There is only one thing that comes out of both caring too much and not caring at all. You can never win at anything you do.
Anxiety and depression are two disorders that seem to come from opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. But you’ll be surprised to find out how often these two coexist in the same mind at the same time. Of course, these are disorders that are extremely personal in nature, and therefore, affect different people differently. But that doesn’t mean it is uncommon.
Almost a half of the people who suffer from depression report battling anxiety disorders as well. 1
It can be difficult to explain what it’s like, living with two disorders that give you such contradictory feelings and thoughts. The best way to understand this is by first breaking down the two disorders individually.
What It’s Like To Have Depression
Being depressed is largely described as sliding down a never-ending dark hole. It robs you of all your positive thoughts and emotions and sucks away every trace of motivation from within the victim. As a result, the person ends up feeling perpetually hopeless – like there is no point in even trying to move forward.
Very often, people with depression feel like hiding under their covers all day, isolating themselves from the rest of the world, day after day. Sometimes, they even feel completely numb. One moment, the person could be crying over something as simple as accidentally breaking a glass. This same person, however, may not even shed a single tear on hearing the news of someone close passing away.
What It’s Like To Have Anxiety
Anxiety is practically the opposite of depression. People with anxiety disorders are perpetually hounded by questions like ‘what if?’ The problem may seem very small, but their minds are just accustomed to building massive mountains out of tiny molehills.
People with anxiety disorders can only see the worst possible outcome of a particular situation and keep obsessing over the terrible consequences that are going to follow. Most of the times, these are problems or situations that they have no control over, so technically, even if they fret over it all day or all week, it’s not going to make things any better. Instead, they end up losing their minds and feeling frustrated with themselves and the people around them.
What It’s Like To Have Both Depression And Anxiety
It can be hard to understand how it’s possible to not care at all and still obsess over the tiniest of things to the point that it drives you over the edge. But it’s very possible.
Remember that thing we said earlier about depression making you feel like you want to hide away in bed all day? Now imagine staying in bed all day and worrying about what’s going to happen the next day. That’s what it’s like to be both depressed and anxious at the same time. Of course, as mentioned before, these disorders are very personal in nature and therefore manifest themselves in different ways in different people.
One victim may fret and cry over being single for so long, yet manages to find a way to cancel every single date just because she can’t deal with the anxiety of meeting someone new and dealing with the possibility of rejection.
Another victim may spend all his time worrying over a presentation that’s due the next day, yet at the same time, being unable to muster up enough energy to actually prepare for the meeting.
Yet another victim may spend all his time making endless lists of tasks and chores that need to be done, even though his mind is constantly telling him to procrastinate for a little while longer.
Depression and anxiety don’t just show up when something bad happens, but finds a way to mess with our thoughts and emotions even when it comes to the littlest and the most ordinary things. Over time, this builds up and by the end of the day, you’re left feeling exhausted, demotivated, and ten times more anxious and depressed. You’d think you’ll start afresh tomorrow, but you wake up with these same feelings, and it’s just a replay of the same old vicious cycle day after day.
Treatment And Recovery
Both depression and anxiety are often treated together with the help of the following effective treatment strategies:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This method is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders along with depression. This method not only helps people manage their anxieties but also helps get to the root of depressive symptoms by helping them figure out what the underlying reasons really are.
- Antidepressant medications: These are often prescribed to help both depression and anxiety, and are often used in conjunction with CBT. However, when it comes to pills, it may take a little while to find the right combination or dosage since the side effects of one drug may end up influencing the action of another. For instance, certain pills you take to alleviate your depression may worsen your anxiety, while another pill that may stop your thoughts from getting entangled in a vicious knot may make your depression worse. This is why, such drugs should always be taken upon consulting a doctor or a therapist, never on your own.
- Exercise: This is an age-old natural remedy that is extremely helpful in treating disorders not just of the mind, but also of the body. Exercise releases endorphins, more popularly nicknamed ‘feel-good hormones’ that help relieve stress and anxiety and successfully make a person forget about depression. A ten-minute walk in the outdoors can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression for hours at a stretch. However, since this is a temporary cure, regular exercise is the key to long term recovery, rather than doing it in short bursts.
- Mindfulness exercises: Meditation and practicing mindfulness can cure depression and anxiety by teaching you to be in control of your body and your mind. By calling your attention to breathing techniques and posture, meditation not only relaxes the nervous mind but can also help improve the overall quality of your life.