The Difference Between Anxiety & Depression

Being anxious is never nice . We can all experience moments of feeling worried, concerned or even down. That is completely alright . I'll be honest and just say what I'm sure you're thinking. We are all human at the end of the day, and because of that, then you shouldn't feel the need to hide away from you're feelings. As I've got older, I've become more sensitive to things and that's okay because it makes me who I am today.

It can be confusing to know the difference between anxiety and depression. Both evoke feelings of sadness and most likely a person who suffers from depression, will often experience more anxious thoughts than a person without. There are similar traits like the concept that both share feelings of initial worry that won't go away. I got in touch with Hilary Sims, a life balance counsellor, as I wanted to find out how we can support others going through both anxiety and depression.

what is anxiety?

Worrying about things is a natural response. Worry turns into anxiety when it begins to affect your way of life and you are struggling to do daily tasks because the thought of doing them is overwhelming. Anxiety can manifest itself in a number of other ways. You might struggle to concentrate on your work or on other tasks; you may constantly worry about everyday things; or you could develop feelings of panic or apprehension. You may also have physical symptoms, such as:

  • Stomach upsets

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

Anxiety is worrying about things that you can't control. Anxiety is when everyday tasks become overwhelming and you can't see a way to deal with them. These thoughts are there constantly and are stopping you living your normal life.

what is depression?

Depression is a complex mood disorder that has a wide spectrum of symptoms. You may feel hopeless and helpless, or you may have lost interest in things you used to enjoy. You may lack motivation, find it difficult to make decisions. Other emotional symptoms include:

  • Low self-esteem

  • Tearful

  • Guilt-ridden

  • Irritable or intolerant

In very serious cases, you may feel that your life is not worth living or that you want to harm yourself. You may also experience a number of physical symptoms, such as:

  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual

  • loss of appetite or weight loss

  • unexplained aches and pains

  • disturbed sleep

A number of social symptoms could also indicate that your low mood is actually depression or a depressive disorder. These include:

  • Withdrawing from friends and social situations

  • Loss of interest in hobbies

  • Experiencing problems at work

It’s not something you can “snap out of” or just “get over”. Depression is a real illness that can have a debilitating effect on you and your quality of life.

is there a difference?

Depression is one illness but anxiety covers lots of things. Anxiety is more about worrying about things whereas depression is how we feel. Anxiety can cover social anxiety, panic disorder and generalised anxiety

what can I do to stop me feeling more anxious?

Learning to live in the moment can help as you are focussing on the things that you can deal with rather than trying to control the uncontrollable. There is a tool called the 'STOPP' sheet. It asks you to stop and see if there is an alternative view for your current thought process. Try to see the bigger picture and also what would I say to a friend if they were saying the same things?

what can I do if I feel like I'm in a depressive state?

talking to a qualified person about how you feel. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) will help challenge the negative thoughts and help to move you to more of a positive thought process.

can I help those around me?

Be supportive to people who are struggling with anxiety and depression. Sometimes they just need a sounding board, they are not asking you to solve their issues, they just need someone to talk to who will listen and not judge. Encourage them to get help from a professional.

who to talk to?

Initially your GP can give you access to talking therapies. There are lots of private counsellors out there who can help. Look for one that is a member of BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy or NCS (National Counselling Society).


Another way which could seriously help you is apps. I downloaded an app which I can highly recommend called "Sanvello". They say you can "find relief when you need it and feel happier over time with clinically validated tools. All of the support you need in one place: therapy, coaching, self-care, and community"

OR get it on the app store

Big thank you for Hilary for taking the time to talk to me.

If you find yourself struggling or could relate to either of the topics we have talked about today, please contact the numbers below:

Mind Infoline - 0300 123 3393

Support Line - 01708 765200

Find more information here from the NHS:

Anxiety -,being%20irritable

Depression -

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