People Describe What It's Like Living With Both Anxiety and Depression


hand gripping a fence

Why I'm Telling the Truth When I Say 'Nothing Is Wrong'

If someone actually catches on to my depressed mood, and asks how things are or if something is wrong, then the typical response I have is, “Nothing’s wrong,” or, “Things are fine.” They might question it, or they might just let it go. In all honesty there isn’t anything in my life that is wrong or happening that is making me depressed.

I enjoy my job and even on the days when the kids I work with make me stressed, I still like my job. I’m pretty much my own boss; so as long as I get everything done I need to, my boss doesn’t take notice. I’m financially stable. I have a roof over my head and I am looking into actually buying a roof for myself. I love the snow and right now, we have lots.

So why does it appear that something is wrong? Every day I doubt myself. I’m barely sleeping, because my anxiety keeps me up at night. I’m barely eating, because my depression and medication have taken away the desire to eat. I’m not exercising, because I’m too exhausted. I wasn’t emotionally supported by my parents when I was growing up, on top of the other feelings of worthlessness.

But, look at the big picture. In reality I might not be feeling well, but the answer to your questions really is, “Nothing is wrong.” I’m not telling a lie. Maybe try asking a different question if you sense something is wrong.

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Thinkstock photo via Tharakorn

A woman biting her nails

When 'Good Days' With Depression Terrify You

At first, good days with depression seem like a shining light. They seem like hope. They make you wonder if that is how “normal” people go through the day.

There is nothing particularly special about good days. They are not what other people would call good days — you don’t get any amazing news, and you don’t find a hundred dollars on the sidewalk. They are just days where time passes as it’s meant to. They are days you don’t feel like crying for no reason and it’s easy to breathe.

The problem with good days is that the better they seem, the more they scare you. When you have lived with depression for a long time, you know better than to trust good days. You know they only last so long and then you wake up and the depression is back. The weight on your chest has returned. The constant feeling of dread is within you and you can’t seem to shake it. Good days are like a tease, a glimpse into how life was before that dark menace that is depression entered your life. Good days pass by and they make you question if and when you will have another. They intensify your envy of others — those people who might not appreciate their normal days, the ones who might not know what the darkness feels like.

I now spend my good days wondering when it will all disappear. They are no longer truly good days because I am just waiting for it to all come crashing down. It is like standing in a silent room waiting to hear a pin drop. You know the sound is coming but you have to stay very still to hear it. You are expecting a tiny sound. The good day has clouded your judgment and made you forget the darkest depths of depression. You wait so patiently so you don’t miss its return. But when it does return it’s not a whisper but rather a scream. Instead of a pin drop it’s a bomb. Good days do not end gently; instead they plunge you back into the deep black well.

When the good day ends you wonder if it was ever really there.

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Thinkstock photo via pecaphoto77

Close up of assorted yarn and wooden needles

How Depression Makes Me Unravel Like a Ball of Wool

Sometimes I think of depression as being a big ball of gray wool, wrapped around a black core. Made up of lots of threads, circling and intertwining. Most of the time — and with effort — I can keep all of the ends of those threads tucked in, with just a couple escaping at any one time.

Sometimes, though, things get out of hand. I feel like I’ve kept the yarn wrapped around the core too long. It yearns to escape and wreak havoc over my life and emotions. The threads become looser, one by one each of the ends becomes untucked and start trailing away from me. I try hard to keep reaching for the threads, to keep them hidden away, to keep the darkness inside wrapped up and contained. But it’s not always possible. I can’t manage all of the threads at once. I feel like I’m “losing my mind,” one thread at a time. I try to be strong, to carry on.

I tell people it’s OK to let go sometimes — they don’t have to keep themselves together all the time. It’s OK to say “I’m not coping.” I’ll give the advice but I won’t take it myself.  Instead I sit, hugging myself, trying to hold the threads together by sheer force of will, but instead end up tying myself up in knots with the effort of just existing from day to day. And it mostly does feel like I’m just existing. I get up. I just about manage to walk the dog. I work. I come home exhausted. If I do anything on the weekend, I start the next week even more tired than when I finished the last. If I do nothing on the weekend, I feel as though I exist only to work and that’s no way to live.

Something has to give. But what? Do I go to the doctor, tell them I’m not fit to work? Do I keep flogging myself to go to work every day, leaving nothing of myself for my own spare time, never having the energy to do what I want? Do I make the impossible decision to give up my precious dog, to send her to live with my mum and dad and their own dogs? This is an impossible decision because she’s sometimes the only thing that makes me get up and leave the house.

I don’t know what to do. I feel lost and I don’t know the answer. I don’t know when I’ll feel better. I don’t know if the chronic fatigue will ever subside and the thought of this sends me spiraling back into a depressive funk.

Something has to give.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via gojak.

A woman looking through her window. Text reads: 19 things people don't tell you about getting diagnosed with depression

19 Things People Don't Tell You About Getting Diagnosed With Depression

Editor’s note: This post reflects the experience of individuals and may not apply to every person with depression.

So, you’ve been experiencing symptoms of depression for a while. The emptiness, the lack of interest in doing things that normally bring pleasure, the changes in appetite and sleeping patterns. Symptoms that make you ask yourself, “Do I have depression?”

Getting a depression diagnosis can bring up a multitude of responses. Maybe you’ve never been given a diagnosis before or are having trouble accepting a new depression diagnosis. Maybe you are feeling some relief to finally put a name to what you’ve been experiencing. But no matter what your diagnosis story is, getting a depression diagnosis can sometimes feel like entering the unknown.

Because it can be hard to know what to expect after being diagnosed with depression, we asked people living with depression in our mental health community to share what they were unprepared for after being diagnosed with depression.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. “I thought a diagnosis would be the end of it and that the fight was over because I knew what the problem was. I wasn’t ready for the amount of effort that goes into fighting my depression post-diagnosis.” — Shannon A.

2. “Some people are going to be amazingly understanding. Others won’t understand at all and push you away.” — Ellie F.

3. “I wasn’t prepared for all the experiments with all the different medications to find what would work for me.” — Court B.

4. “Soon after my diagnosis, I became hyper-critical of my decisions made in the past, the relationships I either ended or ended on the other end. Everything was called into question and I agonized over whether or not my actions were because of my illness or a result of it.” — Sean C.

5. “The relief of knowing there was something ‘concrete’ after so long [of] not recognizing I was so ill. It gave me permission to start looking after myself. It’s a long route back but being diagnosed was the first step.” — Catherine W.

6. “The many years of medication trials, therapy and hospitalizations. I wasn’t told just how bad depression can get and that it can be a really long journey of recovery.” — Megan E.

7. “The chronic pain and bowel issues. I didn’t realize how much of a physical toll it would take on my body.” — Kathleen L.

8. “I never realized for some people depression is a lifelong struggle you have to combat every single day.” — Allie R.

9. “There is light at the end of the tunnel. Those who stayed with you during the ride will always be there.” — Shelley S.

10. “I was unprepared for antidepressants to make me feel much, much worse initially.” — Lucy D.

11. “My family’s reactions. They tried to suggest I just needed to do X, Y and Z and I’d be better. They also tried to discourage me from ‘advertising’ my depression. I felt like it was something shameful that should be hidden.” — Jenny B.

12. “The severity of the downs. I didn’t realize just how debilitating it could be.” — Matthew Z.

13.I didn’t think it would be so easy to connect and talk with people I didn’t know, but so difficult to connect and talk to people I’ve known for years.” — Nichole J.

14. “I was unprepared for the sense of validation I got. I finally knew for a fact I was not ‘just sad’ or ‘just having a bad day’ or ‘going through a phase.’” — Jessica A.

15. “I was unprepared for the amount of money I would have to spend to get treatment.” –Emma C.

16. “The fact that not everyone sees a diagnosis of depression as a real illness.” — Gabrielle H.

17. “The change I’d go through. From denial to awareness to understanding to acceptance to embracing myself the way I am.” — Oshra G.

18. “I didn’t realize how much patience would be involved in getting through this. The time between therapy appointments where I don’t know what to do with myself, the time it takes for meds to work.” — Lauren B.

19. “The acceptance of myself… My depression does not define the person I am.” — Lauren C.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

19 Things People Don't Tell You About Getting Diagnosed With Depression

woman curled up in a ball on her bed

What I Do When My Major Depression Returns

I know the heaviness of major depression.

The elephant on my heart and chest, the agony of facing the day, the fear of seeing people and overall sense of hopelessness.

I also know the feeling of freedom, joy, energy and enthusiasm for life.

That is why when I have a couple of good weeks without experiencing depression, it brings me to such a feeling of defeat and frustration when it rears its ugly head again.

When it comes back I question exactly what it could be that brought it back on:

Did I take my meds?

Did I forget to stay away from sugar and gluten? Because for me, there is a correlation.

Am I tired?

Did someone say something to me that could have brought me down?

All these questions run through my mind, which actually makes it worse because I have not come to the place of fully accepting this will always be part of my life.

I fear my depression to be 100 percent honest.

It scares me because of my thoughts of wishing I wasn’t living anymore. That’s my escape in my head; I can imagine not being here and not having to fight these demons.

Feelings of being unworthy, unloving, unsafe and hopeless dance through my mind, which when my depression has a mission to take me down.

So what do I do?

I tell myself it will pass. I tell myself it’s a condition and not to listen to the negative voice. I tell myself that despite the amount of pain and fear I am in, the sun will come back again.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via jarino47

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