I've been wondering this for the last two years since I have been having these problems. I have the feelings of not being in reality, and questioning existence etc...and yes it can be either depression or anxiety that causes similar symptoms. I really believe myself though that depression is just a by-product of stress sensitivity. I tried many ADs and they all made me feel very disconnected. I thought I was seriously depressed, but had panic attacks also. My doctor was hesitant to put me on Ativan (Lorazepem), an anxiety med for daily use because supposedly they can worsen a depression. Well I have taken it for a year now daily no more than 1mg, and I haven't felt any depression symptoms period. And I thought I was severly depressed, but now when I think about it I think it was constant rolling panic day in and day out....And for sure when I have a panic attack the feeling resembles serious depression while its going on. Feel free to PM me, I'd be interested to hear/share more.
I am listening to some self help CDs now that talk about how many people with anxiety also have depression. The more I listen the more I can agree. I think that I have always had depression, although it has been better for the last few years so I thought it was gone but now I've been having panic attacks and anxiety because I have been going through some illness and I can see that it is causing depression. They also said that a lot of times people's anxiety medication doesn't work until they get help for their depression. It is something to think about.
Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand in my opinion. For me, when my anxiety first hit, it was confusing and 'changed' my personality to becoming reclusive and losing my self identity; which can lead to depression. That is what can make this panic/anxiety cycle very hard to cope with in my experience. BUT and it is a big but, you can not only manage this, you can THRIVE with this. I believe that this experience has made me a much more well rounded person....remember it is the challanges that shape who we are in life. Keep working at it and keep us posted!
The problem with anti-anxiety meds and anti-depressants is that both can aggravate the other. I took anti-depressants for years and they threw me into panic attacks, then when i would take "downers" (anti-anxiety meds) i would get into such a deep depression that my anti-depressants wouldn't work any more. Finally, i went to see a psychiatrist and have been diagnosed with either (we're still trying to figure it out, only been working on it a few months) anxious-depression (yes, that is a real condition) or borderline bipolar disorder. Ask your doctor about possibly taking a mood stabilizer (some are Lamictal, Remeron, Abilify, etc.) instead of just anti-anxiety drugs, especially if you aren't responding to anti-depressants. These can be taken in combination with anti-anxiety meds and can also be combined with low doses of anti-depressants if needed.