A mental health expert breaks down some ways to cope with the depression and anxiety after a year of uncertainty.
CALIFORNIA, USA — Most would agree that 2020 has been a year full of loss, heartache, and just overall fear of the unknown.
“This is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, period of time we’ve ever had to endure,” said Dr. Armando Gonzalez, mental health therapist.
Dr. Gonzalez said people are experiencing especially high levels of stress, depression and anxiety right now because of these unprecedented times. He said self-isolation has been the root of many issues.
“Human beings were designed to be in community,” Gonzalez said. “What’s best for the pandemic may not be what’s best for mental health.”
So what can we do when we’re spiraling into depression and anxiety is getting the best of us?
Dr. Gonzalez said, while reaching out can be difficult, try to own your depression by telling someone what you’re going through. He said taking action can be empowering.
He recommends talking to a friend, family, a coworker, or getting ahold of a licensed health professional. He said psychologytoday.com is a great place to start.
“We’re just designed to not process struggles on our own, independently,” Gonzalez said.
Everyone copes differently, so how can we recognize when our loved ones are experiencing depression?
Gonzalez said there are some common warning signs to look out for, like not showing up to things that used to be staples of that persons routine. That can be things like over eating and undereating or oversleeping and not sleeping enough.
He said to tune in to words and language that people share when depressed or anxious. He said this can also include a “prevailing sense of hopelessness- a feeling like, what they’re feeling now is never going to end.”
If you recognize any of these signs, he says to text them, call them, tell them you see them and that you love them.
“We have to continue to show and express love with persistence,” he said.
A big part of Dr. Gonzalez’s work deals with getting rid of stigma around mental health. He said, after a year in which many have struggled, that he believes society is turning a corner—because mental health is a big part of the conversation now.
“I’m encouraged about the fact that, as we enter 2021, we have put a large dent into the stigma associated with talking about our mental health struggle,” he said. “More people are talking about their struggles.”
ABC10: Watch, Download, Read