April 22, 2021

E65 Depression, Anxiety, Goals, and a Hard Question

In this episode, I talk about how to deal with depression and anxiety as you try to reach your goals.
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In this episode, I talk about how to deal with depression and anxiety as you try to reach your goals.

Join the Think Unbroken Community Coaching Sessions at healtraumacoach.com

Read my book Think Unbroken for FREE at traumahealingbook.com

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Transcript

Hey, what's up, my friend? Michael Anthony author speaker coach and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.

Today. I'm going to talk to you about depression. Depression is something that impacts, to be honest with you. I think everyone. I don't know anyone who hasn't had a bout of depression, especially not within the context of the last 16 18 months, you know, and for me, depression is, unfortunately, one of those all too familiar friends.

I remember being 7 years old, the first time I really understood depression, which I think is incredibly young to have this kind of understanding but also coming from the scope of trauma. I think a lot of children have that same experience and understanding. I remember one time I go to the therapist's office. I had a therapist at seven years old and has had a lot of really traumatic things happen.

You guys know my past and if you don't go listen to episode 1 and what happened in that therapy that day is that I was asked like if am I sad, am I unhappy? Do I ever feel like it's cloudy when it's bright outside? And I was like, yeah, of course as it isn't. My thought was also isn't that how all people feel isn't this normal? I mean, I go home to violence. I go home to no electricity. No running water. Isn't it normal that people are going to be depressed and fast forward pretty much the next 20 years of my life?

One day it kind of hit me. I was like, oh shit. I'm pretty sure I've been depressed since I was like seven years old. You see at that point in time. I was in this weird place in my life because I was transitioning into trying to become the person that I am today. And while I'm still not there entirely I'm still always doing the work. I was in this place where I was getting serious about therapy and coaching and mentorship and reading the books and doing all the work and yet I still felt this overwhelming sense of dread of sadness of not wanting to get myself out of bed in the morning.

I recognize these moments in time where I would be in bed nine ten, eleven o'clock in the morning would be high all day. I just play video games and watch TV. I wouldn't really be a productive human being. Of course, within that scope, I found myself overweight smoking two packs a day, drinking myself to sleep the whole nine one of 27. I am in this moment of trying to go through this journey and getting serious about it.

I decided to go back to therapy. It was the first time that I've been in therapy in a couple of years. It’s the first time that I said, I'm going to take therapy seriously this time. It was really the first time I ever put real effort to it. I started doing yoga and I was going to the gym. I was trying to eat better and do the things to take care of myself because I was trying to find a solution for why every single day I hated my life. I think about being 25 years old. That night on my birthday putting a gun in my mouth and like looking at that and be like, why would I do that and it and it was because I seriously was just done. I was tired of the feelings. I was tired of the sadness. I was tired of the pain. I was tired of not showing up for myself every day. I was tired of everything that I was and I think unfortunately that's the truth for so many people and so I found myself sitting and having conversations with this therapist.

We had a conversation and he says, you know, I think you're battling you're dealing with depression. I go, Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's probably exactly what it is. So, how do we fix this? What do we do about it? And he said, well, you take these prescriptions and come in here and you know, that's what we'll do. And so I go to the doctor he can't recommend it. He's a therapist, not a doctor. I can't prescribe it. He says we’ll go to your doctor and talk about options. So I go to the doctor talk about my options and doctors like take this in this and look what you want me to.

Prescription drugs now one of the things that you have to understand about my past also shows. I watched prescription drugs tear my family apart. I mean when you talk about the prescription drug epidemic in America. My family comes from that. I watched it destroyed my mother. I watch it destroy my grandmother, you know, I saw it destroy my neighborhood and my community. I'm not a proponent for prescription drugs and so at 27, I am trying to understand that it was really this difficult.

It was just a really difficult thing to process because I could see the validity in attempting to take these prescriptions, right? There can be a beautiful support mechanism for people who need them. And then I put myself in this position of asking myself. Okay, if I don't take the medicine, how do I fix what's going on? How do I solve this problem and at that time at 27 years old? I did not take it. I did not take the drugs. I got the prescription I went to the pharmacy and they filled it and they never came and got it for two reasons one. I was honestly terrified I was petrified of the idea that I would have to take prescription drugs because I just saw how addictive they were. I saw how they took from people and then the other side of it. I just felt like inherently something in me said if you are willing to keep going somehow you'll work this out if you're willing to keep doing the things that you're doing somehow, you'll find a way to have better days and I wasn't looking for this like solution that was magically going to change my life at that moment. I was just thinking about just keep going forward so fast forward a few more years. I'm 30 years old.

I'm living in Portland and yet again, I'm faced with just crippling anxiety like unbelievable five panic attacks a day and can't think straight. CBD is not working, all the healthy foods not working, meditations not, none of it is working.  I go to the doctor again and I say I have Sev crippling anxiety. I can't fuck. Like I literally could not function. My brain was so out of whack and they're like, okay, here's these two prescriptions one for depression one for anxiety. For the first time in my life, I started to change the narrative that I had about prescription drugs. I said to myself, alright, this actually could be really beneficial especially once I started understanding the science of SSRIs and the way that they can really be impactful especially in short-term Sprints and so on so forth now, let me be clear. I'm not a doctor. I've only ever done my own research. I'm not suggesting anything not even going to tell you what the prescriptions were. So keep that in mind. I'm not going to give you advice on whether or not you should take prescription drugs because I don't know your life. So I found myself taking these prescriptions and the doctor said hey, it's going to take some time. You're going to have to take these for you know, a month two months before you really start to notice a difference and I was at this point where I didn't know what else to do. So I said, okay, I'm going to take these four-month or two because I don't really know what else to do and we'll see what happens and slowly I started taking them, and then I started feeling worse actually. And then it got worse and worse and worse to the point where I just like could I literally physically could not get myself out of bed.

There was a period of time or for a week. I just was like ordering food staying in bed like and it was weird because I'd been very much into my journey. I've been feeling really good about where I was going and been feeling really great about some of the things that were happening. I was starting to finally move towards having really difficult conversations with my therapist and my men's group and my coach around trauma abuse that I'd been Through and then this brick wall. And so luckily it was at a period of time where I had not been so deeply into them that it was going to be dangerous to just pull myself off. And so I just I broke it down I said, all right, you're going to do like half a pill every other day for two weeks and you're going to be done with this. And so that's my game plan.

I actually started feeling better really fast to like super fast and what I understood about that was okay, that's not going to be a long-term viable solution for me for some people it is another I've met so many people who have had the same exact experience as me when it comes to prescription drugs and trying to deal with their depression in their anxiety. And so I started doing a lot more research about it. Like what can I really do and nothing really pointed me in a direction that I felt like made sense because I was doing some I was I was journaling I was going to therapy. I was going to the gym I was meditating. I was walking I was in nature. I was doing everything. Everyone was always telling me to do and yet here I was, months removed from that and still filling this crippling anxiety and depression. And so I decided you're going to focus on a goal you're going to focus on this goal and you're going to get really serious about this idea of trying to get success in business again because it's been years since I tasted any amount of success in business.

I've barely been surviving. I've been borrowing money just to make rent.  couldn't do window shopping at the cheapest place. All of my money was going into therapy and coaching, attending men's groups, and all of those. I was just faced with okay, you know how to build a business, you know how to be successful in Corporate America. You've done it before now you need a goal. So I made myself this goal.

Here's what's really fascinating about what happened when that goal started to come to fruition is that I got really motivated. I was like, well, you've lost all this weight. You learned how to get healthy. Now, here's what you're going to do. You're going to go become a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. I started doing that and the next thing you know, I was a licensed and legal certified professional trainer and nutritionist. Then I said, what can I do next? Then one night, in the middle of the night-shower-moment, the light bulb was thinking broken. That was four years ago.

At that moment, I was so driven and it wasn't called Think Unbroken exactly yet. It was about me kind of putting out content and being value-driven about what it was that I was doing in my life by trying to give people tools that I found help me. I started putting out content. Started writing that blog and that was driving me. I was like, okay, I'm going to make this Think Unbroken thing a “thing”.  At that time I didn't know what the “thing” is but as I just said, I'm going to move towards it. I'm just gonna keep going and going and going and going and going because it just made sense to me. I was called to invest my effort and energy and time into it.

Here's what I recognize. This is where I'm going with this when I didn't have goals when I didn't have ambitions when I didn't have things that I was moving towards, depression just overcame me. It was like every day was a struggle getting out of bed because I wasn't living for anything. I wasn't living with a purpose I wasn't living driven towards anything of value. The only thing that I was doing was waking up and nonchalantly going about my life hoping things would get better.

Over the course of the last six almost seven years at this point, I've been very driven towards trying to accomplish goals in my life. The fascinating thing is, while there have been these ebbs and flows with depression, which I think will always happen, I think that a part of my nomenclature (for lack of a better term) have been less depressed in the last seven years than I was for the first 30 years of my life.

Right! That's really incredible to me because here's the truth about it. The drugs didn't work. The meditations didn't work. The walking nature didn't work. The journaling didn't work. All those things did not work for curbing my depression and anxiety and I think it's twofold. So I'm going to tap into one thing here will go deeper as I was moving towards something. I believe that we have to have goals.

Having that idle time in our calendars in our days when we're not moving towards anything that's fulfilling or sustainable, anything that brings us joy and hope in our life anything that makes us happy. Even if it's a hobby look I don't think you have to go and start the next business. But how can you invest your time in something that brings you joy and happiness in your life, right? Because when you're bringing joy and happiness in your life where is room for depression and anxiety? And again, it's not to say that. That won't happen flow because it certainly will because I've had that and especially over the last year with dealing with you know, covid and lockdowns. Like I've had this balance of looking at okay.

Well, I think I'm gonna pressed get up and get at it. Anyway, let's go. Anyway, let's push ourselves. Anyway, let's grow anyway, let's get new certification. Let's double down on the business. Let's create an online course. Let's coach more people. Let's like whatever right and the thing was like we are going to have an ebb and flow in life. We have to keep moving. We have to focus on our goals. And so whereas depression might hit me for I don't know 12 weeks at a time. Now. It's more like 12 hours or 4 or 12 minutes and it's really fascinating. The reason actually today. I wanted to make this episode and talk to you about this is because I was having this moment earlier this afternoon where I was like, I just don't want to do anything. I don't want to do anything. I'm feeling bummed out. I didn't sleep. Well, last night. I've just killed myself for the last eight weeks. Building out this amazing course this unbelievably real course that is better than any trauma Helen course on planet Earth. Like I just spent all this time doing this and then I was like, oh man. All right Crash and Burn and that's not burning out. That was me looking at my calendar today. And here's what's really fascinating. There was a gap in there three hours was like, oh, I don't have anything to do it today. Okay. Hmm. What do I do with my life? What do I do with my day? And I know this may sound crazy to you, but here's the reality and then I looked at I measured I said, you know what tomorrow your days full take some time. Take a break.

Here's what I always tell everyone I overwork with if you need time take it. Have your break get yourself back to the Center and then I went for a walk. I hit the gym. I had a snack I came back and I said, all right, let's go because you have to have space now look depression is going to come and go anxiety is going to come and go and for Me, today, like anxiety is such a different experience because I've learned so many of the modalities that help cope with it, right breathing, especially like the breathing modalities associated with dealing with anxiety meditation, especially like those have become daily habits and tools of my life. There's not a day that goes by that I don't meditate and I don't do a breathing exercise because I have to have those things in order to be successful.

So now what does this mean for you? How do you move through depression anxiety? I think it's a twofold one. You really have to understand what is happening in your life. Like are you actually in this place where you're depressed because it does not look it is a chemical reaction? We understand the impacts of cortisol. We understand the way that the amygdala works in the sympathetic nervous system when we’re in these places we get that we understand that we can acknowledge it. The question though is really are you doing life? Are you living life? Are you showing up? Are you trying the things are you moving forward? Word or are you just laying in bed all day and look it's easy to lay in bed all day. I'm the first one. I did it for a decade. He'll probably longer to be honest with you everyday video games junk food cigarettes alcohol staying in bed all day. Rinse and repeat over and over and over I get it.

So the question is are you going to move through that? Anyway, are you going to find a way and it's going to take baby steps. It's going to be difficult, especially in the beginning for me at the beginning. It was so hard just to go just to move forward an inch because I was so intertwined with my own self like self-loathing. I felt sorry for myself. So I felt bad for myself and it's not that there aren't these moments where I look at my life. Go, man, I was really hard to suck that that happened to you. But what are you going to do about it? I ask my clients to solve a time. If you are in coaching with me, if you're in a small group coaching with me, I'm going to ask you a very difficult question. And that question is what are you going to do about it? You're a pressed. What are you going to do about it? You're anxious. What are you going to do about it? You're not showing up for yourself. What are you going to do about it? Because ultimately look your life is on the other side of the choices that we make and of course again, I know people are going to message me there. Owing to email me. They're going to say whatever they want to say because they don't want to hear this part and that's fine. It's okay. I respect your opinion, but the reality is that you are faced with making decisions because you can go to the doctor to get the meds. It may be what you need. You can go on the yoga retreat. You can eat healthy food. You can take Dutch sugar out of your diet. You can sleep better. You can get off the phone at eight o'clock. You can have the tea you can build the parameters in your life. But will you?

That's the thing about this life. No one's going to make the choices for you. No one's going to create the change for you. I can literally measure my anxiety and my depression to not living authentically, to not showing up, for not trying, for not living on my terms, from not going for it. I can measure that can literally look at the exact precise moments in time when my depression anxiety was taking over me and taking me over. I can look at and measure the exact times in which I was the one in control of my life because it's moving forwards and towards a life with the intention that creates change. So please, I want to be very clear, because I know people are going to message me not hearing this message. I'm not saying depression is not real. I've dealt with it. I'm not saying anxiety is not real I've dealt with it. I'm not saying prescription drugs don't work because for many people, they do. What I am saying is that you have to ask yourself the question -am I living life or am I waiting for these things to come my way and live life for me?

My friend. Thank you so much for hanging out with me. I appreciate you so much.

Do me a favor, like, subscribe, comment, share, and tell a friend.

Until next time my friend…

Be Unbroken.

-Michael

Michael Unbroken

Coach

Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.