What happens when you feel stuck? I used to have every excuse in the book for my unhappiness. It was always someone else's fault, or how shitty my upbringing was. I wasn't loved enough, or no one gave me what I needed. My negative attitude led me to a path of depression, anxiety and anger, never able to sustain a healthy relationship with anyone because I would constantly look externally for validation. So that's how I lived my life for decades. I was holding everyone else accountable for my misfortunes, when the answers all came from within.
I'm starting to sweat. I can feel a tiny droplet - a moist, salty bead trickling down from my forehead, clinging onto the very tip of my nose, ready to fall. Anytime now. Truth is, I'm sort of nervous. I've not been one to take many chances in life. Mostly everything's been carefully calculated with the usual analytical questions: should I? How much will it cost? What's the worst that can happen?
I've been feeling a little depressed these days and thought I'd utilize some tools I've learned over the years to address it. I realized we can all get affected mentally by changes that happen in our lives. No one is immune to feeling depressed, lonely, anxious or upset, and it's important to recognize even the slightest of these feelings, and address them accordingly.
Remember when we used to describe a person who was quiet and didn't show much emotion as the strong, silent type? I don't often hear that phrase anymore to describe a someone, and I'm glad. I mean, how strong is a person who is silent, especially when it comes to their mental health? Isn't that an oxymoron? For generations, it was seen as a positive trait, to be the strong, silent type. You're cool, collected and can withstand internalized pain. Movies stars portrayed this imagery very well, often looking cool and sexy in the movies if they were stoic.
Two years after publishing my best seller Living with the Dragon, Healing 15 000 Days of Abuse and Shame, I'm back with my follow up book that takes a complete 180 degree turn in writing style from my first book. It promises to be wittier, quirkier and with chock full of anecdotes to amuse you. The best part is, you won't even realize you're reading a self-help book. I'm super excited to share this latest project with you and even more excited to make you smile, chuckle and laugh with my stories of mishaps, missteps and bumbling mistakes. (For example, what the heck does Mah-Mah Lee's Rice-Wrap Steam Infusion Spa Treatment got to do with finding a relationship?)
It's plastered everywhere now. Thanks to the power of social media and improving tolerance, you'd have to be living underneath a rock to not know that having good mental health is equally as important (if not more) than having good physical health. The two are synonymous when we talk about having a well balanced lifestyle.
Is it even possible? How does one regain their self-esteem lost from childhood abuse and trauma? What I've learned over the years is that low self-esteem in social situations can be common for childhood abuse and trauma survivors. I feel judged and begin analyzing what others might be thinking of me. I feel a discomfort in my breathing and suddenly my mind no longer pays attention to the social interactions going on, but rather on what my exit strategy is going to be. Perhaps it's a mild case of agoraphobia, the fear of feeling unsafe and trapped. Or maybe it's a trigger from my past.
If anyone is struggling in their relationships, family or work life, assess your history growing up and ask yourself how the environment may have shaped your present belief system. Did you grow up with a lot family violence, arguments and shaming? Were you violated as a child and put down often? Were there major transitions such as divorce of your parents, moving to a different region or the sudden loss of a loved one? Dig deep and learn more about how childhood events such as trauma and abuse impacted you.