Monday, August 01, 2005

Anxiety and Depression

I have suffered from anxiety and depression for years. There I said it.

I used to be terrified by my own thoughts and afraid that if any of my friends found out about what I had going on in my head, they would think that I was crazy and wouldn't like me anymore.

But I'm getting better now and I have several people to thank most recently the Midwest Center for Stress and Anxiety. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I don't remember when I really started having such anxious feelings, but thinking back on it, I certainly had them by the time I was finishing elementary school and making the big transition to middle school. I know, the doubters would say, "Of course you were anxious about going to a new school." But it wasn't just that. It didn't really go away once I got used to the school. I always felt that I could and should do better than I was doing. Some people would love to have that problem. It fueled my success all the way through graduate school but there were costs that I had to pay.

It was never a bigger problem than when I went to college. Another big transition that I seemed to handle well at first, but during the second half of my freshman year, I was a complete insomniac. I wouldn't sleep at all at night. I finally went to the health center to talk to a doctor and she told me that I was probably depressed. I couldn't believe it. Actually, I didn't want to believe it! It made me so upset, mainly because I had been in denial for so long.

I started medication and counseling and kept at it for a while unbeknownst to most of my best friends, because like I said, it was so very embarrassing. In fact, most of them who read this would probably have never suspected. It got so much better for me for so long. I got off the medication and then stopped the counseling and thought that I had solved my problem.

There were times in graduate school and then during my first real job that I had some bad days, but I always kept a positive attitude. I guess I was sort of denying a relapse though. I had learned a lot in counseling but I guess some of that was starting to fade away with time. But around that time, I started writing songs again and let me tell you, it was better than any other therapy. It was so very cathartic. And so I was okay again.

But then I moved to Nashville into more uncertainty. I was doing very well with school but then as it was winding down earlier this year, everything came right back like it had never gone away. The anxiety and depression came back no matter how hard I tried not to admit it. And then, my brother sent me a package containing materials from the Midwest Center's Attacking Anxiety and Depression program. I was skeptical, as anyone who is depressed might be, but upon the urging of many loved ones, I started the program.

That was ten weeks ago and I have to say that I have never felt better emotionally or physically. This is not some scam or self-help mumbo jumbo. This is for real. It is a fifteen week course that made me feel so optimistic and cleared my head after my very first CD and lesson in the workbook. It is a true testament to cognitive therapy. It is simply amazing.

And even though I still have five weeks to go, I know for sure that there will now never be any going back. And I really wanted to share this with anyone reading this who has ever felt that they were hopeless, helpless, obsessed with guilt, thinking that there was no good in the world, can't stop crying or worse, can't even shed a tear. So I am adding a link for the center to this blog and urge anyone who thinks it might be of use to them to give it a try. I'm not getting any money for referrals, I just know now that everyone can relate to these problems in some way and that they can be changed if you want to. Take care and know that there are millions of people who feel the same way as you. You can get better.


katielady said...

Wes, I had no idea. You are very good at masking this problem, as I had absolutely no clue and know that Joel had no idea, either. I am so glad you are better and thrilled that you found a place to help you. I just hope this doesn't change your song-writing....I could use another cd or 2.

Wes Raine said...

Don't worry Katie, I think there are still quite a few songs in me!

Anonymous said...

Great blog wes. I am glad to know more of us are bogging. I have a CBT blog for depressiona, anxiety, OCD. It's just started up and I would appreciate you having a look. We could start creating a network of mental health blogs. What you think?