The connection between Anxiety and Depression
A lot of people ask me if anxiety and depression are connected and the answer would be in a lot of cases, yes, many people who suffer with anxiety, do develop feelings of real depression and self pity, which in turn can lead to the person feeling as though they have lost who they once were and finding little to no joy in life. Even conversations can feel like a real chore. The main reason for this is that anxiety depletes us physically and emotionally, which can leave us feeling empty or drained and is the reason we feel so flat and emotionless.
I also felt down and had little interest in anything. I found it hard to socialise and function; just getting through the day was an achievement during my worst days. Anxiety crushed my spirit; it robbed me of so much and all the over-thinking wore out my poor mind. Is it any wonder I felt so depressed?
As I started to recover, my sadness lifted little by little, and as my mind started to get the break it craved so much, then clarity started to return. I remember the first day I smiled without it being fake. I remember the first time I actually looked forward to something. Bit by bit the old me came back. I did not force or fake it; I just took each day as it came.
The best thing you can do with feelings of depression through anxiety is to tell yourself the way you feel is temporary and start to invite new things into your day. Don’t let how you feel dominate your day. I started to take walks and go for a swim to shake off the cobwebs and take my mind off how I was feeling. This helped me greatly and it gave me another focus to my day instead of focusing on myself. I also believe that nature and a natural diet can be great mood lifters and also ease the feelings of anxiety.
Going out for a run or a walk and taking some daily exercise is far better than sitting at home brooding on how you feel. Exercise in itself releases endorphins which are great for lifting your mood. Also exercise burns off all those stress chemicals than can build up through the day.
Also, I found it hugely helpful to allow the feelings of sadness and to see them as weather that was just passing through. I put no story around them, didn’t try to feel any different than I did and just let them pass in their own time. It was far worse when I fought to try and feel different, or put on fake smiles to cover up how I was truly feeling, or started to blame others and the outside world for how I felt. I was far better when I just fell into the sadness and allowed myself to feel it fully without any resistance.
Negative Thinking can cause depression
Your thought patterns, along with your attitude, are also very important when overcoming anxiety and depression. Too many people think negatively when they feel how they do. This is understandable, but is counterproductive and becomes a habit; the habit to always think negatively, which in turn makes us feel worse and crushes our spirit even more.
Watch out for all the negative thinking and try and change your thought patterns. Instead of saying ‘this is me now, I just want to curl up and hide’, say ‘I don’t feel great at the moment, but I am going to make the changes and come through this’. Instead of saying ‘I have nothing to look forward to and I hate my life’ say ‘the only person that can make changes is me. This is just a temporary part of my life that I will come through’.
There are many different things you can say to yourself, but the main thing is to try and have as little self-pity as possible and truly believe this is not you forever. To carry on living your life and doing your daily chores, even when you don’t feel like it. To walk in nature, take time outs, exercise, enjoy a good diet and, most importantly, be kind to yourself mentally by ending the constant daily battle you have with yourself.
Overcoming depression with anxiety
I came through my depression and it was because I made the changes above. These changes also helped me after my recovery. I am a far more confident person than I was before my own suffering and I tend to always see the good in my life. This all came about because I understand the importance of living my life alongside how I feel; by allowing the low states rather than fighting them; by refusing to believe this was me forever and by not hiding away or wallowing in self-pity.
I am also very proud that I stayed positive and came through this very tough part of my life. This has given me a new inner strength; a strength to believe that I can overcome anything. I now no longer worry about anything I cannot change. And if I learnt one thing, it is that we were never put on this earth to suffer and that suffering is our alarm call to tell us we need to change. What we are doing is not serving us in life and change is needed.
Suffering can be your greatest teacher and the biggest wake up call to transforming your life for the better. We just need to try and listen to its message. I am a far better person and live a far better life than before I suffered, so my suffering was my wake up call to change, so I thank my suffering for sending me that message. If not, then I would still be the chronic, neurotic worrier I was back then, not understanding where true happiness lay or what was truly important in life.