Many people including me are dealing with anxiety disorders for years without any real knowledge of what they are going through. A lot of people label themselves under the banners of "I am depressed or I am really anxious" without fully understanding what is happening to them, recognising the symptoms and finding ways to alleviate or cope with what is going on in your mind and body is the first step to your well-being of mind and body.
This weekend I had the honour of facilitating a Mindfulness & Motivation seminar workshop in aid of Aware who are helping to shine a light on depression in Ireland since 1985. They run many support groups nationwide, CBT programmes along with online and telephone support for people of all ages.
What struck myself and my guest speakers, was the amount of people that did not understand what they were feeling or going through, they were told by a professional that they were 'depressed' or suffering with 'anxiety' but in most cases they were not given an explanation as to what those labels meant for them and that not all people show the same symptoms as everyone else and not all anti-depressants or therapies will be the same for each person. We each show our issues in different ways, the real therapy starts with beginning to understanding and recognising your own symptoms and working from there. The more you can explain to someone how you are feeling, the more they can help you in a way that is uniquely guided to your specific needs.
Charles Linden has a detailed book and programme on recognising and finding ways to deal with anxiety. One of our speakers on the day had gone through years of not being able to fully understand how and why She was going through all of this and the fear of being judged or worse still being institutionalised made her anxiety even worse. When she found the Linden Method she finally realised this is what she was feeling and could now learn to cope or deal with her anxiety attacks and fears, understanding now why she was going through this and that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
There is no quick fix to anxiety or depression, it takes years for us to build up the feelings and thoughts that are making us live in fear and isolation. When we can recognise and speak about what we are going through, it is then that we find ways to help us to take the next step. For me it was an accumulation of years of fear, lack of understanding and a feeling of being alone within myself, like no one else would understand how I felt! Of course that was untrue, the moment I started to recognise and understand what I was going through and working on healing the past issues that I was caught up in my mind and body, the better I started to feel. I learned to be mindful each and every day and that it is okay not to feel okay all of the time.
I am delighted to say that in 2016 we have more organisations and holistic approaches to our well-being, that there is hope for each and everyone of us feeling like we are alone in the dark. Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom to finally realise that we can't or don't have to to do it all by ourselves, that through the love and support of family, friends and your community, you grow stronger within yourself. If you are feeling low and are afraid of being judged by the ones closest to you, seek out help from Aware or any organisation that is close to you. Pick up the phone and call someone, it may be the start of a whole new way of living your life.
You are not alone and you do deserve the best life has to offer. There is always a solution to every problem but whilst in the haze of fear and isolation we are unable to see or feel clearly. Let someone help and guide you. It took years for me to be able to speak about my feelings and most importantly why I was having them, I was hiding in shame and guilt for past experiences that kept me a prisoner in my mind and body. I did hit rock bottom, not just once but a few times. I practise Mindfulness and self-care on a daily basis by recognising and acknowledging how I feel each and every day, in accepting them, I am being compassionate to myself and learning to love who I am more and more. As I say to all my groups, I am five foot two and fabulous.
Our next Mindfulness & Motivation seminar workshop is being held in Galway on Saturday 11th June