Aren’t you afraid of what people might think of you?
Every now and then I get asked that question since I published Living with the Dragon, launched my online courses on mental health management and publicly opened up about my struggles in the past with depression, anxiety and anger.
The initial fear of going public has long since passed. I overcame that fear of judgement because I also knew that very same fear is preventing me from making a significant difference to the mental health community, and it is the very same fear that kept my shame alive after all the years. And as everyone knows, when there’s shame, we get stuck at a place of resentment, bitterness and external blaming.
We get thoughts that pop up in our head based on a memory. If your childhood was plagued by bad experiences of abuse, trauma, arguments and family violence, your brain became programmed to those negative experiences. The repetition and patterns of negative behaviors in a negative environment hard wired your brain to have recurring thoughts even as you get older. And since you get thousands of thoughts every day based on your experiences, you’ll sometimes get these negative memories creep into your headspace, reminding you of those bad times. These reminders can make way for unhealthy behaviors. This is partly the reason behind depression and anxiety because we create these unhealthy thoughts from our past which creates the depression, and we respond with fear and anxiety.
Those who experienced childhood abuse will go through a different journey than those who didn’t. It can be sometimes difficult to explain this journey to someone who’s never experienced it before. At the end of the day, it’s your journey and your life to own. And finding peace with your journey opens doors to so many great things that you didn’t even realize before.
Choices are made based on the thoughts and feelings we have. These thoughts can sometimes be created by past woes, experiences and triggers. Tuning them out isn’t as simple as saying you have a choice. People who experienced childhood abuse and trauma need to regain a sense of themselves before they can learn to make healthier choices consistently.
When people live with the pain of depression, anxiety and anger, it’s even more critical to become more self-aware of the ups and downs of the powerful emotions and re-channel them through expressive words. This is especially true for men who struggle at home communicating their wounds to their wives and kids. Men who are unable to recognize the reasons behind their struggles, need to take a deeper dive and explore what could be triggering some of their unwanted feelings. And for men who don’t, may fall into a deep abyss of their depression and anxiety. If improperly managed, it can lead to anger and in many cases emotional, verbal and physical abuse.