By Scott Darren
First I would like to thank the Brandon Marshall Foundation for letting me write about my experience, telling my ever evolving story and for creating a safe and honest space for people to open up about feelings, thoughts, and emotions that are labeled and stigmatized by society.
Furthermore, I don’t consider this “ my story,” I consider this OUR STORY, whether you have been “labeled” with a “ disorder or disease,” SUFFERING knows no race or religion or sexuality.
Suffering and /or struggling with life’s daily setbacks is something we all deal with on a daily basis sometimes minute by minute basis, some more then others for various reasons.
And now without further adieu I present to you “ my story.”
I had always been an anxious child growing up.
I spent everyday washing my hands, closing all the doors in my house just to deal with all my thoughts and feelings.
Growing up, I had always seemed to deal with feelings of anxiety and depression. Through middle to high school, I had ALWAYS learned to cope with these issues quite successfully via the arts, writing, comedy, and my love of film.
However, this time it was different and over the past two years I would experience an emotional roller coaster unlike anything I have ever experienced.
I lost my job, and I slowly had my friendships unravel, but luckily I found some solace in my performing and writing comedy.
But sadly, performing comedy, art, and writing weren’t enough. This time was different, and the next two years marked a downturn that to be honest seemed like it would never end until very recently.
Over the course of a couple of months, my cousin was diagnosed with cancer, my grandma had been diagnosed Alzheimer’s. All of a sudden my anxiety came back from feelings of anxiety to thoughts of panic to engaging in obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior all to deal or avoid dealing with the stress in my life.
But this wasn’t the end of it, even though I went to therapy, I found no relief.
I wasn’t going out as much, I felt depressed, and anxious and had more difficulty regulating my emotions. I started becoming more black and white in how I dealt with my family, friends, and just life in general.
“ I have realized that words such as “ I can’t” “ I am not good enough,” can hold us back and keep us in “personal prisons” believing in ourselves that our life has to be and will end up a certain way.”
I have made an ongoing effort to create my own “story” of how I would like to live my life. When I am in great moments of suffering I try to make a committed action to change my behavior and take and carry with me the energy from my feelings of sadness, pain, happiness and channel them into a values based behavioral action that pushes me further into the direction of how I want to live my life and further distances me but allows me to live with the thoughts and feelings that are and were holding me back.
I have fully engaged in my values over the past months and can’t wait to engage further. I have lost over lost 30 pounds not because I was dieting, or trying to be thin but because I learned to simply notice my thoughts and feelings.
I have not cut in the longest amount of time because I have engaged in catching my thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
More importantly, I have started to interact with life again and have mapped out a life worth living for that will include more loss and sadness but this time I will know what to do when those moments arrive.
I will notice, sit, watch, observe without judgment but with selfcompassion for myself and others and commit to leading a life I want to live each moment by moment at a time.
Scott Darren is an NY based compassion advocate. He seeks to change the world and how we treat each other via kindness, love, compassion and empathy.