Depression and anxiety
Depression is a serious and common illness that affects many Australians at some time in their lives. People with depression can find it hard to function each day, both physically and mentally.
What is depression?
Depression is more than feeling sad or blue. It involves more persistent and intense negative thoughts and feelings. It can mean changes to eating and sleeping habits, difficulty with concentration, feelings of tiredness, feelings of worthlessness and less motivation to do the things we used to love.
Many women with endometriosis experience depression. This can be for a variety of reasons including:
Initial misdiagnosis / a long time to diagnosis
Coming to terms with the diagnosis
Dealing with chronic pain and other symptoms
Hormonal treatments which can effect mood and emotional wellbeing
Unsuccessful treatments and having recurrences that require further treatments
Dealing with the possibility of infertility or having infertility
Lack of support / understanding
Financial problems e.g. taking time off work, treatments, surgery
What is anxiety?
Anxiety involves extreme feelings of fear and worry that can lead to a loss of confidence that makes decision making difficult, and can lead to withdrawal and avoidance of people and places.
Physical symptoms of anxiety may include:
A racing heart or palpitations
Psychological symptoms may include:
Avoidance of others, or of going out
Coping with depression and anxiety
The effects of depression and anxiety can be completely overwhelming. Fortunately however, there are strategies you can use to help manage the symptoms on a daily basis.
Some ways that may assist include:
- Plan your day. Set achievable tasks so that each day something is achieved - no matter how small. Give yourself credit for even the smallest achievement.
- Do some physical activity. Exercise stimulates natural endorphins (feel good hormones) in the brain to help improve mood and has been shown to be highly effective in managing depression.
- Eat well throughout the day to help balance mood. Eliminate/minimise caffeine and foods that provide no nutritional value.
- Note what you are doing, not what you aren't.
- Break down big tasks into smaller, manageable parts.
- Stay focused in the present - take one day at a time (or one minute at a time!).
- Spend time with people who make you feel good. Individuals experiencing anxiety and/or depression often feel they don't want to ‘burden' others, when in fact, those around them may be happy to provide support.
- Listen to music you enjoy, and do things that bring you joy.
- Avoiding fearful situations may make you feel good in the short term but it only reinforces your anxiety more. Try and face up to situations that cause you fear while practising relaxation.
- Educate yourself about depression and anxiety and how to manage it.
When intense anxiety or depression is experienced over a length of time and interferes with daily life, then please seek medical or psychological help to assess the nature of the condition and how best to treat it.
Content updated 28 March 2010