I recent set out to describe what #anxiety and #depression felt like, looking for a way to describe to people who had never experienced, could understand it in a way that made sense, here are the top 50 descriptions that I found:
1. Seeing no future and no answer for any of the problems in your life.
2. Nothing is enjoyable. Nothing can make you smile.
3. It feels like you’re a ghost ... not a part of the real world.
4. It’s like drowning ... except you can see everyone around you breathing.
5. Dark, inescapable place. It’s like being locked in a room with no light, windows or door. It’s so dark you can’t even see your hands in front of your face let alone find a way out.
6. Inability to construct or envision a future.
7. Feels like falling down a dark bottomless shaft, wondering if and when your fall will ever be caught. And as you look back to where you fell from; which is where you know you need to get back to; you can see it receding further into the distance, the proverbial light becoming dimmer and dimmer, while the shaft into which you are falling becomes deeper, darker, and all the more enveloping.
8. Like having your mind replaced by another one that makes me feels worthless and numb to life. It deprives me of feeling anything other than a sense of perpetual sadness, never quite knowing the source of it but knowing that feeling well.
9. Stolen confidence and now, no longer feel worthy of anyone’s love.
10. Calls me names and makes me have awful thoughts, and there have been times when depression has won...
11. It’s like being stuck in a box that you can’t get out of; a very dark place where you feel so low that even simple tasks are difficult. You feel completely alone.
12. A total loss of who you are.
13. Standing underneath a floor of glass, screaming and banging on it trying to get the attention of the rest of the world going about their lives without you. The problem is no-one can hear you or even knows you’re trapped there.
14. Like the heart or the mind breaking.
15. a state in which nothing tastes, smells, or feels right and you are unable to think or make decisions—yet you still have to carry on doing all those things. And so much of the time you just don’t have the energy or the desire. But you still carry on anyway.
16. The belief that you just don’t matter.
17. Swimming through treacle.
18. Multiple emotions: fear, despair, emptiness, numbness, shame, embarrassment and an inability to recognize the fun, happy person you used to be.
19. Losing the desire to partake in life.
20. It’s like trying to breathe when you’re covered in tar.
21. Makes you feel like you’re an actor playing you—one that’s always forced to smile.
22. Sometimes feels like tunnel vision—regardless of anything going on in your life, you can feel miserable and overwhelmed for no reason at all.
24. It’s just like being inside a wheel that’s spinning and spinning and you don’t know when it’s going to stop.
25. Living in fog all the time
26. A world without colour or laughter.
27. Like living in a dark tunnel with no light at the end, and no air to breathe no matter how deep a breath you take.
28. Feeling completely alone; even if you’re surrounded by people.
29. Complete and utter hopelessness.
30. Living in hell.
31. Like mourning the death of someone you once loved; you. When you look in the mirror you see only dead eyes. There is no spark. No joy. No hope. You wonder how you will manage to exist another day.
32. Trying to keep your head above water when it’s up to your nose. And getting deeper. And you can’t swim.
33. Feeling numb inside.
34. The world and time just passes by and nothing brings you joy.
35. Feeling dark, lonely, scared. Sleep is the only escape from your pain.
36. It’s like being both a prisoner and the jailer.
37. Waking up to another disappointing day, and feeling that heaviness in your chest that never goes away.
38. Just wanting to stand in a field and scream your head off—but you don’t know why.
39. Like your mind is paralyzed.
40. It’s total isolation in a room full of people. It’s feeling the drag and pull of life making you smaller by the day.
41. It’s like falling into a well or a deep dark hole and having no ladder to climb to help you get out of it. You get trapped in the darkness feeling cold and numb.
42. feel like I’m a tiny seed stuck at the bottom of a pot plant—the more I try to grow and break free, the more dirt and soil falls on me, suffocating me and pushing me down.
43. Is that nasty voice in my head that says nasty, self hating things.
44. All your emotions taken away from you—apart from negative ones like sadness and fear.
45. A ten tonne ball of lead in your gut that you’ve no choice but to drag everywhere with you. And you’ve got to try and look normal doing so.
46. Every day is a struggle; like its ground hog day—same pain, different toilet.
47. It’s peaceful water to the outside world, but a raging tsunami below the surface.
48. It’s more painful than any physical pain I’ve ever experienced. And NO-ONE can see it.
49. Hating yourself so much you can’t look in the mirror.
50. Waking up wishing you’d died in your sleep.
To those who are currently suffering Anxiety at any level
I know how painful this can be, because I’ve been there myself. But please take comfort in the fact that you are not alone, as you can see from all these descriptions, and the many of others not included due to lack of space.
Remember that the World Health Organisation estimates that 121 million people suffer from depression worldwide; Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year . In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week .
You are one of many, and you have nothing to be ashamed of.
As hard as it may be to believe, your recovery IS possible. I know this from my own personal experience these days I’m very happy and healthy, as are thousands if not millions of other people who’ve also suffered from anxiety. We’re all proof that recovery is possible.
To those who’ve never suffered from any form of Anxiety
Perhaps it’s not possible for you to understand what it truly feels like to have Anxiety or clinical depression unless you’ve suffered from it yourself, but the above descriptions should give you some idea. If nothing more, they should make you realise that anxiety is far, far more debilitating than just “having the blues” or feeling “sad”. It is a soul-sucking, incapacitating illness; one that is so severe that it claims nearly a million lives a year worldwide.
So if you know someone who has it, don’t just tell them to “pull themselves together” or to simply “get over it”. Instead, listen to them. Support them. And most importantly, be their friend.
What can we do?
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