As a person that has been plagued with anxiety and depression, I want to address these issues from the standpoint of what I have learned. Anxiety and depression carry with them a stigma that often causes a sense of worthlessness and shame. The burden of that fact is grieving to my heart. Overcoming what we can’t even understand or see is troubling in a way that is all encompassing. Knowing something is wrong but having no ability to address the issue is debilitating. Prolonged seasons of sadness are like a low lying cloud that never goes away. A hint of light would be oh so welcomed but there is no accessibility to such. I have heard so many sermons and lectures and talks on the issue of depression and anxiety but honestly, most of those discussions came from an angle that substantively felt untrue.
I was told that I should be able to overcome or take control of the issues through behavior modification tactics and with this thought I only fell deeper into a depressive state. I did not have the wherewithal to take on a challenge of this sort through means of behavior modification or otherwise. I was depressed and with depression comes lethargy and an obvious inability to move or think in ways that were life giving to me or anyone else. The more I heard in regard to this type of instruction, the angrier I got, especially based on the comprehension of my current physical and mental placement. It is vital to understand that there are levels of depression and an understanding and proper assessment is necessary. Everyone has days where they feel out of sorts but it is the prolonged seasons of emptiness that are brutal to the existence.
To simply chalk the issue up to behavior modification is, in my estimation, a cruelty. We are holistic in nature and it is necessary to include our physicality in the discussion and with the consideration awaken to the gracious understanding that there is hope.
I will agree that we are the only person that can begin the search internally; however, having supportive people who understand the holistic approach to healing is invaluable. We need light and nourishment and oxygen and movement and relationships and a sense of belonging and purpose. Our bodies have to be tuned and when something is amiss in our physicality, inevitably it is going to affect our emotions.
Depression and anxiety can be simply a susceptibility for our particular DNA. It can also be circumstantially related. There are so many factors to determine and, for starters, the quiet reflection is as good as any movement towards a solution. Just as an illness is diagnosed, “what happened?“, “when?“, “was it something you ate?“, “what are you feeling?” It is equally as important to delve into our emotional history.
The unseen aspect of mental illness is so deceptive to our ability to properly address the issues. Everyone observes and recognizes that something is wrong but the abstract elements create so much turmoil for healing. The signs and symptoms are telling but the insights seem like a never-ending shot in the dark.
I say all of this because I have experienced the hopelessness and the sense of failure that accompanies. There is an inability to function at a level that feels acceptable to others and to yourself. I recognized that something was wrong and I sought counsel. My counselor gave me a test to determine where I was on the spectrum of depression and I did have symptoms of such. I then provided this information to my medical doctor and was prescribed a low dosage anti-depressant. I was hesitant about taking the medication but honestly when support is needed for a deficiency it is a provision that just becomes a part of a process. It was not my intent to forever be medicinally dependent but a means of maintaining my emotional health to assist in finding viable solutions to a prolonged distress.
My depression was related to an unresolved loss and grief of relationship. The emptiness that accompanies such is shocking in regard to the thought process and nervous system. Then it was coupled with circumstances that overwhelmed my ability to comprehend and that led to anxiety. Panic attacks are real and to feel as if you have no ability to control the internal quiver is maddening. The options to quieten are just as disturbing, medication that can be addictive or substance that is utilized to take off the edge are often the go to and I knew for certain that I did not want to be owned by either. So, what does a person do?
I can tell you with assured certainty that the body wants to heal and resolve the disruptive issues. I began the process of yoga as a means of quietening my mind and my body and thankfully my nervous system began to respond to the graciousness the was offered. We often think that it is possible to actually address these issues in the busyness and routine of life but truly we cannot quieten to the degree our body requires in the hustle and bustle of what is our existence.
We are designed in such a way that we need adequate activity and equal rest. For a person who is highly conscientious or conditioned through the grid of perfectionism, anxiety is a given in pressurized situations. Also, the consideration of personality type, extroverts tend to handle the rigors of daily demand better than those with an introverted mindset, all factors to be considered. The shame and blame game is not helpful to the process of recovery and restoration. We are human beings with varied experiences and placements and that understanding is necessary when it comes to helping someone through distress. This comprehension is so important for those who are living with, working with, befriending and loving those who suffer. Do not be that voice that contributes to the angst, be that voice that speaks from an educated, informed and holistic perspective. To those who are suffering, be gentle with yourself, you are not broken beyond repair. Listen to your body and to you story, it will help you to be generous and loving towards the person who needs it the most, yourself.