We’ve all heard about lifting the stigma of mental health, but the anxious and depressed tend to hide in the shadows. It’s going to take more than politically correct slogans to get us to stand up and let you know how crappy we feel about ourselves. Until we learn to do it ourselves, there’s theAnxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)shining light into our shadows.
I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Anxiety and Depression Conference as a journalist. The conference would make any anxious, depressed or even mildly overwhelmed American breathe easier. It offered professionals over 45 workshops, 65 symposiums, 13 master sessions, and countless sub-meetings, special events, and network gatherings to hone in on their skills. The theme for this year: Integrating Research, Practice and Community. When great minds come together to share professional insight, the community benefits – and this specific community includes 40 million Americans struggling with different aspects of anxiety and depression.
More than anything, the anxious and depressed need to know they’re not alone with intrusive negative self-talk. The ADAA Conference sends out a message of genuine concern with their workshops: maladaptive shame, working with parents of anxious children, anxiety and depression in the LGBT community, preventing maladjustment in undergrads, postpartum anxiety, identifying mechanisms underlying self injury and suicide, interventions with trauma exposed patients, PTSD, consequences of child abuse… the list goes on and is all inclusive.
And don’t think we don’t know what the ADAA is doing. We may not talk to our best friend about our fears, our spouse about our worries, or our doctor about eroded self-esteem. We do, however, google. Safely, quietly, we spend hours becoming an expert on anxiety and depression only to convince ourselves we don’t have a problem so we don’t have to mention it to anyone. Some of us effectively project our anxiety and depression on our neighbor, sister, or co-worker. It’s much easier to be the expert on someone else’s neurosis.
I found the Anxiety and Depression Association of America on an Internet Search and learned that a lot of people are trying to help us re-lace the bootstraps that anxiety and depression unraveled. TheADAA is committed to helping with those laces so that we can get up out of the shadows and stop feeling so... well, anxious. So go ahead and check out the ADAA website in the safety of your own home. Great people are waiting to shed some light onto your concerns.