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3 Things Anxiety and Depression Are Not

Ever since I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) several people have tried to tell me what they think caused it, or what they think of the whole thing. Depression and anxiety are very serious and the stigma needs to end.

1. Anxiety and depression are not contagious.

In my experience, people seem to think that just because their kids spend time with me, I will make them depressed or anxious. A mental illness can be caused by a hormonal imbalance or by a traumatic event. Anxiety and depression can also be hereditary. If it runs in your family, then chances are you may have some symptoms of anxiety and depression. Hanging out around other people who have depression and anxiety will not cause you to have depression and anxiety. The people who you hang out with might affect your mood, but it does not make you depressed or anxious. Most of the time when I am with my friends, I am actually happy and not even thinking about all of the things going wrong in my life.

2. Anxiety and depression are not caused by not praying to God enough.

Praying to God has nothing to do with whether or not you have anxiety, depression or any other mental illness. There have been numerous times I have been judged by youth group leaders because I told them praying to God is not taking away my anxiety and depression. I am not saying I do not believe, because I do. All I am saying is that what works for some may not work for others. I have also heard a few of my friends say depression is caused by your lack of faith. That is not true. Truthfully, whenever I hear things like that, it makes me very upset. Hearing I have a lack of my faith has nothing to do with how I feel or how my mental well-being is at the moment.

3. Anxiety and depression are not fake.

They are not fake and they are very real to everyone who has been diagnosed with any type of mental illness. They can make everyday life hard for anyone who lives with them. Depression makes me want to stay in bed all day. Most days, it is very difficult to just get out of bed. Every day, I lie in bed for over an hour before I finally convince myself it is worth it to get up and face the day. I barely even brush my hair, let alone put on nicer clothes. My go-to outfit is just the shirt I slept in and sweatpants with slides. Anxiety causes me to worry excessively and I then hurry to get myself out of the door so I can make it to school on time. Anxiety and depression can also come with a lot of physical symptoms well. Depression can cause aching pains in your neck or back as well as stomach pain. Both of them can cause a change in your sleep schedule as well.

Depression, anxiety or any other mental illness shouldn’t be taken as lightly as what they have been. Many people struggle with them and we need to work on ending the stigma.

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Thinkstock photo via AkilinaWinner