You Can Do It!
Beginning To Take Steps To Be Better
As somebody who has lived most of their life with generalized anxiety disorder and depression, my road to recovery and maintaining my own mental wellness has required the right supports and a lot of hard work. Generalized anxiety disorder can be described as the unnecessary triggering of our fight or flight mechanism in our brains. Seeking help only came after I hit an extreme low point where I was having anxiety attacks multiple times a day and was essentially unable to function.
As I write this I can’t help but think back and reflect on why it took me so long to seek help. I didn’t want to be a burden to others, I didn’t feel like my existence mattered, men need to be tough and not show emotion so toughen up, I have no purpose and don’t feel like I fit in to this world, other people are worse off than I. These were just a few of the thoughts that held me back. It wasn’t until I realized that the anger felt against myself was being projected on those around me, including my greatest ally, my wife. The realization that by not getting help and implementing strategies to cope and manage my anxiety/depression was a burden on my loved ones. Worse yet, my wife told me that she is actually afraid of me when I was in that state. That was the final straw. In order to make things right I needed to get help and start the journey of self care so that I can be the best version of myself for my loved ones and everyone else I interact with.
So what changed? I started seeing a psychotherapist for starters. From those sessions I started connecting with my core values, acknowledging and listening to my emotions and what they are actually telling me, identifying my negative thought patterns (aka mind traps) and working to positively reframe the negative thought to break out of the cycle, and mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation has been one of the most powerful tools in managing and maintaining my positive mental health. It has helped me to break free of my personal mind traps, improved my ability to recognize and listen to my emotions, and reduce stress, and form stronger bonds with the people I interact with. Meditation has profound benefits for those suffering with anxiety and depression, however it is a powerful resilience builder for when all is perfectly well in your life as well. It also helps us be more present for the important moments in our lives, the good and the bad.
It is my hope that by sharing my experience, my words are able to have a positive impact on someone in need. My message to those reading who are suffering in silence, you matter, you are NOT a burden, you are worth the effort, feeling the way you do is not selfish, asking for help is not selfish, other people’s suffering does not diminish what you are feeling, it’s not just in your head, recovery is possible but it takes work and is a lifelong journey, taking the steps toward recovery will be one of the best decisions you ever make.
Trust me on that.
By Rob Simms Burns
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