We’ve all seen the headlines, the number of people who are experiencing signs of anxiety and depression for the first time and the increase in the symptoms of those who have been experiencing such emotional and mental distress for some time.
And I’m right there with them. Wondering how I navigate this world apres Coronavirus. Like a mole coming out of its hole after nearly 18 months isolation, wanting to reconnect with the world but unsure how to do so safely and stay comfortable with my new level of need for personal space..
Occasionally I’ve driven to the store and discovering I’ve forgotten my mask and turned around and gone home again rather than risk going in without one. The risk not just of potentially contracting the virus but of being shamed for not wearing a mask. I’m not ready to engage in the pantomime that would then ensure of my trying to explain how I never would ever come out without a mask but this one time I just happened to forget and Oh God, the mortification of people assuming I’m an anti mask, anti vaccine person.
And the idea of going out. Well, that seems like an idea fraught with danger, a bit like a fish willingly swimming into a net to get caught, bashed on the head, and killed. Thanks but no, I’ll sit in my car waiting for my takeaway to be ready before going in to collect it in a full hazmat suit.
And as if there’s not enough for us to navigate out there, there’s a whole host of people ready, willing and able to medicate our symptoms into oblivion and get paid handsomely to do it too. This is a New York Times story on how much adspend is increasing in the wake of the pandemic for pills and tools and apps. Its astonishing.
Here’s a sample of a US ad for an anti-anxiety medication. Notice how long they spend talking about all the side effects, and whilst they do so, they continue running pictures of happy, healthy families. Because we take in pictures more than words, so all that devastating potential impact on your health and even your life is negated by the pictures they show.
This is not to bash anyone who takes medication but to make people aware that it is never going to do what you want it to do, heal you so you can live a drug free, healthy life. Who ever said I want to sign up to a potentially deadly drug that I need to take for the rest of my life?
Here’s what I know:
a) Drugs treat symptoms not causes. And if you don’t get to grips with the causes of your emotional and mental distress, it will find some other way in your body and mind to get your attention.
b) There is no magic pill. No one size fits everybody solution that makes everyone feel great again. Dealing with mental and emotional distress, which is what anxiety, depression and many other forms of mental illness are, is a daily practice. Some days will better than others, but a commitment to the daily work that keeps you on an even keel is required. As well as signing up to the deeper excavation of the underlying issues at the heart of your anxiety and depression.
More than ever, this takes a community to make it work for the individuals within it. A community of supportive, like minded people who’ve all been there. As well as family, friends, co-workers and anyone else in your circle. And if you can, get a good therapist. Of course I’m going to recommend hypnosis, its the best way in my opinion, and I’ve been in this field of research for almost twenty years now.
Hypnosis is gentle when used correctly, and releases the anguish, pain and trauma that is the root cause of your anxiety and depression. A daily habit of visualisation, which is simple self hypnosis is a great tool for healing too.
But I believe you need a gifted practitioner to tackle the deeper stuff, don’t attempt that by yourself. Its hard work and can result in getting lost in mindset loops without someone guiding you through the maze of old beliefs, assumptions about yourself and the world.
You can recover from anxiety and depression. You can go on to live a full, amazing life having healed your past. Of course you can. We all can. We can choose that daily. and that makes a huge difference over taking a pill and hoping for a miracle.
If your mental and emotional distress is affecting your life, stopping you from engaging in activities that used to make you feel great and good old Coronavirus has amplified the problem for you, start taking action. Baby steps. Imagine, you don’t have to do anything yet, just picture yourself doing it. Putting on the clothes required, stepping into your shoes and walking out the door. Just start with those mental images. Your imagination triggers the same response in your body as actual physical action, that’s why athletes mentally rehearse winning. Put yourself in the images in your mind where you can and do.
Start with baby steps and celebrate those wins. Yes, even the fact that you just imagined it deserves a celebration. That celebration wires into your brain that this activity is good for you, something you like and so you will meet less resistance next time and it will be so much easier and actually feel even better when you do it again.
Consistency is key. Every day you don’t is a day when its easier to say its okay to not bother. Every day you do is a day to celebrate and you gain a consistency mindset to keep going.
I know how easy it is to fall back into a hole. I’ve just binge watched all of Glee. I’d only ever watched the first two seasons before and I sat through all 6, yes 6 of deteriorating quality high school singalongs. Not because I was so engrossed in Kurt and Rachel and Blaine and Mercedes but because I was stuck and couldn’t seem to stop myself. I told myself that I was grieving and the actual real grief I felt in watching the programme knowing that three of those talented young people had died tragically young was maybe cathartic in a way, at least I cried and released some of that emotion dammed up inside of me but…no, the real reason I watched it all was because I was avoiding coming out of the Lockdown bubble.
My daily self care had gone bye-bye. Meditation was a memory that barely rose to the surface of my mind, same with hypnosis.
I thank my friend and therapist Inga for sticking with me and not giving me an out. I tapped with her once a week and this week, I’ve tapped and meditated twice by myself. And the difference is huge. I’m showing up here which is an immense step forward.
We’ve all fallen down some type of rabbit hole this past year. At the start of the pandemic I was super engaged and writing and posting videos daily to help people with helping themselves. But the house move, the family drama of last year all of it took its toll and I fell, hard.
The good thing is I know how to pull myself back up. So here I am, doing just that and encouraging you to do likewise.
PS. I’m a great HypnoTherapist and MindSet Coach. My clients attest to it and I’ve been seeing them all the way through the pandemic and my own retreat from reality. In fact, helping guide them anchored me and helped me help myself. Plus, I don’t believe the best therapist are people who have all their sh!t together because frankly very few people do and no-one wants to be taught by the guru on the mountaintop. We all crave guidance from that person who is a couple of steps in front of us, who has just navigated the treacherous terrain and can advise us where to step and where to avoid.
If you want to know more about working with me 1:1, I have a few spots available now. I will have a whole new online questionnaire available soon, but in the meantime, pm me on Facebook or Linkedin and start a conversation that will be usful for you whether we work together or not.