How many of you struggle with anxiety? Depression? Bipolar disorder? OCD? PTSD? How many of you have sought help? Fewer, I image, as only one third of people receive treatment. Mental ailments are spoken about less than physical ones, which, in turn, makes them seem less prominent and serious. This happens to not be true. Those who suffer consequently feel unrepresented and ashamed.
DO NOT FEEL ASHAMED.
When you battle a mental condition, so much is going on in your head that external factors (such as pre-holiday deadlines, family, and numerous events) magnify the internal stress. Because these disorders are less recognized, he who suffers, ergo, feels more alone and like he has an even bigger problem.
This is not your fault, and you should not feel bad about it.
The word "sick" has a negative connotation, making others treat those afflicted with white gloves. I prefer the term unwell. Those dealing with these challenges do not want to feel alienated or have attention drawn to their adversity. But, everyone should be treated with white gloves, right? Treat the others the way you would want to be treated…
Being mentally unwell is more common than you think. 40 million [18% of] adults in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Everyone is different: some face these battles, while others encounter differing challenges. Regardless of what you face, do not be ashamed. Do not be ashamed of who you are and what you do. Do not be ashamed to ask for help. Do not be ashamed to tell those close to you that you are seeking help. Do not be ashamed to feel the feelings, to cry, to scream, to live it. You will make it through this, too. Although it may not seem feasible now, you are resilient and will emerge stronger than before.
Everything happens for a reason; good or bad, happy or sad, joyful or difficult; there is a reason for everything. Though these psychological obstacles seem insurmountable, they are opportunities through which you can learn. When you dig deep to understand yourself, you grow more in touch with you. You become a real version of yourself. This is the beauty of life: following YOUR path and uncovering the wonders — all while becoming the best you.
The next time someone makes a snarky comment about your OCD or how anxious you are, smile and know that they are the ones in the dark. They do not know what is in the eerie territory of psychological opportunities: the unknown. Like with anxiety, the anticipation of the event is usually worse than the event itself; the fear of the unknown.
I have struggled with anxiety in the past, and it has intensified recently. I am not afraid to embrace who I am: the positive and the negative, the goodness and the imperfect. A friend recently told me that my anxiety is power I can channel into positive energy; my anxiety is a gift because it enables me to feel.
As Andy Puddicombe of Headspace accentuates, just as you can rise above the clouds to see the beautiful blue sky like in the Sagaponack sunset, you can settle unsettled anxious feelings to feel the serenity below them.
Do not be ashamed of your imperfection. Embrace it. It makes you YOU! The difficult times are opportunities to grow and to learn to love who you are. Love the life you live.
Read more about the statistics of anxiety disorders and depression.