Anxiety and depression are common mental health disorders. Mental health campaigns have been battling stigma for years, and it’s paying off.
If you were to run a Google search on either anxiety or depression, you would be overwhelmed with the amount of information that pops up. Do you want to know about treatment? Medication? Information on symptoms? A motivated person can find a wealth of knowledge on the Internet and educate themselves.
While working with people who have anxiety, depression or both, I have noticed that sometimes all the information and treatment strategies in the world don’t work. Although it may not be the case for everyone, often the problem lies in a lack of self-worth. Implementing cognitive and behavioral strategies is the best idea in bad times. This may mean going to the gym, calling a friend, taking a warm bath or going to a yoga class.
If most people with anxiety and depression are educated about their symptoms, and have developed a plan for how to counter the immobilizing symptoms that they often encounter, why do these approaches fail so often? Again, a lack of self-worth plays an important part. No matter how much people intellectually understand about their mental health, if they don’t feel like it is a priority then cognitive and behavioral plan implementation won’t happen.
A lack of self-worth is not always the clear answer; often it takes some digging around and asking some probing questions to understand why things aren’t getting better for someone. Helping them understand that their mental health is a priority can be challenging. I often get responses such as, “I know coming to treatment regularly would make me feel better, but I have so many other things to do for my family” or “I know I should quit my job because the environment is so toxic to my mental health, but I’m sure there are a dozen others who can do my job. I’m better off just staying put.”
Helping others understand that valuing themselves and prioritizing their mental health is the best way to achieve success is extremely important. It is not being selfish when you put your health and your needs first. When you are healthy, you can be more helpful to those around you. An example I often use with new mothers is to tell them how important self-care is for them and their baby. Mothers are no good to a newborn if they aren’t healthy or are overtired and cranky. The same applies to everyday life. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression you are not giving your best. This can affect your relationships, family, and work. Taking time to care for yourself, and understand that you are worth the investment in your own health, will ultimately assist you in improving your overall performance.
Genuinely understanding that you are worth so much to those around you, and that prioritizing your own health is not being selfish but in fact will lead to improved performance in your daily life often is the key to initiating those well-developed strategies. When you realize what you should be doing to alleviate your symptoms, the extra boost you need to get started may come from understanding your self-worth and how important its role in your overall mental health can be.