Take Some Steps On Your Own
Get organized. “Less clutter in your physical surroundings, email inbox, and to-do bucket will help your mind be more at ease,” Braslow says. You donât have to tackle it all at once. Make a plan to work on one area at a time.
Make new goals. Is there something youâve always wanted to do, or a place you want to go? Create a step-by-step, realistic plan to make it happen.
Do something meaningful. Get involved in an activity that feels important to you. It may be athletic, political, spiritual, or a social cause where you can volunteer. Look for something that gives you a sense of purpose.
Be creative. Direct your focus into something constructive. Rediscover your strengths. If you have a long-lost talent or interest, dive back into it. Braslow suggests trying poetry, music, photography, or design.
Read a good book. It’s a great way to relax. Thereâs even research that shows that reading books on spirituality or psychology may boost your mood.
It Completely Sucks But There Is Hope
Anxiety and depression have a way of shrinking your world. The first steps to expanding your life again are accepting that it is OK to not feel OK. It will take work, but you will heal and, one day, you will reconnect with how much you matter. Matthew Emerzian, CEO and founder of Every Monday Matters, a not-for-profit organization that helps people with self-worth
Some interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Living With is a guide to navigating conditions that affect your mind and body. Each month, HuffPost Life will tackle very real issues people live with by offering different stories, advice and ways to connect with others who understand what its like. In May, were covering anxiety in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Got an experience youd like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
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Anxiety, depression and stress just about everyone feels these emotions at some time. All are common reactions to lifes challenges, from losing a loved one to going through a divorce. On the surface they can look a lot alike, but there are distinct differences.
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To Cope With Anxiety And Depression Try These Tips:
Try diaphragmatic and square breathing techniques.
Diaphragmatic breathing involves taking a deep breath from your diaphragm. Your stomach should expand as you breathe in. Square breathing techniques involve taking a deep breath in for five counts, holding this deep breath for five counts, exhaling for five counts and finally holding for five counts before repeating. The entire time should be spent focusing on your breath versus the stressful event.
Challenge your thoughts.
This involves not judging situations good or bad and focusing on what you’re feeling and identifying what’s in your control. Your primary areas of control are acknowledgement of your emotions, feelings and your reaction to stressful situations. It is also important to focus on the facts of the situation. Sometimes your anxious and depressive thoughts are not always based in facts. Facts are 100% absolute not assumptions.
- How would I like the situation to turn out?
- What are the facts?
Then identify small, specific goals to get to your desired outcome. If you fail to acknowledge your emotions and feelings and attach a negative thought to a situation, the outcome of that situation will result in avoidance and increased anxiety and depression.
Focus on the facts.
Challenge yourself to find the facts in a situation and acknowledge whatever emotions and feelings the situation reveals. Doing so increases the likelihood you’ll be able to cope effectively with a stressful situation.
Is It Anxiety Or Depression
If you often feel anxious or depressed for no apparent reason, you may have an anxiety disorder, depression, or both. Its not unusual for someone to suffer from both conditions at the same time. In fact, just about half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Depression and anxiety are serious but treatable illnesses. The same medications may be used to ease symptoms of each condition. The two also share similar symptoms, like nervousness, irritability, insomnia and problems concentrating, but each has its own causes.
Anxiety: If you have an anxiety disorder, you may experience:
- Fear, panic or anxiety in situations where most people would not feel anxious or threatened
- A constant nagging worry or anxiousness
- Sudden panic or anxiety attacks without any clear trigger
Untreated, these disorders can limit your ability to work, maintain relationships or even leave the house.
Depression: When youre depressed, it affects just about everything in your life how you think, feel, behave and function. You may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Lack of motivation or interest in life in general
- Low energy level
- Feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks and personal interactions
If these feelings last longer than two weeks, and interfere with daily activities like spending time with friends, caring for your family or going to work, most likely youre experiencing a major depressive episode.
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Anxiety And Depression In Children: Get The Facts
Many children have fears and worries, and may feel sad and hopeless from time to time. Strong fears may appear at different times during development. For example, toddlers are often very distressed about being away from their parents, even if they are safe and cared for. Although some fears and worries are typical in children, persistent or extreme forms of fear and sadness could be due to anxiety or depression. Learn about anxiety and depression in children.
How Are Adhd And Anxiety Connected
- ADHD can mimic anxiety
- Anxiety can occur at the same time as ADHD, but develop independently
- Anxiety can be caused by ADHD
ADHD and anxiety also share some of the same symptoms, which can make it difficult to tell the two conditions apart. Restlessness and difficulty relaxing, as well as difficult focusing or concentrating can be symptoms of both anxiety and ADHD.
About 50 percent of adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. Like with depression, anxiety can develop alongside ADHD or it can be caused by ADHD. ADHD can cause anxiety, for example, when risk-taking behaviors lead to poor outcomes, such as financial problems, problems at work or relationship issues. The impulsiveness associated with ADHD can also lead to negative outcomes that can be overwhelming and lead to anxiety.
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Just Say No To Anxiety And Fear
2. Worry vs. Problem Solving
Worrying is repetitive and unproductive, but it can often feel like youre working through problems. Real problem solving, in contrast, is a focused way of finding solutions. When youre worrying today, figure out whether theres an actual problem to solve or if your mind is simply spinning its wheels. Then aim to redirect your mental energy toward productive problem-solving.
3. Find Strength
When you find yourself hoping for an easy, problem-free day, shift your focus to how youll respond. Say to yourself, May I find strength to meet every challenge. May I find courage to face whatever comes my way. May I find grace in all I do. Problems are inevitable. How you handle them is up to you.
4. Define Your Best Life
When youre tempted to avoid something today because of anxiety, ask yourself what kind of life you want to have lived. One defined by fear and avoidance? One where you played it safe, even when it meant missing out on things you cared about? Or a life of defying fear and inertia to do what mattered to you? Plan to take one action today that your future self will thank you for.
5. Take the Wheel
6. Love Conquers Fear
7. Change the Conversation
8. Face Your Fears
9. Move Through Procrastination
10. Maximize Outdoor Time
11. Practice Kindness
12. Can I Open to This?
How Is Depression Different From Anxiety
Depression is different from anxiety. Rather than feeling anxious and nervous, feelings of gloom and melancholy overwhelm. Feeling sad or down after experiencing a loss or disappointment is an emotion that everyone feels at one time or another. But when low mood and sadness is severe and lasts for long periods of time, it could be due to depression.
There are two main types of depression: Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder . While the signs and symptoms of both are similar, the intensity and duration differ. Symptoms of both Major Depressive Disorder and dysthymia include:
- Sleep disruptions
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How It Feels To Have Anxiety And Depression At The Same Time
Depression and anxiety each have their own sets of symptoms and challenges. And as if living with one of the conditions isnt frustrating enough, research also shows that its not unusual to experience the two of them simultaneously.
Unfortunately, having both anxiety and depression together is not an uncommon thing nearly half of those diagnosed with one are also diagnosed with the other, said Chad Perman, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Bellevue, Washington.
Both mental health conditions can be managed through therapy, medication or both. But while treatment makes it entirely possible to live a healthy, fulfilling life, that doesnt make the experience any less valid or challenging at times.
HuffPost reached out to people living with both depression and anxiety as well as experts who treat the conditions to explain how it really feels to live with them on a daily basis. Take a look at them below.
Finding The Right Resources To Answer Your Questions And Meet Your Complex Needs
Just as anxiety and depression tend to be worse when occurring together, treatment of these disorders is most effective when both conditions are addressed at the same time.1
Hartgrove Behavioral Health System provides integrated care that treats these and other mental health issues simultaneously. As part of our comprehensive care, medical specialists and therapists work together to help bring healing and balance in our patients lives a feeling of being in charge of their inner self again.
2 How to Cope With Anxiety and Depression. Everyday Health, August 27, 2015.
3 Anxiety Disorders. National Institute on Mental Health, March 2016.
4 Depression. National Institute on Mental Health, October 2016.
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You Can Care About Everything And Nothing At The Same Time
Youre continually trying to serve two masters and rarely finding any peace inside your own head. At times, it feels like no matter what you do, you just cant win: Depression makes it hard to get out of bed some mornings, while anxiety keeps you worrying about the ever-growing to-do list piling up around you as you lay in bed. Depression whispers that youre worthless, and that nothing really matters anxiety screams that youre not keeping up, or that something awful is about to happen and that everything, even the smallest of decisions, matters immensely. Perman
Stress In Children And Adolescents
Stress can be triggered in children when they experience something new or unexpected.
For young children, tensions at home such as domestic abuse, separation of parents or the death of a loved one are common causes of stress. School is another common reason making new friends or taking exams can make children feel overwhelmed.
As children grow older, their sources of stress can increase as they experience bigger life changes, such as new groups of friends, more schoolwork and increased access to social media and wider news in the world. Many teens are stressed by social issues such as climate change and discrimination.
It is important to remember that children are like sponges and absorb whats going on around them. They notice when their parents are stressed and may react to that emotional state, whatever it is.
Children and adolescents dont always have the emotional intelligence or vocabulary to express themselves fully. While younger children may lack an understanding of what is truly happening because of their age and level of development. To them, a new or different situation just feels different, uncomfortable, unpredictable, even scary.
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When Should I Go To The Emergency Room For An Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can resemble symptoms of a heart attack or another health emergency. If youre experiencing an anxiety attack for the first time, or youre concerned in any way about your health, call 911 or head to the nearest ER. A healthcare provider will check you for serious or life-threatening conditions.
If youre having an anxiety attack and unsure whether you should head to an ER or not, its better to go. Healthcare professionals can make sure youre OK and give you any necessary treatment.
Anxiety And Depression In Children
Find information and resources for parents on how to help children cope
Many children have fears and worries, and may feel sad and hopeless from time to time. Strong fears may appear at different times during development. For example, toddlers are often very distressed about being away from their parents, even if they are safe and cared for. Although fears and worries are typical in children, persistent or extreme forms of fear and sadness could be due to anxiety or depression. Because the symptoms primarily involve thoughts and feelings, they are sometimes called internalizing disorders.
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What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder
With GAD, you may feel extreme and unrealistic worry and tension even if theres nothing to trigger these feelings. Most days, you may worry a lot about various topics, including health, work, school and relationships. You may feel that the worry continues from one thing to the next.
Physical symptoms of GAD can include restlessness, difficulty concentrating and sleeping problems.
How Are Stress Anxiety And Depression Connected
Anxiety and depression can be caused by several things, including:
- Sleep disturbances, like difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning
Advanced signs of a major depressive disorder include:
- Feeling down or depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Diminished interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Significant changes in your weight
- Difficulty with sleep, like difficulty falling, staying asleep or sleeping too much
- Fatigue or frequently feeling tired
- Difficulty concentrating
- Distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning
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Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety In Kids
Anxiety symptoms can be complicated and may even arise long after a stressful event. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms:
- Shortness of breath, headaches or feeling faint
- A racing heart and sometimes high blood pressure
- Feeling fidgety, trembling or feeling weak in the legs
- Feeling sick in your stomach cramps, diarrhoea or frequent visits to the bathroom
- Having trouble sleeping or a reduced appetite
- Dry mouth, excessive sweating or feeling hot.
Emotional and mental:
- Struggling to focus on things lack of concentration
- Feeling panicky, nervous or on edge
- Feeling overwhelmed or a sense of dread
- Feeling out of control in a situation
- Feeling tired and grumpy
Anxiety feels different for everyone. It is natural to feel more or less anxious than others about the same situation.
Anxious children tend to need constant reassurance from their parents and caregivers. Because they may also be quiet and eager to please, their condition can be easy to miss. Be alert to the signs of anxiety so you can seek help and care for your child early if needed.
Allow Yourself To Feel What Youre Feeling
Depression and anxiety are medical conditions, not the result of failure or weakness, and theyre absolutely not your fault.
Without a doubt, the unwanted emotions they cause can lead to plenty of distress. But knowing depression and anxiety result from underlying causes and triggers, not anything you did or didnt do, can promote self-compassion instead of criticism or self-punishment.
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What Happens If I Dont Get Treatment For My Child With An Anxiety Disorder
Getting your child help for an anxiety disorder can improve their development and self-esteem. But untreated anxiety disorders can harm:
- Family relationships.
- School performance.
- Social functioning.
Your child may also end up with more serious mental and physical health problems. Fortunately, there are several treatments for anxiety disorders. The right treatment can help your child manage their symptoms and feel their best.
Recognizing The Signs High
The signs of high-functioning anxiety and depression can get hidden within seemingly reasonable justifications. Even though one might be holding down a job, going to school, or in a healthy relationship, he or she experiences disruptions in life activities that may not be necessarily obvious. Some of these hidden disruptions can be seen in behaviors such as declining social invitations with the excuse that work has been busy or stressful, sleeping more or sleeping less, and an overreliance on coping mechanisms like excessive exercise, overeating, or overindulging in alcohol or illicit substances.
Other signs of high-functioning anxiety or depression are:
- Pervasive self-criticism
- Excessive worry or guilt over past or future decisions
- An Inability slow down or to feel real joy
The symptoms of high-functioning anxiety and depression, like other forms of anxiety and depression, only get worse over time when not treated.
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Depression In Children And Adolescents
Depression can show up in children and adolescents as prolonged periods of unhappiness or irritability. It is quite common among older children and teenagers, but often goes unrecognized.
Some children might say they feel unhappy or sad. Others might say they want to hurt or even kill themselves. Children and adolescents who experience depression are at greater risk of self-harm, so such responses should always be taken seriously.
Just because a child seems sad, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have depression. But if the sadness becomes persistent or interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork or family life, it may mean they need support from a mental health professional.
Remember, only a doctor or a mental health professional can diagnose depression, so dont hesitate to ask your health-care provider for advice if you are worried about your child.