What would your life be like without anxiety and depression?

Depression v Anxiety?

I often have people coming to me saying "Thomas, I feel so anxious and depressed." this is where I find we tend to link the two things together. Some people assume they are the same, but that’s not the case. I find the best way to explain anxiety and depression is as follows:
  • Depression is dormant, low energy and motivation, lack of interest and wants to sleep a lot do nothing and nothing can happen – Stuck focusing on the past.
  • Anxiety is hyper-vigilant, busy fast mind, restless, manic, the meerkat pose (on guard) – Fights to get things done to make the situation better – Stuck focusing the future.

I have suffered with both over the years and can empathise with people that suffer, I have been in bed for days at a time, then busy rushing around doing things that are not that important, yet ignoring the things that are important.   The ironic thing is that the feelings you experience can actually fuel the condition itself, so it is always spiralling,  the less you do the worse you feel. It is like being on a roundabout with no exits.

As with all my work, I aim to reach the root cause the issue for the client so we can remove the feelings and emotions that are connected with that event, that programme.

 

When we experience different feelings and emotions, both the positive and the negative it is our brains way of sending us a message.  If we didn’t experience a various range of emotions, we would not know what we like, what we don’t like, we would not become aware of perceived threats. So these messages have a clear purpose.

 

When clients first come to me for help with anxiety or depression, they don’t necessarily  label it that way. In a society where mental health awareness is all over the media there can be an assumption that people know what anxiety is but its just not that simple. I often find myself trying to explain what anxiety or depression is and how this can feel so that we can recognise these feelings before we delve any deeper.  Usually people have refered themselves to Dr Google and found themselves with more questions than answers.

 

I do not set any unrealistic goals with my clients.   Through working together we deal with what is causing the discomfort, however moving forward it is only natural that we would continue to experience "everyday changes in mood" which is normal.

 

Typically, a first session with a client for anxiety or depression is focused on helping them to declutter their mind. Too often anxiety grows from trying to maintain busy lives and trying to keep those spinning plates from crashing. By creating a safe space with clients it allows them to relax and we can quickly start to make progress.

 

I remember my depression; not able to explain how I felt or even understand why I felt the way I did. The more I tried to speak to people about it, the more I felt there was something wrong with me, something more sinister. And the feeling that no one understood how i felt was lonely. This is a big part of my personal WHY I chose to become a therapist. I know how it feels. I know why it is important for clients to understand the root cause of their issues but also to provide them with tools to help them to cope in the future as life will always to continue to turn up.  

 

 

Comfort Zones

You have probably heard of the term ‘comfort zone’,  I prefer the term ‘familiar zone’, by this I mean it is a place where we feel in control, we can manage and can cope.  An example is someone that lives in chaotic environment, and then is placed into a quiet environment, they feel unsettled, just the same as a person from a quite place is unsettled in a busy environment. Have you ever felt like this?

 

Our senses act like those proximity senses that are on cars nowadays,  the closer the edge of our familiar zone we get, the stronger the feelings.  Generally, we have a default setting to hone in on the negative things, aka threats.  This is a safety system of the body that stretches back to our caveman/woman ancestors.  As much as we have evolved in many many ways, our primeval systems are pretty much the same.

 

I support my clients to understanding that these feelings are there for a purpose and help them navigate through life's ups and downs. As I mention, life will continue to turn up. 

Reactions create programmes

 

Throughout our lives, the mind and body is continually learning from how we react to perceived threats and how these then cause a feeling of discomfort.  It makes a record of that or maybe think of it as programme so if it encounters that event again or similar it sends that same feeling that is uncomfortable in a way to protect us from going through that experience.  That programme does not take into account logic or that we mature, grow, and change.

 

With most of my clients, there is an element of underlying anxiety and/or depression. The treatments or therapy I provide can address both or either depending on the need of each client.

 

Case Study – Anxiety around Public Speaking

 

Let me use a real-life example of how this old programming can continue to cause problems as an adult. I had a client who wanted help with their anxiety about public speaking because presenting at work was part of their job.  It was very much starting to hinder their career.

 

Our sub conscious’s job is there to protect us, keep us from harm.  For this client,  when we followed the feelings back to the root cause (the first time that they felt the feeling)  it took the client back to being in a school where they have been made to do a presentation in front of the class.  This turned out to be a very unpleasant event for the client for various reasons. 

 

What the subconscious (your mind & body) did was install a programme to help prevent that or similar from happening again in the future.  The mind generalises, for example, there are many different designs, sizes, shapes, layouts of a chair, however, we know that they are all a chair.   When we bring this process into feelings and emotions, our minds look for similar things like being in the spotlight, centre of attention. 

 

In the instance of this client, within a few sessions, we had worked through the event in school, released the negative feelings attached, leaving them feeling more in control and calm.  The client still had them "butterfly" feelings,  but understand that was his body's way of telling this important to him used this understanding to rebuild his confidence.

 

I always get asked, “how many sessions will I need?” Everyone has different experiences and so whilst I will tailor therapies for each client I can't tell you how many sessions upfront. What I can say is that it is weeks rather months.

 

How to recognise anxiety in you or someone you know

 

If some or all of these statements resonate with you and you are ready to take back some control and re-programme your subconscious then get in touch. You can call me or message me to arrange a free consultation.

  • I sometimes or often experience intense anxiety or worry and find it difficult to regain control.
  • I sometimes or often struggle to get a good nights sleep or can be easily irritated.
  • I sometimes or often feel frozen with fear and not knowing where to turn.
  • I sometimes or often avoid certain situations that cause me fear or panic.
  • I sometimes or often carry out repetitive behaviours to calm me down (i.e checking doors are locked, oven is off or counting/repeating words to yourself)

These are by no means exhaustive or meant to in any way diagnose anything, they are simply some statements that may help you to recognise how you feel. And to know, there is help available and that you can move passed this. 

 

It is hard to explain what it feels like not to have those feelings and I always like the way this client explained it to me. 

 

"Being able to face the things that usually triggered me to feel overwhlemed with anxiety is so freeing. You have literally removed any emotional reaction or attachment I had so that now, when I am faced with what was a usual trigger, I feel nothing but happy and proud that I no longer react the same way. It totally feels like we deleted that code from my brain. Thank you."

 

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