Hello! Who are you?
Hi! My name is Christian Miller and I live in Arizona, USA. I am the founder of Discover Italy, a website dedicated to helping travelers plan their journey to Italy. I am happily married with two beautiful children and my passions include traveling, cooking, and photography.
I consider myself to be a happy person overall because of the wonderful family and friends that surround me every day. I like taking risks in life and having new experiences which helps me remain inspired and energized. I also enjoy being active in different hobbies such as CrossFit, reading, and writing.
I believe that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for both physical and mental well-being. That's why I try my best to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and go for regular hikes in nature. All these things help me to stay positive and focused on the present moment. So overall, I would say that yes, I'm very content with life.
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What is your struggle and when did it start?
When I moved to the United States for college, I experienced a great deal of stress and anxiety. It began as a feeling of homesickness and loneliness in an unfamiliar place. It slowly grew into something more serious, as I started to experience panic attacks and bouts of sadness that lasted days.
The pressure from college life combined with the difficulties of adjusting to a new environment were factors that contributed to my mental health struggles. As time went by, my anxiety and depression grew worse. I felt anxious about everyday tasks like going to classes or socializing with people I didn't know.
My depression made me isolated and removed from the world around me, often leaving me feeling hopeless and drained of energy. I struggled with my mental health for many years before finally seeking help. At times, it felt like the depression and anxiety had taken control of my life and were preventing me from living a full and prosperous life.
Though now I am in a much better place and have been able to manage my mental health with the help of therapy and medication. It's still something that I deal with during stressful times or when I'm overwhelmed, forcing me to pause and take a break to remind myself that there is hope for the future.
How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?
At my worst moments, I often felt completely overwhelmed and helpless. Depression and anxiety seemed to be controlling my life, and I felt like I had lost control of my own emotions.
It was as if a dark cloud of sadness was constantly hovering over me. I was disconnected from the world around me and felt completely isolated from everyone else.
I remember once I tried to hide my depression and anxiety from those around me, thinking it would be easier to pretend that nothing was wrong. But it only made things worse and eventually I had to admit to myself that I needed help.
Also, it became quite evident after some time that I was struggling with my mental health, as the depression had taken a toll on me both physically and emotionally.
The feeling of isolation was particularly difficult. I felt like no one could really understand what I was going through and that my struggles were unique to me. I was scared and uncertain of the future, unsure of how to move forward.
It was during these times that I felt the most hopeless and helpless. All I wanted then was for someone to understand my pain and help me find a way out.
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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?
There was a particular incident that stands out to me as the moment I started to turn things around. There was a neighbor of mine who noticed the signs that I was struggling and reached out to me.
He didn’t pressure me or ask any pointed questions, he just let me know that he was there if I ever needed someone to talk to. This kindness and understanding made me realize how valuable it is to be understood and accepted, no matter what situation you may be in.
The change was a result of both my own actions and circumstances. I had to take the first steps in getting help, but it was also being in the right place at the right time with someone who was willing to lend an ear that got me headed in the right direction.
It’s hard to quantify it exactly, but probably around 60% of the improvement was a result of my own actions and 40% was a result of my circumstances.
My struggle with mental health had been going on for a complete year before this moment, so it felt like an enormous weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I realized what kind of help was available to me.
Although it took months more before I felt fully recovered, this was the start of a great journey towards better mental health and well-being.
What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?
The first step I took to overcome my struggle was talking openly and honestly about it with other people. It’s important to feel comfortable enough to open up, so for me, that meant creating a safe space with friends and family who were willing to listen without judgment. This was essential in helping me find my way out of the difficult place I found myself in.
One of the biggest steps that I took during this journey was seeking professional help. Finding a therapist who could listen to me and help guide me through my emotions was very beneficial.
We worked together on creating strategies for dealing with difficult situations by developing coping skills, setting achievable goals, tracking progress, and learning how to be kinder to me.
We also used different techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to challenge negative thought patterns. This professional help allowed me to gain a better understanding of myself and my mental health, which was an important step in my journey to recovery.
We also tried to find a pattern to my emotions and behavior in order to learn more about the root of my issues. We looked at how stress, anxiety, and even past experiences had an impact on my mental health and how I was able to address them in a healthier way.
By exploring these issues together, we were able to create strategies that allowed me to take control of my life again and start feeling better.
Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?
Yes, I have shared my mental health journey with people in my life. Initially, I found it difficult to open up about my struggles due to feeling a sense of shame and embarrassment.
However, I eventually felt comfortable enough to talk to my closest friends and family about what I was going through. My friends were incredibly understanding and supportive, offering me their advice, time, and resources to help me in any way that they could.
Furthermore, my parents provided unconditional love and empathy during this difficult period in my life. They allowed me to take the time I needed to process everything without being judgemental.
I also found it helpful to talk to a professional therapist about my struggles, as they were able to provide me with the tools and strategies I needed to cope with difficult emotions. They created a safe space for me to openly discuss my feelings without feeling embarrassed or judged.
Although I have felt comfortable sharing my mental health journey with those closest to me, I do find it hard to talk openly and honestly about my struggles with people that I don’t know well.
This often comes from a fear of judgment or being misunderstood. As such, I usually prefer not to discuss these topics with acquaintances or strangers for the time being.
If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?
My advice for someone struggling with their mental health is to seek help as soon as possible. This could be from friends, family members, a therapist, or other mental health professionals.
Do not hesitate to reach out and ask for support – many people want nothing more than to help those in need. You may think that you have to go through this difficult time alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Once you start talking about your issues, it can be incredibly liberating and provide a sense of relief. Don’t underestimate the power of being open and honest – many people will find comfort in knowing that they are not alone. Working with professionals can help you understand yourself better and create a plan to improve your mental health.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?
- “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by David D. Burns: This book helped me to understand the various aspects of mental health and how different treatments can be used to improve overall well-being. It was very informative and provided a great overview of the field of mental health.
- “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne: This book was incredibly helpful in helping me to identify my anxiety triggers and learn new strategies for managing them. It gave me a better understanding of how to approach my own anxieties and taught me practical methods for managing them.
Where can we go to learn more about you?
You can read more about me on my website.
💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I've condensed the information of 100's of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇
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