How My Depression Actually Stems From Anxiety
As many people know, anxiety and depression are like opposites. Anxiety is worrying and caring too much, while depression is worrying or caring not enough. Anxiety is having too much built-up energy and stress, and depression is having a lack of energy. However, many of us live with coexisting depression and anxiety, which, as you can imagine, causes a lot of issues. When someone has both an anxiety and a depressive disorder, this can be for several different reasons. The disorders can occur simultaneously, or one can cause the other.
In my case, I have had issues with anxiety my entire life. However, it wasn’t until midway through high school I began noticing my anxiety. Because I had never known a life without anxiety, I never really recognized it as an issue until I became depressed. When my depression began, it caused a lot of distress in my life. I felt like I was crying constantly, I felt unmotivated to do anything and I was always out of energy. However, what made it worse was the fact that, because of my anxiety, I was also constantly worried about everything. Having to force yourself to do things when you barely have the strength to get out of bed because you can’t stop worrying about what will happen if your don’t is one of the hardest things to deal with.
Because this distress became nearly unbearable, I began going to counseling when I started college. I told my counselor I was having problems with depression and that’s what I needed help with. However, after a while, we discovered my biggest problem was not the depression, but the anxiety. After a while, once I continued to go to counseling to focus primarily on my anxiety and I began taking anxiety medication, my depression began to alleviate as well. However, it still took me a while to understand how the two were connected.
As mentioned, anxiety is basically worrying too much. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is having constant worry about pretty much every situation. My anxiety causes me to always assume the worst is going to come out of every situation. It causes me to worry until I get physically sick or have a panic attack and have to be alone. It causes me to not be able to hang out with friends. It causes me to feel like I’m unfriendly. It causes me to constantly worry about how I’m looking and how I’m acting and if everyone approves of the way I am. All of this worrying leaves me exhausted. It leaves me feeling like I’m never going to escape my anxiety. I constantly feel like whatever happens, even if what I’m worried about resolves and my anxiety gets temporarily alleviated, there will always be something else to worry about and consume my thoughts. There is no escaping it. This makes me feel hopeless. This hopelessness is what causes me to feel depressed. Part of my brain is saying, “we need to fix this, this is urgent, what are we going to do?” The other part of my brain is saying, “what is the point in continuing to try?” My anxiety leaves me feeling like I will never be able to be truly content or satisfied with life because I cannot escape the worry. This is quite depressing.
While living with both anxiety and depression is difficult, however, being able to analyze — at least to an extent — where it has come from has left me more at ease. Being able to identify the root of the problem is beneficial to be able to find helpful treatment plans. It’s sad to know there are so many individuals dealing with the internal battle of coexisting anxiety and depression. However, it is also empowering to know we can understand and encourage each other to continue to fight and overcome.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash