**Editor’s Note: This is a piece written my former TGS member, Brett Stiles, who has now moved on to greener pastures.**
In this article, I am not going to go over statistics and numbers of cases for mental health. I believe we all know someone who has been affected by things such as, but not limited to, anxiety and/or depression, if we don’t already suffer from it ourselves. The goal of this article is to tell those people out there, you are not alone.
Sunday night rolled around, and I knew I had to go to work Monday. For some reason that thought started everything. I knew what was coming. All the signs were pointing to the fact that my thoughts were heading in that direction. My heart rate was starting to elevate, I could feel it pounding in my chest. I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body. I could feel my palms getting sweating. I was on edge. Then the thoughts started coming. The thoughts of my impending, inevitable failure. The thoughts of crushing self-doubt. The thoughts that I would never be good enough. My mind was racing with worst case scenarios, one after another. When in danger your mind goes into one of two states, fight or flight. In that moment, all I could think about was the need to escape. I didn’t know where to, and I didn’t know why, but I had the urge to escape. At that rate, I knew eventually the panic would turn into hopelessness, and depression would start sinking in. Knowing that depression was coming fed into my anxiety. This self sustaining negative thinking continued throughout the night. Monday morning came around and I was still a mess. I had a sense of dread and fear in me with no real rational reason for it. I told my coworker of my episode and this is what they told me…
“Just relax, smile. Everything will be alright. Just breathe.”
That’s just it, you can’t. If you ever have had depression or suffered from anxiety, you probably heard a similar sentence from a friend or family member – that people think it’s something in your head and something you need to just “get over.” We know that we can’t, or else we would. That’s why for some, seeking help doesn’t seem like an option. We become convinced that the people telling us things like “just relax, or don’t think about it”, could be right and it is just in our head. That we are overreacting. That this is the norm, and our ability to cope is defective. That the only person who can help us, is ourselves. That seeking help from a professional isn’t a viable option because our suffering isn’t worth people’s time. This lack of seeking help can lead us down a dark, self-destructive path. I’m here to tell you that you are worth seeking help.
Think of it like this. Have you ever gotten sick and needed to go to the doctor, or been in an accident and needed stitches? That’s what you do isn’t it? You go to the doctor, have them examine your symptoms and address the issue. If you would go to a doctor for physical ailments, why would it be a big deal to go see a professional for mental health concerns? Sometimes having a professional, like a therapist, to talk to can reassure you that what you are feeling is normal, or if it’s something that needs to be explored more. Just like going to a doctor for a cold. If you have mental health concerns, don’t let it snowball into something more serious. Please seek help. You are not alone in this struggle.
Sometimes it can feel like a demon is just hanging over your head, sucking the life out of you. I came across this quote that helps me through tough times that I would like to share with you. The author uses the word dragon instead of demon but I feel the sentiment still remains the same.
“Fairy Tales are more than true. Not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”
Below is a few list of numbers if you don’t know where to start.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline –1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255)
If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline . Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline –1‑877‑SAMHSA7 (1‑877‑726‑4727)
Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.