Depression and Anxiety are Signs of Strength

21 August, 2020
Emotional problems are not a choice. No one wants to go through depression or deal with anxiety. These disorders often arise after a prolonged period of extremely difficult experiences or circumstances.

There is a mistaken belief that depression and anxiety are signs of weakness, or some inability to cope with life. But this isn’t true; people with anxiety, depression or even both are NOT crazy, weak, feeble or inferior.

Battling these conditions can be sad and exhausting for everyone involved, but it’s a social reality that cannot be ignored. Despite scientific advances, the collective subconscious of modern society still believes that emotional and psychological problems are synonymous with weakness and vulnerability.

For many people, depression and anxiety are not seen as issues that require medical attention. As such, it’s not uncommon to hear comments like: “relax”, “it’s not that bad”, “cheer up, it could be worse”, “you have nothing to cry about”, and “grow up”, etc.

Sounds familiar, right? In fact, you’ve probably been on both ends of those kinds of comments at some time or other. So, it’s important to raise awareness and give emotional pain the attention it deserves.

Anxiety and depression are real problems

Anxiety and depression.

So, just like you wouldn’t ignore stomach pain or a migraine, you shouldn’t ignore the emotional pain caused by anxiety and depression.

Don’t forget to read: The Best Seeds for Treating Migraines

We can’t expect these “emotional wounds” to heal on their own. We need to work on them and try to understand the reasons behind them. You may need to see a psychologist, who can help you, and give you strategies that will allow you to deal with the immense emotional pain that’s causing your anxiety and depression.

Continuing with our example, in the same way that you’d stop eating dairy products if you found out you were lactose intolerant, you must also avoid the thoughts and situations that are infecting your emotional wounds. Band-aids aren’t enough: these wounds need to be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.

So, in this article, we want to try to normalize the feelings and symptoms often experienced by those suffering from these kinds of emotional disorders. By learning more about them, we can gain a better understanding of these conditions, and help to raise awareness.

Anxiety, a bad roller coaster ride

The feelings that come with anxiety are very similar to those that one would experience on a roller coaster ride gone wrong.

Imagine yourself in this situation. You’re spending the day at an amusement park. To go on a ride, you have to wait in a long line until it’s your turn. It’s a hot day and the sun is beating down on your head, causing pain and physical discomfort. You’re tired and don’t feel like getting on the ride anymore, but you do it anyway, because you’re there to have “fun”.

Once you’re on the ride, your heart begins to race, everything is spinning. The cars spin around 360° several times. You’re plunged into dark tunnels and things come flying at you, almost like they’re attacking you.

Anxiety attacks

Your breathing accelerates and your heart is beating hard. You feel like something’s got to give at any moment. Your feelings are jumbled, your chest feels tight, and you’re unable to move or react.

You can’t avoid negative thinking. You shout, cry, complain, but no one can hear you, not even yourself. Desperately, you beg for it to stop, and you feel like you’re dying in the process. There’s nothing you can do to get your car to slow down – it won’t stop until the ride is over.

In this sense, an anxiety attack is like a bad rollercoaster ride. It will stop eventually, but you don’t know when or how. In the face of so much uncertainty, it’s hard to stay in control.

Depression, a darkness of the soul

Those who suffer from depression often feel like everything is cloaked in darkness. Little by little, this darkness engulfs everything around them, swallowing anything that might normally help to motivate or encourage them. They struggle to study for school or go to work, and may feel extremely sad or irritable.

Want to learn more? Read: 9 Effective Tips to Fight Depression Naturally

Depression is often the result of an accumulation of difficult experiences and circumstances. Over time, they’ve taken their toll, leaving you feeling lost and confused. As such, it’s important that you turn to a professional for help and support as soon as you realize something is wrong. They can help you make sense of what’s happening to you.

Having emotional problems is not a choice. A person with depression doesn’t wake up one morning and say: “I want to feel bad and crawl into a pit of sadness to see if I can drown in it.” It doesn’t work that way. In fact, it can happen to any one of us.

A girl with her head on her knees.

No one is free from the clutches of anxiety and depression

Depression and anxiety are signs of strength, not weakness. These emotional problems don’t appear overnight; they are forged in life’s hell, in emotional difficulties and mental exhaustion.

Nor are they the result of personal choice. We don’t decide if we’re going to experience them. Both of these emotional problems are the result of fighting against life’s difficulties and trying to stay strong for too long.

It’s important for each of us to remember this. No one is immune to anxiety or depression. In fact, it will affect many of us at some point in our lives, either directly or indirectly. Raise awareness, learn to understand these problems, and above all, never judge others.

Note: for more information on anxiety or depression, check out the bibliography below. If you think you need help, remember that you can always consult with a professional.

  • Maina, G., Mauri, M., & Rossi, A. (2016). Anxiety and depression. Journal of Psychopathology. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-88-470-2676-6_11
  • Paulus, M. P., & Stein, M. B. (2010). Interoception in anxiety and depression. Brain Structure & Function. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-010-0258-9
  • Friedman, M. J., Resick, P. A., Bryant, R. A., & Brewin, C. R. (2011). Considering PTSD for DSM-5. Depression and Anxiety. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20767