You’re standing in a crowded room, enjoying a party, when suddenly, a darkness begins to envelope you…
It’s heavy and sticky and seems to affect only you. You’re slowly being brought to your knees, panicking at the thought of being consumed by it.
Everyone else is moving on with their lives, and nobody seems to recognize that you’re in pain. Perhaps you’re embarrassed, and don’t want to make too much fuss – convinced you can manage on your own.
Or, perhaps you want to scream, but your voice feels trapped. Either way, the secret weight is crushing, and no one will even notice…
The weight of depression and anxiety are so heavy and can keep you from living your life on your terms.
What do we mean when we talk about depression and anxiety?
We use the words depression and anxiety often in our culture. And we can understand them from many points of view.
Biologically, we know that the absence of certain chemicals can result in difficulties feeling joy and regulating emotions.
Relationally, we understand how past experiences may have convinced us that we are unworthy of love and ineffective in navigating relationships.
Emotionally, we see how a feeling can spiral into a belief that is hard to shake and taints how we perceive and interact with the world.
Physically, we feel the sadness, numbness, and tension in our bodies.
Depression and anxiety are both very treatable mood disorders that are influenced by both your biological make-up (genetics or nature) and your experiences (nurture).
But what do depression and anxiety feel like for you?
Feel negatively about yourself and your worth?
Worry constantly about everything from everyday decisions, to the safety of your
friends and family?
Suffer from aches and pains with no identifiable medical reason?
Struggle to enjoy your life – even in activities that used to excite you before?
Have trouble relaxing, concentrating, sleeping, eating, or otherwise doing the things you need to do?
Feel tired, unmotivated, restless, or agitated?
Have emotional outbursts and not knowing why?
Have you felt so overwhelmed by pain that you’ve thought of suicide as an option?
Perhaps you feel trapped by your body and mind – held captive by thoughts that you are unsafe, unlovable, unworthy, incapable, and beyond help. You may feel numb or panicked; perhaps you move between the two or even feel both at the same time.
How do I know if I have depression and/or anxiety?
Depression involves feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness or a loss of joy and pleasure and may include difficulties with eating, sleeping, and concentrating, low energy, guilt or worthlessness, and/or thoughts of hurting yourself.
Does any of this sound familiar?
You may feel a few of these things for an extended period of time or have shorter, intense periods of overwhelming depression.
If you have anxiety, you’re likely experiencing excessive anxiety or worry you can’t control. You may also feel restless, physically tense, fatigued, and irritable. You may also have difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
Some professionals think of depression as exhausted anxiety – the body and mind have tuckered themselves out from constant worry without solution or relief. This could make you feel hopelessly fated to live without peace or rest. Perhaps you hate yourself for feeling so ineffective in managing your feelings.
Know this: depression and anxiety are not incurable, terminal illnesses. You’re not a failure. You have big emotions and have managed to cope with them all the way up until this point.
We’ve helped many people identify the lies in these dark, persistent thoughts and develop ways to cope and flourish.
The gold standard of treatment for depression and anxiety is therapy, possibly combined with medication. Medication can relieve the most intense symptoms while we help identify and treat the underlying causes. At the start of therapy, we can help you learn coping skills to manage through daily living, helping you build a life worth living WELL.
You’re not alone. There is hope and we can help.