As the work began, several signs of a mental health problem were identified. Phrases such as, “I am not responding as I used to”, were common. Other signs associated with this condition are behavioural change and emotional change. If anger is more present (very connected with anxiety), or I am frustrated, more irritable (I get angry often), changes in sleep patterns, or changes in eating (I eat more or less). These are all warning signs that something is wrong. Frustration (I can’t) or negative emotions can be a sign (I can’t, I’m tired, I can’t stand it,.). Another sign is to stop doing things such as going out, not meeting friends, not tolerating noise, avoiding effort, and voluntary isolation. Being aware of these signs can help a person to realise that something is not right.
When a person is in the middle of the problem or difficult situation it is not easy to identify these changes, so social support from family or friends can help to identify these changes. The environment and the people that live in it can recognise the emerging difficulties and alert the person to it and be supportive.
Symptoms: Lack of attention, distractions. Saying things like I am NOT capable, I can’t, I am frustrated, I am not the same as before. With limiting thinking, all or nothing, I will never do well in life.
For this type of anxiety-depression, and specifically for this case, several support initiatives have been developed that try to provide solutions to the problems that cause it:
- Doing physical sports activities can help to release neurotransmitters such as endorphins, dopamine that generates joy and satisfaction. Sport helps these processes. For depressions it is also recommended, since depression leads to apathy and not wanting to do anything, sport takes away this predisposition. With activity we get people moving and help them to get out of a phase of inertia and passivity.
- Do pleasurable activities, reproduce stimulating activities that we know they like, or encourage them to do new things that they might like.
- It is important to take care of the diet and nutrition. In the case of anxiety, psychoactive substances such as sugar, caffeine, chocolate, should be eliminated.
- It is very important to control and manage thoughts, in particular irrational thoughts (all or nothing, everything goes wrong,.), using positive mental messages and emotional reasoning. It is necessary to work on such thoughts and feelings to avoid depressive symptoms.
- Muscle relaxation and breathing for anxiety, a way of creating positive mindful moments..
- Generating routines and finding solutions to problems.
Based on this, with this case, we started by generating a list of his needs, trying to ask for help from social work, looking for extracurricular activities for the child, and hiring a support person in the mornings to help him with the child to go to school and prepare meals. Teaching him to adapt to a new situation with the difficulties of being in a rural area.
We had to overcome the negative thoughts after the separation, she had to go through her grieving phase for the loss of her partner and help him to accept his son’s illness, generating a therapy for the child’s treatment.