Why It's Easier for Me to Talk About My Anxiety Than My Depression

So let me explain.

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, it’s easier to tell people I have anxiety than depression.

Anxiety is a feeling everyone can relate to. It’s something I believe we have all experienced in life. Whether you are anxious about an upcoming exam or starting a new job, it’s the fear of the unknown that causes us to experience this. People tell me all the time that they have anxiety. This makes it easier for me to share that I also struggle with it. However, I often wonder if they have anxiety or an anxiety disorder, as they are two very different things.

Most people’s anxiety goes away after their uncertainty is cleared up, but for those with anxiety disorders, it’s a whole other story. These people (like myself) experience constant worry, usually over small events. The worrying and fear can cause me to get physically ill, which usually involves stomach cramps and throwing up. Sometimes I curl up in a ball and cry while I start to sweat and my heart rate drastically increases.

Granted these to do pass, but it’s the intensity and inability to function day to day that makes the difference. So when people say they have anxiety, I often wonder if, like me, they take medication every day to be able to go out and live life, or do they just feel anxious on occasion?

Anyway, back to my original point. Anxiety is relatable. Everyone has experienced it in some way. When you tell someone you have anxiety, I believe it’s easier for them to understand. They look at you and you can tell that they understand the feeling you are going through. When you tell someone you have depression, I often see people become silent and don’t know how to respond. One of the main reasons is because it’s harder to relate, because not everybody experiences it. Most people equate it to feeling sad, but it is so much more than that. Depression is not sadness. While depressed one may experience sadness, but that is not the only emotion they feel. It can also manifest as anger and annoyance at very small things. It can manifest as lying in bed all day, not being able to move. A wave of hopelessness washes over you. It can tell you awful things about yourself — things you actually believe. It can make you feel so unloved and worthless that you don’t even want to live anymore. It’s something only those who have experienced it themselves can relate to.

So I often keep it to myself, as most people do not understand the darkness that can consume me. They don’t understand how I can be OK one minute, and then I can’t get out of bed for days. Many know I live with anxiety, but only a few very close friends and family members also know I live with depression. It’s just the way it is.

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 “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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Thinkstock photo via rilueda

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