Anxiety and depression aren’t the same mental health concern, but they are closely related. Consider them to be cousins, if not sister disorders. It is possible to have symptoms of social anxiety (SA) and depression at the same time.
Depression is not the type of disorder that suddenly appears out of the blue one day. It’s much more subtle than that – and the signs and symptoms can develop slowly. You may be living with SA and not realize that your symptoms are evolving into depression. Here are five common signs that your SA may be turning into depression.
You feel restricted from participating in everyday activities
SA makes it more challenging for you to manage things that other people seem to be able to do with ease, such as going out to parties and making small talk, which can lead to overall feelings of being worthless and incompetent. This is one of the symptoms of depression, a feeling that you can’t do anything or that you can’t do anything right.
You feel high levels of frustration
Everyone feels frustrated with themselves at times. When you have SA, you’re more likely to start bullying yourself and focusing on what you think is wrong with you. Even if someone started pointing out your positive qualities, you would either not see them at all or find a way to discount them to the other person.
If you stay in this mindset for too long, it opens the door for a cloud of depression to settle in. You can start to feel as though everyone else in the world is invited to some kind of a party and enjoying life but you aren’t able to do the same.
You feel stuck where you are, often without hope
Your anxiety about being in social situations makes it difficult for you to be around people, so you retreat to where you feel safe or where you feel that you can control the situation. It’s understandable, but it also puts you in a place where you can become frustrated. You may want to feel better but it can be difficult to see a way out of where you find yourself.
Depression can feel like a hole or a cloud to some people. They can get into a state where they don’t feel that things will ever get better and that nothing they do will provide them any benefits.
You feel limited in your career options
When you have SA, you may decide not to apply for a promotion because the position you’re applying for would involve being a team leader and conducting training sessions or presentations as part of your job. You could choose not to apply simply because the interview process involves appearing before more than one person at once and that prospect intimidates you.
Your anxiety may also lead you to believe that there’s no way you can succeed in certain careers. As a result, you don’t go through the necessary educational applications and processes if everything can’t be completed entirely online.
Depression works in the same way. It takes away a person’s energy and motivation to begin or complete tasks, even after already started. The mere thought of doing something can induce feelings of fatigue, even when the person is fully aware that the task would have a positive outcome.
You feel lonely, even when around people
One of the most basic of human feelings is wanting to belong: to a group, a family or as half of a romantic couple. If you’re anxious in social situations, you’re not going to be able to relax and let anyone really get to know you. Part of you will be sitting “above” the conversation or holding yourself back from the relationship, even if it turns intimate, because you’re concerned about being truly accepted.
Depression is lonely, too. It puts up mental barriers than make it hard for you to interact with people in your life. Everything they say or do will be interpreted through the veil that the depression brings. It affects your self-esteem and makes you feel as though you’re not worthy of being loved, which is absolutely untrue.
If you start to feel as though your SA symptoms are sliding toward depression, discuss it with a healthcare professional or your therapist right away so you can be screened for depression and receive appropriate treatment, if necessary. Treatment does help!