As those of you following my TO&E may know, I’m diagnosed with anxiety and depression, along with my plethora of other “issues,” as my doctor playfully calls them. Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Ann from Ann Mszczak: Live Your Dream with a guest post explaining some of her oh-so-similar struggles.
Hi, I am Ann Miszczak I am a fellow blogger who battles with Anxiety, Depression & PTSD. I have battled with them since I was a pre-teen. I went untreated for most of my life. Since 2013 I have been going through Psychotherapy & doing Personal Development.
What is Anxiety? “Everyone experiences anxiety. However, when feelings of intense fear and distress are overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday things, an anxiety disorder may be the cause. Anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.”- NAMI.org
What is Depression? “Depression is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. Some people have only one episode in a lifetime, but for most people depression recurs. Without treatment, episodes may last a few months to several years. People with severe depression can feel so hopeless that they become a risk for suicide. Left untreated, depression can be devastating, both for the people who have it and for their families.” – NAMI.org
Depression is probably the hardest when you are aware because you cannot really give a logical reason to why you are depressed. I know that for me personally, people have told me that it’s all in my head, or that I should just get over it, or just let it go. I know that in life I have blessings, and I am grateful for them, but when depression gets the best of me I feel trapped within myself. Like I am stuck watching this really moody film and I can’t change the channel. Now when Anxiety hits me it’s the complete opposite, I am on high alert watching everyone around me and waiting for something bad to happen. I constantly feel that I have to keep things in order so that nothing bad happens. I get really overwhelmed trying to control situations and I know that it’s unrealistic.
Now Anxiety and Depression have commonalities as well. Things like their symptoms, cause, treatment methods and even some other related conditions.
Symptoms: Feelings of apprehension or dread, hopelessness, Physical aches & pains (headaches, fatigue, insomnia) and changes in sleep.
Causes: Genetics, Stress & Trauma.
Related conditions are ADHD & substance abuse.
There are also things that separate the two, Anxiety for instance; there are 4 types where depression is a much generalized statement. You can have Panic disorder, Phobias, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Social anxiety.
There are a lot of emotional and physical symptoms to Anxiety. such as things like feeling tense & jumpy, restlessness or irritability, anticipating the worst & being watchful for signs of danger. Pounding or racing heart with shortness of breath (commonly mistaken to be a heart attack) upset stomach, bowel issues and even sweating, tremors and twitches.
Treatment is often the hardest part for those who struggle with these disorders. I personally do not call them an illness because that implies that you can “cure” it when in fact you are “treating” the symptoms instead. The two treatment options that they share are psychotherapy and medications. Another thing that you can do to help treatment of Anxiety is stress and relaxation techniques.
Depression has a wide variety of ways of treatment; Brain stimulation therapies, Light therapy, Exercise, Alternative therapies (acupuncture, meditation, nutrition), Self-management strategies & education, Mind/Body/Spirit approaches (Meditation, Faith, Prayer).
I personally have been in psychotherapy for over 2 years and honestly for me personally it has helped with my depression a ton. I was on medications over the course of my 3 pregnancies to try and keep me balanced but after each of my children were born I stopped taking the meds. I have been medication free for a full year now & I am very thankful for the meds they helped when I was unable & unwilling to help myself. Along with my therapy, I am doing personal development (self management strategies & education) which has helped me by leaps and bounds to improve my mental health.
I hope that you found this post helpful and insightful. I want to say thank you to TO&E for letting me guest post. I want to remind you that NAMI.org is a site where you can learn more about mental health disorders. Just remember that there is hope to improve your anxiety and your depression. – Ann Miszczak