Mormon Channel Blog

Depression and Anxiety

November 21, 2015

Kris Hoefling-Carpenter is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with LDS Family Services. Here, she shares with us some information on better understanding the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

DEPRESSION:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health Disorders, 6.7% of all people will struggle with depression each year. Depression affects the way we think, feel, and behave.

If you are struggling with depression, you may have some of the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Decrease in desire to engage in your daily activities
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Thoughts of suicide

All of the symptoms do not need to be present to have depression. Some symptoms may be brought on by life events, such as a death of a loved one, loss of a job, or other difficult life circumstance. Typically, as people process through these challenges, they will recover in time. This is called situational depression.

When symptoms of depression linger for extended periods of time and create a problem in functioning, it is called clinical depression. The difference between situational and clinical is that someone struggling with clinical depression should seek professional help as the cause is often related to a chemical imbalance. Mental health is a risk factor for suicide. It should be treated immediately. When in the midst of a depressive episode, it may be difficult to see solutions to this problem.

There is hope. Depression is treatable. As clinical depression is a medical condition, seeking professional help is important. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have several resources available to us to overcome depression. It is important to know that there is not one solution that fits everyone. How you approach your depression is an individual choice.

  • Talk with someone you trust in your ward family.
  • Talk to your bishop.
  • See a counselor.
  • Consult with your physician about medication management.
  • Obtain a physical, as biological issues also contribute to depression.
  • Read conference talks on depression or adversity, and apply the principles you find.
  • Read scriptures with an eye focused on answers to resolve depression, and apply the principles you find.

In Alma 26:27, it says, “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us.” When we know where to find help, we have hope.

ANXIETY:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health Disorders, approximately 18% of people will struggle with an anxiety disorder this year. Anxiety affects the way we feel, think, and act.

If you are struggling with anxiety, you may have some of the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Worry
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Panic attacks

All of these symptoms do not need to be present to have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be crippling to the person who is struggling with this disorder. Anxiety can be brought about by a chemical imbalance, stress, an unbalanced lifestyle, or several other triggers. Anxiety is a result of a fear of a known or unknown origin. Anxiety triggers our fight or flight response. In the moment that anxiety takes hold, we feel vulnerable. This sense of vulnerability can be brought on by feelings of inadequacy, being overwhelmed, a trauma or loss, or several other factors. The process of being able to realize the truth of our fears helps to calm the intensity of our emotions.

There is hope. Anxiety is treatable. As anxiety is a medical condition, seeking professional help is important. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have several resources available to us to overcome anxiety. It is important to know that there is not one solution that fits everyone. How you approach your anxiety is up to you. Here are some suggestions:

  • Talk with someone you trust in your ward family.
  • Talk to your bishop.
  • See a counselor.
  • Consult with your physician about medication management.
  • Obtain a physical, as biological issues also contribute to anxiety.
  • Read conference talks on fear or anxiety, and apply the principles you find.
  • Read scriptures with an eye focused on answers to resolve fear, and apply the principles you find.

As we work through the challenges of mortality, it is important to not run faster than we have strength (see Mosiah 4:27). By chunking down life’s daily experiences, taking things a day at a time, and—when that is too much—an hour at a time, we learn skills to conquer our fears.