Hello, this is Richard Jacobs, executive director of the Finding Genius Foundation, also host of the Finding Genius podcast. Another facet of what I learned about anxiety, depression and stress. So, I was thinking about my wife and my son and I was thinking on moral injury which I’ve covered on a previous podcast and I realized that depression, anxiety, PTSD is very episodic, people have panic attacks, it’s an event, people get depressed, it’s an event, it’s not necessarily I think for most folks, a constant. So, thank God, people are not constantly, for the most part, anxious, they are not constantly depressed to the same degree, they are not constantly suffering from PTSD and shell shock and freaking out. They have episodes but what I have realized is that every time you have an episode, it eats away another piece of you.
It weakens you, it debilitates you and it morally injures you because of what is going on and I figured this out first by imagining someone going through even one depressive or extremely stressful or problematic event a week. Over a year, that’s 52 times. So, I thought how would I feel if I had 52 really bad days in a year or let’s say it took 2 or 3 days. What if every week of my life, I suffer from depression or anxiety or PTSD and I just felt like crap and it was very hard to get myself out of this and I had to work my way out of it, I would probably feel very debilitated. I would start to feel maybe helpless and I can see why people that suffer from this stuff for a number of years, some end up killing themselves because they are just so drained and so beaten down and just beaten to a pulp mentally and emotionally.
I don’t mean to paint a very bleak picture of this but I paint the picture because I think it’s critically important for us to understand what people that are going through these things are going through. Again, they are slowly being eroded, their personality, their friendships, their mental state, their hope for the future, their happiness, their relationships, it’s all eroded every time they have yet another episode of whatever it is they have. So, if I can mitigate the seriousness of an episode, if we can take the knowledge of being down in the hole, 10 is the bottom of the hole, zero is at the surface. So, if someone is having one depressive or anxious or panicky or stressful attack a week and it’s a 10 for them, they are going to get debilitated really fast. I think they are going to be in a downward spiral really quickly.
What if we can help with various treatment modalities and information that person never gets to a 10 and they get to a 7 which is still not good but if you have one instant a week over a year and it’s a 7 instead of a 10, you are going to be far less damaged and I believe far more able to recover when you are able to do so. So, that’s the g0oal here is how can we mitigate these episodes. How can we make the hole less deep or not allow people to fall as deep into the hole. Another thing to do obviously would be to reduce the frequency or stop it completely which is a wonderful noble goal, I just so far don’t see it happening right off the bat. I certainly don’t see it with just taking a pill, I certainly don’t see it with maybe just a one pronged approach and that’s kind of what this research is showing me is that they are seeking to acquire a multi-pronged approach for someone to truly get on the path to healing and help themselves.
But again, along the way I realized that we have to act fast. You have to act fast, if you know someone or if you are that someone that is suffering this way. I feel for you, I think I understand more fully what you are going through and I want to help you but in the meantime, having that empathy, like I said, is a first good step. So, I hope this helps people listening. I welcome your feedback. Let me know if this strikes a chord with you or if you think I am off base. I think I am there though, unfortunately. I think I am seeing what goes on more and more when people have these episodes. So, that’s why we are doing this project.