Manage Your Anxiety & Depression Symptoms So You Can Live Your Best Life
Unfortunately, we live in a time when most people we meet have struggled with anxiety, depression, or both. We see and hear about anxiety and depression everywhere and we’re certainly getting better at identifying these two persistent pests.
For some odd reason, however, it’s easier to see the symptoms in others and ignore them when they’re plaguing us, or to write them off as something else. It’s important to know the signs, have an honest check-in with yourself, see a professional, and actually follow through with your treatment plan so you can get back to feeling your best.
It can be difficult to recognize when you are experiencing anxiety, and the same can be said of depression. Symptoms can vary from person to person, and many of the signs can be subtle.
You’ll need to pay special attention to physical sensations, mental or emotional states, or behaviors that could be signs of anxiety or depression. Even though it’s probably a review of something you already know, here are a few reminders of what you’re looking for—just in case you’re ignoring a sign or two.
There are several signs of anxiety you can look out for. Physical symptoms like chest tightness, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, trembling, or muscle tension can be signs of anxiety. You may experience one or more of these together. These symptoms are easier to notice, but the signs of anxiety can be rather subtle, too.
You may notice mental and emotional states such as feeling overwhelmed, irritable, on edge, or having difficulty concentrating. These can also be indicators of anxiety. Additionally, you may notice changes in your behavior such as avoiding certain activities or people, or feeling unable to relax.
Some signs of anxiety that people may miss include difficulty sleeping, increased sensitivity to sound or light, difficulty concentrating, feelings of hopelessness, and increased isolation. People may not recognize the signs of anxiety that can be symptoms of many things. Those include changes in eating habits, such as overeating or undereating, or changes in digestive system sensations, such as nausea.
Being aware of these subtle signs of anxiety can help you identify it quicker. Talk to a mental health professional if you think you are struggling with anxiety.
The signs of depression can be stealthy enough to slip right by you too, but an honest look at how you’ve been feeling can be revealing.
Be aware of physical symptoms such as fatigue, changes in appetite or weight, and difficulty sleeping—any of these can point to depression. Mental and emotional states such as persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness can also indicate depression. You may also notice changes in your behavior, such as withdrawing from activities and social interaction, or feeling unable to complete tasks or make decisions.
Just like with anxiety, there are a few signs of depression that people have trouble identifying. Watch for symptoms like increased irritability, the feeling that nothing much seems fun anymore, impaired memory or concentration, and increased feelings of guilt or shame.
Because they’re so common, people often don’t recognize physical symptoms like headaches, backaches, or digestive issues as signs of depression. While it’s true that everyone has these from time to time, if they’re happening more regularly, you may want to speak to a doctor.
Experiencing Anxiety + Depression Together
When someone experiences both anxiety and depression at the same time, they soon find out that managing both conditions is a challenge. But letting them go untreated can lead to more severe symptoms.
Anxiety and depression can feed off each other, creating a cycle of symptoms that can be difficult to break. When someone experiences both simultaneously, it can feel like an overwhelming and exhausting experience. In fact, when the symptoms of both compound, it often leads to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
People may feel overwhelmed by their own thoughts and emotions. You may notice that it’s a challenge to concentrate, you might have difficulty sleeping, and you will likely feel unmotivated. Additionally, you could feel a sense of hopelessness, as if you are stuck in an unending cycle of persistent symptoms.
Take Action and Get Your Life Back
Living with anxiety or depression can keep us in a state of frozen apathy, and there’s an even better chance of losing motivation to do anything about them when you experience these two together. But this is when it’s super important to take notice of how you’re feeling and fight to change it.
You might feel resistance to the idea of getting help for your symptoms. It may even seem a bit like you’re having an argument with yourself. You may think you need to see a doctor one day and think you’ve imagined your problems the next. You’re essentially fighting to get back into the driver’s seat instead of letting your brain continually drive you in circles through Anxiety Village and Depression City.
Whether it feels possible or not, you can get your life back on track. If you think you may be struggling with anxiety, depression, or both, it's important to talk to a mental health professional. A qualified healthcare provider can accurately provide a diagnosis and treat you. They can also help you develop strategies to manage your symptoms and reduce the impact they have on your life.
Even if you don’t feel like it, seeking professional help is the best way to ensure you get the support you need to manage your symptoms. Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and medication can help and are the most commonly prescribed treatments. Be honest with yourself and see someone about your symptoms, you’ll feel better!