Anxiety isn't depression. The two are separate conditions, and although there are similarities they cause different symptoms and require different types of treatments.
That said, anxiety can still cause both depression and depression symptoms, and one of the most frightening is the suicidal mindset. Suicidal thoughts show that your anxiety needs an immediate treatment, and if you feel that you have these thoughts, contact someone immediately.
Is Anxiety Making You Suicidal?
If you're starting to feel as though your life isn't worth living, you need to get immediate help. Contact a suicide hotline or psychologist immediately, and get the help you need. When you're feelng better, consider taking our free 7 minute anxiety test to score your anxiety severity and learn some strategies to help relieve it.
Immediate and Long Term Action
Anxiety and depression are incredibly treatable conditions. The success rates to treatments are outstandingly high, and the only thing standing in their way is time and commitment. Click here to take my free 7 minute anxiety test and learn more about your anxiety.
The problem is that these conditions don't always seem treatable when you're struggling with them, and that's due to a variety of different reasons:
- No One Size Fits All Approach Easily one of the most common reasons is because many approaches don't work the first time, and even some of the most well-known treatments can both have setbacks or require different interventions. Indeed, something as simple as which therapist you choose can make a big difference in terms of outcome. It's hard to feel as though your condition is treatable when the treatments you try aren't working, but it is.
- Low Neurotransmitter Availability When your emotions are affected by your neurotransmitter levels, you don't know it. It's incredibly important to remember that your neurotransmitters are what tell you how to think and feel. You can't tell that your emotions are wrong, because your neurotransmitters affect how you think. Anxiety and depression cause neurotransmitter levels to drop, which can lead to suicidal and negative thoughts. That's a symptom of low neurotransmitter levels, even though you think it's your own thoughts and real feelings.
- All Treatments Take Time Every treatment takes time, and every treatment is going to have setbacks. When you struggle with anxiety and depression every day, those setbacks are going to make you feel as though you can't keep going, or that treatment isn't going to work. Suicidal ideation is a clear sign that your anxiety and depression have reached very severe levels, and unfortunately that does mean that treatment will take a while.
Despite these issues, treatment is possible. It's actually fairly likely. You simply need to keep reminding yourself that most of what you feel is due to the anxiety and depression themselves. The most important thing to remember is that these conditions make the way you feel seem natural, always. You're going to think and feel your emotions are genuine, and not caused by a condition. But they are a sign of a neurotransmitter problem that can be fixed with treatment.
Anxiety and Depression Lumped Together
You may have noticed that we've been lumping anxiety and depression together in this case, even though we're generally talking about suicidal mindset as an anxiety symptom. That's because:
- If you're having suicidal thoughts, it means you're suffering from depression by default, even if you're mostly suffering from anxiety symptoms.
- Some anxiety can actually cause depression as a symptom. For example, many of those with panic disorder often feel as though they have depression for hours or even days after a panic attack, and the helplessness people feel with their anxiety can lead some to develop these types of negative thoughts.
That's why even if anxiety is your primary struggle, your suicidal thoughts need to be considered a part of depression and treated as such. They also both share low serotonin as a common symptom/cause, which makes it relevant to both conditions. Only a psychologist can properly diagnose your conditions as well, and if you have these thoughts you should see a psychologist immediately.
How to Stop a Suicidal Mindset
See a psychologist or counselor immediately, or call a suicide helpline if you need help. In the US, the number is 1-800-273-8255. Feelings of ending one's life shouldn't be taken lightly, and because these thoughts feel natural as a symptom of anxiety and depression, it's something that you shouldn't leave to chance. Taking action now is the best thing you can do for the way you feel.
In the meantime, some strategies that experts believe will help include:
- Extended Social Time Spend a great deal of time with people. It can be hard, especially because anxiety and depression can both take away from your happiness and the joy you get from life's activities, but social time is still very important. If you don't know anyone, join groups and try to stay as active with healthy activities as possible.
- Start Exercising This is crucial. Exercise may raise levels of neurotransmitters that improve mood, and studies have shown that exercise reduces feelings of anxiety and depression, and thus reduces suicide risk. If you do nothing else, you should start exercising regularly.
- Volunteer Studies have also shown that volunteering may curb these feelings of suicide because you are helping others instead of focusing on yourself. Indeed, the ability to volunteer is one of the greatest arguments against ending one's life - even if you feel your life is too much of a struggle, there are others also struggling that are looking for your help. There's no reason to end one's life when you can help others with that life instead.
The suicide mindset is something that needs immediate psychological intervention, and even if you can cope with it on your own, it's always best to consult with someone and stay accountable to them and to yourself. Seek help from trained experts and leave nothing to chance.
You can also learn more about your anxiety by taking my free 7 minute anxiety test. Working on your anxiety can be a big help, but you should still make sure that you contact others and stay active at curbing your suicidal ideations.
Davidson, Collin L., et al. The Impact of Exercise on Suicide Risk: Examining Pathways through Depression, PTSD, and Sleep in an Inpatient Sample of Veterans.Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (2013).
Gordon, Kathryn H., et al. The impact of the 2009 Red river flood on interpersonal risk factors for suicide. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention 32.1 (2011): 52-55.