This Matter of Literally Dealing With Anxiety, Depression, and Dark Times
One of the most ironic things often encountered by those suffering from anxiety and depression is that the causes of their depression can come directly from people close to or directly involved to them: family members, close friends, children, parents, relatives and spouses. It is ironic, in a sense, that the people we think can help them in the first place are the ones who could become the source of the problem.
But when did anxiety and depression actually begin? Many studies have shown that anxiety and depression are triggered by the negative things that occur in a person’s life. It could be the death of a loved one, abuse, separation and even illness.
There are those who believe that it is caused by severe or stressful problems and that the sufferers are often worried and reflect on these problems.
We all feel depressed and worried about some things in life, that’s normal. We worry about how to pay bills, get a better paid job, to pass the exam, for the safety of our loved ones who are living or working in a critical area and so on. While most of us are simply worried, some people tend to spend so much time worrying about things, so much that it can become an obsession.
It is always a challenge for a depressed person to stay positive. But it is an even greater challenge for those who want to help that person as well. When someone is depressed or in a state of anxiety, it is like being inside a dark tunnel.
Let’s face the fact that in a severe case of depression, as is often the case, it is not something that we can overcome by our own efforts. And as much as it can negatively affect many people to some extent in their lifetime, something must be done to break the destructive cycle of depression. Our intervention is important when we realize that someone is depressed because the more we leave that person to feel depressed, the harder it can be for him or her to overcome it.
The Effects of Depression on the Human Mind and Body
Depression is not a joke. It is real. It is a disorder of the brain that can lead to a great deal of emotional distress. According to one study, there are over three hundred million people affected by depression worldwide, and are growing.
In the past, depression is often referred to as a chemical imbalance in the brain resulting from a deficiency in neurotransmitters called serotonin. Serotonin, by the way, is what scientists call the “feel good” chemical that can influence mood, sleep, memory and other neurological processes.
But depression is more than just a chemical imbalance. It is much more complex than trying to find for its adequate cure. It is a disorder of the brain in one thing, and yet it may or may not be an infection or a specific brain disease in another.
It is actually difficult because depression not only causes physical symptoms but as a network of interacting symptoms, a symptom that causes another. When we are depressed, we are dealing with much more than what affects our mood. It’s normal that we can sometimes feel anxious, but when such a feeling can last more than two weeks then it could be one of the symptoms of depression.
How depression affects the human mind and body depends on the individual because each of us has different levels of tolerance and reactions to stressors. When someone is depressed and not treated for a long time, it can lead to drastic changes that affect the way a person thinks and feels. The worst is that it can complicate and can cause so much damage to the well-being of a person.
A depressed person suffers from chronic fatigue, low sexual desire, decreased appetite, increased body aches, restlessness, mood swings, feeling tired, feeling empty, and insomnia. And when that person can no longer bear the burden of despair, suicide can be a tempting option. Support from family and friends are needed in mild cases of depression before it can worsen leading to death.
Depression in children is much harder to detect because apart from the fact that they have no idea what these symptoms are in the first place, they do not know how to communicate about these symptoms. But how can parents say that their child is depressed?
When a child is sad, that does not mean that he is suffering from depression. Every normal child can feel sadness just as he can feel happiness too. But only when sadness becomes persistent so that it can already interfere with normal social activities, school performance, interests and relationships with the people around him, then he may have suffered from a depressive illness.
So what are these symptoms of depression that we need to watch out for our children? Observe the following symptoms: when a child is irritable, has trouble concentrating, changes sleep patterns, changes eating habits, withdraws from society, feels tired at all times and is suicidal.
But looking at the symptoms alone is not as accurate as there are children who may be showing different symptoms at different times and in different settings. Children born to parents who have suffered from depression are at greater risk of being depressed. We have to take into account, however, that although depression is a serious illness, it is also treatable.
What Is Anxiety and How Can It Be Linked to Depression?
Although anxiety and depression may be showing similar symptoms, they are not the same. Anxiety disorders can be triggered by the abuses a person has gone through. They can range from simple intimidation to verbal and physical abuse.
And these abuses, according to scientists, can inflict lasting physical damage on brain structures. There is no exact term for what anxiety really is but it can be something that results from a certain style of behavior that can affect the normal functioning of a person.
Anxiety is not bad in a sense that it is something that we can all experience at some point in our life. But only when it disrupts our normal functioning as a person we may consider it a disorder. The good news is that anxiety is treatable, even without medication.
Except in some severe cases, one can seek medical help. But even so, with medication, it can’t guarantee a perfect cure. The best thing that can be done, however, is to find for these underlying factors that lead to such disorder and direct them well. And while consulting an anxiety trainer or a counselor is highly recommended, anyone who has personally successfully overcome anxiety in their life can bring the best results.
The worst cases of anxiety disorder, according to scientists, can be traced back to infancy. We learn in science that a human brain does not develop completely until after birth. Because of this, a person’s personality and cognitive abilities, including self-awareness, take years to develop and develop differently in each person.
The way our brain is connected depends to a large extent on our experience as a child, so that when a person grew up in a hostile or socially unhealthy environment, his brain development is affected or altered. Cases of physical abuse in early childhood, sexual assault or even domestic violence, contribute greatly to the child’s development of psychological disorders with lasting effects.
An individual with anxiety disorder may feel overly scared or terrified, something normal people will never experience. When anxiety disorder strikes, a person may suddenly feel terrified for no valid reason and cares much about things that do not need to worry about in the first place.
It is anxiety disorder when the mechanism of fight or flight of the brain activates even when there is no real threat. And what can be worse is that many people experience anxiety and depression at the same time. A depressed person cares less about anything, while someone with anxiety disorder, on the other hand, cares too much about everything. Can you imagine what kind of hell it is to experience both?
We must be careful in our dealings with other people because we will not know if we can be victims of any form of abuse in the same way that we can inflict the same on others that can have a lasting effect on our brain. Depression and anxiety are not the same, but those suffering from depression may also experience symptoms similar to those who have anxiety disorder. And while a person suffering from depression and anxiety disorder should have to face such a tremendous challenge, they can be treated together.
Why We Are Not Happy
Someone once said that the more we chase happiness, the more it seems to slip through our fingers. Do you agree with that? Do we just have to stop caring about the things we think can make us happy because they can disappear when they are pursued?
But what is, in fact, happiness? Is there a standard definition of happiness for what it really is? Is happiness a choice and can we choose to be happy?
Perhaps the best way to define happiness is to define it for what it is not. It is not happiness when it is seen as something that only falls in the mouth, like a ripe fruit. Happiness is not something that we can depend on other people.
It is not something we have to wait for. It is not permanent. It’s not about the absence of problems. It can’t be found in material things. It’s not about, most importantly, having everything we want.
When we are at the lowest point of our life, it is so difficult to be happy. It is so difficult to stay positive, to have hope. We can feel that there is no way out.
But we must not forget that each person has within him the power to direct or govern his own life, no matter where he comes from and no matter what his life may be. Yes, each of us has the power to make decisions, and to choose. Each of us has the power of choice.
We can choose to do what is right and make ourselves look good. We can choose to be happy, sad, or bitter. We can choose to see, in the darkness that we are walking, the light at the end of the tunnel.
Happiness, therefore, is a decision and we can decide, by ourselves, to be happy. We must take advantage of all the opportunities that can lead to our happiness because, like it or not, we are as happy as we decide to be. And as much as it is also an option, we are the only person who can make us happy.
There Is Hope
John once asked his friend this question: “Is there life after death?” John’s friend ain’t really sure if he was just pretending so he could know what his opinion was on the subject or not, but he answered his question with a question, though: “What do you think?”
“I do not know,” John said, “I mean I’m not really sure because I have not yet met someone who goes to the other side and came back proclaiming that everything was true.”
“If you are convinced that there is no life after death,” John’s friend said, “then why continue to do good things and obey the law?” John was silent and it seemed as if he had thought deeply about what his friend had just said. “If you believed that there is no life after death,” he went on to say, “then why not do everything you want, as long as you like, as long as you are alive, knowing that this is what all you will have, after all.”
When we are in a state of despair and hopelessness, it is so difficult for us to find some source of hope that can change our situation for the better. We feel that we are in a dead end and that nothing can change the fact that there is simply no hope of getting to the other side because we believe that this is all we will have. But there is hope!
We can find hope even when there seems to be none that can be found. Is not this, we might ask ourselves, a silly idea or a useless cause? Does it make any sense at all to stand firm when we are breaking up and are about to give up?
But the big question is HOW? Some people said that we have to struggle through some bad days to win the best days of our life. And there are those who say that we are given this life, no matter how it turns out, because we know how to live it.
We have to find out what we want to expect in any situation, and in our life. All these pains and misfortunes that we can experience are real, but so is hope. What we can do, at least, is to immerse ourselves in that hope.
John should not have asked his friend whether or not there is life after death, but whether or not we are alive before death. Because to live is, in spite of everything, to hope, and always finding time for the things that make us feel happy to be alive in the first place. We must have the courage and faith to walk through all these darknesses and find the light at the end.
The Ultimate Cure
Sometimes what can make us sick begins in the mind, in the way we think. Our thoughts are powerful and we can use this power to either make ourselves feel better or something that can only destroy us. A lot of people got sick when they could have been just fine in the first place.
But we must focus on things that, in addition to promoting health, can also prolong life. We must put our will power in good use to activate the release of the positive energy necessary for the maintenance of our health. If we can gather the way we think positively about our illnesses, it can be a powerful means to resist and overcome the anxiety and depression we are suffering.
Although it may be easier said than done, for the most part, if we are only willing, we can do much for our healing and recovery. We must begin to think that no one wants us to get sick and it is everyone’s desire to feel better and to be happy. We must decide, therefore, to be well.
We must rise above our own darkness and pain and become active in things we are capable of doing. We can console ourselves by accepting the fact that no one is immune to pain and disappointment, including us. Life can be difficult, but we must not allow the burdens of life to become heavier by continually anticipating problems.
This does not mean, of course, that we should stop asking for the help of others. We can seek medical advice when the need arises. We do not need to feel that we are alone to handle all this.
We can make an appointment to see a doctor if we feel it is too unbearable. But even the best doctor in the world can never underestimate the healing power that a mind can do. Yes, we can heal ourselves by fixing our minds on joyful things.
Despite medical advances that have influenced medicine in many ways, however, doctors are still those who can’t cure each person. But changing the way we think and adhering to the laws of nature can help more than most doctors imagine. We can’t always rely only on science to cure our illnesses.
What science can do best is to group us all together when diseases must be treated individually, since each person is unique and that the diseases we are carrying are connected to our hearts. To know the disease and help people, including ourselves, we have to find out where it begins, since the disease never comes without a cause.
Most people, more often than not, when they are under attack of anxiety and depression, do not bother to look for the cause of their illness. Instead, they will immediately turn to prescribed medications according to a medical advice when making a change in their unhealthy habits is what they need. What can be alarming is that when we do not get an immediate benefit, we are given another medication, stronger than the previous one, and so on.
But how can we convince people to believe that drugs do not cure the disease? Of course, drugs can sometimes afford the actual relief, and we may feel that we have been healed as a result of its use. But that was only happening because nature has an abundance of these healing properties to correct the condition that might have caused the disease in the first place.
We can heal ourselves, with or without the use of drugs. In most cases, medications can only offer temporary relief by changing the form and location of the disease and can be harmful when used over a long period of time. We can even become dependent on the drugs that are used to treat us.
But let those who are sick or suffering from anxiety and depression in particular to get in close contact with nature. We must keep our environment clean, cheerful, and naturally beautiful. Nothing can be more beneficial to the sick than to be in a quiet and rustic environment where there is plenty of sunlight, fresh air, and freely breathe the fragrance of flowers.
The more alive and joyful our environment, the more hopeful we will become. On the contrary, if we lock ourselves up in the penumbra of the prison we are creating, we will become more restless and somber. Therefore, we must surround ourselves with the beautiful things of nature where we can see the colorful flowers that grow everywhere and listen to the melody of the songs of the birds.
In this way, we can divert our attention from what makes us sick to what can be a source of pure delight. We should rejoice in all that is good and in what we can give not only to ourselves but also to other people. Relief is for those who do not let their problems control them, as well as those who never give up.
We can be healed by looking away from the dark image, which may be imaginary, for a heart that is joyful and a contented mind can bring health to the body and strength to the soul. We are free to choose what power we will have, through our mind, to rule over us. The healing we can bring to ourselves will make us whole again.
Whatever difficulties we encounter, or the trials with which we have been through many, that can bring the best or the worst of us, someone within us longs to be free. Someone inside us is working to restore parts of ourselves that succumb to a terrible illness or disease. Someone within us believes that we can be released from the dark tunnel of anxiety and depression.
Making the Most of Every Moment
Our time here on earth is short but we can make it sweet and meaningful by making every moment count. We must begin by asking this question: What kind of life do we want to live? We can spend a good deal of time thinking about ourselves and the life we want to live, and yet most of us have barely begun to understand the true object of life.
Sometimes we are filled with great visions that we can do something incredible, that we can make a difference and change the world. And there are also times when we’re so caught up in fear and self-doubt that we think we’re not enough, until it gets to the point that we are afraid that we will not have anything to share with the world. We realized that we are falling easily into the notion that our happiness and satisfaction lie in the realization of one of those visions.
But the work to which we are called does not require wealth, fame, social position, or great ability to help us achieve the things we think can bring us joy and fulfillment. Yes, we can change the world by changing ourselves first. Serving as an example or a beacon of light for others is perhaps the best way we can do for a change we want to see in the world.
We should not be discouraged by every failure, since it is not permanent, nor will we be discouraged by all the terrible things that happen around the world. All these things only disappear when their time expires, leaving only what is truly important.
We have to see every moment of every day as a gift. We must work happily, be full of hope, and always grateful. Nothing around us is going to change for the better until we take the necessary step to start it with ourselves.
But how can we make the most of every moment when we’re sick? How we can feel better about ourselves when anxiety and depression are keeping us from the person we dream of becoming? How can we enjoy life to the fullest when people label us as terminally ill individuals?
When we are in a depressed state of mind, we can easily feel as if we are abandoned, desperate, and helpless. We can feel of our illness as a living nightmare. We can feel that we are being slowly swallowed by it and we have this fear that it is something we can’t cope with.
Just as happiness is something that we must decide on for ourselves and an option to choose from, so is enjoying life. We must decide that our life is worth enjoying, and it should be so. We must practice gratitude and avoid as much self-harm as possible.
We must recognize how strong we are and can be. We must console ourselves with words of encouragement and hope, without which we can do nothing. We must gather the energies that we can put in good use. We all want a better life, but we often lack the courage and resolve to break with the bondage we ourselves create.
Do we have reason to be thankful at all times, grateful even when there are apparent difficulties in our way? Struggling with anxiety and depression is like walking in a tunnel of total darkness, may we be the light that shines to brighten lives darkened by such a shadow.
Understanding Our Sickness, and Ourselves
Why do we get sick? Where does disease and illness come from? Can we really heal ourselves? These are probably just some of the many questions we can ask when we, or our loved ones, ar in the midst of a serious illness.
Understanding our own disease can be a path towards understanding ourselves much better. An illness is never without what makes it. But although there are many factors that lead to our disease, one thing is certain: we get sick when we ignore the laws of health.
Preserving health is to carefully preserve our life force and maintain the delicate mechanism of our body in order. We must be aware that we are, in fact, astonishing beings of energy from which the life force can enrich and feed us continuously.
We must take care of our energy system, since our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being depends a lot on how it works. Our bodies and mind have a natural form of healing, they are designed that way. In order to preserve good health, therefore, we need our entire energy system to continue to flow in a balanced way.