Welcome to ReachOut.com’s Ask the Expert service
Through this service the ReachOut.com team will be working with a group of professionals and experts with detailed and specialist knowledge of youth mental health issues such as anxiety and depression to answer your questions and address your concerns. The issues covered will be the same as those covered throughout ReachOut.com but through this service we will be able to provide valuable insight into more specific and personal concerns that you may have.
Each month we will concentrate on one particular mental health area and work, mainly, with one specific collaborator. Vincent McDarby is a Senior Clinical Psychologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin. This week he will be answering any questions you may have concerning either a friend or yourself about depression and feeling down.
Questions and answers
We won’t have all the answers to every question – but we do have access to the best available information, so let us know what’s on your mind by submitting a question here.
Your question and answer from Vincent will be published here at the beginning of each week, so you may wait up to a week for an answer.
The advice provided through this service is not intended to replace face-to-face professional advice or any on-going support that a person may be receiving. If you or someone you know is in crisis now you should go to emergency support information.
Hi I am a 36 year old mother of 2. I have suffered with anxiety all my life. I became very ill about 5 years ago because of it. I was in a lot of pain from being tense all the time, I had to sleep for 18-20 hours of the day, my mood was extremely low and the list goes on. Eventually my doc put me on anti anxiety and depression medication and I have improved greatly over the years but I still have some issues. I don’t like mixing with people, I don’t socialise at all, I am tensing all the time but not so much pain, I get tired easily and although I have a great education I have no confidence to get a decent job. I feel hopeless for myself. I want to change, I’ve tried to change but nothing works. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks for your email, it sounds like anxiety has been an ongoing issue for you for a long time. The symptoms that you describe experiencing such as the tension pains, over sleeping and low mood all point to the significant level of distress you were experiencing. It sounds like the medication your doctor prescribed helped alleviate some of the more severe symptoms you were experiencing and has helped you greatly. However, the issues that you describe that you continue to experience indicate that you are still struggling with some things in your life.
Although medication can be a great help in alleviating some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety, it works best when it is combined with some form of counseling or therapy. Often medication can help with some of the more debilitating symptoms of depression and anxiety, allowing us to function on a day-to-day level, but a lot of the underlying issues are best addressed through counseling or therapy.
I can completely understand your upset of feeling unable to change. Very often we want and try hard to change but become very upset and frustrated when it doesn’t work. The important thing to remember is that things can change and you can start feeling better. However, sometimes we need someone to help guide us through the initial steps of change. That’s why I think linking in with a counselor or therapist would help in addressing those issues that are continuing to cause you distress.
Depending on where you live there will be a variety of different options for counseling or therapy. Your GP is usually the best person to contact in relation to this as they are generally aware of the services that are available in your area and should be able to put you in contact with them.
Hang in there and remember things will get better, we just sometimes need a helping hand to guide us on the first few steps to getting better.