Living with anxiety and depression is complicated. One can cause the other, and vice versa; and symptoms don’t present the same for everyone.
If you have one or both of these disorders, you might struggle to articulate it to other people. There are stigmas attached to these disorders that we’re ready to bust.
These are the top 3 myths about living with both anxiety and depression.
It’s rare to have these mental illnesses
While it can feel like you’re the only one struck with the horrible feelings these illnesses bring, this pair of disorders is actually quite common. According to Luana Marquest, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School found these statistics:
- Nearly 29% of United States citizens will meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder in their lifetime
- Nearly 20.8% of people will meet the criteria for a mood disorder like depression
Everyone has the same symptoms
Far from it. Anxiety and depression encompass a whole range of emotions that people experience differently.
“For some people, anxiety can look like worrying a lot about the future,” Marquest told Huffington Post. “For other people it might look like having unexpected panic attacks weekly…and for other people it might look like fear of specific things.”
Depression is the same way, Marquest says. “One person with depression might sleep all the time, have no energy and experience low mood, while another person with depression might feel irritable, experience appetite changes, and lose interest in activities they used to enjoy,” she said.
You would know if you had these disorders
It’s not always easy to pin down the symptoms of depression or an anxiety disorder. Winfried Sedhoff, a physician for mental illness told Huffington Post,
“It seems absurd that someone won’t know they are feeling so afraid they suffer anxiety or so down they are depressed, or a mixture of both. But often anxiety and depression show up as symptoms we might not consider to be anxiety or depression at all.”
Don’t beat yourself up if you think you have these disorders but don’t know how to prove it. Your symptoms are your own, and you have the right to seek support if you feel something isn’t right.