Life can be extremely challenging to say the least. Each and every one of us face adversity on a daily basis in varying degrees. In many situations adversity can lead to stress, which can lead to worry, which can lead to depression, which can manifest itself into many feelings and symptoms, of which none are good.
I am writing this post because five years ago to the day I hit "rock bottom". I felt as though I had fallen into a hole as large as the Grand Canyon, and there was no light insight. Today my self defense product website - Guardian Self Defense & Security Products LLC gets thousands of hits per day. My hope is that by writing this post I will be able to help others who are going through some of the trials I faced five years ago.
All my life I had problems or symptoms of anxiety, the kind that would effect daily life. This excessive anxiety and worry would sometimes lead to depressed feelings. Let me give some examples that I recall as a kid. I was quiet and somewhat shy. Things like class discussion, giving reports at school (the kind that you would have to go up in front of the class), holding conversation with adults, going to social events (dances, parties, etc), and expressing myself verbally were just a few things that caused me tremendous anxiety, worry and created adversity in my life daily.
I think it is pretty normal to get "butterflies" prior to a public speaking event, but it's not normal to obsess about the event weeks prior to the day. If I knew I had something like that to do a month from now; I would literally think about it thousands of time per day. Of course I allowed my mind to make it out to be the worst thing ever. So I would not be able to sleep and in many instances my appetite would disappear.
I took worry to a whole new level, I worried about everything you can possibly think about. Whether I could do anything about it or not. It did not matter, I worried and allowed my mind to dream up all these negative, worst case scenarios. Of course this led to unwanted stress. It really is a vicious cycle.
When I started college, I was rooming with 3 other guys, all high school buddies. I would absolutely dread going out to the clubs, bars, parties, or anything social. In fact, I did everything in my power to not go and if I did I was totally on edge, and uncomfortable. If I had it my way, I would have lived in the apartment each and every night.
It is easy for me to see this stuff now and to talk about it. Back then, really for my entire upbringing I had no idea that these feelings and traits were not normal. I actually thought everyone else felt the same things I did.
Well five years ago I was recently married, just started a new job (left one I'd had for almost 10 years) and our first child had just been born. I think it was the combination of "life changing" events that put me over the edge. But literally 5 years ago I lost it and sunk into the deepest, most miserable depression. I consider myself a competitor and don't like to lose. I must tell you, both mentally and physically I had given up, there was no fight left. Each morning I would try to summon it, but it was no use.
I could not eat, sleep or think straight. Emotionally I was a train wreck. In the balance, my family, my job and our financial well being were in limbo. I really tried to get it together, but I could not seem to overcome the depression. I had to take the Family Medical Leave Act at work, in an attempt to buy myself some time.
I started seeing a doctor and a therapist, which in itself was humiliating for me. I was embarrassed and really felt weak and worthless. Thank God for my family and friends, because I could not have asked for a better support system. My wife literally raised our little girl as a single parent for about three months. My family provided financial support and someone seemed to always be there when I needed them.
It took some time but the doctors found the right medicine(s) for me and I started to feel a little better. One day while taking a shower and beginning to feel a little better, I vowed to myself and to God that I would never allow this to happen again. It simply was not an option going forward. I started setting some goals and objectives for myself and was determined to fulfill them one at a time.
I now realized that over the last say 25 years my mind had become programmed to think in a negative fashion, to beat this and to obtain the quality of life I desired I was going to need to reprogram myself into a positive thinker. The worry and anxiety that had tortured me for so long had to be overcome, but it would be a difficult task. Literally the way I lived my life needed to be changed but I felt up for the challenge.
Things happen for reasons, over the years I allowed my faith and religion to become unimportant, but when I fell on hard times I found myself praying for God's help. So the first thing I did was to recommit myself to God. I made myself a promise to allow him to "lead and guide" and that I would trust that He would work everything out.
Next, I found a 18 week program that worked wonders for me (Attacking Stress and Anxiety - Lucinda Bassett). The program is a lot of work and you will get out what you put in. For me it really helped me change the way I think. It also helped me learn to let go of stress and through lessons that combined text, video and audio sessions.
Exercise was another thing that helped me to turn the corner mentally, when you feel good physically it can help your mental state considerably. So I went back to exercising 4-5 days per week, but the goals had changed. I was now working out to relieve stress increase self esteem.
So many other small things went into my recovery. But for anyone suffering from these types of symptoms first:
Don't think for one minute that you are alone. Nearly 1 in 3 adults have or have had trouble with depression or anxiety.
Don't give up. You can beat this thing. It will take time and a commitment from you, but you can be well on your way to a whole new you in 3 to 6 months.
If you are having problems coping with stress, anxiety, depression, worry or a combination go see a professional today. If you know someone going through a tough time, get them the professional help they need. Visit http://www.stress-anxiety-depression.org/ for some of the answers you are seeking.
Today, I am stronger and better for having gone through that period of "hell". Keep your head up and never give up. Positive thoughts really do produce positive feelings!