Many people have experienced feelings of depression and/or anxiety at one point or another in their lives. Feelings of depression and anxiety can in some cases be a normal response to life adjustments and stressors, however in certain cases, depression and anxiety can become debilitating and interfere with one’s ability to function and the quality of his or her life. Depression and anxiety symptoms live both in the mind and in the body: people who are experiencing depression might feel extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, inability to concentrate, hopelessness, and helplessness (among other things), and people who are experiencing anxiety may experience psychomotor agitation (i.e. pacing, handwringing), panic attacks, difficulty concentrating, and intense worrying about a variety of things (among other things).
The treatment of anxiety and depression begins with a focus on symptom-reduction in order to restore the individual to a functional level. Once an individual has stabilized, the therapeutic work of identifying, exploring, and understanding the underlying issues that bring about the anxiety and depression can take place. It is important to understand that anxiety and depression (along with most psychological symptoms) are ways in which the body and mind are communicating to you that something needs to change. In this way, therapy becomes a place of learning both to relate to anxiety and depression in a different manner and to relate to yourself in a different manner.