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For some reason people who do not suffer from mental illness like to use the phrase “it’s all in your head.” Well, for those who may think that I assure you, it is NOT all in our heads.

Mental illness is REAL illness. Most mental illnesses have tons of physical symptoms and can be associated throughout the body, not just the ‘head.’ Being depressed is so much more than being sad and dealing with an anxiety disorder is not just worrying a little too much. There is more to it than you care to realize.

To help those who do not understand the physical symptoms of mental illnesses in general below you will find a list of symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. Depression is something that affects about 350 million people worldwide and anxiety affects 40 million adults in the US alone. These are things so many people are experiencing, dismissing their illnesses is not going to make their problems just disappear.

12 Physical Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety:

1. Headaches/Migraines

Headaches are associated with both depression and anxiety. This can be mild or severe depending on you specifically. This is quite frustrating and for some the headaches are neverending, to say the least.

2. Dizziness/Lightheadedness

This one is also associated with both anxiety and depression. It can come on all at once or slowly progress. For me it comes and goes, if my anxiety is really getting to me I will sometimes become lightheaded but again everyone is different. Depression in itself is often described as a numb or lightheaded feeling.

3. Back Pain

This one is more commonly associated with depression. Depression is actually closely linked with lots of different forms of chronic pain as you will see the further you continue on. Depression symptoms in general also make pain feel much worse than it is.

4. Digestive Issues

Yes, depression can literally cause you to have diarrhea or to become constipated. Digestive upsets come in many forms and depression is one of them. When this happens your bowels may not act the same.

5. Muscle Aches/Joint Pain

Depression manifests itself in a lot of cases as physical aches and pains. These offer no obvious cause, but they do have an underlying issue. Depression is very real.

6. Chest Pain

This one can be associated with both depression and anxiety, but I have found is more common in those with anxiety. It can sometimes literally feel like you are having a heart attack. This is terrifying to experience and scarring for those close to you who have to see it.

7. Sleeping Issues

Sleeping issues go along with both as well. You stay up worrying so you are unable to sleep or you are so depressed that sleep is all you can do. Your body is literally exhausted.

8. Chest Pressure/Tightness

This one comes more often with anxiety and can be a sign of something underlying, but for the most part is simply your body reacting to the stress your mind is going through. This can be extremely hard to deal with. I for one cannot stand when my chest becomes tight like this.

9. Breathing Difficulties

Breathing difficulties are often associated with anxiety. The more worked up you get the worse this becomes. For some this doesn’t happen, but for most it is a very big part of their anxiety disorder.

10. Nausea

This one can be associated with both depression and anxiety. I for one feel this one strongly. Growing up when I would get overly anxious my nausea would literally make me vomit, as gross as that may seem.

11. Sweating

People with anxiety know this to be all too true. When I am becoming anxious my hands tend to sweat and I cannot control it. While it is not one of the more severe symptoms it is quite frustrating.

12. Shaking

If you have ever seen someone having or experienced firsthand an anxiety attack you know all about this. The more nerved out you get the worse you shake. My hands cannot stay still when I am dealing with my anxiety. While I can usually control it to an extent it is pretty annoying as well.

If you or someone you care about suffers from mental illness of any kind don’t ever let anyone say “it’s all in your head.” You are valid and your illness is valid. If someone is struggling to understand the seriousness of what you are going through please feel free to share this with them. YOU matter and you should never let anyone make you feel like you are wrong for feeling the way that you do or going through something that you are going through.

(Photo by Olenka Kotyk on Unsplash)