Meta-Depression and Meta-Anxiety: When Mental Illness Turns on Itself

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Meta-depression and meta-anxiety are phenomena that are rarely discussed in conversations surrounding mental illness. Yet they are common experiences for depressed and anxious people. These terms refer to the fact that one’s own depression or anxiety can itself become a contributing factor in — or aspect of — the mental health condition in question. In this way, you can become depressed about having depression and anxious about having anxiety. I wish to explore this aspect of mental illness in more depth. First, however, it will be helpful in the following discussion to examine phenomenology, as this philosophical school of thought helps to shine a light on the experiences of meta-depression and meta-anxiety.

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Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on September 9, 2019.

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