From Darkness to Light
Advocating for mental health has always been important to me. When I was a practicing music therapist my specialization was in mental health. I think that everyone should spend at least a few months working with a counselor to help them unpack some of their past experiences. So, with that being said I am going to be open about some of my mental health issues.
Over the past few years I have been experiencing depression. This was brought on by the loss of my grandparents (who raised me) and dealing with some trauma that I experienced in college. I have been working with a counselor over the past year and thanks to his help I am coping with it in a much healthier way.
My depression manifests in a couple of different ways, which generally revolve around self-esteem. I have a tendency to be very hard on myself and get stuck in loops of negative thinking. This leads to me getting into bouts of writer’s block, which feeds back into my self-esteem and negative thoughts because I’m unable to produce the work I know I should be able to. Which feeds into the cycle and keeps it going.
Another way that my depression seems to appear is in the form of social anxiety. For those of you who know me this may be hard to believe, because generally I am a very social person. When I get into cycles of negative thoughts, I feel that people don’t want to be around me and I use little things to justify this line of thinking. Then, instead of trying to reach out, I isolate myself and that begins another feedback cycle.
After working with my counselor for a while, I am beginning to learn how to identify when theses cycles start and to learn how to break them. One of the things that I use to help me through these dark periods is meditation. There are several types of meditation exercises that I use to help me through this process, one of which is pairing meditation with positive affirmations and mantras. A harder technique is that I have been working on is actually letting the thoughts appear and then letting them go. This practice is based in Zen and one that I have the most trouble with, but also have been getting better results from.
I hope this sheds some light on my own struggles, and if you are struggling with depression that reading this helps you not feel so alone. This blog has been part of my recovery effort and I’m hoping it will help start a dialog about mental health with those in my life who are interested. For so long our society has pushed the health of our minds aside. After the pandemic there seems to have been an uptick in people searching for mental health professionals. If you feel like you need to talk to someone I encourage you to find a counselor or other mental health specialist to talk to. Sometimes the road to recovery takes a little bit of courage. I have provided some links below for mental health services.
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Jeremiah is a composer and piano teacher in Oklahoma City Area.