Being someone who has lived with depression for many years since fourteen years old and now in to my late fifties, at times the two things seem to live hand in hand. My depression thrives from times when I’m most anxious but not exclusively and not always.
Many people associate anxiety with stress but for me they are quite distinct and separate. I have learned to identify that not all stress is necessarily ‘bad’ and therefore I tend to accept that anxiety or rather an unknown apprehension in my life, is more destructive to me than direct forms of stress because it sneaks in sometimes unannounced.
Anxiety is a trigger or an early warning symptom for my depression.
My definition of anxiety is a physical feeling which maybe manifests itself as heart palpitations (you’re convinced you are having a heart attack or foreboding feeling of serious illness), not being able to sleep, irregular sleep regime, upset stomach which generates acid burn and reflux, upset bowels and a general unwell demeanour without being able to pinpoint why.
Depression, is defined as a prolonged period of acute sadness. Nothing cheers you up, you find life harder, you have a general lack of drive or purpose and you may even question your own purpose and reason for being here. Depression can affect your thought processes whereby normally you might be able to climb out of that state, instead the mind works in on itself and makes it much worse for the individual to succeed in any personal fight against the illness.
I have learned the hard way after several bad years of depression where I contemplated taking my own life, that I needed to find my triggers and develop a coping strategy.
Now twenty years on from my darkest day when I thought suicide was the only way, life is sweet!
I had medical help initially from my GP who prescribed antidepressant medication and I also received counselling. I took up Yoga to keep physically active and through that I became more aware of the calm offered to me by meditation. At the beginning of every Yoga session the instructor offered 5 to 10 minutes of teaching breathing exercises and at the end, fifteen minutes of deep relaxation and meditation. This, I have later learned, was an introduction not only to meditation but to a form of self-hypnosis.
I have recently received several treatments of hypnotherapy which has helped me immensely to remain anxiety and depression free. At times, maybe things collide in my world, but at the first onset of noticing anxiousness, I intensify my meditation sessions and seek more hypnotherapy to help reaffirm my goal of staying happier and healthier.
Steven Bailey- Freelance Writer