Anxiety And Depression: What Does It Feel Like To Drown
By Sarah Fader
Updated January 28, 2019
What Causes Anxiety and Depression?
Anxiety and depression are not fun emotional states to experience. Nevertheless, before we go into additional details, it's important to have a fundamental understanding of anxiety and depression. In a nutshell, anxiety occurs when people are faced with potentially dangerous and hazardous situations. Anxiety is the mind's way of informing the individual that trouble is at hand and that actions need to be taken. In many regards, anxiety triggers the fight-or-flight response. There are various factors which determine whether or not a person chooses the former or the latter. Some people will lash out, while others will tuck tail and run. Moreover, there are various situations where one response is more appropriate than the other. It all boils down to the individual, their given choice, and the circumstance at hand.
Depression takes place when an individual is ongoingly sad, uninterested in life, and withdrawn from others. Similarly to anxiety, there are various levels and degrees of depression. However, the handling and overcoming of this emotion are so very important. In many regards, depression is inherently toxic; it draws people into deep, dark holes, making it harder for their loved ones to get through to them and improve their state of mind. People who truly suffer from depression are not able to simply "get over it," "cheer up," or take a walk and feel better. There are also various factors which can trigger or contribute to depression. These factors can include but are certainly not limited to loss of employment, the death of a loved one, natural disaster, and other traumatic experiences.
Understanding the Signs
Anxiety is something that everyone experiences in varying magnitudes and manifestations. When faced with a stressful situation, our brains release a cocktail of chemicals that have a string of effects on the mind and body. Having originally evolved as the body's natural reaction to danger, in the modern sphere, the adaptation has persisted even as concrete threats of death or serious injury have been minimized for most people.
In moderate amounts, anxiety is an important member of our toolbox for surviving in the world. We find that many people today experience maladaptive levels of anxiety, which can be seen as a result of the shift of how we exist in the world. When experiencing an anxiety attack, it can give you an idea of what does it feel like to drown in your own body.
A Shift in Culture
In the past, the world necessitated that human beings exert large amounts of energy on finding food and avoiding threats of danger. In today's realm, as society became more and more developed and aimed at aiding convenience, people on average have become less active and eat things that they don't burn off. While normal levels of anxiety can serve to improve your focus, encourage a call to action, or inspire motivation, when the anxiety circuit is constantly active, it can become an overwhelming interference for your daily life and relationships. While most people experience these sorts of feelings during times of particular stress, those with anxiety disorders experience them to distressing levels.
What Does It Feel Like to Drown
In a time of constant connectivity, we are at risk of being overstimulated. Our brains take sensory stimulation from the environment around us, filtering out the relevant aspects and focusing our attentiveness where it matters. Sometimes, may it be due to brain injury or emotional trauma, or simply the strains and stresses of life, this filtering can become less focused and holistic. This can leave an individual overwhelmed, faced with an intense sensory experience that alters how one interacts with the environment around them. Stimulation is what gives life its color, but overstimulation has detrimental effects both physically and psychologically. The brain's natural response is to become alert; our muscles tighten into knots, and our demeanor is set on edge.
How to Prevent Anxiety and Depression
Due to the many factors which impact anxiety and depression in various individuals, there is no one answer to achieving the prevention of these harmful emotional states. However, there are certain choices and steps which people can take to decrease their likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression.
First and foremost comes lifestyle choices. Believe it or not, the decisions which individuals make in their daily lives, directly and indirectly, impact them in more ways they can imagine. This includes where they work, the people they surround themselves, the type of work they do, the food they eat, the manner in which they tidy up their homes, and so much more. Each of these things (and more) matters so much because it affects the quality of life which one gets to enjoy. For instance, a well-rounded person who loves their career lives in a nice home and surrounds themselves with supportive friends is likelier to be emotionally healthier than someone who hates their job, lives unhygienically, and wastes their time around negative influences. You become what you spend your time around most frequently.
You can also reduce your plausibility of experiencing anxiety and depression by taking care of yourself. This sounds almost absurdly basic, but it's something which so many people neglect or forget about. Self-care is very important and conducive to a healthy emotional and mental state. In many regards, taking care of yourself can mean exercising, eating a nutritious diet, spending time in nature, and even occasionally pampering yourself. We all have responsibilities and things that we need to do, but we should never neglect ourselves. Failing to take proper care of oneself is a magnet for anxiety, depression, and other emotional states which will make you feel as though you are drowning. All the money, success, and accomplishments in the world will mean nothing if you're not in the position to enjoy them and reap their benefits.
When it Becomes a Disorder
Anxiety involves a cycle of becoming alert essentially and not being able to shut this down, leaving one feeling a pervasive yet undefined ache of needing to change something but not knowing what it is. BetterHelp is equipped with professionals trained to target your maladaptive behaviors and habits specifically. Essentially an over-activation of the nervous system, constantly feeling on edge or worried without reason is one way to define the experience of anxiety.
These feelings can lead to the development of avoidance behaviors, as individuals become plagued by irrational fears, experience sudden bouts of heart-dropping panic, or habitually anticipate danger in situations that don't warrant it. It can also cause trouble concentrating, leaving you feeling as if your mind has gone blank. This can leave people with unexplained feelings of irritability, as well as somatic symptoms such as sweating, headaches, upset stomach, dizziness, shortness of breath, and insomnia.
If you have struggled with anxiety, depression, or other feelings, you should know that help is available. BetterHelp is more than happy to work with you and assist you in feeling better about life.