Well, hello there, you! My name is Michael J., and I want to share my story with you.
Depression and Anxiety are a part of me.
Before getting started, I would first like to address a simple truth. One that may not be evident or obvious given my current media blitz. Not to mention the fact that I have wholly exposed myself before the world.
Indeed, I have shared my story. And, I will continue to share – even more, intimate and at times, embarrassing details about my life. My experiences and the inner workings of my mind. A mind of someone who suffers from depression and severe anxiety. That simple truth is: I am not particularly fond of, nor am I comfortable with, attention. I would much rather blend into the crowd.
How depression and anxiety have affected me
Not long ago, I could not have imagined sharing anything about myself. I never dreamt of exposing my struggle with mental illness. And I would have never imagined discussing the related crap that accompanies it. Being open about my battle is neither comfortable nor fun. Instead, it is a necessity that has been born out of my history, my reality, and my current life situation.
My struggle has caused me to have a sense of social obligation.
I have a sense of social obligation to share my story and lifelong struggle. I am hoping that it might provide even a piece to someone else’s complicated life puzzle.
God knows that music and writing have been my life anchors for as long as I can remember. Many times a single line from a song has provided me with the right “thought molecule” needed at that very moment.
Words and music have power. I intend to leverage that power.
Why am I exposing my battle with anxiety and depression
So why am I doing this? Good question. Many people tell me that I’m so brave for doing what I’m doing. I don’t think so. Or, if it is brave, then it is bravery born out of desperation.
Depression and anxiety are part of every moment of my existence. And have been since my earliest memory. Every. Single. Moment.
It sucks! Further, I am hoping that writing will provide me with some emotional catharsis. And provide a source of inspiration, light, laughter, or tears, especially to those that may be still unable to reach out. I sure hope I am successful. Because my previous impervious coping mechanisms have crumbled and fallen by the wayside, I am indeed raw and exposed before my peers.
My educational and pertinent background
I have a Ph.D. in Educational & Behavioral Statistics. Using this knowledge and experience, I intend to bring to life depression and anxiety. This will occur through a narrative research process, which will illustrate the many complexities and many dimensions of depression and anxiety. This is not an easy task. Medicine and psychology have tried throughout history to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, most still fail to understand these prevalent mental disorders.
My goal is to help others understand depression and anxiety
I want to help people who don’t know what it’s like to understand what it’s like to be affected by depression and anxiety. This the first step to
- to improving empathy toward the depressed and anxious;
- understanding those battling depression and anxiety; and,
- help others to get a correct diagnosis, which can be a frustrating and elusive process.
My reasons for sharing my story
I intend to provide solace to others who experience similar feelings, sensations, pains, fears, and worries. Hoping that they may find some relief and comfort, as I have seen in others.
They are not alone. You are not alone. I am not alone.
But, not being alone may have little impact on those suffering from anxiety or depression. It is complicated.
As a police officer – one of my several careers to date – I saw the end game of depression more times than I can remember. I have raced to a call only to find someone hanging lifeless from rope or wire or with a bullet in their head.
It’s not a joke or some marketing or attention-seeking ploy. It’s weird, complicated, and to others, it makes no sense. It can be debilitating and life-threatening.
That being said, and not to be limited only to the dark and scary, there are plenty of aspects of depression and anxiety that are, at times, mundane, entertaining, and dare I say even comically hilarious (usually in retrospect!). I mean, why should the dark and scary crap get all the attention?
To summarize, depression and anxiety suck.
So, by sharing my unfiltered experiences and interpretations, I intend to:
- shed some light into the deep crevices of my brain;
- illustrate how it works; and,
- provide some broader academically-driven context or framework for understanding.
It would be wonderful if my insight provided healthcare practitioners with a better understanding of the sometimes vague and often uncontrollable, elusive, and even silly symptoms associated with anxiety disorder and depression. So, that, through this understanding, they may somehow “know” the experience better and thus be able to identify better, label, and treat those who suffer.
There is an epidemic of anxiety and depression, and it no less damaging or life-threatening than any other previous epidemic or pandemic. Unfortunately, the symptoms of this epidemic can be invisible and, and the effects can have long-term consequences, which frequently impact every aspect of a person’s well-being – both perceived and real. I hope you will join me and walk with me on this journey, which will be full of writing, music, performing, talking, sharing, understanding, and, most importantly, helping.
Michael J. Nanna, Ph.D.