Anyone who suffers from either anxiety and/or depression knows that each are complete ball-aches and annoying and you wish they didn’t exist. So what do you do when both come at you at once?
My experience of the two together is that they’re playing a game of who can annoy the other the most.
To sum it up, suffering from an anxiety disorder is like your brain telling you to doubt yourself and all reason and worry, even about the littlest things. Like why did you text that person that in those words? They’re going to think you’re SO weird. And then suffering from depression is like your brain telling you the worst things you might think about yourself all the time, like I can’t believe you just did that, what is wrong with you? You’re SUCH an idiot, you’re so stupid.
So, the two at once is like: Why did you text that person that in those words? They’re going to think you’re SO weird. You just texted that. I can’t believe you did that, what is wrong with you? You’re SUCH an idiot, you’re so stupid. You are so weird. You can’t do anything right. But all. the. time.
It might not seem like a huge deal, but having these kinds of thoughts – or worse – go through your brain over and over and over again is exhausting, and it wears you down. So you start to believe what your brain is telling you; you start worrying about doing things you might normally do, and so you stop doing them. And when you stop doing them, you beat yourself up because you didn’t do them, or you couldn’t do them.
It’s a bloomin’ nightmare. I remember feeling like this when studying for my A levels – my teachers were really ramping up the workloads and my anxiety was telling me to do the work ASAP or I’d fail or I’d get things wrong in front of people which would be embarrassing, but then my depression would tell me not to bother, because no matter what I did, I’d still fail, I’d still get things wrong and I’d still be embarrassed and hate myself.
The way I dealt with these was through CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). It’s not necessarily the right thing for everyone – I know people who swear by it and I know others who’d never do it again – but it really helped me to be aware of my thoughts and how they affected my mood and behaviour and emotions, and how to manage them. Now depression + anxiety are like two small children who I can get to be quiet; if I’m busy and doing things I love, I get distracted and I don’t bother thinking that way anymore. Easier said than done I know, but I really value what I’ve learnt.
Those two little children are still there and they still annoy each other and egg each other on every so often, but most of the time, they’re too busy and I get on with life as best I can – that’s what we all do isn’t it?
If you enjoyed reading Maeve’s writing, you will love her blog – check it out here.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of Depression or Anxiety, you can find out more by visiting sites such as Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and NHS. Please call The Samaritans on 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI) if you or someone you know may be in danger to themselves or others as a result of Depression and Anxiety.