Painting in color
by Dan Stotridge
(St Clairsville, Ohio)
Emotions are the color in which we paint our personality. Having the CHOICE of what colors we paint ourselves is a choice I took for granted, until the day that choice was taken from me. I have experienced loss in my life that many have not had to endure. I have suffered the death of both parents, all my grandparents, all my siblings, and even the tragic murder of my best friend. After years of not dealing with this grief I developed severe anxiety. I didn't even realize it was anxiety until I was taken to hospital after experiencing chest pains which I thought was the on set of a heart attack. After a full examination I was told that what I was experiencing was an anxiety or panic attack. I have always been a very emotionally colorful person...always quick to make everyone laugh, full of life and excitement, very animated and loud. Through the death of my friends and family I also had my share of the opposite end of the color spectrum, with sadness, grief, and anger. To combat the anxiety I was prescribed an anxiety medication. The medication would soon rob me of all "color" or choice in my emotions. I took my wife and children on vacation to try to relax, clear my head, and get a grip on my anxiety issues. I remember watching my wife and kids playing in the pool, seeing them laughing and having fun. This is a sight that should evoke emotion in anyone, but somehow it didn't. I was unable to feel. The medication had robbed me of my ability to be happy or even sad. I simply felt unexplainably neutral. I couldn't be anything but neutral. At that moment I made the decision that I was no longer on anxiety medication, and that I would find a better way to cope. I began to do my own research on the effects of anxiety and depression, and put all my effort into healing...not just for myself, but for my wife and children. My healing process taught me just that...it is a PROCESS. And that process, as hard as it was at times was healthier for me and my family than any medication. I am now a motivational speaker, life coach, and writer, and I can't imagine living my life without my emotions! My ups, my downs, and all the emotions that make me ....ME! Painting in color is so much more enjoyable than using a palette of gray.
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