Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Bell Let’s Talk – I Have Anxiety

A few years back I shared the fact that I have Anxiety … the fact is I always will.

One in four people are thought to have some form of anxiety. I would have been surprised by this until I became an open enough person to share the fact that something was wrong and reach out for help. It began with me telling my wife and doctor about my panic attacks, at the time I had no idea what they were, and even doing that turned out to be therapeutic. There is no greater moment of relief that the one that follows you reaching out for help. It’s been a long journey since.

I remember one of our close friends saying, you, you’re the last person I ever would have thought would have anxiety. But that’s the rub, it doesn't mean you’re forced to stop living, it just means some days are harder to get through than others. Often you do a great job of hiding the problems you’re having.

My personality is that I’m an unusually open person and that turned out to be very helpful. It meant I could tell my spouse and doctor, but it also meant I was willing to share this news with select friends. It took a long time, but eventually I refused to be embarrassed by this fact I my life and it became more widely known. I knew that talking about it was the key. You see I deal with this using cognitive therapy, because my doctor and I determined that was best for me.

I eventually shared it with guys I play hockey with. We were an open group who told weekly tales of our lives for humour, but occasionally for a little support too. So I shared. That’s when the surprise came, over a few weeks’ time I discovered that six guys I played hockey with were dealing with some form of anxiety or depression in their lives. Six! Some medicated, some not, but all had sought help from a doctor. The odd thing that struck me was each was the least likely person I would have thought. A successful engineer, an ambulance attendant, a successful businessman, you get the idea … ha … and I guess a golf course architect too. But then again mental issues can strike anyone and at any time.

I still deal with anxiety ... I always will.

But I told someone. I got help. In my case I work hard at keeping my anxiety in check. I've become comfortable with the knowledge that mine is unlikely to ever go away. I have told my friends and have lots of support when I need it. I reach out and never feel I have burdened a friend. I don’t let it define me. 

I speak out “every day of the year” to help someone else do the same.

If you have some unaddressed issues, please go tell anyone, the solution starts at that moment.

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