Anxiety and depression effect millions of people around the world. They are mental health illnesses
that are treatable. Seeking help early is the best way of managing any mental health issues you may be experiencing. Often when we talk about anxiety and depression we find stigma, fear, and misconceptions about these mental health problems persist.
Anxiety - Myths versus Reality
Everyone feels anxious from time to time. When anxious feelings don’t go away, happen without any particular reason or make it hard to cope with daily life it may be the sign of an anxiety condition.
There are lots of myths about anxiety, which have led to stereotypes about those with the condition. Debunking these myths is a key step in fighting stigma towards anxiety.
Anxiety is not a real illness.
Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. Stress and anxious feelings are a common response when we feel under pressure.
Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t go away. If you’re living with anxiety, the anxious feelings may not be easily managed. Anxiety is a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with daily life.
Anxiety can only be treated with medication.
Although medications are commonly recommended for the treatment of anxiety, they may only provide a temporary solution and do not address the cause of the issue.
Other effective methods of treatment include:
Regular physical exercise - exercising regularly can reduce stress, help you sleep better, and aid recovery from mental illness.
Psychological Therapy - such as cognitive behaviour therapy which is based around changing thinking, attitudes, behaviours and beliefs, and problem solving. Anxiety management/relaxation techniques including visualisation, meditation, Mindfulness, counselling and breathing exercises.
Saying “this will pass” helps sufferers.
There are certain phrases you should avoid when speaking to an anxiety sufferer - “this will pass” is one of them.
Other unhelpful phrases include: “Just get on with it” “Stop worrying” “Why don’t you just think differently about it” and “Remain calm,”
A helpful phrase can be - “I don’t know what to say, but I am here for you”.
Depression - Myths Versus Reality
We all feel sad, moody, or low sometimes, it’s a normal part of life. If these feelings come and stay for more than 2 weeks, it might be a sign that you have depression.
Depression affects 1 in 7 people in Australia. It’s a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health. It’s important to know that it is treatable and it’s worth reaching out and talking to someone about it.
There are lots of myths about depression, which have led to stereotypes about those with the condition. Debunking these myths is a key step in fighting stigma towards depression.
Being sad and being depressed is the same thing.
Depression is more than feeling sad or downcast. When those feelings persist for more than two weeks and you’ve lost pleasure in usual activities, you may be depressed.
You will also be experiencing symptoms from three of these four categories: behaviour, thoughts, feelings and physical.
It’s attention seeking.
What some people view as attention seeking may well be a cry for help from someone who wants support but isn’t sure how to ask for it. On the other hand, there are many people who are depressed that will keep this information to themselves.
You can simply ‘snap out of it’.
It’s not a decision. People aren’t choosing to be depressed, so they can’t just flick a switch and stop experiencing depression. Like any physical injury or illness, depression requires treatment and support.
Support is available if you think you may be experiencing anxiety or depression, or if you know someone that is. Seek help early.