Intersections Between Depression and Anxiety
Many people experience both anxiety and depression, and I’m one of them. About a month ago, I had what’s called a major depressive episode. Though I am not at my lowest point anymore, I am still dealing with the aftereffects of that episode and probably will for some time. This is not the first time I’ve had to deal with such an episode, so I think it is appropriate to devote an entry to attempt to come to terms with it. Please forgive me if I don’t sound enthused; my drive continues to be shot. Despite that, I will do the best I can.
My Relationship with Depression and Anxiety
As such, on most days, my mental health revolves around managing my anxiety. However, I am aware that the relationship between anxiety and depression is a close one; as an obvious example, the same medication is used to treat both.
It should come as no surprise, then, that of the major depressive episodes I’ve had, all of them have come directly following periods of extreme anxiety. The extreme stress goes away, but what comes in its place is far from ideal. I no longer have the drive to do any of my hobbies. On many days, I literally don’t have the drive to do anything; on some days I felt so worn out that even walking a block to the mailbox felt more like I was running a marathon. My sleep schedule was shot; on some days I couldn’t keep my eyes open, on others I couldn’t sleep no matter how tired I felt on the inside. Of course, my appetite was virtually nonexistent as well. (See other symptoms of depression.)
Reflections on Depression and Anxiety
All I can do is reflect on my own experiences, so please don’t take what I say as indicative of everyone with anxiety and/or depression.
It seems, in this case, that these major depressive episodes seem to be a survival mechanism to control extreme instances of anxiety. Because everything seems to be a source of stress, everything is filtered out, and life becomes empty. Nothing feels worth doing because everything is stressful. You yourself feel worthless because your life feels reduced to almost nothing.
I wish I had a good way to better manage these feelings, but I really don’t. Obviously, if you feel like you need to speak to a professional or get on some sort of medication, do that. But what about day to day things?
These won’t seem like a lot, but in the moment, it isn’t possible to do a lot. But first and foremost, don’t be down on yourself if you feel like you can’t do anything. Nothing good will come from you beating yourself up.
Maybe you can’t do as much as you’d do normally, but try to do little things that make you happy and keep your life in order. Try keeping your surroundings clean. Don’t worry about making big meals but eat little things to feel refreshed and happy. Keep in touch with your loved ones so they know how you are doing. Above all, know that everything will pass.
What is your experience with depression and anxiety? How do you manage them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.