It Never Truly Goes Away

No matter how often you open up about something such as mental illness, there is always that voice in your head that screams at you to keep your emotions bottled up inside. Why are you telling these people all of this stuff? They are just going to judge you and think that you are weak! Well, the truth is that I can be weak at times. In fact, I’m willing to bet that we all have weak moments in our lives. I also believe that it’s how we deal with those moments that determines our true strength.

This is especially true when talking about topics like anxiety and depression. Last year, I wrote about my struggle with anxiety and the effects it had on my family life. At the time, things were great and I felt like I had been cured of the disease that had plagued my brain for so long, but I have since come to realize that it never completely goes away.

These past few months, I have found myself growing increasingly restless. No matter how well things are going at my job, with my websites and my family life, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I am not good enough, and for whatever reason, that makes me want to shut out the things that are most important in my life. That would be the main reason that both my websites went largely ignored throughout the month of December and why one of them continues to collect dust. You would think advocating and reading about kindness would have fixed my brain, but it did not.

It’s a very strange thing for me because I am generally a happy person and when you meet me in the street, at a party or a conference, you are not getting an act. It’s just one of those things that I work through on a daily basis and have to believe that the persistence will eventually pay off. I definitely find that since I have started opening up about it, there is a sense of relief that I don’t have to hide it anymore. Being perceived as weak was a good portion of the stress in the first place, but I’ve realized that I’m far too old and much too dad-ly to worry about that at this point. The important thing is that I continue working on myself and if I can help someone else in the process, it’ll be all the better.

I share these stories because I find it therapeutic and I also think it’s important that we all stop treating these symptoms as weaknesses and start letting others know that it’s okay to open up about it. The best thing I ever did was to seek help for my condition because even without the pills, it gave me a ton of ideas and exercises to try when I start getting those anxious feelings. Don’t wait until you are too far gone; if you are feeling symptoms of depression or anxiety, talk to someone about them. Whether it’s a doctor, a friend or family member, just saying the words for the first time is an empowering experience that can start you down the path to recovery.

27 replies
  1. Lorne Jaffe
    Lorne Jaffe says:

    Never, ever stop talking about it. One of the things I’ve learned is that sharing your problems with mental illness (anxiety. depression) with people around you…sometimes even strangers…helps you feel less alone. Anxiety is vicious and once it’s got you in its grasp, it’s hard to wriggle out. Knowing that other people suffer from the same issues helps when dealing with your own. Talking about it demystifies it and explains it those that don’t understand. I think “Silver Linings Playbook” executed that idea of talking to others with similar conditions perfectly. Bradley Cooper’s character found kinship w/ Jennifer Lawrence’s character and that helped him heal a bit. Not completely, but a bit. That’s the idea. You are not weak. You are far from alone in this struggle. I am there for you any time you need to talk. I’m one that finds it more therapeutic to talk to others than I do to write about it. I know I’ll never be off the pills, but whatever. My brain chemistry’s screwed up. Also, the word “fix” is a problem in itself. It’s not about learning to fix things as much as we want to…it’s about learned to LIVE with anxiety and HANDLE anxiety so that we can function, be happy and not let it get in the way. Odds are it’ll always be a part of us. We just need to learn how to acknowledge that and get on with good, rational, loving, caring parts of our lives. I’ll never be able to thank you enough for what you did for me in NOLA. Even helping me when it came to being afraid I’d be left out of things. But I’ll do whatever I can to tell you the reality of your world so that the irrationality of your anxiety doesn’t come close to hurting you

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Lorne, thanks for this! I haven’t seen the Silver Linings Playbook yet but it’s on my list for sure. As for NOLA, it was like looking in a mirror as I watched you do your presentation and then retake your seat. The decision to get you out of there was an easy one and I know you will be stronger and more confident for having read that. I’m working on the “talking about it” part and find the writing very therapeutic. Talking about it is even more therapeutic and I haven’t been shy about that lately, which I am happy about. Talk soon!

      Reply
  2. Christine
    Christine says:

    Thanks so much for sharing with us. Never stop talking about this 🙂 You’re right. Sharing stories and experience is therapeutic. Plus, there’s support and comfort here from your online community and friends.

    Reply
  3. Sean
    Sean says:

    Well said. One of the hardest steps for me was, strangely, letting my wife in. I’d worked so hard on being her rock, and helping her through her tough times, that things just kept building up and getting worse for me. Once I’d actually opened up and told her how I was feeling, she quickly learned the signs of when I hit a low and can spot it in my face whether I want to admit it or not. She then presses me to actually talk about it, if I’m ready, and some of those terrible, anxious knots start to unravel.

    It really is so important to just talk about it, especially with those closest to you (though the blog can be a great outlet too). A lot of the things that seem so terribly and heavy when they’re closeted up inside you kind of lose their strength out in the open. You’re never rid of the anxiety, but you can let others help you keep the worst of it at bay.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      I had the same exact situation, where I tried to be a tough guy and ended up making it worse for myself. Now that people know about my struggles, it is a lot easier to manage.

      Reply
  4. Daddy Files
    Daddy Files says:

    Absolutely. Well said. It took me far too long to talk to someone for exactly the reasons you described. Any man who actively tries to improve himself as a person, a man, and a father is the antithesis of weak.

    Reply
  5. Ian Kobler
    Ian Kobler says:

    Thank you for this topic. My oldest son struggles on a daily basis with both Anxiety and Depression, but he tends to let it rule his life as opposed to trying to master it. Though you may struggle the fact that you acknowledge it and try to help others understand it is something that means a lot. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your son. It’s one thing to deal with it yourself but to watch a loved one go through it has to be hard to handle. I hope your son finds the help he needs.

      Reply
  6. MultiTestingMom
    MultiTestingMom says:

    I agree with what others have said – being open about it truly does help! We should never hide mental health issues! The more we talk about them, the less stigma they will have.

    I suffer from anxiety! I have all of my life. You are not alone.

    Reply
  7. Brandy
    Brandy says:

    I know all too well that it never really goes away. Just when you think you are in the clear, BAM! Reality sucks you back in, or down. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle with us. The more talk there is I hope there will be more understanding.

    Reply
  8. Steve
    Steve says:

    Not only isn’t anxiety or depression a weakness, but opening up about it and seeking help takes an incredible amount of strength. Good for you. Hope things are going better.

    Reply
  9. Elan Morgan
    Elan Morgan says:

    Thank you, and keep sharing. I always feel fear when I publish my own posts about this subject, but the outreach and the ensuing community is so powerful and so important. And you are important.

    Reply
  10. Chris Nichols
    Chris Nichols says:

    Chris – one of the best things that has come from me getting involved in blogging is by far the community of fantastic people that I am getting to know. So many people who deal with the same struggles that I have also carried around with me for a long time. And the number of unbelievably well written posts on the subject, combined with a supportive community of sharing has made such a huge impact on me. One of the first people I identified as someone I wanted to develop a friendship with in this blogging world was you, and I don’t regret it one bit. Thank you!

    Reply

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