Worry is a huge part of my anxiety, and also my depression. I spend large parts of my day worrying and overthinking certain issues; did I say that in the wrong tone? Does she now think I’m arrogant? Does she no longer like me as a friend? My brain will snowball a minor issue into a major one in a matter of minutes, or even seconds.
In depressed and overly anxious people worry can lead to a wide array of issues, that coincide with the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Don’t be afraid if you have more than one of these – some of us have all of them, affecting us on a daily basis.
Difficulty concentrating; my lack of concentration is the reason I can only write short blog posts. At my best I can manage half an hour at a computer, or an hour long tv show with adverts. But I find it difficult to watch an entire film, and to concentrate on a complex plot; I normally give up halfway through and turn it off, or pretend to pay attention when I generally have no clue what’s going on.
Avoidance; the problem here is that avoiding things that make you worry works immediately. However it reinforces the belief that you are not competent to handle these problems; it does not give you the chance to realise things aren’t as bad as they seem. I probably avoid at least one thing every day, because I feel to anxious or too down to go through with it.
Procrastination; If you ever think about doing a task rather than just getting on with it, you are procrastinating. I procrastinate and over-think all of the time and this is not just a trait limited to those with anxiety/depression. The difference lies in what it is exactly that we procrastinate over. If we procrastinate over negative thoughts and feelings then this cannot help our mood, though I am guilty of it myself.
Difficulty recalling information; the way this works for me is like this – I have poor concentration, therefore I don’t take all the available information into my short my term memory, so it can never be moved to my long-term memory for me to recall it. I hope that makes some sense? Basically you can’t recall information that was never there in the first place.
Impaired performance; when you are overly worried and anxious, your results in tests will suffer and your performance will not be as good as if you were completely relaxed. I read recently that a depressed person’s IQ could be 30 points lower than if they were not depressed, due to the fact that depression just slows everything about our brains, our cognitive processes and even the speed at which we walk.
Intrusive thoughts and doubts; I’m sure we all experience intrusive thoughts at one point or another, but during periods of stress and worry these thoughts can increase in frequency, and can be completely unrelated. For example, when I become stressed I always fear I will die in a freak accident that I can vividly imagine.
Feelings of panic; for me, excessive worry leads to feelings of panic and anxiety. This can be in the form of a panic attack, or more commonly, I will become very quiet as I am trying to contain my mood and generally my mind is racing.