By Cindy Aldrige, F.N.P., Provider for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group
Who hasn’t felt anxious about an upcoming test or interview? Who hasn’t been depressed or sad and cried over a loss or a situation? These feelings are natural, and everyone experiences them.
But when do these feelings actually become something to worry about?
I’m glad you asked!!! Anxiety and depression can be separate concerns, or they can co-exist. Many that have symptoms of both usually confirm one feels more prominent than the other. There is certainly concern that anxiety and depression may be a growing problem for our community with social distancing and change of routine for almost every aspect of life recently. As a connected community member, you can be alert to those around you that may be experiencing these things and intervene.
What to look for:
- Lack of appetite or eating all the time
- Insomina (difficulty with sleeping) or sleeping all the time
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling extremely tired/stressed
- Feeling isolated/distant even in a room full of people or with people around you
- Not wanting to be socially active like not wanting to go to that party you were invited to, not wanting to spend time with your best friend that you had been connected with
- No motivation to get out of bed and do the necessities of daily living (showering, grocery shopping, laundry, dishes)
- Feeling as if there is a weight on your shoulders.
- Feeling not good enough/inadequate
- Thoughts of harming yourself or thoughts others would be better off without me here
- Worry all the time, others often telling you to “stop worrying” about it
- Feeling like you cant breathe due to stress
If you’ve had thoughts of harming yourself, get help immediately.
The national suicide prevention hot line is 1-800-273-8255. Even having thoughts without any plan of action need to be addressed by a professional. If you don’t know where to turn for help, get to your closest ER or call 911. Someone is always available and willing to help if you take that first step to reach out.
What about the others that have some of the above mentioned symptoms but aren’t sure if it’s a problem? You can always talk to your medical provider about those thoughts and any concerns. In general, if it’s severe or affecting more than one aspect of life (work, home, social relationships) then it’s probably a concern that you need to address with professional help.
There are treatments and interventions that can be effective without the use of medication.
Sleep routines, eating and physical activity have a huge impact on your mental health. If you are struggling with anxiety and/or depression, I challenge you to eat healthy foods and get daily physical activity. See if some of your symptoms improve. Other interventions like counseling can help many or all of the symptoms improve or disappear. And finally, medication can be prescribed if necessary.
Will treatment take all your problems away? No. But if you can stabilize your body and mind, you will be more capable of handling stressful situations without as many side effects like those listed above.
Stay healthy my friends. If you are struggling with anxiety or stress, please reach out to a friend or neighbor with a text or a call. Stop by to check on someone for no reason at all. We all have to do our part to keep our community healthy in these challenging times.
If you need a health care provider, Lee’s Summit Physicians group would be honored to help you with any medical or psychological needs.