We all have the potential for stress occasionally, it is a natural 'fight or flight' response.
Think about it, you're walking down the street at night, feeling vulnerable and you hear footsteps behind you, getting closer.
To begin with you start walking a little faster, you don't want to turn around because, you don't want them to know you're concerned? But then, if the footsteps increase in speed too, it feels like they are aware of you, you worry of their intent.
What happens next? because you're focusing on this, it gets bigger in your imagination and you may feel a little stressed out? You're brain is giving you a warning to your whole body, you nervously start breathing quicker, entering the shallow breathing stage - and panic sets in...
Because of the shallow breathing, you are not getting the oxygen to your brain, which may make you feel feint, and breathless and unwell? And at this point, you cannot concentrate on anything!
Then...the footsteps really come closer, you heart is in your mouth and you hear a male kindly voice saying 'Excuse me you dropped this'
And all of that, was just projected in your mind? or imagination? This just shows how the mind can affect the whole body.
Now some people will get stressed out over taking exams,
or taking a driving test
Or anything that you have worked towards, or 'put on the spot' to perform in that short space of time, as if your life depended on it!
It could mean either facing a resit of exams, or spending your near future living at home with your parents, or going out independently into the world of university and having an awesome, interesting time! There's no doubt this is so pressurised for you it can affect you're whole future!
All those years of work towards a future, yes this is a big thing!
So why are you focusing on the one negative thing, what the girl who hates you said, or those self doubts that you can do this, thinking I'll never do this...
Or you may just 'feel low sometimes'? and you don't know why?
Or you may get stressed out by lots of little things! All needing your attention,
So that when you take you're mind off, the ball, everything becomes chaos. If you've just
had a baby, setting up home, or trying to juggle many jobs, or being everything to everybody else and not thinking of yourself and your needs, then there's money issues, health issues and relationship issues, or whatever to deal with !
Sometimes a night in front of the TV just won't do it, and you end up in floods of tears instead, or worse, shouting in frustration!
Stress can affect you physically, creating all sorts of things, headaches, migraines, any aches and pains, cos you're holding yourself differently when you walk, digestive issues, and so on! Our gut is our emotional centre.
Overwhelmed, worrying, tired, eating too much, or too little, not being able to make decisions, lacking in self esteem, dizziness, sleep problems, muscle pain, using drugs alcohol to numb yourself, avoiding things or people you have issues with, etc.,
But then it can escalate into:
Which is one of the biggest issues of our time!
I would say the majority of my work as a counsellor, is to do with Anxiety issues, which probably, developed from being stressed in the first place, and not putting in preventative measures, where possible.
This is where STRESS becomes obsessive
and turns into ANXIETY issues
To the extreme it can imprison people in their homes, causing isolation, not being able to socialise, even worse mental health issues of shaking, breakdowns, or anxious travelling or social situations, or an overload of personal problems all happening at once, a trauma you've been through, something unresolved that plays through your head.
Anxiety can be a hereditary thing, it is 'UP' another level from stress, or being out of control, or very often those with it, enforce more of their own 'control' to make themselves feel safe again. It can be to do with an imbalance of our brain chemicals, and affect our moods, it can be from an abusive relationship, domestic relationships, child abuse, bullying, any issues you can imagine!
Or a long term medical condition, illness, or a drug or alcohol addiction along with many other self destructive addictions. Post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks etc.,
The combinations are endless, everyone has a different story, and if left without proper care and therapy can lead to:
Depression is like stress or anxiety that won't go away, that is constant, like you just can't be bothered with anything, and with it will bring many other things into the equation.
Suicidal thoughts, harming yourself, feeling hopeless, a continual low mood, not enjoying your life, feeling hopeless, helpless, no motivation, low sex drive, low energy, menstrual changes, disturbed sleep, constipation, avoiding friends, difficulties at home, avoiding hobbies, anxious, tearful, guilt ridden, low self esteem.
Depression is an illness, whereas other issues and natural responses that happen can, cause depression as a result like:
Grief - it is natural to feel sadness and at a loss when grieving. It can take a long time to work through, and has many stages, many other emotions may feel out of control, or its quite common being furious about something else, then realising it all about the grief.
Other types of depression are:
SAD seasonal affective disorder, depression in the winter.
Post natal depression after having a baby
Bipolar depression or known as 'manic' depression which can go from severe low to excessively high moods
What to do?
In any doubt? As always getting help, is the first step to dealing with all of these:
Your GP must be the first port of call, whether or not you're having therapy, it is vital to explore the possibility of a chemical imbalance, or physical symptoms that are happening to you, everyone is individual, so you will need a check up. And to continue working with your doctor, during therapy, to prevent any further health risks there may be.
They may prescribe Anti Depressants for a short period or long term, depending on the severity of stress, anxiety or depression. And prescribe counselling, one of the best therapies to use for these issues, it really is individually based which can work fantastically, but remember it is a process, must be given time, it will not work in just one session! As Anti Depressants are, they can take up to 2 weeks to begin to work. And while I'm not really into 'drugs', they do have their place in some cases of giving a 'respite' or a 'rest' which is sometimes needed.
Counselling is available from your GP, Privately, Counselling Directory, Helplines, Samaritans, other organisations, or via your own insurance or your employers.
Counselling is brilliant for:
From a low level of indecision, in your life
To a 'how to cope with' a full blown depression, present from any issue.
Of course self care is all important for all of us, and should be an ongoing practice.
That is concentrating on:
Doing what we love doing
Asking ourselves what our needs are, listening to ourselves
Getting out in nature, fresh air, exercise
Treating ourselves kindly
Using positive affirmations
Expressing ourselves, by talking, sharing, writing, singing, creatively
Working on our negative emotions anger, jealousy, worthless, conflicted, to change or resolve them
Discussing with family, friends, our feelings etc
Being honest with ourselves
Taking time out for ourselves
Having a soothing bath
Playing, allowing our 'inner child' expression to 'be'
Who am I? I'm Sally Hope Woodroffe, a Professional, Registered Counsellor, Hypnotherapist, Artist, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, prolific creative woman, creating 'in my own way' a better world - Go to my website for more details of how to book an appointment so that you too can create 'your perfect world too!' Or here's my numbers, simply give me a ring! 01686 430503-mobile 07922828903 or leave a message - Yes you can have it all! Speak soon - Sally
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