Concern. Trepidation. Anxiety. Worry. Terror. Whatever way you label it, fear can be a bitch.
As someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for the last few years, I know just how much fear can hold you back from achieving all of the things that you want to.
Our time on this planet is short and since it’s the only life that we know for sure we’re going to get, it’s important to make the most of it. Yet how the hell is someone supposed to do that when completely overwhelmed by the kind of core-penetrating fear that can come with an anxiety disorder? This is a challenge that I’ve become acutely aware of – again – over the past few months. Let me explain.
Over the past six months I have been weaning myself off meds, with the guidance of my doctor. I halved my dose at the beginning of the year, and I have just halved that dose again.
What that means is that all of those lovely feelings which were suppressed by Mr Antidepressant are now free-ranging it in my brain. Which is actually pretty cool, because antidepressants can make you feel a bit flat emotionally so it’s nice to feel something and thankfully I am now in a place where I have the mental strength to manage the good, bad and ugly of emotion-land.
That’s not to say it’s been easy. Oh no, no, no. Far from it. It’s been a rollercoaster ride full of soaring highs and gut-wrenching lows. I’ve had to re-learn how to deal with stuff. An argument with a family member a few months ago left me in a complete mess, resulting in me withdrawing from the world for a while (yes, that’s why I was so quiet until recently). I overthink things if I’m not too careful. A touching story will make me teary. And let’s not even get started on the recent ‘Hold the Door’ episode of Game of Thrones – I wept. Just typing the episode title makes my eyes well up (for obvious reasons, if you’ve see the episode in question). Inevitably, I’ve had to learn how to deal with self-doubt and fear itself all over again.
It is for this very reason that I have, of late, been pushing myself to write more blog entries and to take more chances. I have been open about my belief that I experienced what I experienced because I had to experience it; it is part of my life’s purpose, which is to help others to be the very best they can be. To do this, I can’t just sit at my desk posting blog entries and uploading stuff to social media. I need to get out and do something. Which is what I’m doing, and hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll have lots of great news to share with all of you.
In the meantime, it’s timely to remind myself that, in the words of Lao-Tzu, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And if you think about it, isn’t any journey just a series of steps? So I’m going to keep on putting one foot in front of the other as I take these first steps into my new almost-post-medication life. I don’t know how the journey will end but I tell you what, I’m enjoying the scenery along the way.
Interested in mental health and wellbeing? Join me for my new web series, Let’s Talk About Mental Health, at youtube.com/jeremygodwin1976 and subscribe on YouTube to be alerted when new videos are released.
My book, Depression? F*** Depression!, is currently on sale on Apple iBooks and Amazon Kindle. Featuring 260 pages of practical advice about understanding and dealing with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, it’s part memoir and part self-help guide. Grab it on Apple iBooks HERE for only $0.99 (AUD/USD/CAD)/£0.49/€0.99 or on Amazon Kindle HERE for just $0.99 USD/£0.99/€0.99. Also available to buy in print from Amazon and Book Depository.