Anxiety and depression talks, Part 2
By KELLIE KAMRYN
In the wake of celebrity suicides and on-going discussions on social media regarding anxiety and depression, I felt it was important to have a conscious conversation with my children regarding these topics. They are all teenagers now and, like any other topic of parental conversation, I chose to share some of my experiences with them in a way I thought they could understand.
My kids grew up in a tense household for a number of years and, let’s face it, kids develop learned behaviours from their parents and caregivers. Mine were no different. Due to being unable to consciously process what they were observing in our home, my children created their own coping mechanisms.
I told them that for years I didn’t acknowledge I had anxiety. I would listen to people talk about how they lived with anxiety every day and I couldn’t relate. At the first inkling of fear, I would ball it up and bury it deep down inside so I wouldn’t feel it at all. To do otherwise meant I couldn’t function. Anger often bubbled up and then I was labeled as having a temper. I learned to bottle up all of the emotions others saw as negative. When I would express how I felt, adults often told me I was just tired or being dramatic, or that it would pass. It became more difficult for me to communicate with people since I felt no one took me seriously. In my healing journey, I’ve learned how this energetic hum of fear influenced my decisions, telling me stories of how I had to act and causing havoc with my true emotions.
It has been difficult to unravel it all. I do it piece by piece, bit by bit. I’ve been fortunate to have great support from friends, my physician and with body work. One of my daughters was particularly grateful I’d shared my experiences. She’d felt alone with her feelings of depression and anxiety for months. Even though she’d spoken with us about the situations at school and with friends, she hadn’t shared how these events had made her physically feel or the toll it had taken emotionally. Until I had shared, she’d felt alone with these dark thoughts. It broke my heart, but I’m glad it came out because then we could all help her take the necessary steps to heal.
I won’t tell you what to do, but I do encourage anyone who feels like anxiety and/or depression is affecting them to seek help. In the third article for this series, I will share some things that have worked for me. Ultimately, it’s your decision and your health, so please take yourself seriously. There are many who believe you.
Talking about this isn’t easy. As I wrote this series of articles, anxiety made me feel nauseous and a few times I cried while putting words on the screen. Thoughts like, “What will people think? Will people believe me? Will they scoff at my perspective?” all came crashing to the forefront. Even so, I feel it’s important to share as many experiences as possible. Not all experiences are the same, but hopefully something will resonate with people to make them feel they are not alone, nor do they have to go through it alone.
If you want to help someone with anxiety or depression, I have a few suggestions based on my experiences. Refrain from using platitudes or personal stories to make a person feel better. We often think it helps, but most often it makes the person more anxious. Platitudes suggest they have nothing to be unhappy about. Personal stories can make people feel they need to empathize when they’re already at the end of their rope. Share with them if they ask. Be prepared to sit with someone in silence, hold their hand or simply hold them, if they consent. Ask what they want to talk about. Allow them to feel comfortable in your presence and refrain from the need to fix their problem, unless they ask for advice. They need support, not to be told what to do. Let them direct any conversation and allow space for them to communicate their needs, even if they do not know how.
Conscious communication has helped me in all of the relationships in my life. It’s not always easy. I have to stop and hear the fear story behind what may be making me anxious in order to be able to express a want or need to the people I care about. I’ve learned that those who truly care about me are willing to listen, even if it takes a bit for me to get out. My children and I agreed we never wanted any one of us to feel alone again, so we made a pact to have regular conscious conversations whenever anyone has an issue. The greatest gifts you can give to the people you love is conscious conversation, love and understanding.
Much love to you all.
© Kellie Kamryn, 2017 www.kelliekamryn.com
Kellie Kamryn is an award-winning erotic romance writer and voice actor, as well as former columnist for Evolved World. Her articles receive a wide reception on her personal website and elsewhere for her commitment to keeping it real, and helping people get in touch with their inner truth by sharing her personal experiences. Kellie loves to hear from readers, so if you have an experience to share, please comment!