COMMON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

There are times when emotions become overwhelming and it’s hard to cope with life.

You may have depression if feelings of low mood and sadness last for several weeks and negatively effect your home and work life and your relationships. At the mild end, depression includes lack of interest and motivation and feelings of tiredness and sadness. At its most severe, you feel life is not worth living and think of and act on suicidal thoughts.

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Depression is not the same as sadness or grief due to a bereavement

When you lose a loved one, your job, your home, your country, it is normal to feel sadness even for an extended period of time. This does not mean you are depressed. Even when grieving, you can feel moments of comfort and contentment, laugh over happy memories of deceased loved-ones or past times. With depression, you remain flat and a low mood persists without any positive feelings to lift it. Grief comes in waves; depression is an unchanging low.

Symptoms of depression include:

o  Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
o  Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
o  Loss of energy or increased fatigue
o  Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
Feeling worthless or guilty
o  Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
Thoughts of death or suicide

If some of the above match how you are feeling, you should go to your GP. You may be given medication depending on your symptoms. Counselling is an effective treatment alongside anti-depressant medication.

Anxiety

It’s normal to feel anxious, worried or fearful in certain situations. These feelings are our bodies natural ‘fight or flight response’ to a perceived dangerous or risky situation.

However, when you begin to feel anxious more frequently and don’t know what is triggering it, then it can become a problem. Anxiety shows in a variety of ways. Including changes in your body, emotional state and behaviour.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

o  Feeling tired, on edge, restless or irritable
o  Feeling a sense of dread
Sleep difficulties
Lack of concentration
o  Inability to make decisions
o  Feeling sick, dizzy, sweaty, short of breath, shaky
An irregular or very strong, fast heart-rate
o  Avoidance of situations and people that worry you
 Checking and seeking reassurance

There are different kinds of anxiety, including generalised anxiety, panic attacks, phobias and obsessions. People with severe anxiety can have regular and debilitating panic attacks or be diagnosed with a condition like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD.) If your symptoms of anxiety persist, speak to your GP. Medication can help especially when combined with counselling where we can work out the causes of your anxiety and ways to manage it.