by Geraldine Donaher

Geraldine Donaher blog postWe’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 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 anyone who is anxious, depressed, or even mildly overwhelmed breathe easier. It offered professionals more than 45 workshops, 65 symposiums, 13 master sessions, and countless sub-meetings, special events, and network gatherings to hone in on their skills. 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.

Anxious and Depressed…but Not Alone

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 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.

Committed to Helping

I found ADAA 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. ADAA 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 rest of the ADAA website in the safety of your own home. Great people are waiting to shed some light onto your concerns.

Geraldine Donaher is a journalist and novelist who lives in the Philadelphia area. Find out more on her website.