Anxiety, and then its jolly partner, depression have been a large part of my story. Though it felt for a long time that this is what defined me, I want to use my journey with this beast to help others find relief and healing in theirs.
I have talked a lot about Magnesium Glycinate and CBD oil because both of these have done wonders for my sleep and anxiety (mostly because sleep is essential to my mental health)… but in all honesty, I also have had to resort to taking trazodone as well for years for periodic nights when my sleep was really bad.
A lot of people will suggest meds, and a lot of people will poo poo them. I do not think either approach is correct. Getting on the right med for a season of life (or permanently, for some) was a very necessary part of my story. I actually don’t know if I would be here still if it had not been for meds.
IF you are not someone who has never experienced anxiety or depression I think it is very easy to think that we could quickly “fix it” if we “thought differently,” but I would beg you to understand that your experience in life is different from others and the best thing you can do is listen and realize that what your friend/spouse is experiencing is more real than you can imagine. It does have something to do with the way they are thinking, which is their responsibility to seek counseling and help, but to love them in their struggle is essential to their healing.
Meds do not necessarily need to be step one, but for me it was necessary because of the spot I was in in order for counseling and therapy to have any effect on me. Trauma is real. Believing the truth is essential and many of us have neuro-pathways that are engraved in our brains and way of thinking from our childhood that need to be reversed. This takes years of patience and practice, so if you are a partner, know that you are signing up for patience. Ask questions, do not just advise.
When we get caught up in the big questions in life and don’t have direction, sometimes we need some help with guidance and knowing how to navigate and become the person we are meant to be. When we feel alone in this, we feel stuck. When our world doesn’t feel like it is producing anything of real value (especially when social media says everyone else is), we feel stuck. When we see other people accomplishing thing and we feel like we are not, we feel stuck. When we don’t have the resources or tools to proceed how we want, we feel stuck. We need people to join us in our walk and journey, and I could not have survived without people committed to my success.
Meds just help me to think straighter. They slow down my thoughts so I don’t get in a downward spiral and am able to create new thought patterns. I am not in my head all the time anymore. I am not thinking negatively all the time and I am able to move out of it when I do.
Usually in the winter I struggle so hard with depression (or SADD) that I cry everyday. This has been the first winter in years that I have felt happy everyday. I am able to love people better. My marriage is better. I have been able to focus on self care and taking care of my body and mind and find things that work for me. I am not a big advocate for “just love yourself” being the answer to our problems, but there is truth to a healthy balance of self-care and care for the world that is essential to our well being.
As an artist, we are known for our ups and downs and known to be emotional beings. I do believe there is some truth to this, we are created to feel things in a way that go deeper than someone who is created more logically. The emotions drive beauty into our work, our writing, our relationships. Our emotions are not wrong, but I do think it is our job to seek to be able to have control over them so they do not drive us.
Things that help me: gratitude (try the 15 second rule, focusing on something lovely or on the principle “whatever is lovely, think on these things.” (Phil 4:8), journalling (slows down the mind to be able to write. An idea: practice good penmanship while writing, this allows your brain to slow down instead of racing. Meditation, is different for me than clearing my mind… (for me this is like prayer or some people call mindfulness. Thinking slowly about truth or the good things happening in my day, picturing beauty, focusing on the beauty around me with intention–gratefulness to God for these things.)
There is a lot more that I think goes in to anxiety and depression, like gut health and microbiome and healthy things you can take to reduce inflammation… but that is all for another time.
For today, know I am a resource if you need someone to talk to, if you have questions. It is my joy to give health recommendations, podcasts, insight if I can on any of these topics!
(See below for resources to the things I discussed in this post!)