We have listed these two conditions together. Here’s why…
It is not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice-versa. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2020), nearly half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. It causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and home.
Anxiety is the mind and body’s reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. It’s the sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread you feel before a significant event. A certain level of anxiety helps us stay alert and aware. However, for those suffering from an anxiety disorder, it feels far from ordinary. It can be completely debilitating.
For military and first responders…
… our relationship with anxiety and depression can be complicated.
Unlike others, we enter extraordinary events on a near-daily basis…
Gunshots ring out, a house is ablaze, a school shooting is taking place. People around us are panicking, running for their lives, or crying hysterically.
They have lost their ability to think logically and have reverted to a pure survival mentality.
For us, that’s when we go to work.
We feel the rush of adrenaline and the natural spikes of fear and anxiety rise.
We take a few deep breaths. Then, we suppress our emotions choosing instead to lean on our training and experience to tackle the problem at hand.
We use this skill over and over to save the lives of others and ourselves.
But… as with all things, there is a darker side to this skill.
Our minds are good at keeping us alive…
… but they don’t always know when to stop.
The issue with suppressing emotions is that we don’t just delete the bad ones. We also start suppressing the good ones.
Over time we stop trusting our emotional response to situations and choose instead to focus on the logic of a situation. This tactic allows us to navigate high-threat situations more efficiently.
Still, we don’t make any friends while we do it. In this mode, we are cold and calculating, weighing factors, and dismissing the waste. We quickly make decisions without consideration for the long-term impact on others because we are dealing with an immediate threat now.
In short, this is good for dealing with a house fire, but toxic when dealing with those we love. And so… the better we get at our job, the worse we get at life.
This tactic leads to an increase in a variety of problems.
We lose interest in the things we used to enjoy.
We lose empathy in the struggles that our loved ones face daily. Our significant others or our children try to share their problems with us. But they seem trivial, and we find that we no longer care how they feel.
Our cold behavior creates more issues with those closest to us, which leads to constant fights, arguments, or, even worse, broken homes.
Our frustration is replaced by sadness as we grow weary from the constant struggle both at home and at work. Our negative behavior leads to outbursts of anger and aggression, which draw nothing but negative attention from our coworkers and family.
Once again, the frustration is replaced by sadness, and we find ourselves caught in a horrible loop.
So, now what?
We come to a decision point.
We can choose to continue to walk this path until the damage from our behavior destroys our personal and professional lives. Many choose this path because they don’t feel like they have any other options. Sadly, many who do choose this path end up, ultimately, deciding to take their own life.
But what if I told you there was another path?
What if I told you that you could be good at your job and happy in your life? The goal is not losing your ability to suppress emotion, but to change your relationship with it.
Fortunately, depression and anxiety are treatable.
Our goal at Operation True North is to help you hone that skill as a tool. Not the only tool – just one of many to use in your life. Our goal is to turn it on when you need it, and then turn it back off when you are with your family.
The process starts with making a choice. You are here because you have noticed that what you are currently doing isn’t working.
The struggle is getting harder, and you’re looking for a way to tackle it.
You’re at that decision point where you decide to continue the path you are own or decide to change it up.
Don’t suffer any longer. This is what we’re here for!
There is a path that ends with you becoming more resilient, more productive at work, and better in your personal life. We can help, but in the end, the choice is yours.
Ready to get started to a new path to you 2.0? Call us today: (720) 379-3759.