Mental struggles such as anxiety or depression can make you feel ashamed, lonely, and unwilling to ask for help. Many of those who suffer from these conditions often shut themselves away, afraid to burden other or believe they deserve help from those they love. However, the more sufferers lock themselves away, the worse the condition usually gets. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, here are a few ways you can reach out for the support you need.
1. Ask for a Companion You don’t need to ask for someone to make you feel better, ask for advice, or even tell someone you’re feeling down or anxious. Simply asking a friend or family member to accompany you to a movie, shopping, or ANY activity that makes you feel better is a step in the right direction.
2. Read the Story of Other Sufferers Sometimes, the only thing that will make you feel better is reading about others who have struggled with the same issues as you’re now facing. Even if you don’t find any answers, you’ll still benefit from knowing you’re not alone. Simply finding a book that helps you wrap your mind around your mental state is a form of asking for (and getting) help.
3. Talk to Someone You Trust It’s likely that you’ve shared some of your struggles with people in the past and they’ve either dismissed your feelings, ridiculed you, or shut you out. This can make it very difficult to reach out again. However, don’t assume that everyone will be like this. If you think about all the people in your life, you will probably find at least one who you trust with your feelings. All it takes is one good listener to lighten your burden.
4. Join a Support Group It’s easier to talk about how you’re feeling with those who understand your struggles because they’ve personally been through them. There are support groups available both in person and online filled with those who can laugh and cry with you and reassure you that you’re not alone.
5. Meet with a Therapist Although talking with someone you trust or others who struggle with depression and anxiety is certainly helpful, sometimes you need to go to the next level and speak with a therapist. As well as being a sounding board and a compassionate listener, a therapist can give you proven coping strategies that will help you start feeling better.
The most important thing to realize when you’re feeling down or anxious is that there are always people and resources out there to help you feel better. By simply reaching out in the way that feels most natural to you, you can begin the path to healing.
If you question if you are experiencing anxiety or depression, please contact me and we can arrange for a therapy session.
College: To Go or Not To Go?
You’ve graduated from high school and it’s time for your first big life decision (which is really a combination of many decisions.) Will you go to college? What will you study? Where will you live? Who will you live with? Will you work while completing your studies? And if you decide not to go on to college right away, or ever for that matter, what happens next? Where do you work? What type of job do you want? Will you complete a different training program? Where will you live? Who will you live with? This time of life can cause significant anxiety for many young women.
More than likely, you’ve heard the age-old question asked by adults of even small children: What do you want to be when you grow up? Typically, adults are asking what occupation we want to pursue as adults. But what those in their early 20s need to think about is not what they want to DO, but who they want to BE.
The truth is, regardless of the pressures from our families, friends, cultures, and societal expectations, the decision to go or not to go to college is really about what you want to experience next for yourself. Maybe you want to go straight to work. Maybe you have been saving up and you want to travel for a year. Maybe you really have no idea what or who you want to be, so spending four years and thousands of dollars getting an education to start a career your unsure of doesn’t seem to make sense.
Regardless, this is your first adult decision and you should OWN that decision. Owning our decisions means we make choices that resonate with us despite the pressures we face. Sometimes that means letting down our loved one. Sometimes it means leaving our best friends, our partner, or our safe and secure home with our parents. Sometimes it means going it alone and sometimes it means making what others may view as a mistake.
As I’ve said before, each decision we make begins to narrow the options that will be laid out before us in the future. Therefore, I urge you to make your decision about what comes next for you rather than following what you “should” do according to others. Whether it turns out beautifully or turns out to be your first real learning experience, you won’t regret making this decision for yourself. Your twenties are meant to be a time when you make decisions, learn from them, and change as often as needed. At no other time in life will you be this free to make mistakes and use them to craft your life story.
So take advantage of this now while you are still deciding who you want to be and what you want to experience in this world. Realizing that you are embarking on an amazing adventure—whatever it may look like—is the best first step in alleviating anxiety.
If you are experiencing anxiety during a life transition, please contact me and we can arrange for an appointment.
Jessica is a mental health therapist who specializes in helping women free themselves from anxiety, depression, and other stress-related conditions. She is honored to witness the experiences of her clients and work with them toward meaningful lives.