Are you overwhelmed with anxiety or feelings of depression? Do you find yourself bracing or protecting against difficult emotions? Have you wondered why you freeze up or burst out in anger or feel easily threatened or just want to isolate and be alone? Do you feel like a shell of who you once were? If any of this resonates with you, you’re not alone. There is hope.
The U.S. Census Bureau released a study in 2020 that revealed 42% of 18 to 29 year olds had symptoms of anxiety and 36% had symptoms of depression. Worldwide, 25% of the population suffers from mental health disorders, but only 1 in 3 affected adults receives treatment. A 2017 study showed that 8.1% of individuals have a co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder. They also found that those with any mental illness are significantly more likely to smoke (cigarettes or marajuana), use illicit drugs, abuse opioids and pain relievers, and binge drink than people without mental illness. One in 10 young adults was reported to have a substance use disorder in the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The issues are real, and they are staring us in the face. What do we do? It’s common for people to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn for help to heal from trauma, mental illness, and substance use disorders. But there is hope.
Emotions foster connection, joining past and present, heart and mind, ourselves and a higher power. Vulnerability is critical to feeling emotions. And therein lies the great struggle. Everyone has been hurt in some way, and on some level it makes sense to do whatever we need to in order to protect ourselves from being hurt again. So we begin to see emotions as an enemy. We don't want to connect, because we could get hurt again - and we don’t want to hurt.
In the immediate need to escape, survive, or control the hurt, we break connections. The heart and brain stop communicating. Spiritual receptors feel dull. Old mistakes crop up again, because the connection to the past is lost, along with the ability to learn from the past.
Disconnection on all these levels creates barriers to love. Joy becomes a shadow of what it was. Sadness becomes a heavy, debilitating chain. Anger turns into a wild beast. Suddenly life is full of problems - not from the actual event that caused the initial hurt, but because of the loss of connection. Unhealthy coping mechanisms enter the scene… anything from poor sleeping habits to substance abuse. Life can continue to spiral downward without help from an outside source.
There’s no benefit in staying in that place where we hardly recognize ourselves, where we are so disconnected that we can’t feel or understand what happened to us. Healing happens when connections are made. Growth occurs. Insights deepen. Relationships flourish. This does not mean sadness goes away. There will still be ups and downs, but emotions will no longer need to be the enemy. Connect with a mental health practitioner, with a support group, or just with friends - it all matters. Start with being aware of where you are now; connect with the reality of your emotions and your state of being. Reach out. Choose a path of healing. There is hope. You can find an even brighter You than you’ve ever been before.
Intensive programming at Hope Healing and Recovery is designed to nurture the physical, psychological, social, educational, and spiritual needs of young adults and their families - like you. Contact us for a free consultation.