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2 Tips for Managing Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression will strengthen the other. They stoke the fire with tiny whispers.

-Renee Machel

Does it ever feel like you are waiting for it all to come crashing down around you? Even when you aren't at your highest, or even at your lowest no matter what- you've built something of a life. Full or hollow, perhaps and more likely, somewhere in between- its a life- your life. Chances are if you suffer from either one of these, or have the special treat of living with them both trying to get in the driver's seat as I do, you have worked your tail off for that life.

You know there's more potential in you, but you also know that the strides you have made are significant. Yet sometimes it's all called into question as your mind begins an unscheduled interrogation.

The aches and pains that are experienced simply through living, lead to incessant chatter in your mind, rumination, the unsettling emotions that you begin to feel in the deepest parts of your soul fill you up so much that the slightest occurrence has you overflowing. With tears, anger, fear, uncertainty, the list goes on.

When you feel like you can't have the same conversation once again, with another person, with yourself. When you try to convince yourself that your interpretations are false (a very helpful tactic actually- interrogate your anxiety back with questions like, what evidence do I have to support this line of thinking? Oh that's right-none- so stop it. This has honestly and effectively stopped a lot of my anxiety in its tracks.)

These two cousins (anxiety and depression) will throw out the 'what if's.' Of course, sometimes a very rational explanation can talk you down. Other times you've heard the explanations without soothing, or worse you believe the rationalization only to find out your gut instincts were right and it wasn't the illness talking. Then your confidence takes a hit and you have to rebuild. (You have to at some point- rebuild that confidence- in trusting yourself.) Or there comes a time when you feel that the people around you simply can't hear it anymore whether its true or not you hold it in. Again with the what if's, ' what if my friend doesn't support me and tells me to get over it', 'what they have their own stuff to deal with' that kind of negative, unhelpful self-talk. Either way, someone is getting blindsided at some point with some sort of something, and both anxiety and depression have agreed that it will be you.

You feel a hint of crazy when you feel the stirring up of 'been here before' and it feels like your life is a broken record.

Here's what to do.

Sit in it- Intentionally

YES. Stress narrows your perspective, it literally kills cells, it shortened telomeres, and everything in your being begins to function at a sub-par level. It will distract you, being in a depressive state, having an anxiety attack, experiencing chronic stress, it will all cloud your vision and your judgment so much so that you can't see the tree in the forest.

SHIFT GEARS.

Pay attention, make a choice, and start to peel away layers of the onion, and you can start to see the real reasons why you 'came here'.

What is the recipe?

What is going on in your life that has perhaps lit the fire, or is stoking the fire if you consider the fire to always be there lurking as anxiety or depression? I use the phrase 'came here' because life is a journey and I have learned that even with anxiety and depression, there are lessons, but only if your willing to listen.

Sometimes it's because we're not dealing with our every day shit in a healthy, helpful way that it tips the scale. You can start to realize that kernels of insecurity, doubt, disengagement, exhaustion, have been creeping in little by little, chipping away at your best self, sitting on top of one another without being offloaded, however you want to view it, then there you are wondering 'why do I feel this way' without looking at the big picture.

Sift through through it visually, create the space and the time to process, write it down, figure it out. Ask yourself what is in this recipe that is stoking the fire? What has been going on, what have I been feeling that has lead me to now? What am I doing, or not doing?

Get out of your head, and into your heart.

Communication- is KEY

It can be scary, I know. We're not taught how to do it very effectively. Especially if you are in the midst of depression or overwhelmed with anxiety. Yet, you have to get out of your own head if you have already tried to implement tactics and tools that are currently not working. Screw your faulty logic - REACH OUT.

To family, friends, a coach, a mental health professional, a hotline. 1-800-273-8255- National Suicide Hotline. I encourage seeking the assistance of an expert, a coach that specializes in the area, a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist - whatever the bill fits if you are struggling with more than just a bad day. Do not rest your mental health and at times, safety, in the hands of untrained people who may not be the best example to accept advice from. While it is socially common to do this- pay attention if you keep ending up in the same place. If you are ready change the trajectory of your life, hiring a professional is the the best way to catapult yourself forward. Trust that a good professional will refer you if you do not fall under their current expertise.

No matter who you choose to talk to just start the conversation! People don't know what they don't know. That means you- perhaps the way you are viewing the circumstances is not factual. It also means others around you, they may not know how to help let alone that you need it.

Side tip- try not to blindside someone and overshare in an offloading - hit by a mac truck- sort of way. We can harm ourselves and those we care about by 'floodlighting' (a Brene Brown term). Be open, honest proceeding with caution and respect. Let them know that you are feeling particularly vulnerable, anxious, depressed. Then ask if they are in a place that they support you by lending an ear to listen or offering constructive advice or perspective.

Use common sense in who you approach, if the person can be trusted, if the relationship/friendship handle it. You know when is a better time to approach you spouse, and when it is not. Try to have reasonable expectations even you are chalked full of irrational thoughts at the moment, consider that a brand new friend may not be the ideal person to unload ALL of your concerns on, but maybe you share a tiny piece with them.

Practice. It's a practice of communication, what to share, how to do it, what words to use. KEEP DOING IT. It is KEY. ESPECIALLY and I cannot emphasize that enough, that it is imperative to a healthy mindset and healthy relationships. Do not give up on this tool.

Your vibes fill the space of your life, and influence the lives of others.

I believe it is our duty to own that vibe and work toward changing it to enhance the way we experience our life, and the lives of those we love.

2 things- that's it for now. Start where you are.

Much love and hugs -R

Renee Machel

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