Unexpected losses, events or challenging situations come across our paths from time to time, and can cause significant stress. A single stressful event may trigger depression or anxiety at any point in life.
“Traumatic events” like accidents, natural disasters, suicide or being attacked, can result in emotional and psychological trauma. These unexpected events can have a huge impact on all aspects of our wellbeing.
Other events can also be challenging, as they require you to make adjustments to your everyday life and they sometimes change how you see yourself:
- Illness, injury or developing a long term medical condition
- Job loss, new job
- Relationship break-up
- Change in whānau make-up (new member, blended whānau, break-up)
- Death or suicide of a close friend or whānau member
- Change in living conditions
While you may not have control over the events themselves, you can help by the way you respond to them. Simply ignoring them may only make things worse.
Changes to your role in life
Even though life changes are often anticipated, like becoming a parent or stopping work, you might find it harder than expected to adjust because they usually affect important areas of your life:
- Where you live
- How you define yourself
- Your goals in life
- People’s expectations of you
- Your beliefs (not just religious)
- Who you have around to support you
The hardship, challenges and conflict that come along with these life changes can contribute to depression and anxiety.
Keep in mind that when a major change takes place for someone, it can affect the whole whānau, e.g. having a baby/pēpi – this involves new roles and responsibilities for not just the parents, but potentially for the whole whānau – siblings, grandparents, cousins and aunts/uncles, and this requires some adjustment by everyone.
Find out more about some of the most challenging changes we go through below: