Therapist & Author Jodi Aman joins Jay on the ConquerWorry™ Podcast to discuss managing anxiety. Her passion is teaching people how to win their life back from anxiety. Listen to her fantastic strategy on this episode.
In This Podcast We Discuss
Jodi Aman wrote the bestseller, You 1, Anxiety 0 to help people WIN their life back from fear and panic. With sharp empathy into the complexities of people's pain–since she has recovered from her own family chaos and panic attacks–and a keen understanding of how and why people get stuck there, Jodi has decided to dedicate her life to helping people feel less lonely and afraid.
Find her at http://jodiaman.com. Check out her videos at http://youtube,com/jodiaman. Get inspired on Instagram @JodiAmanLove. Or feel loved on Facebook: http://facebook.com/jodiamanlove.
Guest post by Annalise Sinclair
Editor and blog post designer: Christy Zigweid
Photo made using @WordSwagApp
The semester of college right after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder was the worst of my life. I was in a terrible relationship with a real loser. I was on a highly competitive, world-ranked winter guard team, which I never, ever felt good enough for. I stupidly decided to take on way too many credits in school. I had just joined my sorority and wasn’t prepared for the time, energy, or self-commitment. I was struggling to figure out my identity as someone saddled with a mental illness. Essentially, I ran myself into the ground and then decided to dig a little bit deeper, just for good measure.
Somehow in the middle of all this, I found some time to adopt a kitten. I grew up around animals and had convinced myself that if I got a kitten, everything would magically get better. My aunt (another crazy cat lady) took me to the local Humane Society to “look around,” knowing fully that I couldn’t leave without my own ball of fur. So insert Addy, the cutest, spunkiest kitten you’ll ever meet.
Photo courtesy of Annalise Sinclair
Unfortunately, getting a kitten didn’t solve all of my problems; shocker, I know. I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into depression, which felt impossible to overcome. I felt like my only out would be taking my own life. Living each day was so hard and all I wanted was some peace. Suicide seemed so serene, like I could finally get some rest.
I planned everything out: I cleaned my apartment so no one would have to bother, figured out my method (something simple and painless), and wrote a goodbye to everyone that I loved. However, there was one problem. I had no idea how long it would take for someone to realize that I wasn’t answering my phone or showing up to things. I was worried that Addy would have to go too long without someone giving her food or water. I couldn’t be responsible for both of our deaths. So I drove the 45 minutes home to drop Addy off at my parent’s house. That is when everything changed.
My mom had come home early from work that day and had already started dinner. My plan to drop off Addy and run was no longer feasible; I had to stay and pretend to be the happy, wonderful daughter and sister my family knew. It was all too much and for the first time in my life, I finally broke down and talked to my mom about what I was feeling. I told her I was so unhappy that I considered suicide. The pain in her eyes was more than I ever wanted to see. I knew I had to find my courage and do whatever it took to get better. I couldn’t hurt my family by taking my life; my personal pain would never amount to the pain my death would have caused them.
I started seeing a new therapist the next week.
I often think back to that day, my decision day where I chose life over death, and think about what would have happened if I had never gotten Addy or didn’t care about her well-being. Suicide isn’t rational and I’m thankful that it isn’t. My concern for a kitten saved my life.
So when people reproach me for being a crazy cat lady, I couldn’t be more proud. For if it wasn’t for a sassy cat and an irrational love, I wouldn’t be here today.
About the Author
Jon McGraw was living what he thought was his dream. He was playing in the NFL for his hometown Kansas City Chiefs. It was not until he went into training camp one season expecting to be cut due to a new coaching staff coming to town that his life changed. He went from 'Bubble Guy' who was about to be cut to team captain. Once he retired he studied what happened during that time period and realized that the happiness he found was not an accident. It was a mindset change. As a result Jon, and his business partner Russ Rausch, have built a business with the goal of helping others.
Jon attended Kansas State University with a major in business finance and walked on the football team, 1997-01. He was twice selected as a First Team Academic All American. He was a second round draft pick to the New York Jets where he played 3 seasons. He then played for the Detroit Lions for two seasons before playing his final five seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs. Jon retired from the NFL in 2012 and received the Ed Block Courage Award. The award is presented annually to one player from each NFL team who, in the eyes of his own teammates is a source of inspiration and courage. Jon also completed NFL-sponsored business management and entrepreneurship programs at Harvard Business School and Wharton Business School. Jon has been actively involved as President of the Jon McGraw Foundation which supports various charitable causes. He is now a principal partner at Vision Pursue, a performance mindset training and technology company. Jon is married and has two children.
Last week I was honored to co-host the This Is My Brave show in Greenville, SC. The event was a huge success as there were 200 people in the audience and 150 viewers on Periscope from all over the world. Rebecca Shafer and Julia McDonald co-produced the show and Rebecca also served as co-host with me. The non-profit's co-founder Jennifer Marshall kicked off the evening with her story followed by 11 individual performances.
I started the ConquerWorry.org platform five years ago, so you can imagine that I thought that I had heard just about every 'story' surrounding a mental health struggle.
Last week I learned that I was wrong to make that assumption. One story in particular struck me as so powerful that I wanted to share it with you.
A young woman named Annalise Sinclair shared an articulate account of her battle with her mental health. I met her before the show and she outwardly appears to be the girl next door. Someone you would hire to babysit your kids or house sit for you while you are on vacation. For her performance, she detailed her struggle with mental illness and overwhelming suicidal thoughts. She shared that she had planned her own suicide down to the day, but had one obstacle to overcome. She had acquired a cat and being concerned for her cats well being after she was gone was important to her. So, she decided to drop the cat off at her mothers house before she took her own life. On the day she decided to take her own life, fate intervened. Her mom unexpectedly came home as she was dropping off her beloved cat. That started a discussion and saved Annalise's life.
As Annalise was eloquently sharing her story from the stage, I was sitting behind her. I could see her mother in the audience, watching her daughter tell her harrowing story of mental anguish and suicidal intent. I was choked up, but her mom was smiling. That choked me up even more!
While it can't be quantified, Annalise and all the cast members had a dramatic impact on the lives of people who are struggling and their loved ones.
After the show I heard from people who watched the show online. The one story that I heard brought up the most was the story of 'The Cat Lady.' I know from experience that there are many young women out there that need to hear the story of 'The Cat Lady' and others like it. That is why the This Is My Brave organization is so powerful. Annalise's cat is not the only one in her house saving lives. Storytelling Saves Lives.
This Thursday May 5th the non-profit This Is My Brave® will host a show in Greenville, SC and ConquerWorry™ will be there to stream it LIVE on Periscope. It is FREE to watch so please join at 8.00pm EST by clicking www.periscope.tv/conquerworry. (no app required)
The co-founder of This Is My Brave®, Jennifer Marshall, has been a previous podcast guest (Link). It is a fantastic organization focused on helping people who struggle with mental illness tell their story. Please consider a donation to their cause: thisismybrave.org/support
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