Treating Depression and Anxiety Disorders
In depression one feels low energy, life becomes tasteless and colourless, there is little joy, enthusiasm, hope, all seems futile, a repetition going nowhere. Depression is about great sadness.
Anxiety is about overwhelming fear and worry that one is about to lose control, that panic is imminent, that one is going crazy or even going to die. As a result, we create countless ways of trying to keep control.
In depression, we try to hide, withdraw, isolate, turn off the switch. In anxiety, we are compelled to make sure that we are on top of things, that nothing will happen to us, that all potential danger is kept at bay. Depression makes us go low; anxiety heightens all our defences. Both signify that the individual being is not right.
In psychotherapy, we have to work on two levels or more. We work with the debilitating symptoms that need addressing in themselves. We learn ways to acknowledge our emotions, understand and contain them and regulate, we learn to recognize triggers and prevent their escalation, we look into our dysfunctional thinking and behaving that often maintains our conditions, we learn new ways of relating such as putting boundaries, recognize our needs and get them met, and prioritise self-care.
The next level of work is to dig deeper and understand what is bringing the depressive and anxious response. Often in this process of looking beneath and beyond, we have to look at ourselves and become conscious of aspects of ourselves and our life that we have left behind and that we need to bring up and look at. We may look at past issues and also at what is missing and what we yearn for because these also may be cause for pain and fear, loneliness and despair.