What’s The Haps?

Let’s get into present day happenings with my journey. I have been seeing a therapist for two years now. Treatment has consisted primarily of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). What’s that you ask? To put it simply, it focuses on practices to help you change your thinking and behavior, as well as giving you guidance on managing your emotions. From breathing techniques, to exercises, and “homework” assignments, this type of therapy takes work!

CBT has certainly been beneficial to me. The exercises and tips have provided help in managing my anxiety and depression, but I still struggle and get to points where everything I have learned, gets “forgotten” and I “fall”; it’s a vicious cycle. Anxiety is tough and takes me out sometimes. The overwhelming state of worry takes over and I become stuck. I get bogged down, my focus gets thrown off, and I become avoidant of responsibilities. It also gets to the point where the mental anguish manifests in physical form as consistent tightness in my chest (like an elephant is sitting on me), headaches, shortness of breath, and sweating (even if I’m sitting still, not doing a thing). All of this ultimately leads to me feeling down, depressed, and even upset with myself for letting things get to this point. From the outside, most folks would not know, I still appear as “cool, calm, collected” Gilly on the outside, while literally dreading life on the inside; it’s terrible.

On 11/23/2019, I had a therapy session. During this session, we discussed the possibility of adding medication to my treatment plan, in addition to the CBT techniques. The suggestion itself made my anxiety peak, as I never thought medication would be something I’d need. However, when you are tired of the norm and really want to see some different results, it makes you consider the possibilities. I left the session with a referral to a psychiatrist and a lot to consider about what was next in my mental health process.

Hate to do it, but I’m going to hit you all with the “to be continued” line. Be sure to check back!

Nice To Meet You

Oh, hey! Come on in! Get comfortable while we get uncomfortable going through this journey called life. I’m Gil a.k.a. Gilly, a 38 year old black man, born, raised, and still living in the Chicago area. I love to travel, I’m a foodie, I enjoy visual and performing arts, lover of music and movies, a personal cheerleader to friends and family, and a financial well-being advocate. I do all these things and more, while living with and managing anxiety and depression.

Why do this? A few reasons:

  • Mental health is a growing concern for black men. We’re often told to sweep our feelings and emotions under the rug, while putting on a strong front, though we’re dying inside
  • Sharing my story will let others know they are not alone. So many people experience these conditions, but are afraid to speak up and feel alone in the journey; they are not
  • Additionally, writing will help me as well. It allows me to think things through, get the thoughts out, and provides relief

I will try to post once a week. Posts will vary in length depending on the topic. I will share personal stories, achievements, and disappointments. I hope this connects with many people, but like I noted above, especially my fellow black men. Please feel free to comment on my posts (keep it cute though lol) and be sure to share with others who may benefit from reading this.

As Tisha Campbell sang, “It’s the journey”… Let’s push though!!