Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
I've learned anxiety lessons this year, and you probably have too because, for so many people worldwide, 2020 has been a year marked by anxiety. Some people found their existing anxiety skyrocketed, while others experienced it significantly for the first time. External stressors have been extreme this year as we've collectively wrestled with fears and worries about our health, the health of loved ones, safety, economic security, access to things and services we need, political and social uncertainties, and more. While this year definitely involved struggle, it also brought opportunities to build strength and growth. Here, I share with you seven anxiety lessons I learned from 2020.
You might feel hesitant to talk about your mental health with others. Mental health problems are often accompanied by crippling shame that prevents you from wanting to reach out for help. Shame also lies to you, saying that you are a burden to others and that no one is as messed up as you are. But if you feel that way, it is time to start talking about your mental health.
The holidays had me thinking about food and anxiety more than usual. My family, like (I’m sure) most others, tends to make the same foods year after year, and honestly, it’s one of the things about the holidays I look the most forward to, and I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. I’m going to use that as a jumping-off point for this blog post because I think there’s something to be said about how food can help someone with their anxiety.
Heidi Green, Psy.D.
I've spent over two blissful years writing to you each month on this blog. My time with HealthyPlace has been a special time. Like all good things, this one is finally coming to an end. I want to use my final blog post to share what I have learned about myself over the past two years and how writing this blog has helped me grow as a person.
Life eventually taught me that changing my view could help my self-esteem and let me feel better about myself. My self-esteem suffered for many years because my view was focused firmly on the things I didn't accomplish. There was no way to deny that I didn't finish this thing, and never started that thing, and failed to reach my goal at the other. With my mind's telescope pointed only at my disappointments, I could come to no other conclusion than I was not worthy of respect from myself or others.
Nori Rose Hubert
I think it's a safe bet to say that we are all ready for 2020 to be over, but perhaps not ready to start planning the new year with bipolar disorder. This year threw us a global pandemic, severe economic downturn, mass civil unrest, growing urgency around climate change, and perhaps the most volatile presidential election in US history. Then there were the thousands of personal losses so many of us faced (and are still facing): jobs, income, stability, housing, treasured time spent with family and friends, relationships strained to the breaking point due to political division, and loved ones whose lives were cut short by COVID-19. While the New Year is usually a time of hope and optimism, many folks -- especially those of us with mental health challenges like bipolar disorder -- are finding it hard to look ahead in the face of so much heartache and discouragement. Fortunately, planning for the new year with bipolar disorder doesn't have to take a tremendous amount of effort.
One of the most important components of any healing journey is finding the right therapist, and this is especially true when you have dissociative identity disorder (DID). That being said, it is critical to find a therapist who can work with you and your specific needs to set you on the right path toward recovery.
I get exhausted from interacting with my friends and family due to my social anxiety, even though I love them. I find it very difficult to interact with people for a long time. This extends as far as to be exhausted by texting. However, my family has learned how to handle my social anxiety in a way that benefits all of us.
As far as years go, 2020 has been difficult in a great many ways, but it's also taught me a lot about my eating disorder recovery. I expected a year like this one to break me; I was almost waiting for it. I'm not going to lie: there were some close calls.
For most of my childhood, I used reading to cope with trauma. This might not sound like a bad thing, and it wasn't entirely, but it came with a couple of big problems. Coping mechanisms develop as a way for us to protect ourselves, to survive despite threats to our wellbeing or identity. However, these coping mechanisms can get in the way of real connection.