Topic: Mental Health: Anxiety & Depression Intro
Links to episode:
Misti: What is Anxiety & Depression?
Anxiety is not being nervous over a big presentation at work. It’s not the butterflies in your stomach while you stress over what to wear. It’s not the feeling of having a hard time because you have too much on your plate.
Anxiety is a wave that towers over you, consuming your entire body. You tremble and shiver, your throat closes up and your palms sweat. Your heart races like a hummingbird. Many times it can be for no reason at all. It is out of your control. Your body is temporarily not yours. A state of panic sets in and you feel like you might die. Anxiety is neurotransmitters out of balance. It is the feeling of melting into quicksand. It’s feeling as if something terrible is about to happen. It feels as if you are about to implode.
Depression is not feeling bummed because you had a rough day. It’s not feeling sad because things didn’t go your right today. Depression is not being sad about that mean comment someone made towards you. It is not something that you can just suck up and get over. It is not cured by a simple attitude adjustment. It is a thick heavy blanket that suffocates you. Sometimes it is devastatingly painful. Sometimes it is pure numbness, and other times it is the feeling of doom buried deep within you. It is like you are grieving the biggest loss you have ever felt. It feels like you are drowning in darkness. Even when the sun is shining and the sky is blue, this feeling can sink you. Oftentimes there may not even be a reason. It’s like you’re missing a limb. Something is missing but you can’t place what it is.
Anxiety and depression does not make you weak, nor does it mean that you are weak. Mental health disorders are greatly misunderstood by a majority of society. The stigma must end and something needs to change. Generations are losing many to this epidemic. Addiction grows from mental health disorders and the need to self-medicate to escape from suffering.
Amber: It’s okay to ask for help. There is so much pressure to look like we have it all together, when in reality, everyone is just doing their best and no one has it all together all of the time. Being able to recognize that part of taking care of yourself, is asking for help when you need it. Sometimes it could be help with small tasks, like laundry, or chores, or appointments. Other times it could be that it’s time to talk to someone about not being able to navigate through emotions, thoughts, and feelings by yourself. You might want to talk or need to talk to someone, and that’s okay too. In order to know what’s going on, sometimes we need to unpack all of the emotion, feelings, and thoughts. Just make sure it’s someone who is trustworthy and safe. And if needed, it’s absolutely okay to ask for help from a professional. That’s what they are there for. There is no shame in doing what is best for you in the healthiest and safest way possible. There is so much stigma about therapy and asking for help, when in reality, it would be like building a house without the proper tools. You wouldn’t want to nail a hammer into a wall with a screwdriver, that’s what hammers and nail guns are for. Therapy is similar to that in that it adds the right tools to your toolbox to help you have the best possible outcome.
Misti: Toxic Positivity
Toxic positivity is a thing. We are raised to suck it up and smile, but I prefer my friends and family to be genuine. I want to know about your bad day. We all have those days. I don’t want you to fake anything for me or anyone else. Let people feel safe. Break the stigma of bottling things up and autopilot responses like “I’m fine, and you?” Mental health is an epidemic because we all participate in hiding, making everyone feel alone. It’s time for change.
Little ways to make a small difference:
- Listen when someone needs to talk
- Don’t tell them it will “get better” or to “suck it up,” as these are dismissive comments that are not helpful
- If you don’t understand, then try to empathize
- Toxic positivity can be harmful. Pretending to be okay is not productive or healing.