What Anxiety & Depression Feel Like

On the way home from the therapy appointment that sparked my recovery

I originally planned on making two separate posts — “What Anxiety Feels Like” & “What Depression Feels Like” — however, I realized that the symptoms of the two illnesses are so intertwined. It is very hard to differentiate which disorder my symptoms are coming from. Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Clinical Depression are two disorders that feed off of each other. It is extremely common to have one and then develop the other. In my case, I was diagnosed with GAD in the seventh grade and just diagnosed with depression this year. I decided to write this post to give some insight to those who do not suffer from mental illnesses, as well as to reassure those who do that they are not alone.

The frequency and intensity of my symptoms change almost every day. There are some days where I feel perfectly fine and other days where I feel like curling up in a ball. No two people with these illnesses are the same, and therefore do not experience the same exact things. This is how anxiety and depression feel from my own perspective, and I hope that this will give some insight into my head.

  • Excessive worrying
  • Crying for no reason
  • Not having the motivation to do anything
  • Having trouble falling asleep and/or waking up
  • Believing life is pointless
  • No longer enjoying your hobbies or other things that used to make you happy
  • Having a pounding feeling in your chest
  • Feeling dissociated from the world around you
  • Believing that you are worthless or not good enough
  • Making rash decisions
  • Having trouble focusing on large chunks of text
  • Feeling empty inside
  • Undereating or overeating
  • Wanting to be with friends when alone but wanting to be alone when with friends
  • Getting irritated over small things and not understanding why
  • Only being able to focus on what you are worrying about
  • Feeling exhausted 24/7 no matter how much you slept the night before
  • Wanting to share how you feel with friends but being too scared of driving them away
  • Having thoughts of dying
  • Feeling alone even when you’re with other people
  • Not being able to keep your room clean
  • Ignoring your accomplishments and focusing on your failures
  • Avoiding your problems and/or dealing with them in unhealthy ways
  • Not wanting anyone to know you exist
  • Having bursts of feeling motivated, but then realizing, “what’s the point?”
  • Physical symptoms such as nausea, headaches, acid reflux, or dizziness
  • Feeling guilty when you start to feel happy again
  • Being overly self-conscious
  • Panic attacks
  • Replaying situations over and over again in your mind
  • Doubting all of your decisions
  • Not believing that things will get better
  • Being terrified of the future

My symptoms were the most severe from October up until early January. I still experience some of these, but not nearly to the extent and frequency that I had before. I attribute my progress to medication, journaling, and the help of my friends and family.

To all of you suffering: it gets better. We’re all in this together. Things may be tough now, but you have a bright future ahead of you.

“Everything will be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end,” – Ed Sheeran

xo, Lauren