Poor mental health is a fickle little thing. Sometimes it catches us by surprise and beats us down. Other times we can feel it coming from a mile away.
Beyond Blue reports that 1 in 6 Australian women experience depression whilst another 1 in 3 experience some form of anxiety. These numbers are absolutely insane!
I myself am part of the 1 in 6 and the 1 in 3!
Depression and anxiety can affect women at any time in their life but there is an increased chance during pregnancy and the year following the birth of a baby.
Up to 1 in 10 women experience depression while they are pregnant and 1 in 6 women experience depression during the first year after birth. Anxiety conditions are thought to be as common with many women experiencing both conditions at the same time.
There are a range of ways in which you can care for your mental health to help improve your quality of life for you and the people you love. The important thing to remember is that effective treatments are available and, with the right care, most people recover.
Many women find that the following are great tools to use when you're battling a depressive or anxious episode:
Maintaining a health lifestyle: Food and exercise greatly impact they way we feel. Do your best to take one moment of the day to make yourself a healthy meal and take yourself for a walk.
Learning about your condition: Research, research, research! The more you understand your condition the better you will become at recognising your signs and managing them better. The more you learn the better chance you have of finding solutions that work for you.
Support groups and online forums: Support groups for people with depression and anxiety can provide an opportunity to connect with others, share experiences and find new ways to deal with challenges from others who have experienced the same issues as you.Its important to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Relaxation training: Relaxation training calms your body and mind, which in turn helps to reduce anxious thoughts and behaviour. It may also help you feel more in control of your anxiety. There are several different types of relaxation training, such as breathing exercises that teach you how to slow down and regulate your breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation which teaches you to relax by learning how to tense and then relax specific groups of muscles. Another type of relaxation training involves thinking of relaxing scenes or places. Relaxation training can be learned from a professional or done by yourself.
Family and friends: We often feel like we are a burden to our family and friends when we are suffering from a mental condition. They on the other hand tend to feel the complete opposite. They want to help us, listen to us and be there for us. The hardest part is letting them in. The people close to you can play an important role in your recovery by providing support, understanding and help, or just being there to listen. It can be hard to socialise if you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, and many people tend to withdraw or avoid social contact. But spending time alone can make you feel lonelier and cut off from the world, which in turn makes it harder to recover.
Psychological treatments: There are so many options wen it comes to seeking professional help and its important to find what works for you. This may be Interpersonal therapy (IPT), Behaviour therapy or Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).
Medical treatments: It's important to remember that medical treatments will not work for everyone and there are a number of side effects to be aware of. While it depends on the medication the typical side effects are nausea, headaches, anxiety (go figure), sweating, dizziness, agitation, weight gain, dry mouth and sexual difficulties
Finding what works for you is going to be a trial and error game, you might get lucky first try or it could take you months or even years to figure it out. The important thing to remember is that there is help available and you will find what works for you.
Be patient with yourself. Let yourself feel your feelings. Get help when you can't help yourself.
The Pleasure Collective