Living with depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety are subjects that people tend to shy away from talking about. However these conditions affect 3 million Australians right now – it’s more common than you think. I want to talk to you about how you can deal with and manage these health challenges.
Know the symptoms
Sometimes people don’t realise they’re suffering with depression and anxiety, but here’s what you should look out for:
- Low mood
- Tiredness/low energy levels
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Difficulty sleeping and waking up very early in the mornings
- Change in appetite- increased or decreased
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Overwhelming feelings of anxiety or panic attacks- physical symptoms include sweaty palms/hyperventilating/palpitations/chest pains
See your GP!
I would say that pretty much every day of my working week I will see a patient who is suffering from depression or anxiety – as I mentioned above, IT’S MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK.
I want you to know that it’s ok to feel this way whether there is an obvious cause for the way you feel or whether there isn’t (more often than not there is no obvious cause).
I always tell my patients this, and usually the hardest part is admitting it to yourself. The worst thing you can do is bottle your feelings up, so please don’t- I’m sure you’ve all heard the old saying a problem shared is a problem halved!
Once you’ve taken that first big step and seen your GP to access the mountain of help that is out there for you, you are on the road to recovery!
Medications and psychotherapy
These are the mainstay of treatment that your GP can offer you, and it is totally up to you which path you go down- you can choose either or both, although most people find the combination of treatments has most success.
There are a number of different medications you can try, and your GP should offer you the one that is most suited to you.
There are also different types of psychotherapy, but the most common ones used are counselling and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). Your GP should talk to you more about this during your appointment. Don’t forget that Medicare subsidise 10 sessions for you to see a psychologist/counsellor every 12 months- so don’t feel that your financial situation will stop you from accessing this.
Self help includes accessing websites such as beyondblue.org.au which is one I often advise my patients to have a look at, but the other aspect of self help is talking to your family and friends. They know you better than anyone, and they are the ones who will be there for you no matter what day or time it is!
To sum up…
Remember that it’s OK to feel like this, and please don’t think you have to face these conditions alone- there is a mountain of help out there, whether you choose your GP, medications, psychotherapy, self help websites, or simply talking to your family and friends.