Josh is a very inspirational human that I feel very fortunate to have in my life. He has such a inspirational story and I hope you enjoy getting to know him!
“Anxiety is a funny thing. It’s funnier when you’re a kid and can’t dream to put words to it as to what it actually means. I used to think it meant I was afraid of throwing up or my parents dying, which it was when I was younger. Things got worse and then I started checked things and asking for reassurance. A lot. This went on for years months and then I was diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I suppose there was some relief that what I had could be connected to what other people were dealing with as well, but it was still difficult. High school was even more difficult. Not only did I feel like an outcast in my class, but I was also struggling with acceptance issues that I was indeed, quite ill. Music became my escape at this time and saved me.
Through college, and even in graduate school, here I was, a grown man, counting and checking everything. I started an internship to finish my degree, and that’s when the anxiety began to ramp back up again. I was told by my field liaison, “you’ll never be a social worker.” My field supervisor told me to get a psychiatric evaluation. I was forced to take 10 months off from my internship pursuit and simply attend classes until I was deemed fit to start a new one. I had all but given up on graduate school when I decided it was necessary to start focusing on self-care. I took a harder look at my life and the decisions I was making and decided to get healthy, but physical and mentally.
I came back months later, new medications in hand and a therapist for myself. The irony that I was a social worker seeing a social worker was never beyond me! But now I was more determined than ever and decided to start a new approach. I went from working with kids in the criminal justice system to working with the elderly in the mental health system. And here I sit, 6 years later, a master level social worker. I’m months away from finishing another credentialing as part of my education and from here, all things are up. The thoughts are still with me every day, and I’m not going to sit here and say that things are perfect; I certainly still have days where hope is a challenge to see amongst the darkness. However, I know that with love and support, as well as my own determination, I don’t have to BE my diagnosis; I can just be Josh, social worker extraordinaire.”