Those of us with anxiety and depression often find it hard to explain to others what it feels like dealing with depression. Separate, they can be described as your heart beating out of your chest, and being slowly suffocated by a pillow, respectively. But experiencing both creates a whole other nightmare-ish world.
When you hear that anxiety and depression are exhausting, that is not a fancy way of saying it’s hard. It’s absolutely crippling at times. It makes the world seem so scary and dark, like you are in a horror movie all the time, even when you are just sitting on the couch trying to relax.
Those who have never experienced either depression or anxiety may not completely understand where sufferers are coming from when attempting to describe how they feel. Worse is the stigma attached to sufferers.
A survey from the National Mental Health Association found that 43 percent of Americans believe depression is because of a “weak will” or “deficit in one’s character.” Similarly, people also view anxiety as a sign of weakness, even though anxiety is the most common type of mental illness.
It can be easy to say all of that. Some people think that mental strength is something we have to create on our own. That is true that we can make ourselves mentally tough, but depression and anxiety act as injuries that makes it a bit trickier to become that tough all the time.
Picture this: two athletes are running a race. One is healthy and has some soreness but no big injuries to the body. The other has had knee problems for the past few years and has even had surgery on it. This athlete does physical therapy, ice, heat, stretching, but the pain is still there.
During the race, the healthy athlete gets extremely tired but uses their healthy muscles to soldier on. The athlete with the knee injury doesn’t get more tired than the other athlete during the race, but their knee begins to flare up with extreme pain. The injured athlete struggles more because of this.
Anxiety and depression are like that injury. It adds an extra obstacle in the way of our health and makes it difficult to operate at full capacity.
That’s why cartoonist Nick Seluk, creator of the comic strip called The Awkward Yeti, came up with a way to show what it’s like dealing with depression and anxiety, especially for people who can’t entirely empathize. He literally brings these mental illnesses to life, using personified versions of each.