Anxiety Probably Isn’t Your Only Problem

depression, depressive, depressedSometimes I marvel at how far I’ve come since my first panic attack in 1999.  It’s amazing really.

Yet as happy as I am about all that progress I’ll admit that I still struggle at times not with anxiety, but with low-grade, residual depression.

You know, sometimes I feel like a worthless, aimless nobody.

Now, clearly this is a thought created by a mild depression and has no basis in reality, but it rears its ugly head nonetheless.

And although depressive thoughts linger in my mind occasionally without consent, I cope well.

That’s because for me things have never reached a critical mass.

Mainly because I taught myself to manage and even eliminate anxiety, and since anxiety and depression work in much the same way, this means that I can (and do) apply a number of the same techniques to myself to stop depressive thoughts cold.

I think a lot of anxious people think the same way.  I also think a lot of you downplay or don’t even acknowledge that depression has crept into your life because you’re either too distracted or not sure about how to respond.

That’s sad.  Sad because life is already hard enough as it is.  Life is hard even without the anxiety, panic, fear, and uncertainty that you might be enduring right now.

I’m sharing this with you because I want you to know that if you’re feeling depressed you’re not alone.  The fact is that anxiety and depression are almost always found together, especially if your underlying anxiety has not been treated.  In short, you’re no weirdo.

So take notice because over the next several weeks I’ll be producing a series of articles and podcasts aimed at doing the following:

  1. Defining depression
  2. Discussing different degrees of depression (depression scale)
  3. Offering tips on how to cope with depression
  4. Explaining the relationship between depression and anxiety

I want to tell you about dysthymia (chronic depression), clinical depression, depression treatment options and much more.  I want you to be informed and I want you to lose your fear of your internal struggles because you can overcome them.

Mostly though, I just want you to be OK with yourself, so you can gain the confidence you need to finally defeat anxiety and depression.

I’ve touched on this subject in the past but never treated it in a focused way, so this should be informative if anything.

If you have specific questions, stories, ideas, or a particular perspective that you’d like to share please put them in the comments section below.  I’ll then work some of those thoughts into the various articles and podcasts and hopefully we’ll help someone who needs the information and support.

If you’d rather email me please send your message to info@anxietyguru.net.  Thank you!

 

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  • Stephanie

    I’ve dealt with anxiety for almost 7 years now and it still scares the crap out of me sometimes. One of the things I’m most anxious about though, is developing something else. I have a huge fear of becoming depressed. I sometimes wonder if this is normal for people with anxiety just because the thought of having “something else” gets me thinking more about the going crazy and developing something horrible.

    I look forward to reading what you have to say on the topic!

  • Bryan3000

    Great idea, Paul. Honestly, the depression topic is an under-addressed issue as far as podcasts, etc. Not a lot of good info out there, so yours will be much appreciated.

    I’d be particularly curious to know about depression as it relates to anxiety, as in…. the usually short bouts of depression I’ve had have been on the tail end of a bad anxiety run, for the most part. Almost a kind of depletion. Claire Weekes covers some of this in her audio book, but only briefly. The connection, and more importantly… how to specifically mitigate and deal with these things would be a big help. For me, particularly the kind of depression that feels to come on chemically, and isn’t so much based in any sort of conscious depressive thought, but more a state of emotional fatigue, etc.

    Thanks for all of this, Paul. We’re all excited for these next entries/podcasts.

  • http://anxietyguru.net Paul Dooley

    Hey Bryan, glad you liked the idea. I think for a long time I was a bit over-focused on anxiety and haven’t touched on a lot of related issues, so I plan to change that because I feel that it would add more context for someone struggling with all this.

  • Amy

    Thanks Paul for touching in on the subject of depression. I have learned from therapy that if there is anxiety, depression usually isn’t to far behind. I have very short bouts of depression after I have had a few days of high anxiety (diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder). It’s like my brain has been overworked and then when the anxiety has subsided, my mind crashes and I get a mild depression that lasts for a few days. I don’t know if that happens with anyone else but journaling has really helped me discover this. Thanks again Paul for all the amazing work you do!

  • Pete.

    Amy, this is exactly how I feel as well. I was diagnosed with GAD 2 years ago but probably had it from childhood. Everything makes me anxious but I’m working on it. However one thing that gets in my way are these intermittent episodes of depression, sometimes mild, sometimes severe. They seem to come as a crash and burn after massive amounts of stress and exacerbating GAD. I definitely believe in my case at least, anxiety came before and causes my depression. It’s a vicious cycle and one condition complicates the other. Paul, perhaps you can share any insight on how to mitigate this cycle? I find stress management to be huge for me, maybe you can touch on that? Btw Paul I just want to thank you for everything, when this whole mess started for me I knew nothing of anxiety, you and your site has given me so much on my road to recovery and beating this thing. God bless all of you who struggle with this on a daily basis, only we know what we go through and how STRONG we are.

  • Amy

    Pete, you really explained it well and I go through the same exact thing when I am over stressed and had a few days of anxiety. My therapist also said that I suffer from anxiety induced depression. Depression isn’t my first diagnosis which makes a ton of sense when I look back to when even I was a child. I remember going through what I thought was just me being depressed, but was actually high anxiety was causing the depression. I never put anxiety into the equation. I also agree that anxietyguru.net has opened my eyes on to so much (one of my fears was to read anything on anxiety) but I bit the bullet and started to take charge of my anxiety. Also thank you Paul for writing “The Special Report”….It is my go to manual on my road to recovery.

  • Katie

    I am a teenager who struggles with anxiety and this just made me burst into tears. I don’t like covering up how hard anxiety is, I want to be a normal teenager but knowing who I am and that drugs and alcohol are something that I will never turn to (which just thinking about it makes me anxious), makes it seem hard to be “normal”. I don’t like huge change, which is a big problem considering college for me starts in 2 years. I have anxiety attacks and I usually know when they are coming and try to stop them but once I get to a certain point, I don’t eat. My anxiety seems to have an affect on how I eat, I cannot get food to go down my throat because my throat closes up. I try and stop my anxiety before it escalates but once I get to this point, it feels as if I’m never going to get out and I just want to give up, not eating really takes a toll on my health and all I want to do is sleep because I’m so exhausted, leaving me to put off myself not eating just because it seems easier. My parents have forced me to get food down but I’d get anxious again and vomit. If there was no food and I still felt anxious, I’d gag. It made me feel better, empty in a horrible way (I am underweight, I always have been and feeling too skinny has been somewhat of an issue. I eat a lot of junk and when I get anxious, I hate how skinny I look and seeing how empty my stomach is kills me.) It honestly feels like a dark hole that I can’t get out of and I think, maybe if I just let it get worse and I go to the hospital, there could be an explanation. But I create my own anxiety, there is no medicine for it. I have been to therapy multiple times in my life, I go to my therapist when I get anxious to solve my problems, but my parents want me to try to fight it on my own. Maybe I am depressed, my sister is on depression medication and so are my parents. My parents are supportive of this but my sister has her own issues to deal with, so she doesn’t have anything nice to say when I get anxious. Depression would explain my anxiety and fears of every little thing, and the cruel reality of life that I see when I get this way. And as a teenager, it seems as though I am the only adolescent who has realized and not hidden my anxiety, but confronting my issue isn’t helping. It just seems to make it worse because it is such a hole I’ve drilled for myself, keeping the dark thoughts of really being the only one who can’t handle the situation on her own. I hated the fact of thinking I have depression or an eating disorder, because I see my friends are happy and have no such problems. When I get overwhelmed, I have a breakdown, screaming at my parents usually, and I just cry and boom, the cycle of my anxiety and inability to eat appears. I came on here because I feel like I am on the path to my third anxiety attack in the past 3 years. If anybody knows any teenagers who feel the same way, I would appreciate the knowledge of not feeling like the only one. Thank you.

  • Susan

    Hi Paul I’ve been suffering for about year and a half from anxiety attack
    Depression,stress,worried,fear,negative thoughts.
    Now this year I’m starting to recover but I’m paying for another problem is shoulders neck and chest muscles pain thus things make me so worried I don’t know how to cope with this pain I done a lots of test for my heart holter monitor,ECGs about 12 time blood test and all come eith no little things
    And I’m still thinking I have a heart problem I don’t believe the docs anymore been changing doctors to find something in my heart but not all fine I sow a psychologist she help me how to deal with things
    But my brain still have that thought about the heart problem
    Can u give some ideas to help my self and any other complain about their heart like me.
    Thanks

  • http://anxietyguru.net Paul Dooley

    Hi Susan, In short, if you’ve been cleared by a doctor then chances are you’re in good health. I wrote about how to deal with anxiety symptoms, like the fear of a heart attack, some time ago – please read the article. I think it might help a little.

    http://www.anxietyguru.net/how-to-overcome-your-fear-of-anxiety-symptoms/

  • http://anxietyguru.net Paul Dooley

    Hi Katie, Let me just say that I think you’re a brave person for facing your fears. Even if it doesn’t feel like a good idea all the time, it is a good course of action. Facing your fears, and problems in general, is ten times better than pretending like they don’t exist.

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve got supportive parents and that you’re actively trying to find solutions through therapy.

    I recommend that you stay in close communication with your parents about what you think is working and what isn’t working and try to make them understand that you feel like you’re under a tremendous amount of stress… so in other words don’t hide your feelings from them.

    There are many ways that you can try to overcome abnormal anxiety, I wrote a concise article about this awhile ago. If you have time you should take a look.

    And if your parents would like to contact me about more information or with questions I’d be happy to talk to them as well.

    Hang in there and never give up hope because you can heal from this.

    http://www.anxietyguru.net/how-to-cure-abnormal-anxiety/

  • Bryan3000

    Hey Amy/Pete…

    My depression bouts come in the exact same way yours do…. following bouts of high anxiety. For me, it feels largely chemical. There is generally no thought-based reasoning for my depression, it’s more like depletion. (But feels like depression.) Claire Weeks also talks about this being a logical pattern in her book.

    So, you guys aren’t alone. Hopefully we can all find ways to mitigate the anxiety which brings this on in the first place. But, the best thing to know during these bouts is… it WILL pass. It’s a state of chemical disturbance and depletion. That’s hard to accept, but the more you can try to accept it… the better you sit with the feelings. Try not to give them any importance. The feelings mean nothing. (Trust me, it’s easier said than done but I believe that does help greatly.)

    Paul,

    What a great forum you’ve created here, friend. Real people actually looking for solutions and helping each other. Keep it up!

  • http://anxietyguru.net Paul Dooley

    Hey Bryan, you’re telling me! I love when people get out of their shells and talk on the site. That’s why it’s here!

    And if you’re reading this and haven’t sent in your comment what are you waiting for? Speak up! =)

  • Pete.

    Hey Bryan, the way you describe the feelings of depression as “chemical” is spot on. It’s as if my brain temporarily shuts off to avoid any further stimulation or overload from all the physical feelings of panic/anxiety and especially in my case the worry/rumination. About two weeks ago I had a problem at work that I stressed and ruminated over which amplified my gad symptoms greatly and I’ve been in this state of sadness and depletion ever since and only now am starting to recover. I just worry (who me, worry?? :)) that over time the states of depletion come on much easier and abate with more difficulty so cutting the worry cycle off before it spirals me off into a tailspin is critical but sometimes easier said than done. Relaxation exercises are huge too and if I find myself slipping off my routine I find my symptoms get worse. Paul, it’s also worth noting that high states of anxiety for prolonged periods of time rob the body of essential nutrients (b vitamin complex, c, d) at faster rates than “normal” so supplements may help in this area. Sleep is also a massive one. If your sleep pattern is disturbed then you deny yourself of that oh so important time of rejuvenationwe badly need. In general I’ve found that the kinder I am to myself and the more self soothing I act, it greatly helps my ability to cope. Just remember, you’re not alone guys! Take care and god bless. Pete.

  • Bryan3000

    Nice post, and nice attitude, Pete. Refreshing to read. We’re all going to overcome this on our own time.

  • Brian

    I get the depression after high levels of anxiety too. I have had anxiety yesterday and today due to some stress. I go to my support people (my parents) and they always help me through the anxiety. However I then get really upset and depressed because they are getting older now 70′s, with their own ailments, and I am afraid something will happen to them. So I get really depressed and emotional thinking about if they weren’t around anymore what would I do. I couldn’t imagine being without them.

  • Bryan3000

    Hey Brian,

    Very interesting. My folks are a bit younger and in good condition, but I know how you feel. I have a great wife and family, but my Mom is actually a real source of support for me. She’s just a medically savvy, intelligent person who of course also happens to care about me quite a bit. This is an interesting topic, though… as ultimately, we need to be able to rely on ourselves more to work through these issues. That’s the ultimate key. Paul has talked about that some in the past on podcasts. Doesn’t mean we can utilize our support system. We certainly should, but the fixes for all of this stuff have to come from inside us. This is, like so many other things… MUCH easier said than done. To me, I think there is a fine line of utilizing support and then relying on ourselves.
    I’m still trying to find the right balance, myself. Good luck to you. You can do it.

  • christine

    I am 49 years old been healthy all my life had a uti took cipro life went down hill from there anxiety depression fear panic the doctors keep saying had every testimaginable all normal its been ten months now im out ofmymind thoughts of suicide cant reconizemy surroundins and vision is always in a stare im so desperate for help can you help me christine