Hello! Who are you?
My name is Jessica Clark, and I currently reside in Nebraska. In terms of employment, I am self-employed as a blogger and virtual assistant. It allows me the flexibility to pursue my passions while working from home.
In my personal life, I am happily married and share my home with two adorable dogs and my amazing 11-year-old son. They bring so much joy and love into our lives.
Speaking of passions, I have several! I have a deep passion for singing, and I enjoy expressing myself through music. Additionally, I find great satisfaction in crocheting, as it allows me to be creative and create beautiful items.
True crime is also a fascination of mine, and I often find myself engrossed in reading or watching documentaries on the subject. Lastly, blogging is a significant part of my life, and I love sharing my thoughts and experiences with others.
Overall, I consider myself to be happy. I am grateful for the fulfilling relationships in my life, my engaging hobbies, and the opportunities that self-employment brings. It's important to find joy in the little things and pursue the activities that bring us fulfillment.
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What is your struggle and when did it start?
I have a personal struggle with depression and anxiety. These conditions have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The symptoms I experience include feeling low, frozen, and struggling with additional symptoms similar to ADHD. I also occasionally have panic attacks, which can be quite overwhelming.
Reflecting on the origins of my struggles, I believe they began during my childhood. I attribute the initial onset to the experience of childhood trauma. As I grew older, my anxiety and worry started as mild, but over time, they developed into more intense panic and depression during my teenage years.
The impact of my struggle varies but, unfortunately, it affects me on a weekly, if not daily, basis. It is an ongoing challenge that requires attention and self-care. Despite these difficulties, I am committed to finding healthy coping mechanisms and seeking support to manage and navigate these challenges.
In sharing my experiences, I hope to raise awareness about mental health struggles and help others who may be going through similar situations. It is essential to create a supportive and empathetic environment where individuals can openly discuss their struggles and find the help they need.
How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?
This ongoing battle with depression and anxiety has significantly affected my overall well-being and made it challenging to experience consistent happiness. There have been numerous times throughout my life where finding happiness has been a real struggle.
As for those around me, it has been evident to most people in my life that I am dealing with something. I have always tried to be honest about my struggles and open up about my feelings.
However, there have been instances when I've tried to hide it, not wanting to burden others with my difficulties. It can be a delicate balance between maintaining a positive façade and being authentic with my emotions.
Navigating this struggle has taught me the importance of finding a support system that understands and accepts me, regardless of my ups and downs. Opening up to others and seeking help has played a significant role in my journey towards finding happiness.
It's essential to create an environment where individuals can share their struggles without fear of judgment, fostering empathy and understanding. Through self-reflection and support, I continue to work towards achieving a greater sense of happiness and well-being in my life.
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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?
Looking back, I vividly remember a significant moment just a few months ago when I felt a positive change occurring within me. At that time, my anxiety was progressively worsening, prompting me to seek help from my doctor. After being off an SSRI medication that I had taken for a decade, I decided to discuss the possibility of going back on it.
My doctor agreed it was a safe option. However, shortly after taking it, I experienced frightening side effects that led me to the emergency room. This incident triggered a spiral of panic, and I reached a point where I felt like I had hit rock bottom.
During the weeks I spent recovering and confined to my bed, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I delved deep into research, exploring every possible avenue to find a way to alleviate my anxiety.
It was during this period that I came across the Acceptance Method, Claire Weekes, and a book called "Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks" by Barry McDonagh. These resources provided valuable insights and techniques that resonated with me.
Considering the duration of my struggle, anxiety, and depression have been constants in my life. Over the years, I had tried numerous medications and visited countless therapists, but nothing seemed to offer lasting relief.
This transformative journey, where my own proactive actions intersected with new knowledge and strategies, has been instrumental in the positive changes I've experienced.
While it's difficult to quantify the exact percentages, I believe the combination of circumstances and my own efforts played significant roles in turning the tide and bringing about this encouraging shift in my mental well-being.
What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?
When it comes to overcoming a similar struggle with debilitating anxiety and depression, I have a few recommendations based on my personal experience. First and foremost, I cannot emphasize enough how much the book "DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks" helped me on my journey.
I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone facing these challenges. The book is easily accessible, often available for free or at a low cost on platforms like Amazon. For those who prefer audio, there is also an audiobook version available.
Additionally, the book provides access to a free app and supportive Facebook groups, which offer valuable resources and a sense of community.
Another essential step is finding a therapist who specializes in the specific help you are seeking. I found the Psychology Today website to be an excellent resource for this purpose. It allows you to search for therapists in your local area or even find professionals who offer online therapy through telehealth.
Finding the right therapist who understands your struggles and can provide guidance and support is invaluable on the path to recovery.
Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?
When it comes to discussing my struggles, I find great comfort in talking with my family. My mom and sister, who have experienced similar challenges, truly understand what I'm going through and can empathize with my feelings. Their support and understanding create a safe space where I can openly share my thoughts and emotions.
However, I have encountered difficulties in finding friends who fully comprehend mental health issues. While I do have one good friend, it's challenging to discuss my struggles with her because she doesn't truly understand what I'm experiencing. When I have tried to open up, she tends to ignore or dismiss my concerns, which can be disheartening.
On the other hand, there are individuals with whom I don't feel comfortable discussing my struggles. This includes those who have never experienced mental health issues themselves or lack an understanding of them.
I've noticed that when people lack knowledge about mental health, they can be judgmental and suggest that I should simply "get over it." It's disheartening to encounter such responses because mental health issues are often invisible, and the lack of understanding can be isolating.
Sharing my mental health struggles openly with someone is often a challenging task. I tend to refrain from discussing my difficulties with individuals who I believe wouldn't comprehend them, as it can be an unproductive and disheartening experience.
It's crucial to find a supportive network that understands and accepts mental health struggles, providing a nurturing environment for open and empathetic conversations.
If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?
Looking back on my mental health journey, there are several things I wish I had known earlier. First and foremost, I wish I had started my healing process at a much younger age. Growing up, I lacked the proper resources and support to address my mental health concerns.
If I had known about the available resources and sought help earlier, I believe my journey would have been smoother.
Additionally, I now realize the importance of carefully vetting and finding the right therapist. In the past, I may have not been as discerning in my selection process and may have switched therapists too quickly.
I have come to understand the significance of establishing a strong therapeutic relationship and sticking with it for an extended period of time. Building trust and continuity with a therapist can provide the foundation for more effective treatment and long-term progress.
Furthermore, I have learned the significant impact that diet and exercise can have on mental health. Incorporating a healthy diet and an active lifestyle has made a remarkable difference in my overall well-being.
It has complemented the strategies I have learned from resources like DARE and the guidance of my therapist, contributing to my improved state and instilling a sense of optimism for a happier future.
In summary, I wish I had initiated my mental health healing journey earlier in life, sought out the right therapist more deliberately, and recognized the value of a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Armed with these newfound understandings and the combination of DARE, a supportive therapist, a healthy lifestyle, and a positive outlook, I am feeling significantly better and more hopeful for the future.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?
- DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Barry McDonagh. This book has been transformative in helping me understand that anxiety doesn't have to control my life. It has taught me techniques to face and overcome my fears, enabling me to engage in activities I used to avoid. The book has empowered me to no longer fear anxiety but instead embrace it as a natural part of life.
- Sad to Savage Podcast by Shelby Sacco. This podcast has provided me with valuable life hacks to lift myself out of negative moods and cultivate a more positive outlook. Listening to the podcast, I have learned how to find joy in the ordinary moments of life and view them through a lens of romanticism. It has been a source of motivation and encouragement, reminding me that life can be filled with beauty and purpose.
- How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by KC Davis LPC. This book has been invaluable in helping me combat the overwhelming feelings that often accompany my depression and ADHD symptoms. It has provided practical strategies to create a more organized and comfortable living environment, allowing me to feel at ease in my home without the burden of never-ending to-do lists.
These resources have played a vital role in my journey toward better mental health. They have equipped me with tools, insights, and inspiration to navigate my struggles and embrace a more fulfilling and balanced life.
Where can we go to learn more about you?
I do not really talk about my mental health on social media but I own a website called The Gluten Free Supper. I started this blog in order to share my favorite EASY gluten-free recipes with dairy-free options!
💡 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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