When you are suffering, you may pray for peace, for strength, for deliverance.
Though, you may not always know what to call the suffering. You might call it nerves or the blues.
Either way, the pain and upset that weave through your thoughts and body sow discord in your sense of self and your most cherished relationships.
You worry so much—you must have anxiety.
You feel so low—you must be battling depression.
Does it matter when you just want relief?
Actually, it does. But not because giving your pain a name is a magic cure. You can give your hurt to God in prayer anytime. He knows and cares regardless.
The knowledge is for you. To help you know how to pray specifically and soothe yourself daily.
The diagnosis is also important for your therapist, a helper who can give you tools to tap into the purpose and plan meant for your life.
How to Tell If You are Wrestling with Anxiety
The most common anxiety symptoms are:
- Excessive worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Muscle tension or chronic pain
These symptoms, experienced constantly for over six months may be signs of generalized anxiety disorder. If you notice separation anxiety, panicked feelings, or phobias, you may be dealing with various other types of anxiety problems too.
Moreover, people who “have” anxiety, are experiencing anxious thoughts and behavior in extreme ways.
Evaluate yourself: Are you are dealing with more than just nervous energy, cautiousness, or concern? Is your worry ongoing and difficult to interrupt or stem once your thoughts begin to race? Are you frustrated by the way you worry over issues and interactions other people just seem to sail through?
If you are extremely alert and on edge, suspicious, and/or totally distracted by the fear of things, places, lack of preparation, or everyday circumstances, anxiety likely has a hold on your thought processes.
Anxiety on that level is not rational or forgiving. It gets in the way.
And the constant barrage of fears (and time spent compensating for those fears) can fuel further anxiety for you and frustration for your loved ones.
How to Know If You are Dealing with Depression
Symptoms of major depression include:
- Low, dark moods
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Sharp changes in appetite
- Sleep disruption
- “Slow motion” or shuffling movement
- Low energy
- Deep feelings of guilt or sense of worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts, planning, or behavior
These signs, experienced for more than two weeks, indicate major depressive disorder. In some cases, these symptoms might also indicate persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) or various other depressive disorders due to another condition.
People who deal with depression usually experience extremely low moods and self-esteem.
Evaluate yourself: Are you coping with a deep sense of sadness? Does a sense of unworthiness, loneliness, and doom cloud your thinking?
If you have withdrawn from the things you loved doing and the people who love you, and you seem to be living life in painful slow motion, depression may be at play in your mind.
Sadly, depression has a way of slowing you down and making you feel alienated from everything and everyone. Even your faith.
It simply hurts to hope.
Depressive thinking and low moods on that level don’t respond to “positive thinking” alone. That is because it feeds a sense of powerlessness and resignation that is difficult for those who care about you to understand.
You Do Not Have to Live with Anxiety or Depression Forever
Emotional pain and disorder can whisper internal lies that are hard to ignore when you are in the throes of either condition—left untreated.
Please do not beat yourself up for not feeling knowledgeable enough, strong enough, or faithful enough to heal yourself. God is still good and in control. He still loves you. And you are deserving of help.
Please do reach out—despite what your racing thoughts are telling you or how exhausting it seems to pick up the phone for a consultation. Whether you think you have one condition or some combination of both, you can be treated and live a fulfilled, purpose-driven life. It’s your calling.
You are never alone. Let solid, compassionate counseling be the first step toward peace and joy.
I am here to help.
If you would like some extra support and are looking for a therapist, please contact me here for a free 15-minute consultation to learn about how I can be of service.
For more information about anxiety or depression counseling, click here.
About the Author
Julia Nelson, LPCA, LMFTA is a psychotherapist and owns a private practice in Flat Rock and Forest City, NC. In general, she specializes in couples counseling, anxiety and depression counseling, premarital counseling, and parenting classes. She is also a Certified Clinical Military Counselor. To find out more about Julia click here: Nelson Christian Counseling.
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