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The Able Mind Resources Hub

When should you seek help

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Anxiety

Anxiety refers to a constant feeling of apprehension or fear causing people to anticipate a negative situation or outcome even without any concrete evidence for it to happen

While stress helps the body mobilize existing resources to meet any threat that presents itself and is often acute;anxiety refers to being in a state of chronic stress that manifests even without an impending danger.

Those with anxiety feel a sense of prolonged uneasiness due to external causes like work pressure, problems in family, academics and so on or due to internal beliefs about one self, ghosts of the past etc.

  • Feeling of restlessness
  • Rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Inability to concentrate for (reasonably) long periods of time
  • Always feeling “on the edge”
  • Feeling an impending sense of doom and/or hopelesness

Anxiety starts slowly by creeping into normal everyday situations, unknowingly, for example, while hearing about Covid 19 cases rising in one’s housing complex or anywhere closer to home or office making one just a little more paranoid than usual… just a little more sleepless… and fearful. It is ideal to address it at this stage to avoid it becoming an impediment to self-growth going forward… In an early stage, tracking these thoughts and trying to identify a pattern will help.
One must consult a mental health care practitioner when continuing with one’s daily routine, home life, working or maintaining relationships becomes difficult. Constant headaches, stomach problems, gastrointestinal trouble, palpitations, insomnia, may also serve as a warning signs to seek help.

DEPRESSION

Depression presents itself as a persistent sense of low mood, sadness, frustration often leading to hopelessness. It is one of the leading causes of disability across the globe, now more than ever. Even so, it is a common mental disorder and highly treatable.

Sadness is an emotion that generally comes in response to an immediate upsetting or negative situation in life. While depression is a pervasive sense of sadness that persists over time and may or may not have any underlying situational cause.

Depression could be caused by a number of factors

  • External - a loss of a loved one, unexpected and unprepared for changes in life, failure in relationships, loss of employment etc
  • Biological - Low levels of serotonin (feelings of happiness) , dopamine (feelings of being rewarded) and norepinephrine (feeling aroused) in the brain; Endocrine abnormalities (thyroid function, adrenal function)
  • Cognitive - Maladpative thinking style and/or dysfunctional beliefs (about self, future or the envrionment)

  • Decreased/increased appetite and/or sleep
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heavines
  • Emotional and behavioral difficulties (executive dysfunction
  • Inability to understand quickly (low processing speed)
  • Feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, apathy (no interest or enthusiasm) and/or worthlessness
  • Crying spells
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

  • Reduced interaction with family or friends
  • Reduced interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Not being their usual self over a period of time
  • Instances of self harm
  • Constant thoughts about suicide and morbid outlook

Depression is a serious yet treatable disorder. As a cause of disability, it impairs the individuals functioning across various facets of life like occupation academics, intimate and social relationships. One must seek mental health help at the earliest signs of the symptoms. A collaborative approach (psychological and pharmacological) to coping with both depression and anxiety is most ideal in case of severity of symptoms; but a preventive approach or early intervention by a qualified therapist is highly recommended to ensure that symptoms do not worsen.

RELATIONSHIP ISSUES (Marriage / Platonic / Family / Friends)

Relationships form the basis of our social life. Good relationships are fulfilling and contribute to our sense of security and belongingness in the world. Abusive relationships may cause us to question our self-worth and leave us feeling insecure and powerless

  • Poor communication
  • Busy schedules
  • Financial trouble
  • Bad habits
  • Trust issues
  • Abuse - Abuse may take the form of physical, sexual or the less obvious forms such as emotional or mental. Often the individual undergoes trauma bonding, where the victim forms an attachment to the abuser, preventing them from leaving the relationship. This often happens due to a cyclical pattern of abuse, where abuse is followed by positive experiences (being showered with affection, flooded with gifts) creating doubt and hope in the individual. Such toxic relationships leave a person feeling unlovable, unsupported and misunderstood.

  • Blurred boundaries
  • Dismissive of individual's feelings
  • Possessive and controlling behavior
  • Manipulation
  • Festered resentment and disrespect

A relationship requires the largest personal investment in a person’s life. While turmoil and disagreements are common, counselling intervention should be sought when either one or both individuals feel that their personhood is being reduced. Increased instances of instability in the relationship, growing indifference, stonewalling and poor communication also warrants that the couple seeks counseling.

TEENAGE ISSUES

According to World Health Organization, the age of adolescence (teenage) is between 10-19 years. India boasts the largest adolescent population in the world. With 253 million teenagers around the country at the threshold of developed adult life , it is important to understand, respect and cater to their mental health needs. Teenagers occupy the precarious space of being too old to be a child and being too young to take independent decisions. This causes many people to belittle their mental health and mental developmental needs. Renowned researcher, Erik Erikson defined this stage of adolescence as one of identity formation. The identity if formed in an appropriate manner leads to them developing a consistent and healthy self image in their adulthood, if not it leads to role confusion. Role confusion causes the individual to not adapt to the environment appropriately and inspires a sense of discontent with one’s place in life.

  • Competition and Peer pressure
  • Body Image
  • Stress
  • Bullying
  • Vocational decision making
  • Self-exploration and finding one's purpose in life
  • Home adjustment

  • Reduced interaction with family or friends
  • Reduced interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Increased instances of outbursts (anger, sadness, irritability)
  • Instances of self harm
  • Constant talking about suicide
  • Sleep problems - excessive sleep or reduced sleep
  • Behaviour that can be “out of control”
  • (dramatic) decline in child’s academic performance
  • Loss of self esteem

It is important to understand that many of the symptoms may occur due to adjustment as well as a desire to establish independence in the household. If the symptoms are observed in regular intervals and with increasing intensity, mental health services must be availed. In case of incidences of self-harm and/or suicidal ideation, medical and psychiatric intervention should be sought immediately

PARENTING ISSUES

Parenting is a constant endeavor to support the emotional, physical, social, and mental needs of a child and treading unknown territories bravely. While the modern world introduces newer models of parenting, the internal and external pressures that comes with parenting remains the same.

  • The need to overcompensate
  • Disruption in the relationship with their child
  • Child disciplining issues
  • Chronic stress
  • Anxiety
  • Perfectionism
  • Working mothers guilt
  • Disruption in self identity
  • Adjustment issues

While parenting is a rewarding experience, it is also isolating and overwhelming. One must speak to a mental health professional in cases of stress and disruption in daily activities, occupational functioning and during feelings of hopelessness. Additionally, a counsellor/therapist should be consulted in cases of increasec disruptive behaviour from the child.