Stigma around stress…
There are a lot of ways we negatively internalise our stress responses. Examples I hear are:
‘I think I’ve got bipolar because my moods change so much.’
‘I feel like I should be able to cope better, people go through much worse than this.’
‘Some days I can’t get out of bed or get anything done. It makes me feel useless.’
‘I feel guilty about having therapy for something so small.’
Now let’s do some myth-busting:
Anxiety and depression are normal, common responses to stress. Anxiety is a reactive, over-stimulation to stress (fight/flight) whereas depression is a passive, under-reaction to stress (freeze/shut down).
These are often automatic responses, you can alternate between both, and neither are inherently better/worse than the other. You are not a bad person or doing anything wrong because you experience anxiety and/or depression.
Low-level stressors that are ongoing can be just as impactful as a one-off big life event.
We may not have recovery time in between stressors, so more recent ones are added ‘on top of’ these.
We may pathologise normal variations in mood because we’re not always taught that having a full range of emotions (distressing and comforting) is normal.
You deserve to ask for, and receive, help.