Protecting & Defending All Aspects of Self

Everyone’s freaking out over something right now. Some over COVID-19. Others over how society is reacting to the virus. Others still are worried about the long term economic impacts, or the second and third order effects of city-wide shutdowns.

There’s plenty of anxiety to go around. That’s why, especially now, we’re as actively aware of our mental and emotional safety/wellbeing as we our of our physical.

A couple years ago, I found myself in this perpetual state of “blah”. On paper everything was going great, but there was this internal weight that just kept dragging me down. I was constantly fatigued, found myself regularly experiencing random and inexplicable feelings of dread. I wouldn’t even partake in things that I normally enjoyed. I kept trying to shake it off. Telling myself that I was somehow being weak, because I had no good reason for these feelings. Despite my efforts, I still regularly found myself just wanting to curl up on the sofa with my dog and wait for the day to be over.

I finally reached out to a friend of mine who is a mental health professional, and we talked. Our conversation resulted in him making me aware of something called dysthymia. Paraphrasing, it was suggested that the dysthymia could be environmental. He was right. Soon after I’d changed jobs and found myself in a much better headspace.

In the defensive community, you hear Gavin de Becker’s book The Gift of Fear touted quite a bit. The focal point of that work is “listen to what your brain/body/instincts are trying to tell you”. Survival instincts are hardwired for a reason. Well guess what, same applies to the mental/emotional side of things as well. Be aware of it. Control and manage it, but don’t suppress it.

The point of this post, as with most that I share, is to simply present my experiences as a learning opportunity. If it resonates with you, great. Hang in there, and take care of yourselves on all fronts.

*I feel like this goes without saying, but I’m in no way a mental health professional, and none of this should be construed as medical advice. If you feel like you have issues that require that attention, please consult a professional*

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