Am I sounding like a broken record?


How long will it take for me to accept the place where I am at mental health-wise? And by accept, I don’t mean that I won’t stop trying to improve my health. I just mean that I need to stop beating myself up after every slip into Anxiety. Or, when I feel a slip coming on or I’m heading into a situation I know could create one, I will try to prepare myself for the situation better knowing that I face difficulties simply because of who I am right now.

Anyhow, I fear that my posts of late have sounded like a broken record, where I’m rehashing the sadness from the loss of who I once was. Truth be told, there is no one version of who I once was that I loved completely. I’ve struggled with this illness since my early teen years. And each iteration of my identity — variations because of a med change or my brain operating differently because of a major bout with Depression or Anxiety I made it to the other side of — contained good and bad aspects.

And so, am I striving for an amalgamation of the many versions of who I once used to be? Only taking the best parts of each? If so, that’s unrealistic and unfair to me. I could never be that person. The answer may partially be that … but not fully.

Where I am right now is so middling; it’s an amalgamation of the so-so parts of who I used to be. My meds have taken care of the Depression but not the Anxiety at a level I want to accept — even if I eventually have to. My Anxiety is rarely paralyzing, as, for example, It used to be when I suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I fear some situations, but again, not at paralyzing levels (e.g. I used to thrive at and draw energy from speaking to groups; now I have to grin and bear it as I go through mild stage fright).

(An aside, it has been so helpful to see more actors admitting they go through stage fright and yet still manage to come across as pros.)

And so, have I still not found what I’m looking for? Or do I accept who I am and move forward — as frustrating as that may be at times.

I’m stuck. Or optimistically, I’m grappling with loss, but I haven’t made it to the other side yet.

One thing that makes this all so frustrating is the the process of accepting who I am now is taking so long … much longer than it has ever been before. First, it took a considerable amount of time to break out of Depression as I was transitioning from the dominant medication I was taking to the other (nearly three years ago). Then, it took over a year to find the right med cocktail (tweaks to augmenting medications). And then after that … well, that’s where I am right now.

Anyhow, I have to believe that if I feel like what I’m writing is repetitious, others may feel that way about their own emotions as they change meds and / or experience a major bout with Anxiety / Depression.

I want to become less consumed by this sense of loss. I feel like then I can focus on how to work better at developing the good aspects of who I’ve become.

Sound good? Oh well, it does to me right now.


(Note to self: make an appointment with my therapist.)



  1. Norma Bourland 1 March 2018 at 3:12 pm

    “Used to” Thinking is defeating usually. I apply it to accepting old age, which is different but still a big and sometimes difficult change. I ‘used to’ be able to…whatever…and then the disappointment or regret or sadness steps in and I rob myself of experiencing the awe of this new old me! (Hard to articulate! Hope it makes sense) maybe we should start a No More Used To Club……thanks for writing so honestly.

    • Michael Dahl 1 March 2018 at 4:25 pm

      That is great advice, Norma. I mean, like, really great. I can actually hear my therapist saying it to me, and then she’d spend twenty minutes telling me why “used to” language is so bad for anyone who wants a healthy outlook.

      Thanks for the advice … and for reading the blog.

      Take care and stay snazzy!

  2. Tom Sampson 3 March 2018 at 10:05 am

    Sounds good to me, Michael. Stay in the present, enjoy each day and be grateful for all your gifts, and you have many. You don’t have to work too hard to become better. You are a snazzy guy already!

    • Michael Dahl 3 March 2018 at 11:04 am

      Thanks, Tom. It’s nice to hear that the current “me” means something to others.

  3. Tracey 4 March 2018 at 11:57 am

    Hi Michael, I just saw your reply to my comment from a couple weeks back. Thank you so much for such a kind compliment! You are such a great role model. Because of your openness, I reached a place a while back where I don’t mind sharing with people how I’m doing and the real reasons why. I end up learning a lot about them in return. The connection with others always helps.

    To comment on the thoughts of broken records…I feel like living with depression and anxiety IS living a broken record. For me, it feels like a constant cycling of the same wishes, regrets, progress, acceptance, resignation, loss, wishes, determination, then giving up, then hoping again…over and over.

    But I also notice that before I got here—in my “pre-depression” days, everything was constant. I knew that if I did something, it would produce a predictable outcome. Now, every day is different. I don’t get to have any expectation for a particular outcome. If I try something today and it works, I don’t know whether it will work again tomorrow. Everything is a “wait and see” situation. For example, I might say that today I went for a bike ride and it made me feel euphoric! I will now do this everyday! But then tomorrow comes and it’s all I can do to get up and get myself clean and fed for the day. Then the next 10 days are like that. Then they get a little better, but not quite good enough to go for another bike ride yet. It might be another week or a month or 4 before I can get on the bike again. I MISS GETTING TO TAKE EVERY DAY FOR GRANTED!!!! IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!!

    THIS is the new constant for me. It is hard. How does life NOT feel like a broken record when your physical body and brain behaves this way? How do we NOT wish for the consistency of our own past lives and the certainty of who we were (or who we thought we were)? Some days I find acceptance to be impossible. Other days, I feel like I get the hang of the uncertainty and that I’ll be okay, because today I feel okay. Or maybe even great. And today, I can accept that tomorrow might not be that way.

    We know we have to say good-bye to our old selves, we know that living in the present is the best way. We can only keep trying to do these things, and I am convinced that it is a cyclical process. Also, I am saying these things to myself with the same conviction as I say them here. Because I have to keep reminding myself too. I forget a lot. I guess it’s all about bringing that self-compassion thing back in to play, while also recognizing that it is the depression and anxiety that make the self-compassion more difficult to start with. I’m not on here enough to know whether you sound like a broken record, but if you do, there’s nothing wrong with that, because it seems to me that is how it all works. If nothing else, you are exemplifying that, Michael! Thank you!

    PS–good shares from Tom and Norma. Thank you!

    • Michael Dahl 4 March 2018 at 1:41 pm

      Tracey: For the past 30 minutes, I’ve been pondering your words: “I MISS GETTING TO TAKE EVERY DAY FOR GRANTED!!!! IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!! THIS is the new constant for me.” That part of your comment hit me at my core. It is so true. The unpredictability of where my Anxiety will take me each day is so unnerving. It makes me incredibly angry. It pains me — the unfairness that is life. And yet all we can do is struggle on.

      I hope it’s okay. I am going to use some of your words, which of course I will attribute to you, to write up another blog post on how profound and truthful your passage is. I think many who struggle will identify. Michael

      • Tracey 4 March 2018 at 5:07 pm

        Of course, Michael! Please share what helps. And thank you again for the kind words. It is really validating to see and hear your own experience shared by other people. Not feeling alone can be the best medicine at times. Just commenting these couple of times is really helping me see why you do this blog. It’s a really big deal.

    • Brenna 4 March 2018 at 5:10 pm

      Beautifully written, Tracey. Thank you so much for speaking and sharing. And Thank you for standing with Michael while showing the world that it is ok feel, speak, and share to heal and grow.

  4. Tracey 9 March 2018 at 7:17 am

    Thank you too, Brenna. Michael is an easy person to stand with–a true leader and activist. He has a gift for inspiring others to take powerful and meaningful action.


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