HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’VE GOT ANX­I­ETY OR DE­PRES­SION, OR BOTH?

Good Health Choices - - Be Informed -

Karen says those vul­ner­a­ble to anx­i­ety see risks in ev­ery­day sit­u­a­tions, such as Alana wor­ry­ing that ev­ery­thing will make her ill, but may also in­clude applying for a job, ask­ing for help or find­ing a part­ner. “Anx­ious peo­ple tend to catas­trophise and think, ‘I’m too scared to ask any­one out on a date, so I will never meet any­one and I’ll be alone for­ever,’ and those fears can es­ca­late.”

But if you’ve had a low mood for some time and it’s start­ing to af­fect your daily life, then that could point to de­pres­sion. “You can be clin­i­cally de­pressed and still get out of bed ev­ery morn­ing, go to work and take care of your kids, but de­pres­sion can se­verely af­fect your qual­ity of life. Take no­tice when you start not want­ing to do things that nor­mally give you plea­sure, such as see­ing friends or go­ing to par­ties.

You can get into a cy­cle where ev­ery­thing feels too hard and hope­less and you start ask­ing your­self what’s the point?”

Mary knows that feel­ing well. Although the sin­gle mother didn’t seek pro­fes­sional help for her anx­i­ety, she is vis­it­ing a coun­sel­lor to work out her de­pres­sion.

“Talk­ing to some­one ev­ery fort­night can get ex­pen­sive but it’s given me the ba­sic tools to help me work on it, such as ex­er­cis­ing, eat­ing well and get­ting enough sleep, as well as keep­ing so­cially ac­tive and talk­ing to friends when I start to feel down. At this stage, it seems to be work­ing.”

Karen says there are good ba­sic tests on the in­ter­net that can be used to de­ter­mine whether some­one is suf­fer­ing from anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion, or both.

“They’re a good start­ing point but my ad­vice is to reach in – do ev­ery­thing you pos­si­bly can to get your­self back on track. That in­cludes the usual strate­gies such as ex­er­cise and a bal­anced diet, but also hav­ing goals and things to look for­ward to. How­ever, if you find it’s still not work­ing and you can’t find your way back to the per­son you were pre­vi­ously, then I’d sug­gest seek­ing pro­fes­sional help.”

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