Lets open Pandora’s box! If you or someone you know has not been affected by anxiety or depression, you are extremely lucky or blessed! Today, statistics are so high that almost one in every two Australians will experience a mental disorder in their lifetime.
The pressures and stresses of business can often be the trigger for an anxiety attack or depression episode. But if we are willing to show our underbellies, getting real with our weaknesses and acknowledging the truth instead of lies is what promotes not only healing but a life well lived, successful and loved.
I began to struggle with depression and anxiety in my teens and by my early 20s was suicidal. Anxiety and depression are no respecter of person! I was in peak health, presenting on national television programs to millions of people. According to most, I “had the world at my feet!” Because there are no physical symptoms, those who have not experienced it, can often have the attitude of “just get over it!” Especially when, like myself ,you live a blessed life – great job, good family and friends, the world’s your oyster, so what the heck have you got to complain about, right?
This judgment from self and others only adds to the weight of the burden already carried. You know you should be happy and grateful. After all, millions of people around the world are starving, living in rags and being murdered for their ethnicity or religious beliefs!
But knowing all this doesn’t change how you feel on the inside. It doesn’t change the thoughts in your head and what you believe about who you are and what your worth.
It doesn’t matter how anxiety or depression began, what does matter is where you go from here. These are three easy steps that helped me manage business during times of anxiety and depression, and ultimately be happy and healed!
1. The first thing you need to do is STOP!
“It’s not your fault!” Stop blaming yourself and speaking rubbish like, “I’m hopeless”, “I can’t do this, what if they find out who I really am?”, etc.
Imagine a 5-year-old version of yourself. Would you speak these sort of bullying labels over an innocent child? Hopefully not, so STOP doing it to yourself. If you find it difficult to stop, imaging the young child each time your thoughts run away from you. Hopefully, you will also feel their pain, ask for forgiveness and change your actions / words.
2. Secondly VALIDATE.
Stuffing emotions deep down and pretending they are not there is about as effective as ignoring an infection in your skin. The longer you ignore it, the more painful and infected it will get; and one day, it will erupt or even kill you! So validate your emotions, allow yourself some space. Create a phrase to remind yourself, like, “I’m feeling ____________ (crappy, insecure, afraid, unsure, overwhelmed, etc.) right now so I’m going to take a moment to _______________ (have a cuppa, collect myself, have some time out, think about what’s good about me, sleep, etc.). Tomorrow is a new day and I will feel better because I am worth it!”
If you are not comfortable sharing this with others, you might tell them something like, “I just need a moment to _____________ (gather my thoughts, collect my notes, prepare, etc.).”
So many people ask, “What’s wrong with me?” Our brains are more brilliant that any super computer on the face of the earth! I liken them to an obedient savant child. Whatever question you ask, it will give you an answer. So like the original computers – GIGO (Garbage In = Garbage Out!). If you ask “What’s wrong with me?”, you’re likely to get some pretty depressing answers. However, if you ask “WHAT’S RIGHT WITH ME?”, your answers may both uplift and surprise you! “Seek and ye shall find!” Make sure you are seeking positive things by asking positive questions.
Following these steps will allow you to nurture and validate yourself and what you are going through. Anxiety and depression most often stem from lack of validation and nurture. Giving yourself permission to care for and love yourself, warts and all, will ultimately give you the greatest success. Acknowledging and having a plan in place for those anxious moments facilitate a faster recovery! Remember; YOU’RE WORTH IT!
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