I want to take a moment to thank NAMI Hunterdon President, Veteran, and Radio Host, Larry Cartwright for his kind invitation to be on the NAMI Hunterdon County, NJ Radio Program today. My experience on "Mental Health Matters" was positive and important. Stepping beyond the stigma of mental health is important not just for me personally, but for those who feel trapped by their mental illness (whatever that mental illness may be). Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are just a few of those illnesses.
I believe that the presence of a stigma blocks us from getting help for fear of shame, judgment, and humiliation. I was proud to be able to give a voice to this issue today. There was certainly so much more that could be discussed, as you know from reading my blog posts. There is a lot to talk about, but I appreciate the time I was given and hope that the message was clear and that my voice made a different for someone who may have been listening.
Thanks for tuning in and if you haven't listened yet, the link is on my previous post and the recording will be available after 2:00pm tomorrow.
On the radio show I mentioned the importance of meditation being used to bring us into the present moment. I want to elaborate on this for a moment because you may not understand why that is important. PTSD traps us in our past and it cuts off our future. We can't see what's happening right now because our brain is caught in a different time. When you cultivate the practice of present moment awareness you allow you body to recognize the safety it is currently in. We can't outrun the past and in all reality, it doesn't really exist does it? The past is gone and the future hasn't happened yet. So the idea that depression is a worry of the past and anxiety is a worry of the future is very important. How do we feel in the present moment? Do we even know how we feel right now? If the answer is no, that's something that meditation helps us to cultivate. It helps the brain to settle down into the "rest and digest" mode that I mentioned on the show.
Meditation certainly is accessible to all people and I believe that it is possible for all people because we are all equipped with an autonomic nervous system made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The autonomic nervous stem helps control systemic functions in the body. The Sympathetic nervous system which is part of the autonomic nervous system, is responsible for fight or flight. The parasympathetic nervous system, also part of the autonomic nervous system, is responsible for rest and digest. We are all equipped in both ways, but which one is being consistently activated? Which pathway have we paved most frequently and repetitiously? I think we all know the answer to that, so using your skills of focus as a police officer, firefighter, or military member you can cultivate focusing yourself in the other direction. All you have to do is know your target and desired end result. The mission of reclaiming your own brain can be accomplished. The pathways exist, we just have to cultivate and pave them. Imagine that for all the suffering we've experienced, the tools were always in us, we just didn't know it.
Your powerful mind that was trained as a warrior, a defender, and a fighter has the same power to rest, digest, rejuvenate, and restore. Just some food for thought......