“I’ve been affected by depression & anxiety for around 20 years. That was when I suffered a total mental breakdown & lost everything I had including my wife, my children, my business and, my mind. I ended up in a caravan park where I was “living on the gutters edge”. I would hide inside the van for most of the day being too afraid to go outside in case I had to talk to people. My brain simply stopped working. I couldn’t even get it together to make a cup of coffee, let alone make a meal. It was so bad I hated waking up in the morning and often wished that I hadn’t.”
This was Bilal’s story as he explains the consequences of depression together with anxiety in his life. He lost all that mattered to him the most & eventually wanted to give up on life.
Anxiety vs Depression
These feelings are indeed overbearing, draining the victim from his most vital energy and making life bleak. These feelings are caused by highly stigmatized disorders called, “Depression and Anxiety”. These are two different mental disorders, that often co-exist.
The major characteristic in anxiety disorder is a sense of self-doubt and fear regarding future prospects, variety of physical symptoms and avoidant or self-protective behaviors. While, in depression the most common symptoms are sadness, lack of interest in activities that used to be fun and interesting previously. Other symptoms like physical aches and pains, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, changes in appetite and weight, disturbed sleep and suicidal thoughts are common.
It Gets Worse
By 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of death in the world according to WHO. Despite the disease being so deadly, common and significant, it is unfortunate that both diseases are still stigmatized and not talked about.
Good news is that with little insight of almost any mental disorder, they can be treated. Both anxious and depressed people need encouragement and great support so they keep working on themselves. Generally a recovery involves:
Medications (anti-depressants and anxiolytics)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Doctor’s counselling & follow-up
Patients own efforts and their family and friends support
These can help patients get rid of this suffering.
There are a lot of personal stories of triumph of such cases that serve as an inspiration for other depressed patients to manage and overcome their illness. Also, if you are curious what happened with Bilal, he overcame his illness eventually.