Recognising the symptoms of depression and anxiety

Job loss and unemployment is traumatic, and feeling low, having difficulty sleeping and lacking motivation, can all be common responses. It’s important to remember that whilst everyone feels down sometimes, especially during stressful periods, if you are worried or unhappy it might be time to seek support to help you through it.

Sometimes, these feelings may be indicators of clinical depression, particularly if you are feeling down for longer than two weeks, or if you’re finding it difficult to manage day-to-day life.

There are symptoms that you should be aware of, and look out for, including:

  • Insomnia or broken sleep and/or low level of energy.
  • Reduced self-esteem.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Reduced libido.
  • A lack of motivation.
  • Emotional instability.
  • A lack of pleasure in activities which are normally of interest.
  • Difficulty concentrating.

Anxiety can also be brought on through unemployment and job loss. There are different kinds of anxiety, each have their own symptoms, but there are some shared experiences:

  • Feelings of worry or anxiety most of the time.
  • Struggling to calm down.
  • Repeatedly worrying about things which may seem unimportant or silly to others.
  • Avoiding people or situations which may make you feel anxious.
  • Having recurring distressing episodes, such as nightmares, related to a traumatic experience.
  • Experiencing sudden, intense panic and/or anxiety that makes you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope.

Having some of these symptoms does not mean you are depressed or suffering from anxiety, as many are just normal responses to stressful or upsetting experiences. You may, however, want to seek professional support to help you manage these feelings, especially if they are upsetting your well-being.

Tips to reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in your daily life

Whilst more serious cases of anxiety and depression are likely to require treatment, and a medical opinion should always be sought, there are some steps that you can take to manage the effects of these disorders.

It is highly recommended that you talk to a counsellor who can help you to come up with a plan for ways to follow our general recommendations, which are to:

  • Make time in your day for activities you enjoy such as listening to music or going for a walk.
  • Address conflicts with the people around you as they arise. It’s important to find ways to tell people about your feelings in a productive way.
  • Keep healthy and fit by eating well, getting regular exercise and having a good night’s sleep.
  • Consider taking up meditation or other relaxation practices. Simple techniques such as learning to control your breathing can help you to overcome episodes of anxiety.
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol and other drugs, which may aggravate your symptoms.

Getting further support and treatment

Effective treatments are available for both anxiety and depression.

There are a number of different types of depression and anxiety, each requiring different kinds of treatment.

Regardless of how serious you consider your symptoms to be, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional. Further information and support for anyone who is concerned about depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders can also be found through specialist websites such as beyondblue and the Black Dog Institute.

Get in touch today

If you're a job seeker with Employment Plus and need help managing mental illness, our Allied Health team is here to support you on 136 123.