ANXIETY VS. DEPRESSION: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

TWO MINDSETS, ONE EQUATION

Singularly, anxiety and depression are there own respective mental illnesses. Each take on their own spectrums of emotions, symptoms, and stressors. Anxiety, goes beyond being “stressed out”, it sits on your chest. It is a radical need for expression and a radical want for a platonic calm state. Does that come in the form of a public panic attack or melt down or pulling your hair from your scalp or screaming until your voice runs dry? Anxiety creeps out in different ways, but always boils under the surface. Depression, is more than just “sadness”. The absence of emotion, a cloudy numbness that brings the beauty of life to a blur. Is it a dark room at night? A blank stare in the mirror? Depression dwells in the background, it pools behind a curtain. 




Anxiety and depression both land on the mental illness spectrum that ranges based off the individual. A spectrum that is shared between each illness. Depression plays out on a larger scale. This spectrum starts with general feelings of being down all the way to suicidal hopelessness. Within this spectrum exists a sub-component that relates to anxiety. The spectrum of anxiety ranges from daily stresses to full fledged panic attacks and complete shutdowns. Symbolically, depression is the greater circle encompassing the inner core of anxiety. Anxiety is often another symptom of depression that plays out in a bigger way. 

 

However, a reversal of this equation is of course also a reality for many individuals. Having such an anxiety charged life can certainly lead to depression. The overwhelm of stress can lead individuals to turn to a hopelessness in an attempt to escape the panic they feel everyday. To some, detachment is the only answer when in the face of anxiety.

These illnesses are undeniably connected. Treating them separately, without consideration for the other will result in inadequate attention to one side of the equation. It is essential to look at the common combination of these illnesses and how to address them holistically through a collaborative approach that bears in mind them both. What it really comes down to is to not having a one fix solution for yourself. Some days it might be stress, some days it might be dark, some days it might be numb. What matters is coming to yourself with dynamic solutions that tackle both, because they are often inseparable and come together. 

 

When evaluating mental illness and the spectrum it encompasses, one truth is certain– neuro-diversity. Our society carves out a narrow-mindset for success, you need to be resilient, hard-working, creative and diligent. You need this sort of mind to achieve this level of success, and all other thought processes are seen as inferior and outcasted in social norms. Crying, screaming, aggressiveness, anxe, vexation gilded over by a perfectionist lens, but these are real feelings that if suppressed will emerge as a mental illness. There is a spectrum of emotion to the mind of an individual and on a large scale, a spectrum of neuro-diversity across the mindset of our society, and it cannot be painted with a one-stroked-brush way of thinking. With respects to the conversation around anxiety and depression, it depends on the individual. With a greater presence of depression, anxiety plays out in other ways, and vice versa. These illnesses fuse together into one complex, and it is hard to understand mental jumble. What does this equation equal for you? Anxiety + Depression = ____________?????

 

Whatever the solution is, that is okay. It is your solution, all you have to do is live it.

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