Mental Health Education: Anxiety & Depression
Mental health concerns are common in individuals who have experienced traumatic events such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Not taking care of yourself and not allowing yourself to heal from past trauma puts you at further risk, and can cause you to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms. This can lead to mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
It’s okay to ask for help. Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical well-being.
Quick Look: Cognitive Distortions
For most people, the way they think about themselves is the main reason for experiencing depressive and anxious behaviors. Cognitive distortions are also known as “faulty ways of thinking”, and can include:
· Filtering:Focusing only on the negative
· Polarized Thinking: Black and white thinking- not seeing the ‘gray’ areas; “it is” or “it isn’t”
· Overgeneralization:Assuming that all people and experiences are the same
· Jumping to Conclusions: Being convinced of somethingwith little to no evidence to support it
· Catastrophizing:Assuming the worst; Maximizing the negative and minimizing the positive
· Blaming:Pointing the cause of something negative happening on someone else
· Personalization:Believing that you are at least partially responsible for everything that happens around you
· Emotional Reasoning: Believing “If I feel it, it must be true!”
It’s okay if you are able to identify behaviors that you commonly do. Although it’s not a cure, working on decreasing these behaviors will put you on the right track to bettering yourself.
Quick Look: Depressive Symptoms
Depression is a mental illness that tends to be “co-morbid”, meaning that it is commonly present along with other mental illnesses (such as anxiety). People who may be experiencing depression could have the following symptoms:
· Mood: anxiety*, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness
· Sleep: early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
· Physical: excessive hunger, fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness
· Behavioral: agitation, excessive crying, irritability, or social isolation
· Cognitive: lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
· Weight: weight gain or weight loss
It’s important to look out for yourself, as well as others. Don’t forget that everyone is fighting their own battle, and they also deserve to get the help and support they need like you do. If you see someone experiencing these behaviors, check in with them! It can be hard to talk about your struggles with self-esteem, anxiety, or insecurity. However, these are common things that everyone goes through, and talking to someone and getting a better idea of how to handle it can make a world of difference