What causes anxiety and depression?

We hear a lot about anxiety and depression in the media these days. It is often treated as a label - a medical diagnosis and believe that it is just what it is. We can't get out of it. But that is incorrect. Rather than seeing it only as a chemical imbalance that requires medication, though it helps in certain circumstances, it would help to see symptoms at times more as information and an expression of the 'soul'.

To put it simplistically, in depression we often look too much to the past and with anxiety we tend to look too much into the future. There is often no room for the 'now', the being in the moment where we would find more peace.

This means that when we are depressed we often feel sad and a lack of energy and motivation, often thinking of things that happened to us or that are not going well and the belief that it will never go well in the future. Trauma, loss and bereavement, feelings of unworthiness, self-doubt and feelings of lack of purpose can cause increased levels of depression and can equally keep the spiral going.

When we are anxious or when experiencing panic attacks, we are worrying about something that in most cases may not have happened yet. So as result of anticipation as well as from previous experiences. It can cause inaction or withdrawal and other symptoms similar to depression. There can be clear physical symptoms of increased heart rate, sweating and breathing changes as a reaction to triggers in real life or as a result of our imagined anticipation, which feels as real.

In both cases we feel out of control and helpless at the time. What we are feeling is real and difficult to get out of. In both cases it may feel we are never going to get out of it again. Yet if we are looking at this more from a spiritual point of view, what is your soul trying to express?

It may sound a bit strange, but bear with me.

In depression, the soul may try to express that it is just not happy. It says 'Enough already, I had enough, no more. This is not a way to go on. End this now.' (Meaning: '...begin something else - something different!') It often means that we are not fulfilling our soul purpose or path, often not knowing what that is or should be. It means mostly also that we are closed to all the messages around us to even notice clues to the answer. Our sense of self is so diminished that we just cannot believe things could ever get better.

Depression remains when we feel like we are having no control over our behaviours or making new choices. It may be that societal, cultural, political, family, work or life pressures in general keep us locked in to a state of 'stuckness'. And yet often drastic change is needed that seems to go against the values of other people around us, maybe even our own perceived values - but not against our own core or soul values.

In anxiety, the soul is also not happy. It may feel like it says 'Enough already, I had enough, no more. I don't feel safe, leave this situation now.' It often means our sense of safety is invaded, that we have no voice or feel we are not heard and have to act in protective ways, pre-empting things so that the dreaded thing won't happen.

Unfortunately it doesn't often work like this and our experiences and reactions just reinforce our beliefs that things, situations or even people are unsafe. And yet supportive people and community are needed, those that do not diminish our feelings and can helps us feel safe, respected and accepted.

Moving beyond this is often difficult and seems to require considerable effort, and it may not feel that simple. The single cause and effect model does not work. It would be nice, as that would mean the one drug or intervention can take it all away, but this is a reductionist view. Symptoms are mostly multi-factorial and build up over time. An invasion of boundaries is part of these symptoms in most cases on different levels, often even starting early on in life (e.g. having to suppress our voice/opinions/feelings, pleasing others, never feeling good enough for others). By finding a good therapist to work with you, it can help you understand where these challenges come from and what your soul may be trying to express to move forward on your 'soul' path finding and enabling your 'soul' purpose.

Maybe this sounds too whacky or 'fluffy' for some. But whatever you call it 'soul', belief, religion, universe, God, energy - it doesn't really matter. When we find it we know and feel it resonates and symptoms reduce, we get energised and find new ways of coping. How to get there is a challenge as we often hold too many fears that keep us stuck and from even allowing us to find our way.

Learning to connect more with yourself and what your needs are will be crucial in understanding what changes ultimately have to happen. Physically moving forward can be a metaphor of symbolically moving past challenges, seeing new perspectives and potential solutions. Research has shown that exercising and walking in nature can reduce depression and anxiety, increase levels of mood improving neurochemicals and levels of self-esteem.

It is important to recognise when we may need some support or help from someone to get through a tough time. Walk & Talk therapy incorporated into a therapy programme could be a good way of exploring this with the support of a caring and adequately trained therapist.

Contact me if you have any questions.

Find out more also at: www.adadsu.com/walk-and-talk/