Did you know that over 64.5% of adults have received some form of mental health treatment in the last year? Females being the ones to receive more mental health treatment by almost 15% more than males. Now, mental health ranges anywhere from anxiety and depression, to ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar, and even eating disorders. There are even over 200 classifications of mental health, and in fact, it is not unusual for most to have more than one disorder. Over the last two years, we have all had some form of anxiety dealing with the challenges Covid has brought to us. During the initial lockdown, it gave us all a time to sit at home, some alone, and some with family, to really dig deep and learn about those around us.
If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that it is time to take back the power we once had over ourselves, and free our minds of the negativity we’ve placed on ourselves over the last two years. Depression and anxiety can make us feel like we have no control over our mind and our bodies, and it’s time to start gaining a sense of control over the actions and decisions we make affecting our health. We need to learn that it is OK to speak up about our needs and wants, and that it is our right to make sure we are being heard, and our needs met. Based on past experiences, we should also use skills we have gained to our advantage to help us in our future. Change is inevitable, change happens everyday, and we need to have the confidence to problem solve and be able to keep things in perspective.
If you could rewind the time to renew your mind, would you? I know I would! I would tell myself to not stress over the things I have no control over. I would tell myself I cannot control the way others view me, or how they interpret me as a person/friend. I also know it would have saved me years of therapy! BUT, I also believe everyone could benefit from a good therapist, no matter the good or bad going on in your life. Therapy has taught me to take back control of my life, and to not allow others to control MY emotions. I think that is one really important lesson. YOU are the only one who can control your emotions, and once I learned this, it was the most empowering thing that has stuck with me. I went through a traumatic event Thanksgiving Eve 2020 when my daughter was born eight weeks early. It was the scariest moment of my life when she had to be born emergency c-section due to severe preeclampsia, and I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. I remember sobbing from the time I was rushed back to the operating room, and the look on my husband’s face the entire time, is a look that I have embedded in my mind. When they finally got my daughter out, she was the bluest I have ever seen anyone. She actually reminded me of Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She wasn’t breathing, didn’t cry, and was taken back to a room with no windows, and all I kept asking was “Is she OK?” and no one could answer me. It’s a feeling I have no real words for other than horrifying. After they worked on her for ten minutes, she was on all sorts of breathing tubes, hooked up to wires, and was eventually flown to a NICU in another state. She spent 49 long days there, which sent me into full blown depression. I felt like everything that happened to her was my fault, and the guilt was unbearable. For months I couldn’t even talk about what we went through without being a complete mess. I finally realized I needed anxiety and depression medication, and a good therapist who I am forever grateful for.
She opened my eyes to the fact nothing that happened could have been prevented, and in fact to look at the situation from the other side. She taught me that I actually saved my daughter’s life by trusting my instincts enough to know something wasn’t right. It was in therapy she taught me ways to take care of myself, and that recovery in anything takes time. We lost a lot of friendships with the birth of our daughter, and we really struggled to understand why? And how could these people we called our friends, not even have the decency to reach out to us after all we went through? It was months of therapy I realized those people did not care nor did they understand. Harping on this only set me back in my progress, and I learned to let it go. Taking back my emotions has been the most empowering, life learning lesson.
I know I am not alone when it comes to my anxiety, and there are days I wish I could turn the clock back to where it all began, and cope with it with the skills I have now as an adult. But then there are days I am grateful for it, because I don’t think I would be where I am without all the hardships I’ve had to face. If someone comes to you wanting to talk about their struggles, be an open ear. Don’t be judgmental, help motivate them and help them take back charge in their own life.