I’m going to break down these three concepts before connecting the dots for a better understanding for you wonderful readers.
First, let’s talk about depression.
Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by a continuous or chronic debilitating mood or loss of interest in activities a person used to love or engage in causing significant damage in daily life. It usually occurs from compounded event or circumstances, it is not something that happened over night. Depression can be accompanied by loss of energy, loss of appetite or over eating, loss of sleep or oversleeping, feeling of worthlessness, suicidal or constant death thoughts.
Then we have anxiety.
Anxiety is the excessive and constant fear or worry about situations or activities. While anxiety can be normal in situations such as taking an exam, completing a task etc., it’s also considered unhealthy in excess. It’s usually accompanied by rapid breathing, profuse sweating, a fast heartrate and sometimes panic attacks.
Lastly, we have stress.
Stress is a feeling of physical and (or) emotional tension which usually comes from activities, events or thoughts that leave you uncomfortable and frustrated. Like anxiety, stress can also be accompanied by profuse sweating, insomnia, loss of appetite and also a loss of concentration.
While these three are different feelings, I’m going to talk about them together as a whole and the damaging effects they can have not only on our minds and mental states but to our physical bodies.
As humans, it’s absolutely normal that we face situations that are beyond our control. However, sometimes our mind and body go into panic mode whenever there is a slight problem or alteration in a normal event and it can take a lot of self control and determination to stay calm in uncompromising situations. Having said that, it is completely normal to worry when a situation beyond our control happens.
The major problem is when the act of worrying is done so excessively to the point that stress morphs into paranoia, fears about your daily activity set in and slowly anxiety comes along with loss of interest in you day to day activities. It’s then possible that depression is close by. Remember I stated earlier that depression is a process that doesn’t just happen overnight but takes place gradually. Stress and anxiety can be stepping stones towards depression, as they have similar symptoms.
Below are some factors that can contribute to depression, anxiety, and stress:
- Environmental factors. Constant exposure to certain circumstances can go a long way in the mental health of a person. Exposure to violence, abuse, neglect or bullying can cause the following mental problems in a person.
- Personal nature. People with a certain tendency towards low self esteem, negative thoughts, pessimism and people who are easily overwhelmed by worry and stress are most likely to suffer from the following issues.
- Trait/hereditary. Research has shown that depression could be passed on through genes or upbringing and that a person could inherit anxiety or depression from a family member.
How can a person with one or all three mentioned mental problems be helped?
- Psychotherapy. This is a communication session that gets down to the root of the problem by helping the individual recognize negative thoughts or actions with the aim of replacing them with positive thoughts or actions.
- Medication. Seeking medical help is one way to get out of an unhealthy state of mind. The use of antidepressants should be a last resort if other methods aren’t working. Medication is most effective when used in addition to therapy.
- Friends and Family. A good way to lift anxious or depressed spirits is to get the help of supportive family and friends who can be trusted to communicate and give good life advice, without making the problem worse.
In conclusion depression, anxiety and stress are mental health issues which unfortunately are very rampant amongst us today. We urge you to seek help if you start noticing any unhealthy or unhappy patterns in your state of mind.
Jasmina Sodamade is a 23 year old writer and mom. She enjoys writing and creating stories and loves to sing during her free time.
Featured image by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash