Inside This Section
The Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
- Have a pervasive sadness, despair or negativity about your life and feel a general sense of apprehension;
- Avoid situations that need to be dealt with;
- Feel a sense of disconnection or alienation;
- Experience disinterest or have difficulty finding motivation and enthusiasm;
- Struggle with tiredness/fatigue, or a sense of pervasiveness heaviness;
- Experience a chronic physical dis-ease;
- Experience panic attacks, where you feel a sense of impending doom, a racing heart, a sense of being trapped, and a deep desire to flee.
- Have thoughts of suicide.
The Experience of Anxiety and Depression
You have likely been through times when it feels as though you're trudging through thick mud, when it takes energy to just move. Doing basic chores, and even just being with people, can be painfully hard, if not overwhelming. Then, on top of all that, you may sometimes still find yourself questioning everything, constantly wondering if you're making the wrong decision, or fearing some unforeseen catastrophe.
The Strange Logic of Depression and Anxiety
The odd thing about the wild moods is that, as miserable as they are, they're actually designed to make you have exactly the experience described above. Depression is our nervous system's response to the recognition of "futility": when something is seen by our minds as futile, we are supposed to then let go of that attachment. If we don't or can't, for whatever reason, then we are forced to let go. That's known as depression. Notice that all the elements of depression are about detachment, but comprehensive, not targeted. Nontheless, the essence of depression is to defend us against the damage done by our continuing to pursue that which is fruitless.
Anxiety, being based in fear and registration of danger, is supposed to make us agitated and alarmed. When our minds register a danger, particularly a hard-to-spot danger, then the alarms go off in our nervous system and we are forced to pay attention. What's the problem? Where is the source? How do we solve/escape/destroy that which is endangering? This alarm system is actually vital to our survival, but it can become comprehensive, generalized, and then gets attached to things we can't solve (often our own emotions) and then won't turn off.
The Route Out
Seeing the logic and purpose of anxiety and depression is a big part of the way out of these otherwise enveloping moods, because instead of spending our energy fighting them, we learn to listen to them without simply taking their logic for granted. Like guards up on the guard tower, our job is to take their information--"Hey, danger out there! (I think...)"--and assess it, change behavior as needed, but consciously assess what danger may be there if at all.
Basically, if we don't become more conscious about assessing danger (anxiety) and meaning (depression), the wild moods will assess them for us.