depression & anxiety

Did you know that approximately 3 million Australians are living with anxiety or depression right now? Men in particular tend to hold a lot of stress internally, and struggle to reach out to mental health supports. On average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression and/or anxiety, let's talk about it. 

What is depression?

While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it's a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health.

What is anxiety?

Feeling anxious in certain situations can help us avoid danger, triggering our 'fight or flight' response. It is how we’ve evolved to keep ourselves safe. Sometimes though, we can become overly worried about perceived threats – bad things that may or may not happen. When your worries are persistent or out of proportion to the reality of the threat, and get in the way of you living your life, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of Depression

Behaviour

  • Apathy - not wanting to do things / go out anymore - "can't be bothered"

  • struggling to focus at work/school

  • withdrawing from close family and friends

  • relying on alcohol and sedatives

  • unable to concentrate or remember things normally would 

Feelings

  • overwhelmed

  • guilty

  • irritable

  • frustrated

  • lacking in confidence

  • unhappy

  • indecisive

  • disappointed

  • miserable

  • sad

Thoughts

  • 'I’m a failure.'

  • 'It’s my fault.'

  • 'Nothing good ever happens to me.'

  • 'I’m worthless.'

  • 'Life’s not worth living.'

  • 'People would be better off without me.'

Physical

  • tired all the time

  • sick and run down

  • headaches and muscle pains

  • churning gut

  • sleep problems

  • loss or change of appetite

  • significant weight loss or gain

Symptoms of Anxiety

Psychological

  • excessive worry about the past, present or future

  • feeling apprehensive

  • feeling powerless

  • a sense of impending panic, danger or doom

  • mind racing, finding it hard to think

  • difficulty concentrating and remembering things

Feelings

  • excessive fear, worry, catastrophizing, or obsessive thinking

Physical

  • increased heart rate

  • breathing rapidly (hyperventilation) or shortness of breath

  • sweating

  • trembling

  • feeling tired or weak

  • dizziness

  • choking

  • dry mouth

  • stomach or chest pain

  • diarrhoea

  • blushing

  • muscle tension and headaches

  • difficulty sleeping and nightmares

  • hot and cold flushes

  • feeling tense, wound up and edgy

The above are just examples of possible symptoms. It is by no means an exhaustive list, nor does it mean you have to have 'all' of these. These are also representative of general depression and anxiety. There are a great deal of other mental illnesses not included above. Let's chat.

Thinking Man on Couch

heads up!

Blokes make up an average six out of every eight suicides every single day in Australia. The number of men who die by suicide in Australia every year is nearly double the national road toll.  (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Mini meditations

Deep breathing

Whether in your cubicle at work, at a family dinner, in your car, or waiting in line, you can try this technique anywhere. Even one deep breath lets your body know that you are turning off the “fight-or-flight” response and turning on the “rest-and-restore” system. Deep, relaxing breaths also take the edge off anxiety, slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure. (For tips, click here.) The decision to take a few deep breaths is a powerful way to help yourself get back in control. All the mini-meditations below will be more effective with deliberate breathing.

“Notice 5 Things” exercise. If you want to tune in to your surroundings, decide to notice five interesting things you can see, hear, feel, or smell. This simple exercise will enliven any routine activity, such as a walk, by inviting you to notice what is unique, new, or previously unseen. It’s literally an eye-opener.

Count to 10.

By counting or trying to recall the lyrics to your favourite son, your brain needs to shift focus directly to something else and can help you be more in the moment instead of 'flight'.