Why is depression more tolerable than anxiety?


I haven’t been at my best.   My anxiety has really been acting up.   I’m finding it hard to stay mindful and have a positive outlook.   All the tools I learned to stay mindful and avoid the worst of Complex PTSD are almost useless.

I can never relax.  I’ve been filled with a free floating sense of awful, black dread.  I can’t take naps in the middle of the day like I used to, or even sleep in late because at some point I feel like my heart is slamming in my throat and I’m jumping out of my skin.    Often I wake up early in the morning with a jolt, all that oppressive black anxiety weighing down on me like a lead blanket, and I almost feel like I can’t breathe.   Sometimes it’s so intense it borders on full blown panic.

Some of my anxiety is very specific:

  • Worry about the future of our country under the current president;
  • Worry about my personal freedom and rights as I get older, especially since I’m what most would consider poor and under this horrific regime, I will be VERY vulnerable to exploitation or early death from lack of social security, Medicare or other old age benefits that older generations took for granted;
  • Worry about what will happen to my children (or any children they have) should we become a real dictatorship;
  • Worry that the payout from my insurance company won’t be enough to allow me to buy any kind of decent vehicle, which I need for work;
  • Worry about my daughter’s new husband not being capable of providing sufficiently for her or any children they have.
  • Worry about a likely move in the future: will I be able to afford it?
  • Worry that one of my adult children will be in a terrible accident and possibly die;
  • Worry that my own family is using me financially and talking badly about me behind my back (this is probably the most irrational fear I have).    I know this is due to my past as a victim of narcissistic abuse.  When I’m very anxious and triggered, I have a hard time trusting people, even people I know aren’t out to hurt me.

There’s also the free floating, nameless anxiety I’ve lived with all my life, magnified by my specific (and possibly even rational) fears.   It’s this overwhelming feeling that something awful is about to happen, though I have no idea what.

All that anxiety is debilitating, and yes, it’s painful.   It’s hard to function properly or maintain healthy relationships when you’re constantly fretting or ruminating about something that might happen in the future — or might not.    I irritate my family because of my constant need for reassurance that I’m not being used or they are not going to be doing something dangerous that will get them hurt or killed.   I get annoyed easily at work and just in general.   I snap at others, not because I’m angry, but because I’m so anxious all the time.

There have even been days I’ve contemplated suicide (though I know I won’t actually do it) just to escape from the oppressiveness of all this anxiety and dread.

Every so often though, my anxiety gives way to depression.    I know that depression is actually worse than anxiety because it means you have given up.   You’re no longer fighting (anxiety definitely feels like you’re fighting for your life sometimes).  Oddly enough it feels almost…comforting.    When I’m depressed, I can just lie in bed or in front of the TV and not feel like my heart’s about to slam right out of my chest.   I feel no guilt about being so slothful.   When I’m depressed, I can actually sleep and escape my emotional hell through dreams, or just the oblivion of featureless slumber.   I can find food comforting even though I can barely taste it.    Though tears come rarely, when they do, it feels cathartic.

But mostly, when I’m depressed, it’s like boredom turned up to 11.    Depression is very, very boring.   There are elements of sadness and sometimes grief, but more than anything else, depression is boring.   Yet, I have no urge to do anything to relieve the boredom, except maybe sleep or eat.   The boredom is there, and while it’s intense, it isn’t painful or intolerable the way normal boredom is, the kind of boredom that makes you have to go DO something about it immediately.   It’s just there, like gray wallpaper.

When I’m depressed, I don’t suffer much (or any) anxiety or dread, because in my mind, the bad thing has already happened.  Even though my belief it already happened may be irrational, I’ve emotionally succumbed and accepted it.

It’s like that moment you know you are going to die.   You go through your whole life fearing death, but when you’re finally face to face with it, staring into its infinite maw, knowing there’s nothing you can do, your fear disappears and you just accept you’re going to die at this moment, right here and now.  I know this is true because when I was 18 I got raped.  The man had a knife, and I thought he was going to kill me.   At one point, I was sure I was a goner, and at that moment a strange calm took over and I just accepted this was how I was going to leave this earth.  Obviously it didn’t happen, but I remember that sense of peaceful calm and acceptance.

That’s what happens when I’m depressed.  It’s like I’ve already accepted something that might not even have happened and may never happen.    No, of course it isn’t healthy, but it’s oddly comforting and far more tolerable to me than the almost constant high level of anxiety I’m forever doing battle with.



19 thoughts on “Why is depression more tolerable than anxiety?

  1. I wish I could do something to help – I’m sure we all wish we could do something to help, but we’re here, and if you need to write it out, share it, we’ll be here. We’ll listen.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Writing it out is in itself therapy, and that’s actually the reason I started thsi blog: as a way to emotionally heal myself. Much cheaper than a therapist (though I did that, too!)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I resonate with everything you say, and just feel to write about the 5G wifi rollout that is happening worldwide. These wifi frequencies are messing with us emotionally and physically, things that used to work don’t work any more. I have heard from many people how their anxiety levels have stepped up big time also depression, energy levels at an extreme low. Anyway there is so much more to this and I feel its best for people to research and find out for themselves what the real dangers of wifi are. So I will leave it there. I wish you all the very best and thank you for being so brave to be authentic and real.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I haven’t heard about that. What about a 5G Wifi rollout would cause all this emotional turmoil and things breaking down, etc? I’d like to read more.


          • If you google what are the dangers of 5G wifi, something should come up relating to it, there are Scientists too many to mention who are warning about the health and psychological dangers of 5G wifi – 2G was bad enough affecting people’s health but 5G is gonna be worst. There are things you can do to protect yourself, which is why I sent you the reply to find out for yourself, because its no joke having suffered all your life with anxiety and depression, found mindfulness techniques to help yourself and then for it to stop working as good as it did, and wondering wtf happened here. Its so important to realise it is not you, or anything you have done to yourself or not done to yourself, it is more likely the 5G wifi, if you have no luck finding out anything on 5G wifi, as we are being censored so much now and things being taken off the internet that would really wake other humans up, and help them, let me know and I will look up on a few of my sources and try and find something to send you from there. All the best Janice

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Remember that anxiety can be your body trying to tell you that somewhere in your subconscious you have swallowed a lie about yourself or others – that needs to be realized and processed. (For example, “I am not good enough” or “I am not safe now”). My feeling is that the soul knows that the lie is more toxic than any physic or material danger and is just trying to work it’s way out.

    I have found that even when my “feelings” don’t match I benefit by reciting the powerful mantra “I choose to love myself more”.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I guess it depends on personal experience and what one considers ‘tolerable’. I had two periods of the deepest depths of severe depression. In the first, I attempted suicide and was institutionalized. And in the second, I fell into a depersonalization where a vast emptiness nearly swallowed me whole. Both cases far exceeded mere boredom.

    But when not in such psychological extremes, depression is easier to manage and to hide. A depressive can learn to impersonate normalcy, whether or not that means it’s more tolerable. In some ways, that is what always troubled me about depression, as it is a condition that rarely can be seen from an outside perspective and so can’t be explained or justified to others. The suffering and despair involved can happen in a sense of utter existential isolation. On the other hand, when after long struggle one comes to a compromise with depression, there can be a comforting numbness to it that is as familiar as an old friend.

    I can’t speak much about anxiety. I’ve had mild versions of it at times. And I’ve seen it in more extreme forms in others. Only once could I claim a personal experience of paralyzing anxiety and that was long ago. So, for me at least, my generally mild anxiety is far more tolerable. But I know from watching others who experience it more regularly and intensely, it is far from tolerable for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great comments. Yes, there is much more severe depression that goes way beyond boring, and involves dissociation. the terrifying experience of ego death (which I’ve experienced under certain drugs but can also occur with severe dissociation), and even psychosis. All this plus the hopelessness that anything will ever get better or you will ever find yourself free of that frightening existential aloneness can lead to the compulsion to kill yourself.

      You wrote,
      “when after long struggle one comes to a compromise with depression, there can be a comforting numbness to it that is as familiar as an old friend.”

      Yes, that is it exactly! And it’s true that that “comforting numbness” tends to be more prevalent in less severe forms of chronic depression, a perpetual low mood and feelings of malaise and boredom, where one can still function and pretend all is well if necessary.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I am so sorry that you are going through this and so often. It is completely understandable to look for relief through your depression when your anxiety is constantly high and frequent. Sometimes I feel compelled to cover my ears when anxiety hits and or when thoughts pop into my head that I don’t want there and didn’t give permission to be there.
    I will say a prayer for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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