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Oct 11

Anonymous asked: <p>MJ, how would I go about becoming awesome and getting in to university when all i&#8217;ve been able to be good at for two years are panic attacks and depressed periods in bed even with pills and therapy?</p>

maureenjohnsonbooks:

Well, this is a pretty SERIOUS question, but there is no reason we must be GRIM in the answer, because here is the reality: many, many, many, many, MANY people go through periods of anxiety and depression. It’s almost an inevitability that someone you really admire has gone through this. Like, famous and stuff! So you should never think that this is going to limit your life or your future. These things are facets of life that are totally common, and they are just that—facets.

It sounds like you have already taken the first critically important step, which is getting help, since it sounds like you’ve had a rough time. Under no circumstances should you take what I say as any kind of a replacement for that kind of therapy. But I’ll tell you truth … I’ve had my own battles with the anxiety monster, and I know it sucks. The one thing I kept in mind while it was happening was that it was an OPPORTUNITY.

I know, you are thinking, “This is not an opportunity I want.” I hear you. But it is STILL an opportunity. It really is. Everything crap is an opportunity. Getting stuck in the rain and having to run carrying a huge box of explosives, for example, is an excellent opportunity to examine your life and your choices. Likewise, the suckmonster that is anxiety and depression is a chance to look around and think, what matters to me? What does this teach me about people? About myself?

Again, I realize that this sounds like the crappest mental exercise ever, but it actually does work. Another thing to bear in mind is that you are not alone. Whatever happens to you, know that it has happened to someone else. And that people come through things like this every day. There are ends to these things. And when you are on the other side of it, which you will be, you will understand people in a very deep and profound way. There are few more valuable qualities than empathy.

So here are some tips for RIGHT NOW. First, university. Forge on, research where you want to go, continue planning. Know that most universities have great facilities and counseling services, which will be close by! Also, there is every chance that going to school will turn things around and make you feel differently. If not, again, there are many things in place! The important thing is … look forward! Keep your eyes up! Because the future really is in front of you, and the sun comes up.

Also, talk to people, online, in person, whatever. Keep thinking about opening doors, rather than closing them.

And because I am a BIG HIPPIE, I strongly advise wonderful things like yoga (or any exercise, but yoga can really help you focus your mind), and meditation, which is not a joke or a silly pass time, but a very powerful exercise and way of improving the function of your mind.

These things … they are painful, but they are SHADOW DRAGONS, and they can be destroyed or at least put back in their cave and raised as pets. And they even have a place in our development. There’s no shame, and there’s nothing that’s happening to you that people haven’t known before … and people will come only after you and suffer the same things. YOU will know what it is like and YOU can help. And THAT is maybe the most powerful thing of all.

Also, a little disco dancing every day. Just a little. Just try it.