In the past year reports of anxiety and depression have increased at widespread rates for clear reasons. The world has been swept with grief, loss, and a complete shift in what we once defined as normalcy. The onset of depression or anxiety disorders are largely linked to the pandemic; however, many symptoms of anxiety and depression are a result of our inability to self-regulate when faced with varying forms of adversity. Stressful scenarios like job insecurity, experiencing a breakup, or the pressures of social performance are some of many factors that may contribute to chronic depression or anxiety. Whether or not your anxiety and depression feels fully acknowledged by others, there are actions you can take in responding to your silent battle of mental health challenges.

1. Identify Your Triggers

Triggers, although sometimes loosely defined, can alter your thought trajectory in a moment without warning. Whether it be a date on the calendar, encountering a specific person, place, or even hearing a particular phrase or word – triggers can send anyone suffering from an anxiety disorder into a spiral. Many people may ask why anxiety sneaks up on them, or why their depression seems to continue to dominate their lives. Triggers often work silently and create unfair suffering. Naming the feelings that disrupt your well-being is the first step to tracing when and where they originate from. Identifying triggers is the most pragmatic approach to better understanding the vulnerabilities of your mental health.

2. Make Time for Yourself

Deciphering between loneliness and solitude makes all the difference when looking at the time alone. Taking time to slow down, practice mindfulness, and carving out a piece of each day for you can create a healthy way of meeting your own needs. Reading a book, taking a walk, or finding time to enjoy one of your interests should combat feeling lonesome. Creativity is not the ultimate cure for depression; however, the act of creating is a form of healing and will help you express yourself. Creative outlets may help you show how you feel and work through emotions during the creative process. Creating meaningful moments will help with your response to your anxiety and depression.

3. Seek Counsel

Break your silence and seek counsel from a close friend, mentor, or a mental health professional. This action step is one of the most effective efforts towards reconciling your struggles. Close friends and loved ones can offer a unique lens for acknowledging your experiences, reminding you of your best qualities, and supporting your authenticity. Mental health professionals help you develop the necessary tools to self-regulate your emotions and reframe your vision for your life. Seeking counsel from a professional will help you create a plan. Whichever you prefer, these support systems will strengthen your response to mental health crisis and make you feel heard.