Depression and Anxiety Are Not Signs of Weakness

July 24, 2016

Depression and anxiety are not synonymous with weakness. Nor are they the result of a personal choice. We cannot decide whether or not we want these mental illnesses to accompany us.

No. Emotional problems do not work like that, it’s not about “I feel bad and I’m going to jump into a well of sadness or anxiety to see if I drown.” These are not signs of weakness or fragility or being poor in spirit. Nor are they signs of giving up or neglect.

In fact, we could say that they are signs of struggle, of fighting with adversity or uncomfortable and painful personal situations, losses, bad experiences and uncertainty.

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Depression and anxiety are not personal choices

It can happen to all of us. One day it dawns on you that everything has lost the sense it once had, that there is nothing that encourages you and motivates you, you have trouble getting out of bed, and that you feel deeply sad or irritable.

Or maybe your breathing suddenly accelerates and you feel unable to cope with life in a “quick and easy” way. Somehow you feel overcome by the circumstances, without strength or desire. This state comes and goes or stays with you permanently.

Then you begin to think that maybe you should consult a specialist to confirm that you are “invaded” by a deep sadness or a tremendous worry that makes you feel unable to cope with your daily life.

Perhaps you’ve faced a strong personal loss, and suddenly something breaks the camel’s back and you plunge into despair.

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As a result of this you wallow in a state of being anxious, depressed or mixed. You avoid others, don’t like to leave home, feel you can’t perform tasks or activities that you previously did well.

Thus everything is terrible, but you can get out of it. At this point you need a professional to support you with an explanation that gives emotional coherence to this situation and helps you overcome it.

It is crucial that we follow the most important steps in the process: asking for psychological support to balance our emotional state and to “cure” our thoughts.

Comments that smother us

When we suffer from depression or anxiety, our relationship with our environment and the people around us change. This is not a comfortable situation for anyone and, in fact, you even may feel some are being critical or unsupportive, you may have to face misunderstanding or mean-spirited comments.

“You are this way because you want to be”, “Go, get up and do something with your life”, “You’re a slacker”, “You’re too old to be acting so foolishly”, “Don’t cry, it’s not that bad,” “You are a coward”,” Face life for once and stop talking nonsense”…

This fuels sadness, apathy and anxiety towards life even further. Let’s say these comments and attitudes add to the negative thoughts that pollute our minds. As a result, our mind will be blackened even more.

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Evidently this gives way to an indirect way of living out of habit and isolating our life even more, and to strengthen the vicious circle that pushed us to fall into this trap. In other words, far from bringing clarity to our state and having accurate information about it, our atmosphere is increasingly strained and blurred.

In our society there is a great deal of misunderstanding and even cruelty around psychological and emotional pain. Really, the avoidance and disdain we show to issues of psychological health is tremendously frightening.

Just as you would not think to ignore a wound that becomes infected or one that does not stop bleeding, a continuous and sharp stomach pain or severe headache, we cannot ignore psychological pain.

We must give our emotional wounds the importance they deserve, because  psychological distress requires a cure, and support to heal.

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In other words, we cannot let time heal us because we risk it not doing so. If only we could choose not to have problems by enjoying every moment and always feeling good. However, we cannot avoid it and, of course, no one is free from danger.

The sooner we understand this, the sooner we will learn to care for ourselves the way we deserve and no longer add fuel to our fire.