So What's all the Hype About Emotional Fitness?
Does emotional wellness contribute towards overcoming depression and anxiety?
Is emotional fitness essential to achieving our dreams?
Can we build our emotional fitness?
Yes, yes and definitely YES!
My story is living proof that practicing healthy habits that nourish our emotions is super powerful to managing mental health issues, even clinical depression and anxiety that comes with a label.
Over 30 years ago I fell into a very deep pit of clinical depression. I struggled for over a month with extreme sadness. It got heavier and heavier until eventually the sadness became extreme anxiety and intolerable fear. I wanted to "escape my mind". I admitted myself into the hospital because I had lost all control of what was going on in my head. My thoughts were extremely dark and they scared the hell out of me. I was experiencing the most profound emotional experience. I had lost all hope that there was a cure for me. I believed to my very core that I was the most damaged, the most evil, the most hopeless human being on the planet.
This was my first of two hospital stays. I remember so clearly asking the nurses to please give me something stronger. Eventually the meds were so strong that I was totally numb. This was at least tolerable. After about one week on the anti psychotic drugs, I fell into a drug induced seizure.
I have no memory of this, but my loved ones remember the face of someone lost who they no longer knew. I was the sister who made it to difficult for a loving sister to visit. I was the daughter of a loving mother who came to see me and take care of me as if I was a child again. I was the mother who needed lots more hugs and oodles of drawings from her 5 year old son that read I love you mommy. You are the best. I was the wife of a loving and devoted husband who showed up everyday in the hospital to remind me that I was still loved by him and our child.
I was lost in a pit of guilt and shame that I could not get out of. Eventually with many different doses and types of medications, I was able to tolerate my thoughts and emotions. After 2 weeks I was released.
I continued taking medication for the next year. After almost one year, I relapsed. The meds were no longer working and I felt myself falling into the pit. I spent another week in the hospital. This was the last of my hospital stays, now after over 30 years. After inquiring about my diagnosis, it was clear that two different doctors had different labels for my condition. One said I possibly had bi-polar disorder and the other said I had A Typical depression. The chief of psychiatry met with me on the top floor of the psychiatric ward and told me that I would live a normal life if I stayed on the medication for the rest of my life. My heart sunk. It just did not sit right with me.
However, I followed his advice. I took the prescribed medication for just over a year. I made the decision to ween myself off. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my life, but it was the one that was right for me.
I didn't realize at the time, but this decision would send me on a journey towards discovering a system that would manage, or what I believe to be "the cure" for depression and anxiety.
I was looking for someone who had been through exactly what I had gone through, and was actually cured. I searched and I searched until after 30 years I finally found her. It was me. It was me all along. I was the cure I was seeking. I was the hero I was looking for!
My depression lead me on a profound journey of healing. This healing revealed the remedy to not remaining stuck in emotional turmoil and pain so that I took ownership of the needed space, passion and focus to living my dreams.
I have been living an amazing life, not just a normal life. I have not taken any antidepressant drugs of any kind over the last 30 years. I can say that I have an abundance of joy! I have been married for 38 years. I delight in being the founding director of Opening doors to Success, a thriving non profit organization of 8 years. I am a certified professional life coach and owner of Dreality Emotional Fitness Coaching.
So yes, emotional fitness is key to overcoming depression and anxiety. Without a fit mind, I would not have recognized the opportunities that showed up for me. Without emotional intelligence I would not have the essential self-awareness. I would not have known the gifts I had to share. I would instead be living in fear and anxiety not knowing that I have the courage to pursue and overcome the fears that could have once stopped me.
I found emotional fitness.The resources and people I needed showed up for me along the way. I have read profound life changing books. I have worked with amazing life coaches. I have attended profound and life changing events and workshops. I continue to nourish my mind and embrace all of my emotions.
Building our emotional fitness level is not only possible, but so key to experiencing our ultimate life!