The terms anxiety and depression have become very commonplace in our modern discussion, especially when people use them in professional articles, online blog posts, and even social media feeds.

This exposure can give us a sense of confidence that we truly understand these words and the meaning behind them.

But do we?

The reality is that anxiety and depression are very distinct mental health conditions. Yet, they can also occur at the same time.

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Confused? Let’s try to clear the air and better understand the difference between anxiety and depression.

Understanding Anxiety

To best understand anxiety, it helps to look through a lens with the word “WORRY” stamped on the other side in big, bold letters. When you are anxious, you worry about any number of things, such as:

  • Your health
  • Imminent threats to your life or safety
  • How people perceive you
  • Your future
  • Circumstances outside of your control

This last point is perhaps the most relevant. People who struggle with anxiety worry about many things that they don’t have control over. But their body and mind perceive these things as genuine threats. Panic attacks, increased heart rate, and rapid breathing are all common symptoms of anxiety.

Sometimes, thoughts spiral out of control, too. One moment, you might be thinking of buying a new set of pots and pans only to be reviewing safety plans for the household in the event of a kitchen fire. While there’s nothing wrong with going over a few household escape plans, the pathway to this particular thought is what drains individuals.

Anxiety is exhausting, mostly because you fight feelings, thoughts, and physical reactions 24/7. Situations can go from even-keeled to emergency in a split-second. And reclaiming your calm takes strategic measures, such as deep breathing exercises, journaling, mindfulness, etc.

How to Describe Depression

If anxiety is about being plagued with worry, then depression is about profound sadness and hopelessness.

However, depression is more than merely being “bummed-out” for a day. Instead, the sadness and low mood last for at least two weeks or more. Often, people struggling with depression experience a profound sense of hopelessness.

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Something inside haunts them with depressing thoughts, telling them that circumstances in their lives will not change. Low self-worth frequently accompanies depression. They believe that, for some reason, they are undeserving of love. Thus, they retreat inward, shutting out other people in their lives who care deeply about them.

The Difference Between Anxiety and Depression

The difference between these two conditions is one’s state of mind. With anxiety, people are hypervigilant and attempt to protect themselves through rituals (hand-washing, for example). Most people struggling with anxiety are also stuck in a constant fight-or-flight state, always ready to defend themselves from danger.

With depression, it’s the opposite. Giving up isn’t the exact phrase, but it’s pretty close. People with depression don’t have the motivation, energy, or desire to do the things they want to do. They are also plagued with really harsh, albeit untrue, judgments and beliefs about themselves.

When They Happen Together

Unfortunately, it is possible to experience both anxiety and depression at the same time. Most people struggling with this devastating combination experience symptoms, such as:

  • Thinking harsh beliefs and judgments about themselves
  • Worrying they will always have this fear
  • Feeling self-conscious of what others are thinking about them
  • Think no one truly understands them
  • Feeling unworthy of genuine love

It doesn’t take much to see how these beliefs, thoughts, and feelings rooted in anxiety can also be attributed to depression.

How to Get Help for Anxiety and Depression

Whether you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or both, it’s vital to get professional help. Complicated issues often surround why you experience these problems.

You might feel that you are alone and nobody understands — but that’s not true. A therapist will understand from a clinical standpoint how these issues are affecting you. Plus, they’ll have solutions to help you cope and resolve your anxiety or depression.

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Depression and Anxiety Therapy Columbus

Mental health therapists understand much more about anxiety and depression, both clinically and also in everyday society as a whole. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or perhaps both, help is available. It’s time to seek treatment from a professional team of therapists, so please reach out and contact Blue Boat Counseling today. You’re not alone; we’re here to help you manage both sets of symptoms.