Depression and anxiety are common reactions to trauma. They can be responses to unresolved trauma, or they may be maladaptive ways of coping when pain and emotions flood the nervous system over time. The system maintains a constant state of emotional “OFF” as with depression or a constant state of emotional “ON” as with anxiety.
Although no one would say that depression or anxiety are ways to cope, when faced with tasks or challenges that feel overwhelming and debilitating, sometimes alternative responses hide the original fear and pain. Depression and anxiety can become short-term relief from greater pain. However, when these states take over, and there is no energy to engage in life, to function or even move, it’s time to seek help.
The Bridge to Recovery does not provide primary treatment for depression and anxiety; however, our goal is to address the underlying problems that feed these mood states. When feelings are depressed, anxiousness becomes a primary emotion or there is a constant mixture of both, there is no motivation or energy to work on getting better. The program at The Bridge is designed to explore what happened before the anxiety or depression set in and discover how this became the alternative to healthy living. These mood states can be very confusing, and there may not be an understanding of their origins.
As Director of Clinical Services at The Bridge, I had the opportunity to go through the two-week program. I did not realize how much of a role anxiety played in my life. It wasn’t until days after I left, I realized I had worked on my overwhelming anxiety. I would have described it as a constant motor running inside my body. I was always in a state of “On” – like a motor humming all the time. I would have told you that “motor” made me feel alive and I used it as a way to feel motivated. It made me feel safe as if that constant vigilance and preparation would keep me from harm. What I didn’t realize was that the feeling was a reaction to trauma and fear, and I was always on guard. I was wearing out my body and as well as the responses meant to warn of real danger. As my body returned to normal, I could feel a hollowness that felt foreign. I had used so much space and energy with this learned response that I was unable to use my feelings and emotions for the purposes they were intended. I worked on understanding self-regulation and learned how to “reprogram” these responses at the Bridge.
You may know that depression and anxiety are a problem. They may have even become debilitating. You may realize that you need to address the issues beyond these symptoms. However, you may not know if these are a problem for you. You may feel that something isn’t right and want to figure out how you can feel better. Either way, The Bridge can help. Our program is designed to provide healing from the underlying issues. It’s not important that you know what those are. What is important is that there is help available to feel better and a supportive team that can guide the process. Let us help you work on the pain beneath the symptoms for a healthier and more satisfying way of life.