I’m a bargain shopper. I like thrift stores and garage sales. I like getting stuff on sale, even 2 for the price of 1—or better yet, 3 for the price of 1. But when bad things come, I don’t want them to come in batches.
Coming in 1’s is bad enough. But often bad things often DO show up in multiples. Sadly, that’s often true of problems like anxiety and depression. In clinical work, we refer to this tendency as comorbidity. If I have one brand of anxiety, say generalized anxiety, I am statistically more likely to have a second or third anxiety problem, such as social anxiety or panic disorder, and maybe depression as well. Depressing.
When an anxiety problem and depression co-exist, we often find that the anxiety came first, and the depression was the secondary problem. It makes sense if you think about it. When we are anxious, we have the urge to avoid or escape the threat or anything that reminds us of the threat. The more we stay away from events, activities, and people, the more we risk missing out on the laughs, learning, love and accomplishments that we could have experienced in those situations. Without those good things, we are more likely to stay discouraged when we have a setback. So here comes the depression.
But wait, here’s some GOOD news—recent research out of Australia shows that people who learn Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tools for their social anxiety online also experience a reduction in their other anxiety problems and their depression as well. Hmmm… work on your social anxiety, and depression and other anxiety problems may improve.