When we think of Anxiety and Depression they seem very different. Anxiety often involves a lot of energy running through the system, sometimes almost unstoppable. There is an intensity as if everything is magnified. Depression, on the other hand, profiles as a lack of energy. A feeling of being weighted down, and life seeming to be flat or grey. Understanding the root cause of these two very different and yet often connected issues, is really important.
The root cause of most anxiety is a lack of feeling safe. If a person has a history of living in situations that have not been safe, or felt safe, the nervous system becomes very familiar with this. It’s on alert for safety and then it’s very easy to trigger a feeling of anxiety. Anything that is out of routine or the norm, can signal “danger”. The system even starts to look into the future and predict things that could be a problem. Like a home security system on overdrive, the person keeps getting signals that they are not safe. It’s not easy to get the nervous system to function “normally”. The key is it must be reset.
Depression is quite different. My approach to depression comes from a man named Dr. William Glasser. He pioneered the idea that things like depression are actually actions we are doing. So he would say a person is “depressing”. This is not what a depressed person usually wants to hear, but the good news is that if it’s true then the person can do something about this. If a person is “depressing”, what exactly are they “depressing”? The answer is feelings! A person is pushing down feelings, usually anger or sadness, so they don’t lose control. I often use the example of a beach ball to illustrate the effect of depression. Imagine inside a beach ball are all the feelings you don’t want to feel or let out. Pushing this beach ball under water keeps them hidden but as we all know you have to keep both hands on the ball and stay focused. If you don’t the ball will pop up out of the water. Holding the ball under water takes a lot of energy and this is what drains the person and creates a lack of interest in what’s going on in the rest of the world. Dr. Glasser was hugely successful with patients suffering with depression and his approach has been used by counsellors around the world.
Please be in touch if you have any questions or would like more information.
“We fear only what we haven’t understood.”