People learn to hide their emotions and learn quickly to find ways to cry alone, only showing emotion only when alone and to stop sharing. The message to ‘hold ourselves together’ and ‘be strong’ teaches us to stop showing ‘weakness’ such as emotions. So we stop talking about how we are feeling to anyone and our emotional vessel continues to fill.
Keeping busy is a way to run away from the problems we have not yet solved, and to keep the bubbling emotions at bay, making us feel like we have a little bit of control. This is effective in the short term, but in the long term the bubbling often overflows. Some of the behaviours we use when trying to avoid facing a situation that makes us feel anxious will not help us deal with our anxiety. We just need to do what we need to do to get through this episode, so we can breathe again.
Being mentally unwell is such a struggle, we feel like a failure. Unable to cope with life, we can struggle to do the smallest of tasks. If the impairment was a broken leg, friends and family would not judge, and they might check in and offer support. But with the stigma of mental health, we fear judgement from others as we are already judging ourselves. No one seems to notice the small facial and body language changes, the sadness behind the smile, the hardships of daily living or existing.
It’s a horrible place inside your mind, and we cannot control our irrational thoughts. No matter how safe we are, we don’t feel it. And we know you can’t see or hear our thoughts, so we don’t expect you to get it. What we would like is some patience and understanding of it being our reality at that minute.
If you live with depression and or anxiety, or support someone living with them you’ll know how hard, exhausting, confusing, frustrating and sometimes impossible life feels. But showing emotions is not a weakness. By understanding yourself, your life, your depression and anxiety, getting to the root cause – every step of the way the glimmer of happiness growing, the hate returning to love, appreciation opening your eyes and the guilt receding to nothing.
There is no simple quick fix but there is a way to help yourself – it takes commitment, desire and determination to change your life. All my lessons, learning and experience is helping clients with anxiety and depression to feel more in control in six sessions. I can’t promise it will be easy. I can promise I will be there every step of the way. It took me 18 months after getting help to be better – but that’s where I am today.