Hi! I'm sorry for the person who is feeling tis way AND you. It's hard!! Are you in a relationship with them? What is your connection? Just a friend?
So, yes. Anxiety and depression can plague someone their entire life. Sometimes it is center ring and sometimes it is in the background. People who have it chronically live with that fluctuation but it is always there shadowing things in some way. And sometimes it makes no sense for why someone feels that way. Everything can actually be going great in their life, they can be very accomplished they are still sad and anxious inside. I do think for most people that treatment helps. For some, it won't. But for most, there can be some 'relief'. Therapy can help look for triggers and teach one how to cope better. Medications can help as well. Does your friend receive any type of therapy or treatment for this?
That's a really hard situation to know how to be supportive in. At some point, people do have to take responsibility for their mental health and getting better. He's probably lived with it for his whole life or as far back as he can remember. That darn anxiety/depression stigma! Ugh. Luckily, awareness seems to improve a bit as time goes on that mental health issues can happen to anyone.
Shame and self loathing is difficult to deal with. It leads to lots of negative things including those that impact health as well as self esteem. Many turn to self medicating with substance. Has he gone that route at all?
Whether he is clinically anxious or depressed, I don't know. But you do describe an unhappy person in some regards, right? And unfortunately that is something no one can fix but himself. And he has to decide to do that.
I think all you can do if you can whether the ups and downs with him and not have it drag you down too is to keep encouraging him to seek professional help. Really, who is there to be embarrassed in front of? The therapist? Otherwise, who has to know you are going to therapy? As adults, we can do these things on our own and don't have to reveal it to others.
Anyway, hang in there and make sure you are always taking care of yourself. You can be a supportive friend but still need to know your own limits for someone else's problems that they don't do things to work on.
Ya, maybe talking on this anonymous forum would be good for him? He can make a user name unrelated to his own and maybe get some support too. Good idea from paxiled. Or just read the things people write to understand that SO many people suffer the same or similar things he does.