IMPACT OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
It is important to understand how you are uniquely affected by anxiety and/or depression. What triggers your symptoms, what limitations do they impose on you, how do they impact both you and the people around you, and what strengths do you bring to your own recovery? In an atmosphere of compassion, the healing process can begin by exploring how symptoms have influenced your life.
THE HEALING PROCESS
Perhaps you noticed how I referred to “parts” of Sarah in the above example. When you are distressed by anxiety or depression, you can feel like you ARE the symptoms. The tension, fearfulness, discouragement, or hopelessness seem to take over who you are. Another step in the healing process is to recognize that you are made up of many “parts.” Not only is part of you distressed by symptoms, you also have healthy parts available to help in your recovery. For example, while Sarah has a part that feels rejected and worthless, she also has parts that are steadfast, wise, and caring. These healthier parts can be invited into the process of restoring her self-esteem.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression aim to help, but they can be hurtful too. Their protective intentions are mixed with limiting beliefs and distorted thought patterns. These limitations and distortions, while experienced as true statements, are not accurate reflections of reality. Returning to our example, Sarah believes that she is unacceptable because she is not smart enough to hold an interesting conversation. She tells herself that her high school education is not good enough and people will think she is shallow. In the course of treatment, Sarah learns how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help her change limiting beliefs and distorted thoughts to ones that are more positive and accurate representations of reality.
Examples of concerns we can address in therapy: