The Stress-to-Depression development process
Yes, the stress continues and depression has set in and continues …because the stress is ongoing and the mind is trying it’s hardest to stop the stress and allow the body (and brain) to recover!
They don’t exist side by side – they exist because of cause and effect! On-going stress – often over years without it being acknowledged or identified in some cases – means the body is 24/7 in ‘stress response’ and can no longer function effectively at this level. It moves into exhaustion (you know that ‘weird’ tiredness that no amount of rest or sleep relieves?) or GAS (General Adaptation Syndrome).
What is stress?
(Negative) “Stress is feeling unable to meet the demands placed on you”
Positive stress is the driver – the motivation to act and achieve, to reach your goals and live your dreams! This is the optimum level of stress:
– deadlines that are achievable, set by yourself preferably with little stretch perhaps!
– realistic goals you could make happen with the right steps you can take daily and yearly
– time management tools and techniques you can use to achieve realistic time-scales for tasks
– honest and achievable schedules between meetings and completing tasks, or work hours and home time with family, and friends for fun!
Stress response to sabre tooth tiger or bills you can’t pay/project you can’t finish in time etc
- Increased heartbeat to pump blood to your organs, arms and legs to fight or run
- Shallow breaths to bring in more oxygen to turn into energy in your lungs and blood
- Closes your stomach’s digestion to save energy and not distract your mind with hunger
- Tenses muscles in arms, legs, back and shoulders for fight or running
- Adrenalin to motivate and stimulate your body and mind – focus on the threat
When Depression sets in
Your unconscious mind – that also runs your heart beat, walking, instincts and more and is key to survival and action – decides it can no longer accept this physiological state and ‘closes’ down ‘the person’ – stops you even wanting to leave your house or bed so that there is nothing stressful to add on whilst you recover!
Burn Out or Break Down!
If you don’t acknowledge and honour it – the universe/your energies/unconscious WILL stop you!
You will find at some point you CAN NOT continue as you are when the last straw is reached – and you still try to push on! Your powerful unconscious will close you down completely
- Accidents including hospital stays
- Mind overload – no thoughts at all!
- Paralysing fear of going out of the house!
- Stress at work so that people notice and limit your potential or problem behaviours for you!
- Eating disorders, other self-harm and actions like binge drinking, drugs, even suicidal thoughts (one of the options your unconscious mind raises as an option to manage stress, that’s all unless you’re planning it)!
1. Not want to leave the safety of your house or bedroom
2. Not want to eat much more than to survive – and not enjoy it or hate it (hence lack interest)
3. Not want to speak to people – avoid them or feel stressed if they call or demand attention (children, partners, family and friends, work)
4. Only do what is absolutely necessary – then collapse or hide again. Feed the children, eat a little and drink a little, get dressed only if you have to go out for some reason – and that is terrifying!
5. Your mind will look only at the problem to hand – or key ones if more than one, which is common
6. Your mind will also look for other potential problems and try to find solutions before they happen to avoid the fight or flight stress response that it so desperately doesn’t want to do or is actually now incapable of producing for you!
7. Only focus on negatives, you look at things that might happen but are unlikely, or harp back to mistakes and issues that caused you anxiety before (and may not be resolved even today?)
Your steps to safety
2. Make helpful changes to your beliefs, expectations and behaviours as you need to
3. Ask for help from others even if that’s just checking on you, being honest you don’t feel ‘fine’ and maybe encouragement to do some things
4.Talking to loved ones about what is happening and why /being caring about the pressures someone feels they are under (even if you can’t see it or understand it) – it’s real for them!
5. Take care of yourself as a carer too – don’t sacrifice your needs and desires for someone depressed as that is additional pressure and stress on them – guilt.
6. Space to recover – take time out even if you feed the children and get them to school, and feed yourself small nibbles throughout the day instead of full meals you have to cook yourself
8. Exercise – walking around the room, to the toilet, getting a drink of water or running and gym, playing games or dancing – anything that tricks your unconscious mind into believing you’re responding to this survival defence mechanism – fight or flight response!
Give a little to family and friends but not more than you can – if you can’t sustain an effort, explain why not even to children and let them get on whilst you just sit and watch them or with them