When you’re young, bouts of anxiety and depression are almost expected to occur. It’s the hormones of the teens or the major life changes and coming to grips with adulthood of the early-to-mid 20s that are expected. Once you pass those parts of your life, you think you’ll become a functioning adult who knows how to deal with almost anything in a mature and balanced manner.
Unfortunately, mental struggles don’t necessarily disappear as you age. In fact, a looming concern can really rear its head as you approach 30 (or 40, or 50): you haven’t become the person you always thought you’d be by this age. When you’re young, it’s easy to assume that someday you’ll be healthy, successful, well-read, social, and all those well-rounded things. It’s easy to brush it off, to save the work for a later, future you who is more capable of dealing. Things don’t work that way. Before you know it, you’re doing the same things you’ve always done but it’s 5 years down the road and the you that you wanted so badly (enough to put it off, anyway) is still 5 years off.
This can just add to the despair if you’ve already been prone to anxiety and depression throughout your life, but suddenly you can feel somewhat ashamed to admit it. You’re supposed to be a proper adult now — you’re supposed to tough it out and deal with your problems.
Luckily, these feelings can be a driver. They push you to see that the ultimate you that lives down the road is something you need to start on now. If you always fantasized that one day you’d be a fit, financially stable, and politically minded being, you’ve got to start living for that now. You’ve put it off for a future version of you to deal with for too long.
This can be easier said than done when your mental health is not in alignment, so let’s take it step by step.