It was a wake-up call when the episode of the new Amazon Prime series, “Modern Love,” that most resonated with me was “Bipolar Girl.”
After reading the section on the New York Times for years and subscribing to the podcast, I had actually never come across it until Anne Hathaway so perfectly depicted what it’s like to have depression devour you like a dark monster on this episode.
To be clear, I’m not writing this as a person with bipolar disorder, nor have I ever been diagnosed with any chronic mental illness. However, like every other human being on the planet, I have struggled with depression and anxiety when life gets ugly.
Dealing with low periods of mental health, especially during the holiday season where the numbers significantly increase, can be isolating, as mental health is laced with stigma against people who openly express their struggles.
But friends, here on this blog, we get real and are not afraid to help each other during our lowest of lows.
In 2019 I’ve come face to face with anxiety and depression like never before. And let me start by saying that my life has not been a sequence of happy events guarded by a white picket fence.
I grew up in a country where happiness was a side effect of fear, during a time called the “special period” that had people starving and turning one chicken into 50 meals for a family of four and all their extended cousins.
Coupled with living at a border retainment center in El Paso when I was nine years old trying to find some “safety” in America.
I’d say my story has been a colorful and interesting one, to say the least. Yet, none of that compounded had ever brought on the amount of anxiety and depression I have felt during the past year.
It is now December and the finish line for the year is just a short 14 days away. Looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all, huh? Not only a new year but a new DECADE. The next time there’s a new decade I’ll be in my thirties!
The Community Speaks Up
A few weeks ago during a Facebook Live training, I got real with my community and team about what we were all striving for in the new year. The day before going live, I opened the floor for questions and suggestions of topics to touch upon during the broadcast,
To my shock, when I checked the analytics of the poll and questions, more than half the people that responded wanted to touch upon the subject of “Overcoming Fear in 2020.”
In addition, their direct questions targeted feeling lost, hopeless, anxious, and purposeless. People reached out with their struggles of getting out of bed in the morning, having a low sex drive, and being scared from the moment they woke up until they forced themselves to bed at night.
As I prepared my notes for that night’s broadcast, I could feel the knot in my chest when I realized I’d be talking about overcoming fear. How can I give people advice if I still feel afraid most of the day every day?
Well, I didn’t write any notes on it. I decided to be raw and honest, and come clean about how I was feeling, and most importantly, coping.
“I walk with fear every day,” I said. “It has been my faithful companion throughout the last year, and it probably will be for a little longer.”
And it’s true. Most of the time I wake up and I’m afraid of what I have done. I’m afraid I’m not good enough, kind enough, pretty enough, impactful enough, and the list goes on and on.
But in spite of all that, I get up, put my big girl shoes on and do the thing with fear by my side.
I’m not going to sit here and say it’s what “drives” me either. Because it doesn’t. What drives me is knowing that I’m not my fear and that on the other side of it everything I’ve been dreaming about and working for, that someone else out there needs to see that I’m doing the thing and that they can do it too.
Facing Fear and Depression as a Business Owner
Depression is no stranger for business owners and entrepreneurs–it has just been taboo for so long that we looked at people like Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg as superheroes that always had their shit together.
Then, we see successful people like Robin Williams and Anthony Bourdain take their lives and wonder “What the hell happened? that person had everything!”
And the issue lies in the fact that no one wants to talk about depression or anxiety in a real way as for fear of looking weak, vulnerable, and lost.
But asking for help is not a sign of weakness–it is an act of bravery that can make a huge difference in your life and business.
This One’s For All The Beautiful People Walking With Fear and Depression Today
Your fear is a side effect of an evolutionary flaw—not a personal flaw. You are not who your brain says you are. In fact, you’re light-years away from that.
It’s okay to go to therapy, to take breaks, to cry, and to ask for help when you need it. This idea that we need to be perfect human beings and feelings are for “sissies” is the culprit in the majority of our fear anyway.
No one is perfect—we all fart and poop—even the hottest people in the world.
I wholeheartedly believe that the next decade is going to be an amazing one. I can’t tell you why, but I just feel it. I feel it in the moments where my fear cripples me and I find myself hiding under the coziest blanket in my living room.
You are not alone, as you can see, most of us out there in the world right now are scared. I’m proud that you were brave enough to accept it and reach out to someone who could talk about it with you instead of making permanent decisions on temporary evils.
Step By Step Does the Trick in Ourselves and Our Society
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a takeaway for every experience. And for me, leaving my job to recover from a bully, facing anxiety and depression, and living in a country that doesn’t provide health care access to everyone has taught me a few things.
The first is that part of the big struggle impoverished people face throughout the world is the lack of access to mental health counseling. How can you bring on the abundance in your material life if you can’t make sense of your mind? How are you expected to take care of yourself and your demons if you can’t catch a break to pay for rent?
It is preposterous that the wealthiest country in the globe can’t provide its citizens with access to free or affordable healthcare. Shame on you. We have the highest rate of shootings outside of a war zone, people are refraining from going to public places because they are SCARED, yet you won’t take care of gun regulation or provide access to those who are suffering.
Spread kindness instead of judgment. Every one of us at some point or another in our lives will have to experience tough times and face our mental demons. You can be the most balanced person in the world, the richest, the most successful—and you’ll still have to deal with it. Go and ask Kate Spade and Amy Winehouse how much unbalanced mental health will cost you.
Finally, as my amazing therapist said to me:
“Let’s find temporary solutions to temporary problems.”
Please remember that your fear won’t walk alongside you forever. It’s here for a visit, but not a permanent stay. You’re on this path now, but soon you will reach the end and find that all you’ve worked for will pay off. That the world is beautiful, and you are important.
I wish you peace, love, and abundance during the holidays and into the new year. And until your fear decides to go back to its rightful place, know I’m holding you in the light while I do the same.
P.S. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or are having suicidal thoughts and need help, please contact the numbers below for free or reduced mental health assistance.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK