Mental Disorders affect one in five people and it doesn't discriminate against gender, race or social status. Check out these Mental Health stats from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The more we talk about these issues openly the better for everyone suffering and the better for the friends and families.
Brett Eldredge sat down for the 10% Happier Podcast with Dan Harris where he opened up about his long time struggle with anxiety. Symptoms were at times so severe he would have panic attacks that would land him in the hospital. Now he treats his anxiety with medication, eating right and exercise. Give the chat a listen. Thank you Brett for sharing!
I've been very open with my own struggle with anxiety/depression. It was something I suspected could be an issue as early as my late teens, but wasn't until some stressful life situations in my twenties where it really blew up and freaked me out.
I tried for a long time to just "suck it up". After all, I didn't see why I would have such an issue. I grew up never wanting for anything, I had a great home life, excelled in school and sports, and had plenty of friends... so what did I have to be upset about? I also didn't want my parents to feel like they did something wrong if I had to admit I needed help dealing.
I went through a rough patch in my twenties and I tried a few therapists and dabbled with short term use of anti-anxiety meds. Then there was this night that I really freaked myself out. I got so in my head about things going on in my life that I got into a crying panic. I was physically in pain and I just wanted to not be. THAT thought entered my mind and it gave me pause. I forced myself to sleep and told myself I was calling the doctor first thing because I didn't know if I would get another moment of pause if something like this was to happen again.
In 2015 I decided that long term use of an anti-depressant would be beneficial. I stayed on it for almost a year and realized that it made me gain weight. I had slowly packed on 20 pounds from the start of the medication. Let's be real...that didn't help with my depression and I freaked. SO... I weened myself off of those meds and turned it up on my workouts.
At one point exercise felt like enough to keep me sane & I wanted to test if that would be enough for me at this point in my life. It ended up not being enough so I asked my doctor for something new that wouldn't make me gain weight. I was eating crackers and ginger ale for an entire week while my body adjusted to Welbutrin (they say it take about a month to get the full benefits of an anti-anxiety/depressant). That shit made me queezy for a full week.
I've now been on it for about a year and a half and I don't have any plans to test to see if I'm OK without it. The combination of medication and exercise works for me and I'm OK with the idea that I may have to take medication for the rest of my life.
My doctor described what goes on with me as more of a hormone imbalance. Bodies are a crazy thing and sometimes your body just doesn't make enough of what you need to keep you well. I accepted that I wasn't crazy and that I shouldn't be ashamed of having a mental disorder. One in five people deals with some sort of mental disorder, but we don't have to suffer. The more we make it socially acceptable to be open about issues the more people will get help they need to have a better life.
If you have issues with your own mental health never feel ashamed or guilty. At times I would ignore it because I felt like compared to others...my life isn't bad and I shouldn't complain. But we shouldn't compare...it's not about who appears to have a better life and we all deal with things differently. We all could use a little extra help sometimes whether it be medication or talking to a third party. You have to find what works for you.
The more we share our stories the better. If you're reading this I hope it helps you. And of course thanks Brett Eldredge for sharing your story too! LISTEN TO IT!