What Depression Feels Like and Treatment Options

Many people have diagnoses of combined anxiety and depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that 1 in 6 adults have depression and that often people who experience depression also have anxiety. Anxiety is a condition where overwhelming and all-consuming worry and fear about daily situations can impact how a person feels and reacts.

When you are experiencing anxiety or depression, it is important that you seek out treatment. However, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, many people don't seek this help. Treatment can include medication to help you control your symptoms and group or one-on-one talk therapy. The prescription medication can help calm your mind enough that you can practice cognitive behavioral therapy actions to manage your stress. Such actions might include learning to shut down through meditation and breathing techniques and finding a supportive friend group.

Living With Anxiety and Depression

Selena Gomez has been open about her mental health struggles. But in one of her most revealing interviews yet, she spoke out about how being officially diagnosed with both anxiety and depression and getting the right treatment has been life-changing.

“My highs were really high, and my lows would take me out for weeks at a time,” she told The Wall Street Journal in a January 8 article. Now 27, she started working with therapists in her early 20s, and she's also spent time in treatment facilities, she said.

“I found out I do suffer from mental health issues. And, honestly, that was such a relief,” she explained. “I realized that there was a way to get help and to find people that you trust. I got on the right medication, and my life has been completely changed.”

Sharing as a Treatment

Sharing her mental health issues with close friends and her loyal fan base was a big part of the treatment process, and Gomez continues to rely on people she trusts to keep an eye on her.

One person in her inner circle is Taylor Swift, who Gomez met over a decade ago when she was dating Nick Jonas and Swift was dating his brother Joe. She told The Wall Street Journal that their bond goes even deeper than most people imagine.

“There’s so much of my friendship with Taylor that people don’t know about because we don’t necessarily feel the need to post about everything we do,” she said. “She has shown up for me in ways that I would have never expected. Flown in because I was hurt and was going through something. Stuff that was going on with my family. It’s been proven year after year and in every moment of my life that she is one of my best friends in the world. We don’t agree on everything, but we respect each other with everything.”

One thing Gomez relies on her girlfriends for is to help her to take much-needed time out from the online world. "I got back on because I was releasing music, but I just told my best friend Courtney [Lopez] yesterday, I'm going to have to take it off my phone again soon," she said. "They know I have an addictive personality, and it can be unhealthy."

Feeling Pressure to Perform

Speaking of Instagram, Gomez was the first person to boast 100 million followers on the social media platform (she now has 354 million of them). But it took its toll. In 2017, she told Vogue, “As soon as I became the most followed person on Instagram, I sort of freaked out.” Since then, she’s taken several extended breaks from the platform.

“It had become so consuming to me. It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to,” she said. “I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to seem like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about. I always end up feeling like shit when I look at Instagram. Which is why I’m kind of under the radar, ghosting it a bit.”

In September 2018, Gomez announced she was taking another hiatus from the platform, partly due to negative comments. "As much as I am grateful for the voice that social media gives each of us, I am equally grateful to be able to step back and live my life present to the moment I have been given," she said at the time. "Kindness and encouragement only for a bit! Just remember—negative comments can hurt anybody’s feelings. Obvi."

Returning almost five months later, in January 2019, she thanked fans for their “love and support.”

Regular breaks from social media, a strong support network, therapy, and medication––it sounds like Gomez has everything she needs in her mental health toolkit.


Depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. As you struggle with perceived difficulties, it can bring on feelings of sadness. Various treatment methods exist that can help soothe the stress caused by anxiety and lift you from depression. The first—and often the hardest—step is to acknowledge that you need help and talk to your doctor. They can put you in contact with a therapist who can teach you skills to lessen your depressive feelings.

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