As a part of my vision for Dulo, I wanted to write a series of articles going into more detail about my experience with Depression and Anxiety. I wanted to elaborate on tricks and techniques that have helped me, as well as share information that I have researched that have been proven strategies for others. In no way am I saying that all these strategies will work for everyone, but nonetheless, I am optimistic that there will be a handful of techniques that are found effective for those who try.
I have always liked to think I was a relatively strong guy. Both physically and mentally. I grew up playing football, basketball, baseball, boating, and riding dirt bikes. So, I definitely thought I was a tough guy, and showing any sort of weakness was prohibited. This mindset I had, however, almost cost me my life.
I always felt that the stigma in our society had been that any sort of mental illness was a sign of weakness, and that those with it should bury it. Bringing it up was always a tender subject, and no one really knew how to talk about it. This was my perception, and how I dealt with my struggles. I buried the symptoms, didn’t talk about it, and didn’t acknowledge it. I didn’t want to be weak, and come across as that weirdo that no one knew how to talk to.
The reality is that Depression, Anxiety, and any other mental disorder for that matter, are real disorders and ones not to be ignored. Mental disorders are chemical imbalances in the brain and they cause severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. I felt those symptoms and was affected in all these areas, but didn’t acknowledge it because of my pride, fear, and worry of what others might think.
That’s where I come to my first topic of discussion, acknowledgement. This part, in my opinion, is by far the toughest road block to get through. It forced me to lower my walls and let go of my pride. However, it took a dramatic experience to get me to that point, and it doesn’t have to. Acknowledgement is the door that needs to be opened to get your emotions back in order, and your life back in your control. Without recognizing the need for help, you obviously can’t get it. Not getting help with mental disorders is like breaking a bone and not going to a doctor to get a cast. Sure, you can attempt to temporarily reduce the pain, fix the problem, and hide your struggle, but eventually it will prove too much, and you will break. More often than not, that break is dramatic. Those who struggle don’t have to experience that break, and can get relief for the pain.
Acknowledging my challenge was the hardest, but most important step. As I acknowledged the issue, I was able to open up to those who cared about me, and begin the healing process. I worried that they would view me differently, think I was weak, and see me as a burden. It was the exact opposite. They opened their arms to me, and showed me incredible love. That was crucial. We all have those in our lives who genuinely care about us, and our well-being. We may not think it, but there is always someone. I was able to forget my pride, what others thought about me, and acknowledge my problem. This allowed me to open up and begin to talk about it. Talking it out was relieving. I was able to unleash pain and struggle that I had been bottling for so long. Acknowledgement helps to do this. It opens the door to the healing process, and allows us to finally begin to mend those wounds we have kept uncheck for so long.
Acknowledging our struggles is not a sign of weakness, but rather the exact opposite. It is a sign of strength, humility, and shows our need for the help of others.
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