319: Three Tools I Use to Manage Anxiety and Depression

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This episode is a special and personal one–it is all about my mental health journey: my experiences with depression and anxiety and what has helped me over the past 15 years or so.

This conversation is actually a recording of an Instagram Live I did back in September with two of my friends who are powerful mental health advocates, Cheryl Cardall and Ember Pilati. 

By way of introduction, Cheryl Cardall is a parent coach and a mom of five children, ages 13-24, several of whom have had significant mental health challenges which lead to her interest in mental health advocacy work. She has become a fearless champion of mothers who have kids who struggle with mental health or who struggle with mental health themselves (or both!).

Ember Pilati is a life and relationships coach, a podcaster, and a mother of five whose mission is to help women flourish in their lives and relationships. She knows personally the toll that mental health challenges can have on a family, but she believes that with the right tools and support you can “Emerge Empowered” from even the toughest battles. 

Cheryl and Ember partnered with NAMI (the National Alliance of Mental Illness) to plan the Fight Like a Mother conference, which happened in Utah in September. This in-person event featured 10 world-class speakers on mental health and brought together individuals who care about the emotional wellbeing of families. 

This Instagram Live that I did with them was part of their promotion for the Fight Like a Mother Conference. They reached out to online educators who they know care about mental health (that’s me!) and invited us to share a bit about our experiences and insights. I’m so grateful they are allowing me to re-air that conversation here on my podcast so all of you can listen as well.  I wanted to add that everything I share here is my personal experience; you may have a very different experience with mental health and very different opinions about what works and what has helped you, and that is wonderful. I’m sharing my takeaways in hopes that they might encourage someone who is in a difficult place and is not sure where to start. There is hope, my friends, no matter where you are mentally, and I hope this conversation will communicate that message. 

 

3 Tools (Takeaways) I use to Manage Anxiety and Depression: 

  1. Therapy. Even if you have supportive family and friends to talk to about your struggles, a professionally trained counselor might be helpful to you because they are removed from your situation and they can teach you therapeutic tools and strategies that your family members might not know. To find a good therapist, you can utilize an online service like BetterHelp, or if you prefer something in person, you can ask friends, family, religious leaders, and doctors for recommendations OR just start Googling or searching on the website Psychology Today. Don’t get discouraged if your first few appointments feel awkward. Give it time, but not too much time… if your therapist still doesn’t feel like a good match after about 3-4 visits, try someone else. It’s worth it to be persistent until you find the person who can really support you.
  2. Medication. Medicine doesn’t take away all of my problems or hard emotions–but it has definitely helped me get to an emotional baseline where I feel more like myself again. It has gotten me out of a deep pit of despair, so I can even access the tools I’ve learned in counseling. I try to do all of the other things too–exercise, prayer, journaling, quality nourishment, neurofeedback, self-care, and of course therapy–but medicine has been a foundational part of my wholistic mental health journey.
  3. Slowing down. Even when I am going to therapy and taking my medication, when my life gets too frantic, my mental health suffers. This is a very obvious pattern in my life, so even though I love to be productive, I often have to remind myself that it is vital to my emotional wellbeing that I allow myself time and space to just slow down and BE. I’m giving you permission to do the same, if this is something you struggle with, because being present IS being productive.

 

>>>Are  these tools ones you use?? What other tools help you manage your anxiety and/or depression? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Mentioned in the Episode

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