A common misconception for those who have anxiety and depression is that they have no control or no hope of living a happy, fulfilling life. This is simply not true.
I am a firm believer that many if not all of those diagnosed with anxiety and depression have a chemical imbalance or something “off” in their brains that makes things more difficult for them in many ways. For that reason, I encourage medication for those who feel they need it or want it to counteract those affects. I take medication myself.
So I never, EVER, want anyone to get the idea that what they feel isn’t real, or that they can just “grin and bear it”, because I promise I have experienced for myself that that isn’t true.
Having said that, I also believe we are capable of feeling much better than we allow ourselves to. I believe this for all humans, and especially for those who suffer from anxiety and depression.
Did you know our THOUGHTS influence or create our FEELINGS? So it would make sense that an anxious thought like, “what if I ruin everything?” , causes us to feel anxiety, stress, or overwhelm.
A depressed thought like, “I’m such a burden.”, easily leads to us feeling hopeless and depressed.
So what I want you to know is that even with anxiety or depression, you do have the power to live a happy life. I know this because I’m doing it myself and have met many doing the same.
If you feel angry reading that, you might not be ready for this work, and that’s fine. But for those of you who are interested in being able to live happier lives, full of human emotion and human experience, I promise you can benefit from this work.
So what is this work I’m referring to? Even with these chemical imbalances, I promise you have the power to make your mind a better place to live. I know this because I have seen this work benefit not just those who struggle with anxiety and depression, but all humans.
This work is making our minds a better place to live. So much of our days are spent in our brains, taking in neutral information, and making it mean something. Often we make it mean something terrible about ourselves, other people, or our lives. But what if all of that isn’t true?
Let me give you a quick example to help clarify this idea. Say you get a call from your boss. As the phone is ringing, your anxious brain says “OH NO, what did you do? you really messed up this time.”
You answer the phone. Your boss says “Hi, I’m just giving you a call to let you know that we don’t need you here tomorrow. Enjoy some paid time off. See you Monday.”
See how the brain was COMPLETELY wrong? It took the neutral piece of information– phone call from boss– and turned it into something wrong about you, when it really didn’t mean that at all.
So let’s take this a step farther. What if your thought, “I’m depressed and there’s nothing I can do about that.” is totally not true?
What if you could believe “I’m depressed, and I can still live a really awesome life.”
Or, “I will never be able to control these panic attacks, I’m doomed”. What if instead you believed, “panic attacks can’t hurt me, and they will totally get better as I learn to manage my brain.”
What if every negative thing you have believed about yourself and your mental illness could be totally false?
I know it’s hard to envision that, because it all feels so factual, but as we challenge these thoughts we can start to create joy & happiness we had no idea was possible.
It almost feels a little scary, but I prefer the word “exciting”.
That’s exactly what we’re doing here, people. So if your brain could use some TLC, join me. Stay calm guys, I love you.
*Although I can teach tools that are often taught in therapy, I do not claim the title “therapist”, “psychologist”, or any other sort of trained professional. My expertise lies in my own experience and the observed experiences of others.*