Anxiety is often lumped in together with depression, but it’s its own separate thing. You can have either one without the other. However, one thing “depression” and “anxiety” have in common is that they are both words that refer to a passing mood in the general parlance, so that people who have never experienced the mental disorder think they know what it’s like when they really have no idea. Kind of like the way non-noise-sensitive non-HSPs think we hear what they hear, and can’t understand why their leaf blower or barking dog is driving us bonkers.
Check out this illustrated explanation of anxiety from the inside, by artist Sophie Wright.
We need to stop using the same words for passing moods and full-blown mental disorders.
We need to stop using the same words for passing moods and full-blown mental disorders. It not only keeps people who don’t have the mental disorder from understanding people who do, it keeps people who do have it from recognizing it. I thought (and spoke) of myself, deprecatingly, as “a worrier” for years, as if it was some kind of amusing personality quirk. Even now, I often forget that for most of my 35 years as an undiagnosed depressive, I was also racked with anxiety about pretty much everything, every single day.
If you agree, email this post to your favorite research psychologist, or better yet, to the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in which psychiatric conditions are named.