According to PsychologyToday.com, anxiety and depression are “two sides of the same coin.”
• Of those who suffer from depression, 60%-70% also report having anxiety.
• Anxiety typically appears in a person’s life years before depression.
• The average age to develop an anxiety disorder is late childhood/early adolescence.
• Anxiety can manifest itself into a variety of disorders like OCD, panic disorder, social phobias, PTSD, and others.
(To see more, visit http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200310/anxiety-and-depression-together to read the full article.)
Whelp, I am over-qualified for this one. I was diagnosed with panic disorder (as a tween), clinical depression (as a teen), and PTSD (as an adult). Triple threat, baby! To the outside world, I can really look like an erratic, hot mess. When I am in the throws of anxiety or depression, I feel like I am (A) slowly sinking into the bottom of a dark, dank hole, or I am (B) free falling off a mountain — desperately grabbing for anything and everything on the way down.
Unfortunately most people I know don’t know how to help, react, or respond. And why would they? If they haven’t experienced it for themselves or witnessed it firsthand from a loved one, they can’t possibly get it. And I can’t take it personally. I can’t say what it’s like to be on a battlefield, so I wouldn’t know how to comfort a combat solider. I haven’t seen what they have seen or felt what they have felt.
Thankfully I have found a few people I can trust with my feelings. If anyone tries to tell you things like, “Just get over it already,” “Things are not really that bad,” or “At least you are not starving in Africa,” then you need to find someone else to confide in.
When I can’t get a hold of someone, I try to work out what might be causing my stress or sadness in the first place. I find it’s almost always related to warped or unhealthy thinking.
I try to ask myself:
• What am I really afraid of? It’s usually losing something I have or not getting something I want.
• What can I do about it right now? Taking action gets me out of the problem and moving toward the solution.
• What’s the worst that could happen? Whatever my answer usually is, it has never happened. If it ever does, at least I will not be taken off guard.
Although feelings are very real, they are not always facts. Just because I feel worthless, lonely, like I am going to die or go crazy, etc., does not mean it is reality. I may have to live with these challenges, but it does not mean I am out of control or helpless. Always remember that anxiety and depression are real medical problems that can require treatment. But take heart — they can be greatly reduced or even eliminated with a professional’s help.
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “There is a light of the end of the tunnel, and it’s not always a train.”