Imagine going about your day and not being able to feel any particular emotion for the activities you formerly loved doing. You no longer feel like going to the gym, the place you used to always head to after class to blow off some steam. Now it feels like there isn’t even any steam to blow off. No more basketball; the movies are out; it’s bye-bye to going to the football games.
Obviously, I’m describing depression, right?
Now, what if on top of these symptoms, you were also experiencing extreme anxiety when you went out in public; you were panicked that you weren’t going to finish your assignments on time; you constantly worried that you could die at any given moment.
Depression AND anxiety. Imagine having to cope with both of these simultaneously? The truth is, it’s much more common than you think.
There is a distinct link between depression and anxiety. In fact, many selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are developed to specifically treat both the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It makes sense, right? You don’t enjoy the same things that you used to, which in turn makes you confused and anxious as you contemplate while you’re feeling this way.
While naturally both of these conditions affect people in vastly different ways, those who are dealing with both of these conditions undoubtedly have it rough. Here are some things you should keep in mind if someone close to you is dealing with both anxiety and depression, because chances are, they have at least some of these ideas when they consider what it means to be both.
- It’s the constant questioning of what your significant other is doing, who they’re out with, why they’re out with them and not with you, while simultaneously saying to yourself that you don’t deserve for them to stay and that you’re not good enough.
- It’s tossing in turning in bed, finally sitting up at 4 in the morning, walking downstairs, having a glass of water, and as you’re looking out the window, you are gripped with fear about your future, while simultaneously wondering if you even want to have a future.
- It’s knowing how talented you are wanting nothing more than to share your greatness with the world, yet being terrified to show anyone anything you’ve worked on because you’re so paranoid they won’t like it.
- It’s feeling as though your friend will drop you because you say you can’t hang out because you “have other plans,” even though the true reason is that you don’t want to hang out because you can’t even bring yourself out of the house. You’re lying to your friend and you want to tell them the truth, but you simply can’t do it.
- It’s wanting to be completely alone for extended periods of time, and being OK for the first couple days, but then starting to feel guilty because you feel this way.
- It’s feeling anxious when you walk out into a giant crowd of people, but then trying to calm yourself down because, duh, this doesn’t matter anyway, but the fact that it doesn’t matter adding to both your anxiety and depression.
- It’s feeling like you’re going to be stuck in this pattern of thinking for the rest of your life, which not only serves to make you more anxious at being stuck, but also more hopeless because of it.
- It’s insisting to yourself you’re better off alone, that you don’t need anyone to talk to about your problems, but knowing deep down this couldn’t be further from the truth.
- It’s contemplating how much your anxiety contributes to your depression, and how much your depression contributes to your anxiety, and wondering if they have some master plan to continue to make things worse and worse for you until they swallow you whole.
- It’s getting down on yourself and telling yourself you shouldn’t be so worried about these problems, because they’re trivial in the grand scheme of the world’s problems. This thought process, in turn, makes you feel even worse, because you feel you aren’t even worthy of the anxiety and depression you’re feeling.
- It’s dwelling on small physical imperfections and blowing them up to ridiculous proportion, then finally becoming comfortable with a particular one, which makes you that much more anxious about one you hadn’t thought about before.
- It’s reading something about someone else with similar symptoms and saying to yourself, “Finally, that sounds just like me!” but then becoming frustrated because you don’t know how to use that awareness to propel yourself to get better.
- It’s the feeling of wanting so badly to be comfortable where you are in life, to feel like you belong, while simultaneously wanting to get as far away as possible from everything that surrounds you.
- It’s knowing that every physical ailment your brain tries to convince your body you have is completely in your mind, yet still being paranoid about it. In this way, you feel like a crazy person, but one who knows they are crazy, which is somehow worse.
- It’s the feeling of two worlds colliding: the depressed world, where it seems like you can’t get excited about anything; and the anxious one, where it seems like you care about each and every little thing far more than you should. When these two entities collide, it’s like a thunderstorm. But not the good kind. The kind with lightning, that strikes you down and paralyzes you.
I know that just the thought of trying to break free of these symptoms is anxiety-inducing in itself, and how hopeless of a situation it feels like. But you will get better. Check out the following sites for more information on anxiety and depression:
Additionally, if you have had thoughts of suicide, you should seek help immediately. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.