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Lift the Weight Off Of Your Mind with Anxiety Schmanxiety

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Krystal Chong is on a mission to change the public narrative on mental illness. At 14, Chong was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and chronic depression. She was told her mental illness landed her at a nine on a 10-level scale and that she would need medication for life. Chong was committed to living beyond the diagnosis. Through using self-developed natural methods, she's been off all medication for over eight years. She lives in a state of nearly zero anxiety daily. Now Chong is sharing these tools with others so that they too can navigate this thing called life with a modern mental wellness and group coaching programme.

 

Cue: Anxiety Schmanxiety

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. The largest grassroots mental health organisation in the United States — the National Alliance on Mental Illness — reports that half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14 and that 42 million American adults live with anxiety disorders. The fact that a lot of the mental health diagnoses go untreated results in depression being the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Last Tuesday, Chong invited 50 women (sister-friends) to participate in the “untraditional” launch of Anxiety Schmanxiety — an eight-week science-based mental wellness and group coaching programme. The evening saw guests, all dressed in white, seated on pillows in a circle going through mindfulness exercises, sharing their relationship with mental health and hearing about Chong's programme.

The evening began with guests noshing on a vegan anti-anxiety menu created by health/fitness coach and vegan cookbook author Kamila McDonald. More on this in this week's Thursday Food.

The session, intended to create “meaningful, deeper connections”, started with mindfulness and breathing exercises led by wellness coach Sharon Feanny. One of the activities included women pairing up, holding hands and communicating with each other with only their eyes. “Looking into the eyes of your partner, and without talking, let your eyes say 'Just like you, I have been hurt. Just like you, I have fears. Just like you, I have had experiences that have made me feel insecure. Just like you, I deserve to be seen and loved for who I truly am'”, Feanny said.

Chong believes that people deserve more than just getting through life, which is why she created the programme. She shared her past battles with mental illness, and how she overcame them. The circle, too, heard from other women whose lives have been affected by mental health.

Like any ailment that affects the body, mental health needs active treatment. Though anxiety is a common mental health illness, it doesn't make it any less challenging. Frankly, it is debilitating and makes it seem impossible to function. To co-opt the parlance of the youth raised on the Internet, anxiety will make you say, “I can't even.” And, not because someone is high-functioning doesn't mean that there's too much going on below the surface.

According to WHO, “anxiety is a disease of modernisation”. In addition to gadgets and information at the fingertips, the Internet has conflated the world.

Chong strongly believes that everyone deserves to have “meaningful work for a meaningful life”, and this includes people who don't have full-time work. It's not the number of hours, but rather purpose which makes work meaningful.

Common signs of anxiety include agitation, fatigue, difficulty focusing, tight muscles, and social avoidance. With the use of mind management tools, Chong's Anxiety Schmanxiety programme, which keeps each cohort small, allows students to overcome and thrive in their lives.

A few spaces (limited to 20 people) are left in the next Anxiety Schmanxiety cohort, which begins on March 13. Jamaicans who register before February 29 can obtain a US$300 discount using a special one-time discount code ONELOVEJA. For more information, visit www.anxietyschmanxiety.com.