which is worse–anxiety or depression

I am stuck in a state of nothingness. Empty. T says it’s because the breaks are unmanageable for me.

I actually thought I did okay for the most part and I tried to explain that this time it was different. The panic and feeling of missing him, or the fear that he had disappeared wasn’t there. It was replaced by nothing. The nothing made things not matter because it’s not as though you can miss or need something or someone if they aren’t even there to begin with. It wasn’t scary or lonely. There were no thoughts of reaching out to make sure he was still there. There was an emptiness to everything inside and around me.

And while it might have felt like I did okay, apparently I really didn’t, because how I coped wasn’t normal. Apparently, I made it though the break seemingly okay because I entered a new phase without even knowing it.

Resignation.

He says that I became absolutely convinced there was no point in worrying or checking to see if he was still there, because I had already resigned myself to the fact that he wasn’t. He wasn’t coming back and he wasn’t living his life somewhere else. He wasn’t anything at all. So, while I was thinking I was doing okay all I had really done was disconnect myself from an unbearable situation. I also didn’t recognize it and therefore could do nothing to stop it. It was a completely and utterly seamless transition.

T says it’s happened before. I just don’t remember it. He says when we are really small and our needs aren’t met, we eventually come to the conclusion that there is no point in reaching out at all. Even as small babies, we can learn to do this. We won’t remember it happening, because it was such a long time ago but years later, whenever there is any form of separation, we will automatically disconnect. The feelings that arise simply become completely unbearable for us. He says that’s what happens with me.

He then said there may also be another phase to come but I have no idea what it could be.

We then sat in silence for a while. I eventually told him that I’m not sure which feels worse–the panic and terror or the nothingness. He says many people have the same question wanting to know if anxiety or depression is worse. I thought a bit about it and I’m not totally sure. What I can be sure of though, is there are many similarities between them.

Both make it hard to think and be productive. For me, both anxiety and depression alter my thought processes. Anxiety makes it hard to hold onto a thought long enough to make sense of what is happening. Things move in and out of my mind at a rate that feels unmanageable. Everything is loud, bright and confusing. Depression on the other hand, makes it difficult to even find a thought. Everything moves slowly, tar-like, and the words feel thick in my mind. It takes ages to process any new information that I’m given. I find I have to constantly check and re-check everything just to make sure I get the information right.

When my anxiety is high, I find that I want to be productive, but I can’t. The thoughts racing through my mind overtake everything. There is no shutting it off and I cannot focus on what I am trying to achieve. When depression hits, I’m usually here–but not. I tend to have to redo things over and over again, because I lose my train of thought quickly. I can spend hours, sitting in a chair, achieving absolutely nothing.

Both are utterly exhausting. Constant worry, panic and terror are absolutely exhausting. It’s difficult to shut it off and being stuck in a constant state of hypervigilence leads to physical and emotional meltdowns. Depression makes it difficult to move, think and be. The world around me is moving forward and I’m sort of just stuck in one place. Both anxiety and depression make it hard for me to sleep properly, which just adds to the exhaustion I already feel. Nightmares are often increased when my anxiety is high, which just leads to more anxiety and more nightmares.

Both cause physical symptoms. Anxiety can make you feel like you’re on the verge of dying. It will feel like my heart is about to explode, my stomach hurts, my head hurts and it’s hard to focus. My muscles will get tense and sore and sometimes it’s uncomfortable to stay in one place for too long. When I am depressed, my bones ache more than normal and I am always cold. I’m starting to wonder if maybe my lupus makes the depression worse, but I’m not sure. I just want to crawl into bed, wrap myself in a warm blanket and shut out the world.

Both lead to self-harm urges and suicidal thoughts. When my anxiety is at it’s peak, I just want it to end. I am left with only one though–escape. I need to get out of where I am as quickly as possible. My mind tries to convince me that being dead is better than feeling the way that I feel–stuck in the unbearable pain of not having my needs met. When the depression hits, it’s a matter of wanting to feel. You would think that feeling nothing would be a relief from feeling everything, but it’s not. Cutting, burning and general thoughts of dying enter the matrix. Anything, to replace the emptiness inside.

Both interfere with relationships. It’s hard to parent. It’s hard to be a good friend. It’s hard to commit to anything. You are stuck in your own world–either panicking or wanting to disconnect. Neither leads to a strengthening of relationships. You don’t feel good enough, strong enough or loved. You think it would be better to not have any relationships at all.

I know they go hand in hand and neither feels great. For me though, I think it’s the anxiety that makes things worse (and maybe it’s because I’m actually feeling). The not knowing, the fear and the physical side effects are horrible. I think I’d rather feel nothing at all, than the unbearable pain of missing and needing something or someone and feeling like I’ll never get what I need.

What about you? Does anxiety or depression make life harder for you?

3 thoughts on “which is worse–anxiety or depression

  1. Anxiety has never been too big of an issue for me, certainly not compared to the impact depression has had on my life. I do sometimes get anxiety in the context of my depression, but it’s mostly physical, and I’ve come to learn that those physical symptoms are anxiety and if I just sit with it long enough it will go away on its own.

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  2. I suffer both. If I had to choose I would choose depression. The nothing is familiar to me. The anxiety is a struggle because of the breathing. My chest hurts, my body gets sore, I chew my cheeks, all the physical aspects are hard for me to deal with. Depression on the other hand allows me to lie in bed without thoughts. It is a numbness that I find more comfortable than the surges of energy I experience with anxiety.

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  3. i do both states as well. for me anxiety is worse because it tends to lead to panic & i hate that. like you, everything get super heightened & quite unbearable. depression i can manage for a day or so & tend to embrace it like a holiday now. i like disassociation & not feeling anything. sometimes i believe its all thats kept me alive this long. i’m learning (slowly) to take each bit as it comes which actually sucks out a lot of energy but makes it all more bearable.
    i’m impressed how you’ve handled yourself! xx

    Liked by 1 person

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