Explaining the Answer to “What Is Depression?” and “What Is Anxiety?” to Others

August 10th, 2016

You’ve felt it coming on, and you know it’s there, but explaining what chronic anxiety is to someone who has never experienced it can be a daunting task. And even though you know you have it, even you might even be wondering what is anxiety, anyway? Anxiety can be difficult to explain. Often, you can recognize it immediately— you’re living it. But how do you describe it to someone who just doesn’t seem to know or understand? Depression and anxiety are becoming more widely talked about, and with the help of social media and a connected society, arming yourself with tools to help explain what depression and anxiety are can help you help others by spreading information and awareness. Read on to gain some tips on how to deal with explaining what depression and anxiety are to those who aren’t in the know.


Because it’s an emotional subject, the best way to handle questions about depression and anxiety is with patience. Remember that others have not experienced what you have and that it may be difficult for them to truly gain an understanding of what you deal with because it may be completely foreign to them. And even if they have known someone who suffers from anxiety and/or depression, they may not have a full understanding of all that it entails. It can be difficult to have patience with people who make “off the cuff” remarks when you respond to their questioning of “What is anxiety?” or “What is depression?” — but the best way to deal with ignorance is to provide information. And by keeping a cool head, you’ll be better equipped to quell their questions with grace.

Knowledge is Power

Ignorance is defined as being uninformed. By having concrete knowledge, you can help inform and raise awareness about anxiety and depression. Anxiety can be described as a constant state of nervousness, panic, or uneasiness. Fear often contributes to anxiety, so when talking with someone who has asked you “What is anxiety?”, you can relate to them by asking them to think of a time when they were scared, or how they felt before taking a test or starting a new job. For you, that feeling doesn’t go away, may be more intense, and it likely isn’t directly related to a specific event. By explaining anxiety in familiar terms, you may be able to better answer questions from others. Depression, which often occurs alongside anxiety, can include feelings of overwhelming sadness, isolation, and sometimes even hopelessness — and it just doesn’t go away. Learning to describe how you feel and communicating effectively and clearly will help answer questions that others may have. Be informed, and learn about anxiety and depression by researching the topics. Reading periodicals and journals that publish studies on the subject  can help you stay informed and explain the answers to “What is anxiety?” an “What is depression?” Additionally, you can learn by talking with your doctors and counselors.


It is important to know that you are not alone with battling depression and anxiety. In the United States, 40 million adults are affected by depression and anxiety related disorders, which is nearly 18% of the entire country’s population. Additionally, know that you can establish a treatment plan with your doctor to manage it effectively. Treatment options can include medication, individual and group therapy, as well as holistic therapies. Although you may suffer from chronic anxiety or depression, it doesn’t have to define you, and help is available.

Help is Available

If you need help with your anxiety and/or depression, or you’re not sure if you might be suffering from it, contact us. We’re here to help in a nonjudgmental, safe environment.

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