thoughts, feelings and nightmares
- Intrusive flashbacks and memories
- Increased, frequent stress arousal
- Amnesia around the event
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disturbance
- Exaggerated startle response
Mild to moderate depression
Depression is a catch-all term that describes a vast spectrum of moods. If you’ve been feeling down, distressed, pessimistic, and troubled for more than a couple of weeks, you may have mild depression. A lot of the Australian population will experience depression at least once in their lifetime. Depression doesn’t discriminate – from children to the elderly, feeling low is a universal part of the human condition. When those feelings impact your ability to live life to the fullest, though, it’s time to seek professional support. Counselling targets the underlying causes of depression and helps you regain control of your emotions again.
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Frequent negative thoughts
- Impaired concentration and indecisiveness
- Intense sadness and tearfulness
- Loss of interest in everyday activities
- Negative self-talk
- Feeling numb
- Social withdrawal
- Reduced libido
- Chronic fatigue
- Changes in sleeping habits, including insomnia
- Changes in eating habits
- Sense of hopelessness
While feelings of sadness and low mood are quite common, severe forms of depression can have a devastating effect on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Severe depression often feels relentless and may last for months or even years. In addition to the symptoms listed under mild depression, signs of a major depressive episode include:
- Intense feelings of worthlessness
- Daily insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
- Drug and alcohol misuse
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Recurrent, intrusive thoughts of death and suicide
Approximately 80% of new mums experience the ‘baby blues’ after giving birth. Feelings of depression usually start within a few days of delivery and frequently resolve within a few weeks. However, for up to 15% of new mums, those depressed feelings can persist for months, or even years if left untreated.
Common symptoms postpartum depression include:
- Feeling sad and frequently teary
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Feeling guilty, ashamed, worthless or inadequate as a mum
- Feeling hopeless, overwhelmed and numb
- Intense anger and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling confused, scared and anxious
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Eating and sleeping difficulties
- Panic attacks
- Experiencing disturbing, intrusive thoughts
- Thinking about harming yourself or your baby