Depression, anxiety, stress, poor body image, grief, loss, a major change in your life such as becoming a new parent can all affect your mental and emotional health and day to day living. Sometimes it is hard to know if what you are experiencing is depression or sadness, worry or anxiety. Sadness and anxiety are normal emotions that help alert us to, protect us from, and cause us to act. This is healthy! What is unhealthy is when these feelings become excessive, irrational, ongoing, distressing or interfere with daily life. Depression, anxiety, stress, grief can be managed using interventions and strategies such as cognitive behaviour therapy, relaxation, mindfulness and 'talk' therapy. If you are aware you are not functioning as you normally do, you know something is worrying you, this is the time to learn more about what is happening to you and perhaps seek help.
Watch the webinar below and learn more about your mental health and ways to build confidence. The webinar is presented by Jean Hailes psychologist Dr Mandy Deeks.
Sometimes it is hard to know if what you are experiencing is sadness or depression. The symptoms, causes, management and treatment of depression are discussed along with how to get a mental health care plan from your doctor and tips on what to do if someone you know is depressed.
Fear and anxiety are normal emotions that help alert us to, protect us from, and cause us to deal with danger. This is healthy! What is not healthy and not good for us is when these feelings become excessive, irrational, ongoing, distressing or interfere with daily life. Then they are a problem, a common one, as one in four women will have some type of anxiety in her lifetime. Anxiety can be managed using interventions and strategies such as cognitive behaviour therapy, relaxation and mindfulness.
Depression, anxiety & illness
Some health conditions like thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome and type 2 diabetes are associated with an increase in depression and anxiety. When this happens it is important to treat both the illness and your mental and emotional health.
Violence against women
Violence against women is a topic that is slowly being brought out into the open and finally getting the attention it deserves. However, there is still a long way to go.
Stress occurs when you feel you are not coping with life. We all need a little stress to motivate us to achieve or get things done. However, too much stress, particularly over a long period of time, can take its toll on your health and sense of wellbeing. Extreme stress can be so overwhelming it causes physical reactions such as nausea, diarrhoea, over eating and under eating. There are many things you can do to manage stress; it is just about finding the right strategy for you.
Confidence is believing in yourself – believing that you are capable of completing tasks and reaching goals. Confidence is knowing that you have skills and positive traits, that you are able to face challenges and deal with difficult circumstances; it is knowing that you are your best resource.
Confidence levels can change throughout your life and across different areas of your life. Many things can influence your confidence levels such as your thoughts, feelings, actions and past experiences.
Relax – to be calm, unwind, loosen up, de-stress, slow down, chill out. Relaxation can help increase your sense of calm and reduce anxiety and stress. Relaxation techniques can slow heart and breathing rates, reduce blood pressure and decrease muscle tension and is a good tool for stress management. Different techniques work for different people and can include anything from deep breathing, laughter, positive thinking, visualisation, meditation and mindfulness.
Memory & dementia
Misplaced keys, name-blanks, forgotten groceries – we are all familiar with memory glitches. How do we explain these moments? There are many causes of poor memory such as stress, ageing, illness, menopause or something more serious, like the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are many strategies to help with memory including staying mentally and physically active, using organisational tools like a calendar or special notebook, and mnemonics – word plays and rhymes.
Grief & loss
There is no single way to grieve and deal with loss. How you respond is affected by the strength of your attachment to what you have lost and how that loss occurred. There are many types of loss including separation, illness, job loss and miscarriage. How you react to loss will be influenced by your personality, the way you think, your age and background. There are no rules when it comes to how you manage loss but it is important to know when to seek help.
Depression experienced after childbirth is called postnatal or postpartum depression also known as PND. About 10-13% of women experience depression when they are pregnant or after birth. Causes of PND are likely to include hormone changes, previous experience of depression and/or anxiety, personality, timing of pregnancy and many other factors.
Many women are dissatisfied with the way they look and often say they feel guilty just for eating. Health problems, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and how people talk about your body can all make you feel negative about your body. It can be helpful to stop and think about how you view your own body and acknowledge it for all the wonderful things it is capable of instead of focusing on the negative parts.
Family & friends
Social connections, friendships and relationships with others help shape who we are and how we behave. They are also one of the most significant influences on health and wellbeing. Good social support may offer greater protection from chronic disease and illness like cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety. Sometimes it is hard to know if your relationship is healthy or when to let go of relationships, but talking to someone you trust or a health professional is important to both your physical and emotional wellbeing if you are worried.
You may have read the books, been to the classes and talked to dozens of people about parenting... but now you know it's not really possible to understand the experience of first time parenthood until it happens. Adjusting to the changes of being a new parent can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing and your relationship. Communication, seeking help and learning strategies to cope with a new baby are important to getting through this time.
Types of therapist
If you are aware you are not functioning as you normally do, you know something is worrying you, you are going around in circles in your thinking and feeling anxious and alone, this is the time to seek professional help. It takes courage to do this, it can feel like admitting failure or you may feel stupid… This is a normal struggle for many clients. Don’t waste any more time, learn the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist and counsellor and how to find/choose a therapist.
A nutritious, balanced diet and regular physical activity can positively influence your state of mind and emotional wellbeing as much as your physical wellbeing. Some herbs such as St John's wort, lavender and lemon balm may help with mental and emotional health. Also, participating in creative, spiritual and intellectual activities along with community involvement help to balance out a healthy lifestyle.