You’re starting to hear more and more about depression, anxiety, and suicide in the media these days. But what is actually causing the growth of mental health issues in youth? Or was it always there just unreported or unrecognized?

As a person who has suffered from depression and anxiety, I can relate first hand to some of the pressures and thoughts that trigger the condition. The more I discuss it with others, the more similarities tend to surface.

Some phrases and words that people suffering with a condition may use:
1) Forever
2) I don’t fit in
3) No one understands me
4) No one listens to me
5) There is just so much wrong in this world
6) What’s the point?
7) Why bother, it won’t make a difference
8) Not like anyone would miss me
9) People are stupid
10) I just don’t understand why

Just reading these statements you can feel the sadness deep within the words. Much of what is listed above does carry some truth, but for reasons that are not evident to the person feeling them.

Society does a number on kids these days by pushing images of perfect specimens of what people should be, what they should have and feel and do to be happy. This constant expectation that you need to be like this, to feel a certain way, and the incredible failure of never being able to reach what realistically is an impossible goal.

Perhaps the whole definition of failure was improperly defined to us. Instead of being pushed down, judged and defeated, allow failure to stand for opportunity to try another method, to learn more about alternative paths and theories, to succeed in discovery of a solution. The reward itself will be the journey not the end result.

I have found myself trapped in a negative spiral of frustration when trying to solve a problem. When the problem is solved, I have found no joy because I didn’t appreciate the journey to get there. Without finding some enjoyment in your process, you can expect to feel negative about every action you take.

Fear is a large component of depression and anxiety. The question bombs repeat in your head over and over of all the “what if” scenarios. When you are constantly reviewing hypothetical situations in your head of all the outcomes you are missing the sheer joy of experiencing the journey of just picking a path and discovering what might happen on your own. After all, how often has the worst case scenario come true? And will you let one bad experience ruin all the good ones you might have?

The feeling of being safe gets to become a numbness to life in general. “If I don’t do anything, I can’t be disappointed” this is true, but if you don’t do anything you also can’t be happy. Embrace sadness, embrace happiness, our emotions are a generous gift that makes us completely unique as humans. Our time here and now is meant to be spent to be good, feel good and create good.

Someone posted today on facebook “if you feel helpless, help someone else” . Everyday we struggle with “I am in control”. Greatest lesson you will learn is that you are not in control of anything. Give up on control and give in the moment. Help someone to help yourself. Each time I find myself “out of control” or failing to let go, I leave the house and donate my time, resources, dollars to something that will help someone else. Your thoughts move off you and immediately to someone else, and you gain perspective.

Perspective! To those who deal with depression less than others, this is a hard concept to grasp when talking to someone deep within their own battle. Relating to someone struggling with an issue is all a matter of perspective. One of the greatest movies I think describes this was “What dreams may come”. His wife died of suicide and she was trapped in hell, she could not see her husband, could not hear him, she only felt the great void of his loss and the darkness of her sadness. After much struggle, her husband attempts were failing at bringing her home. He loved her so much, that if it meant joining her in hell, then he would, just to be with her. It was only then she truly saw him and that he truly saw her. They were to work together to free themselves from their own living “hell”.

On my darkest of days, it wasn’t the advice I needed to hear, or peoples sympathetic words, it was someone who was willing to just be there beside me and join me. Someone who is willing to sacrifice their time to just be there to love you fills you up with the help you need to get better.

The greatest step forward you can make is away from what you know (what is safe). When you are doing something new, you’ll have no time to focus on those repeating questions and thoughts that hold you back from being happy. Don’t open yourself to doubt, just go and do it. This is your life, the opinions and questions of others will only hold you back from being the amazing person that you are. Because you really are amazing!

Life is a miracle, and each day is a gift, let each breath fill you up with the wonderful chance of experiencing something unique any moment of the day.

Much Love!