Fighting depression and anxiety to your peace in this moment.
The Whys and What ifs
Depression and anxiety go hand and hand. It is hard to feel one without the other. However, depression and anxiety have very different origins. Depression’s foundation comes from the past. Depression is rooted in regret for things said and done, disappointment with people and situations, grief over losses, as well as feelings of hopelessness over expectations never met. Anxiety, on the other hand, lives in the thoughts about the future. The fear of loss, change, and the general unknown are the root cause of anxiety in our lives.
The Whys of Depression
When our expectations for our ideal world and life are not met in the present we ask ourselves “why”. With enough thought on the regrets of the past, we often find ourselves sinking into symptoms of depression.
Here’s the thing, when we ask ourselves questions we will do whatever it takes to find the answers. Why am I not further along in my career? Why am I not closer to my family? Why didn’t I get that degree? Why is this relationship so sucky? The answers are not always consistent with reality, but rather can be a laundry list of excuses for past behaviors.
When regrets from the past creep up, excuses can comfort the soul. We want for those excuses to be true because if they are not, then we would have to take responsibility for our current situation… and that kinda stinks.
The What ifs of Anxiety
The idea of the future can be littered with “what if” anxious thoughts. What if the economy tanks? What if something bad happens to my children? What if I lose my job? What if I get sick? What if there is another terrorist attack? These thoughts, that are often automatic, can repeat over and over leading to overwhelming anxiety. Again, our brain will try to answer those unanswerable questions about the future. You may find yourself playing various scenarios over and over in your mind as a way to conquer the unknown.
The Present Reality
Sometimes we will work harder to keep up our illusions from the past or to create a future that may never exist than to see the reality of the present. Making decisions based on how things should be rather than how they are will hold you back more than any enemy.
How things should be is a common premise for a work of fiction, but how things should be has no place in the daily workings of your life. Not accepting reality in this moment creates an unresolvable conflict in your own mind.
Depression and anxiety rear their ugly heads at some time in all our lives. Focus on the present moment when making decisions and taking actions. Living in the past with regret and guilt or living in the fearful future will skew your current actions or paralyze you into stagnation. Meditate, appreciate the outdoors, or focus on a worthwhile project. Be present and active in this moment where there is no room for the Whys of depression or the What Ifs of anxiety.