No Shame in Having Depression and Anxiety

 

 

“Dude, what’s your problem?”

by Josh Lewin

Josh LewinI have learned that anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand, and there is no shame in having either — although it’s tough for many people to get their arms around that concept. When I struggled with both in my last couple years as the Texas Rangers’ baseball play-by-play announcer, the few people in whom I confided expressed genuine shock. “Depressed? About what? You’ve got a great job! Legions of adoring fans! A wonderful family! Dude, what’s your problem?”

Growing up, I had always been, quite naturally, the life of any party. But over a period of several years, I began to stay away from such parties. When I did go and fake my way through, I would usually leave upset, gripped by the weight of having been such a fraud.

Scared, Lonely, Exhausted

At my lowest moments, everything and everyone in the world was a threat. Not just people I knew, but people I knew I’d never meet. Brad Pitt’s looks? A threat. Same for Peyton Manning’s arm, Josh Groban’s voice, Justin Timberlake’s talent, the neighbor’s house…all things to threaten me, instead of for me to simply enjoy.
 
In an anxious state, all I could see were the things I couldn’t do or didn’t have, and people I couldn’t be. I had no appreciation whatsoever of anything I already was. No matter what I did, the foreboding sense was that it would never be enough. And if the people in my life who mattered had the “gall” to appreciate or acknowledge the talents of others, I took it as a punch in the face. It was a scary, lonely, exhausting way to go through life.

The crux of an anxiety disorder is the complete inability to be at peace with the present moment. Always expecting the other shoe to drop. Waiting for something to go wrong. I’d be racked with guilt about things I’d done poorly and trembling with worry that I’d soon screw something else up too. Professionally, that would all come crashing down within an hour of air time. Quite routinely, I’d seek refuge in the press box bathroom, head in my hands, trying to remind myself “it’s okay. I’m okay.” Sometimes I was…most times I wasn’t.

 

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In Honor of World Mental Health Day Here’s My Mental Heath Story

 

 

That Is A Sign Of Mental Illness

Ingrid Vasquez

I remember the first time I knew something was wrong. I was in my junior year of high school when I thought about what would happen if I purposely fell down the stairs. I'd always been an overachiever, but being the year before college that really mattered, I wanted to escape from the pressure that I was going through in school. I didn't have bad grades, but I was struggling with school in a way that I was never used to doing so. I wasn't cutting myself. I didn't feel depressed. But I was willing to hurt myself. And that is a sign of a mental illness.

I remember I had asked to leave class early that day. I probably stood at the top of those stairs for about 10 minutes. I kept picturing myself wearing a cast in my arm and having to stay home for a week. I moved back and forth trying to figure out where the best place to fall from would be to cause just enough harm. Ultimately, those 10 minutes turned to seconds and the school bell rang. My chance had gone away.

 

 

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Comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe are blowing up the stigma of mental health

EDINBURGH — One of the buzziest shows at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe is about depression. Severe clinical depression in fact. Bryony Kimmings and her partner Tim Grayburn’s Fake It 'Til You Make It, which explores in depth Grayburn’s secret depression and nervous breakdown, hogged the headlines over the festival’s opening days and is sold out for its entire run.

They’re not the only artists who have focussed on mental health; this year’s programme is packed with productions that take aim at the issue, from Brigitte Aphrodite’s My Beautiful Black Dog to stand-up Carl Donnelly’s Jive Ass Honky and cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat’s Black, a production whose blurb quotes Maya Angelou: "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Letter: Don’t let mental health stigma take someone you love

If you, or someone you know is struggling, please seek help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curtis Vanderloo asked SooToday to publish the following letter about his mother's death last year in the hope that by sharing her story, it might help someone else suffering from the stigma of mental illness.

 

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On March 31, it will be the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. 

She passed suddenly and unexpectedly, only she didn’t pass suddenly. 

She died by suicide. She killed herself. She took her own life. She died by her own will.  

Only it wasn’t unexpected, she was depressed. 

She was suffering deep grief related to her own parents passing. 

She had Seasonal Affective Disorder, she was manic.  

 

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Speakers share about struggles with mental health

 

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder in her 20s came as a relief to Hope Richardson. There was finally a name for what she felt and something that could be done, she said. Because mental illness is a lifelong condition, staying well takes effort, and she's mindful of that every day.

Once afraid of others not liking her and unable to stand up for herself, Richardson said she often walked around with her head down and hair covering her face. She went through bouts of depression and struggled with anger, manic episodes and suicidal thoughts.

Early on, she was hesitant to talk about her condition.

"I didn't want people to know. I was kind of embarrassed and ashamed," said Richardson, 44, of Des Moines.

Through therapy and support, she has learned to "live with," rather than "suffer," mental illness and says the only way to end stigma is to educate others.

She's part of a group of trained speakers who open up about their disorders through In Our Own Voice, a public awareness program sponsored by the National Alliance for Mental Illness Greater Des Moines. The local chapter began offering the program last fall.

Sharing their stories serves as a type of ongoing therapy for the speakers and a chance to paint a realistic picture of mental illness, which affects one in four adults — about 61.5 million Americans every year. One in 17, or 13.6 million Americans, live with a serious mental condition such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

 

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