Mixed anxiety-depressive disorder: a game of tug-a-war.
I have anxiety and depression. I was diagnosed with them in high school.
Having both of them is confusing.
It’s like one part of my brain cares too much and the other doesn’t care at all, and both of them are playing tug-a-war.
Surveys suggest that 60-70% of those with depression, also have anxiety.
Lately, I’ve been noticing patterns in my behaviour and thoughts.
A couple weeks ago, I was talking to my friend something about stressing/freaking out because of all the work I had to do (anxiety), but being to down and unmotivated to do them (depression).
When I came to think of it, I battle between depression and anxiety every day.
When I realized it, I went to Google and researched if people were having the same problem as I was.
I saw a buzzfeed article titled “Here’s What No One Tells You About Having Both Depression And Anxiety.”
It helped me gain a better understanding of myself and the daily battle inside my head. It helped me find the words I had been longing for.
Right away, I sent it to my best friend, asking her to read it so she could get a better understanding of my thoughts and behaviours as well.
So here are scenarios that occur a lot in my life where sometimes I can never win…
It’s just wanting to sleep but racing thoughts are keeping me up.
It’s having a million things to do but now wanting or having any energy to get out of bed.
It’s sleeping too much or sleeping too little.
It’s wanting to get an awesome mark on a test or assignment but not having the energy to do any work.
It’s wondering and freaking out at the thought of what will happen if you miss school or work, but having to stay in bed because you don’t have the will to move.
It’s making multiple to-do lists just to untangle your thoughts but knowing it’ll take days
to get it done, if at all.
It’s having lots to do, but being tired and having no energy to do so.
It’s getting more tightly wound the more mess, assignments, blog ideas pile up but only staring at it and thinking, “I’ll do it tomorrow”.
It’s needing to do everything, but wanting to do nothing at all.
It’s having social anxiety but wanting to make new friends.
It’s having social anxiety but being around people makes you happy.
It’s fearing every day that your partner/friend(s) will leave but feeling like they deserve better and should.
It’s wanting a relationship but going on tinder and not meeting up with anyone.
It’s ignoring texts and turning down invitations but aching when the texts and invitations stop.
Having anxiety and depression at the same time can be confusing and overwhelming. My mind points me in many different directions, where there’s just so many different racing thoughts. To the point where I just don’t know what to do, or what thoughts are more accurate than the other.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I have a hard time making choices without consulting one of my friends. There’s almost always a depression and anxiety side. Either way, I rarely feel confident in my choices until it’s either too late to back down or I see the results.
If you feel like this all the time, you aren’t alone. So here are some ways I’ve learned to handle it.
I take anti-depressants, which also works for anxiety, to help balance my mood. It makes a big difference for me. It doesn’t work for everyone though. If you aren’t on medication and are considering it, talk to your doctor before making a decision.
- Set goals, and then another
Goals are my main motivation in life. They give me purpose and inspire me to push towards it. Whenever I have a specific goal in mind, it’s almost like an adrenaline. I want to meet it and I want to meet it as soon as possible so I can move on to my next.
Ex: when I was in school, I had 140 hours of placement to do for my final evaluation. I kind of took my time on it but by my final week, I was tired of it and wanted to move on so I made it a goal to have my remaining 30-40 hours done by the end of the week. I pushed past my depression all week and finished by that Saturday night. It felt so good.
- Make lists and set priorities
I make lists. Lots of them. I usually put the tasks that have a date that they have to be done by, in one category and focus on those first then prioritize the rest. This will not only help keep you on task, but let you know when to let yourself have a rest/sleep in.
- Do little at a time and take breaks
If you can, do a little at a time. I take breaks in the middle of my work or after a step, watch an episode of a show, then continue on. I also started this blog post a few days ago; I just do a bit at a time.
- Listen to the most helpful voice, or your own voice
Deep down, you know what you want to do. At least that’s the case for me. Figure out the path that is most beneficial to you. Go out or stay home? For me, it would be going out with friends and telling my anxiety to go f*** itself. Sleep in or get up? That would depend if you have stuff to do. But if you don’t and you’ll be able to relax, sleep in a bit.
- Do more when you feel good
If you’re having a really good, productive day, keep going! You’ll never know when depression will take over.
But also be careful you don’t slide into “mania mode”. I use that term to describe the way I do too much all at once without my breaks, or even stopping to take a breather, and usually by the time I’m done my tasks, I get too overwhelmed and just collapse.
- Sort your thoughts out, either independently or with a friend
As I said before, I’m not very confident in making final decisions by myself. Sometimes I do, and it makes me proud but most of the time I have doubt in my decisions. So I talk to my friend, just to sort my thoughts out and hear her perspective because most of the time, mine is all over the place. A lot of the time, my thoughts are like this, “No. Yes. Maybe. I don’t know. Yes. Wait…*anxiety*. Nope. But I probably should. Yes. Am I sure? I don’t know.” So when my thoughts are like that, I talk to the person that knows me best, sometimes even more than I know myself. She often knows what’s best for me when I don’t. But even when she doesn’t know, talking about it helps untangle my thoughts, to the point where I am confident in my own decision.
It might seem like I’m making it sound easy but it’s definitely not. Some people have much more severe anxiety and depression, so these won’t work for everyone. But they do work for me.
Stay Strong my lovelies <3
“It’s not enjoying the good days because you’re too gripped by the anxiety that the next low is around the corner.”
“It’s needing a break from your racing thoughts, but not being able to climb out of the pit of yourself.”
“It’s coping mechanisms and escapism, because when you’re not trying to hide from one part of your brain, you’re hiding from the other.”
“It’s wondering if the things that are making your heart feel heavy are things your anxious mind just made up.”
“It’s feeling too much and nothing at all at the same time, which means feeling like you can never win.” (Borges, 2015)
Borges, A. (2015). Here’s What No One Tells You About Having Both Depression And Anxiety. Buzzfeed Life. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/20-feelings-that-sum-up-having-both-depression-and-anxiety?utm_term=.rux2x89Vk#.mgnZl9woy