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Most people come to therapy is because they are suffering from depression and/or anxiety. When they are depressed, they feel hopeless and when they are anxious, they cannot relax or sleep or face the tasks of daily living. . .
But what most people don’t realize is that depression and anxiety are not merely states of mind; they are activities that often interact with each other to produce a vicious cycle of misery and suffering. This is good news because it means we can learn to identify and interrupt this cycle and regain control of our lives.
Briefly, when a troubling feeling or thought tries to emerge into awareness, we often try to “depress” it, often by telling ourselves the feeling in question is stupid, wrong or invalid, etc. When we do this, the pressure we exert on our emergent feelings creates an inner tension we experience as “anxiety”. The more we depress our feelings, the more anxious we become. And the more anxious we become, the harder we try to depress the feelings that are trying to emerge. It’s a vicious cycle, which can make us feel hopeless and defeated. This is what we experience as depression . . .
I assist my clients to break the cycle of anxiety and depression by helping them get in touch with the experience that is trying to emerge. Often the feelings that are coming up need to be addressed; they might be deep longings, unaddressed hurts or even traumatic memories. We need to acknowledge and validate these feelings and work to heal the hurt and trauma. Once this is done, both anxiety and depression can be significantly reduced or eliminated. Anxiety comes to be seen as a positive force alerting us to the emergence of new experience. When we stop running away from our own experience, we are better able to deal with what is happening all around us in the present moment.