Updated: Jun 27, 2019
Dr. Hollie Levine, MSW, ND
In my practice I do counseling as part of being a doctor. That means I see a lot of people who have anxiety, depression, or who feel overwhelmed by stressful circumstances.
Life can be difficult to navigate and it takes a toll. One in six Americans is on a drug for depression or anxiety (Journal of the AMA 2013). The numbers vary depending on the study, but here’s another stat: antidepressant use has jumped 400 percent in the last two decades according to the CDC. In other words, there are very high rates of people dealing with emotional distress.
All of us experience stress because stress is a condition of life. It’s your relationship to stressful experiences that make the difference. If stress creates a sense of paralysis, or overwhelm or powerlessness, it can lead to depression and/or anxiety. To help with this you can take a drug or a supplement; you can exercise and eat a healthy diet. You can go to counseling. Any or all of these options can be effective.
I’m going to suggest something else as well. It’s radical, and it’s simple: feel your feelings. Be truthful with yourself. You needn’t share your truth with anyone else if you don’t want to, and you don’t even need to act on what you know. The most important thing is to acknowledge your own truth.
Most of us are afraid of change, and we fear that if we allow ourselves to know that which makes us unhappy, we will have to do something about it. So it gets pushed down, down into our gut, our lower back, or somewhere else in the body. Our emotional pain becomes both our physical pain and the stress we feel powerless to do anything about.
So feel what you feel; you have nothing to loose and everything to gain. Knowing your truth brings you back to your body. You may not be happy with a situation or a person, but the first step is to allow that you are not happy. This doesn’t make you a failure, or wrong, or any of the other things you might be telling yourself. This makes you more powerful in your own life. And it makes you much healthier.