Getting regular exercise can do wonders for your body and mind. Whenever I feel an onset of stress and anxiety, exercising helps me to reset. However, it wasn’t too long ago when I sometimes felt it was impossible to get myself motivated enough to even move a muscle. During that point in my life, I was on the edge of 220 lbs and had poor eating habits comprising of fast food and greasy Chinese take-out on a regular basis. In addition, I was carrying the weight of depression on my shoulders.
Communicating hasn't always been easy for me. If I had a problem, or felt a little anxious or depressed, I bottled up my feelings. I'd hang on to my feelings of stress and take it out on others, passively or sometimes directly with spiteful words. And saying sorry for my behavior was out of the question. Sorry? What does that mean anyway?
Anxiety is a perfectly normal emotion to feel. We feel it sometimes for a variety of reasons, but most often times in my experience, it's self-inflicted. When I peel back the onion, the root of the issue is when I find myself thinking too far into the future, worrying about things beyond my control. When I focus on things I could only do in the present state, I feel relief and a greater sense of calm.
Inspiration strikes sometimes when we least expect it. It can come from any direction and could be a chain reaction of events that sparked the ideas. As I rose up from my bed, I picked up my journal and began scribbling down ideas on what I want to do next to promote mental health awareness.
When I made the promise of being the best dad, I took it seriously and still do! Naturally, I stumbled along the way from time to time, being a dad who was impatient, selfish and angry, mirroring many similarities to my own father. However, I always managed to self-reflect after I faltered, hoping I wouldn't repeat the same mistakes by trying to identify any recurring patterns. By self reflection, I mean working with counsellors, meditating, journaling, and doing the work.
I recently did some reading about different forms of attachment styles in relationships. I'm fascinated to learn more about myself as part of my ongoing personal development journey. Basically, what I've learned is that there are 2 attachment styles: Secure and Insecure. I dug deeper to determine what my attachment style has been in past relationships, determined not to repeat the same pattern in my current relationship with Annie. Based on a checklist of the behaviors, I fell into the Anxious Attachment Style.
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?
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.