Happy Doc Student Podcast

#48 You're Not Alone with Zachary Westerbeck

October 06, 2021 Heather Frederick, PhD Episode 48
Happy Doc Student Podcast
#48 You're Not Alone with Zachary Westerbeck
Show Notes Transcript

Zach is a mental health advocate, national speaker college success coach, and author of the book: You're Not Alone. His goal is to help students and organizations understand the complexities of depression and anxiety in today's modern world. Through his personal experiences and extensive research, he is able to relate and clearly articulate why now more than ever, it is critical to understand how to manage your mental health.

Today's show dives into the topics of anxiety, depression, and suicide.  If you or a loved one is experiencing thoughts of suicide, or is in need of help, please call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). 

 On this episode, Zach shares his story of how as an up-and-coming young techie his journey changed and he unexpectedly found himself an advocate of brain health; he is on a mission to crush the stigma of seeking help when your brain health isn’t where you want it to be.

Key points: 

1.     You need to know: You are not alone!

2.     Brain health is not binary (well/unwell). It exists on a continuum, just like physical health. 

3.     Ways to care for your brain: 

  • Talk therapy – find one that works for you
  • Meditation – just 10-15 minutes; think of it as exercise for your brain
  • Exercise/movement
  • Sleep 8-10 hours

Connect with Zach

Get Zach’s book: https://amzn.to/2XZN0CN

Other resources
Davidji podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1547113/7485712
Unleash Your Genius podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1547113/6988105
Use Sound for Better Sleep and Studying podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1547113/8741814

Get your Happy Doc Student Swag: https://www.bonfire.com/store/happy-doc-student-podcast-swag/

This episode is brought to you by Frank Buck Consulting - https://FrankBuck.org
Listen to Frank on episode #87:https://www.buzzsprout.com/1547113/11526361

Get The Happy Doc Student Handbook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578333732
Other resources at: http://Expandyourhappy.com
Support this free content: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/expandyourhappy

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Sometimes when people are in a dark place, they feel like those symptoms are going to last forever, and they're always going to be in that dark place, but that's not true. So infusing that hope into your journey and knowing and believing that this too shall pass is so important. You're listening to the Happy Doc Student Podcast, a podcast dedicated to providing clarity to the often mysterious doctoral process. Do you feel like you're losing your mind? Let me and my guests show you how to put more joy in your journey and graduate with your sanity, health and relationships intact. I'm your host, Dr. Heather Frederick and this is episode 48. In today's show. I welcome Zachary Westerbeck. Zach is a mental health advocate, national speaker college success coach

and author of the book:

You're Not Alone. His goal is to help students and organizations understand the complexities of depression and anxiety in today's modern world. Through his personal experiences and extensive research, he is able to relate and clearly articulate why now more than ever, it is critical to understand how to manage your mental health. Today's show does dive into the topics of anxiety and depression and does touch on the topic of suicide. I want to remind you that this show is for educational purposes only. And if you or a loved one is experiencing thoughts of suicide or is in need of help, please call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. That number again is 1 802 7 3 8 2 5 5. Zach welcome to the show. Hey Heather, thank you so much for having me on. I am so excited to have a discussion about brain health and some of the uncomfortable emotions that we know run rampant during chronic stress, like anxiety and depression. So why don't we start by you sharing your story? I appreciate that. I would love to see that. So I categorize myself as a happy-go-lucky person to frame up just how my advocacy was very unintended. I graduated from Purdue with a degree in economics. So I thought that I was going to go down a completely different path and what ended up happening is after I graduated from Purdue university, I moved down to Raleigh, North Carolina to start working for the technology company, Cisco systems. And I was in this early in career program. So they were flying in 30, 40 kids from around the country and we were going to learn everything there was to know about Cisco. I was really excited about this. I had an uncle growing up who was in big tech and it just seemed like a really exciting, innovative space to be in. And everything was great for about the first 10 months. And I imagine that some of your doctoral students, I know there's so much pressure and it is high pace and there's timelines, but it can also be a really good time as well. And for me, this was the case up until about the 10 month mark. And all of a sudden I'm waking up with these symptoms that I've never felt before. So I'm getting sweaty palms. I'm having a racing heart. My mouth is dry. My mind is just running nonstop and the harder that I try, the worse that it's getting. And so I'm 23 years old. I'm very unfamiliar with mental health or what I like to call brain health. The reason why I call it brain health is because it's a tangible organ in the body. We don't call our heart health soul health. We call it heart health because we know that there are tangible actions that we can take to improve its functionality, decrease the likelihood that you have heart disease and just overall take good care of it. We can do that exact same thing with our brains. I didn't know that I kind of thought your brand is ran on autopilot and you went about your life. And so all of a sudden I'm feeling these symptoms and I just, I don't know what's going on, but I know that I just want to get rid of that. And so 2016 is right around the corner and I'm a young man, kind of a sucker for new year's resolutions. I'm going to get rid of these symptoms. I'm going to take the first month of 2016, all 31 days of January. And I'm going to flip my brain back to the way that it used to be. In my mind, my brain was like a light switch. Something had been flipped on and I just needed to flip it back to the way that it used to be, so that I could just get back to being normal, focusing on Cisco, the kind of the usual narratives that most of us ambitious people tell ourselves, right. And I'm sure that all of your, all of your doctoral students fall into that category. So I took the 31 days and I had a plan. I was going to go to work, go to the gym and sit in the steam room and sweat out all the toxins in my body. I thought I just needed to get a detox. And so that's what I did for 31 days. And at the end of that time period, I did get results. The challenge for me is that it wasn't the results that I was looking for. And by the end of the month, not only had the symptoms I just told you and your listeners about get worse, but a second emotion or symptom it crept in, and that was depression and I'd never felt depression before. Nobody in my social circle had really talked openly about depression, certainly, you know, and nothing wrong with this, but Cisco wasn't providing any education on how to take care of your emotional wellbeing. And so all of a sudden, in a matter of a couple of months, I go from this person that I see myself as happy go lucky, positive, ambitious to this extremely anxious, deeply depressed individual with no answers as to why this is happening. So I go into panic mode because in my mind I had this 31 days, I'm just going to knock this out and we can get back to the rest of the 2016. And now the opposite has happened. And so I go into panic mode and over the course of the next couple of months, I called this time period zack's home remedies. I was just trying everything under the sun. I'm drinking lavender tea, chamomile, you know, meditating, really doubling down on the amount of sleep that I get. I'm cutting out alcohol. I'm cutting out any other substances- coffee. I'm trying everything. I'm sitting in the stream room now until I'm nearly pass out because maybe that's what it takes, right? Maybe I just, I just need to stay in there longer and nothing's working and I'm doing two things really well during this time period. Number one, I am hiding from the outside world what is going on in. Number two is I'm denying to myself how quickly my brain health is deteriorating. And by the end of that next couple of months, I was having thoughts of suicide from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed .And I just, I kind of woke up one day and I just remembered staring in the mirror and my eyes are bloodshot, I'm getting dressed to go into Cisco. And I'm just, I'm just thinking to myself, who have you become? And, you know, putting so much of the onus on me and not being strong enough and not being able to figure this out on my own and how could this even happen to you? And I didn't even know that this was a possibility. These thoughts are running through my head and all the while, and I'm sure your doctoral students are there like this, that their peers, every single day, I'm showing up at the office at Cisco. And I'm trying to put perform. I'm trying to show my peers that I deserve to be there. That I'm worthy of a position there, that I'm intelligent. I know that entire learning, that's definitely the case we're always trying to show others that we're worthy of being there and that we deserve our spot. But in the back of my head, I'm thinking about suicide from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed. And my favorite moment of every day during this time period was the moment that my head hit my pillow. And I just prayed that I was tired enough, that my nervous system was so exhausted from the severe anxiety and depression, that I would just zonk out. Some days it happened some days, it didn't. It wasn't until I hit my rock bottom moment, where I seriously considered taking my own life that I realized I had to tell somebody I wanted to live.


I love life. But in those moments, when I thought 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the road, if this is what life is going to be, the constant anxiety, the deep depression, this wasn't what I signed up for. It's physically painful. It is. And I'm sure that a lot of your students know this, that physical and emotional pain and light up similar regions in the brain. So in a sense, we almost feel the two in the exact same way. So I confided to my parents. And that's, that's kind of a big part of my messages we can talk about, but I confided in my parents. And it's one of the best things I ever did. Although they didn't know how to help me, right? They're not going to diagnose me. They're not going to perform cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure and response prevention. They did encourage me to go seek help and through a little bit of trial and error, I eventually found a, psychologist down in Raleigh, North Carolina, actually, one of the best in kind of this vertical of the brain health space that knew what was going on with me. And in late 2016, I was diagnosed with a chronic brain disorder known as obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD, where the core symptoms are severe anxiety, deep depression, and thoughts of suicide. And so through that journey, I immediately started talk therapy with her and over the course of the next couple of years, through trial and error, and highs and lows ,mindset shifts, learning about just little simple daily actions that we can take every day to take care of our brains, I got back to a manageable place where I wanted to help other people, because there is nothing more lonely and terrifying than being in that spot and feeling like you're the only one on the face of the planet or feeling like you don't know what to do next to get rid of those symptoms because in your mind, tried everything possible. And so that's what led me to do what I do. And to be speaking to you too. You bring up so many great points in your story that I would love to unpack a little more. The first is this stigma with seeking mental health services. When this part of your body, this organ, the brain, isn't working like it used to be. If your heart is doing something weird or your ankle is starting to hurt, you go to the doctor. No problem. Right. Absolutely. And I call it the three S's. So you've got, you've got stigma kind of happening at a few different levels. You've got it happening at a societal level. You've got self perceived stigma, and then you've got structural and that's when you can look inside of an organization and you can see either the abundance of resources that are available, both for our physical and our brain health, , or the lack thereof or policies that are put in place that allow people to safely take leave. Whether it be for your physical or your mental health. And we look at them, or brain health, as I should say, on an even playing field, where they're the same thing. When we think about stigma, it trickles down from the societal level. So we're inundated with messaging from media, from generations that did not talk about anxiety or depression. And then we get inundated with headlines from the media that talk about people having mental health breakdowns. And we see what those pictures look like and, and people making assumptions about what somebody should have done or shouldn't have done as they are going through that mental health crisis. Oftentimes that's all we ever see. It's the person that's going through the mental health crisis, making headlines. So at a, at a self level, if you've never been taught about the brain, if you've never been taught to think differently about your emotional wellbeing, it's really, really easy to adopt these natural belief systems that, first off you shouldn't as a human being ever experience these emotions or these symptoms, because they're medical in nature, so I like to call them symptoms, and that if you do, there's something wrong with you. That you are deficient in some way, you're weak. You're weird. And it's just this big circle. It's almost like the recycling logo that just points the three arrows. Well it's the same with the structure of the three S's from a societal, self, and structural level that just continue to feed each other. Unless people start to speak out openly about experiencing anxiety and depression,

and then saying, look at my life:

I've experienced these symptoms. I've gone through the recovery process. It was a process just like it would be if you were diagnosed with cancer or diabetes, or if you experienced a cold, like we're both getting over colds. That's still knocks you on your butt for a couple of weeks, but you get back into the flow of things and you can get your health back to a manageable place. And I think that that's, what's really important for people to understand. And one way that you can reframe that, that self stigma, or really on all levels. Realizing that our brain health is on a continuum, just like our physical health. I could go on a run today and roll my ankle and have a high ankle sprain. And I know that if I deny, ignore or avoid the injury that I've just sustained, meaning I tried to go out and run on it again, or I go and perform in a marathon. Am I really going to do my best if I haven't addressed that injury, even if that means missing the next race so that I can rest and heal and come back better for the next, right? So we think about that in terms of our physical health, but oftentimes we just believe we have to push through when it comes to our brain health and the emotional well-being of ourselves. And Zach, that is such an important point because when you're in a doctoral program, you have to be thinking clearly. And I think what happens a lot of time is you get people who are overachievers, right? They have high expectations of themselves. And so, in a moment of high stress, they may not pause to take care of this important part. They may get some revisions back or something can happen with their research that's similar to an ankle sprain or Hey, maybe something happening in their life with their kids, with their partner. But there is this image that they believe they have to uphold, of always showing up, always being there, always being smart, always having the answers, always meeting the deadlines, but that could be that the expense of actually not completing the program. Like this is a big deal, keeping your brain healthy. Right. Absolutely. And davidjitalked about this, a lot of the physiological symptoms that come along with experiencing anxiety and to really just simplify that, I'm not going to get into all the details that he did great episode, for those of you who are listening in right now, go check it out. Those physiological symptoms can, can actually convolute the way that you are thinking. And it can, it can make things, like I just remembered my world was washed over in gray. I wasn't seeing things clearly because my symptoms were intensifying and I wasn't doing anything to improve them. And you're so right when I was thinking about, especially in the world of academia with individuals that pursue those advanced degrees, they're the ones that were smart in elementary, middle high school, top of their class every single year. And that becomes a part of your identity. Part of who you are. You are the person who always has the answer, right? You're the person that I look off your paper in the middle of the exam just joking. But you know, you were the one that had all the answers, always. Now all of a sudden you're faced with symptoms you've never felt before, and maybe you don't have the answer, but you want to give off the that you do. Unfortunately in every situation when we do that, it is actually a detriment to ourselves. And you know, it is true that doctoral programs are arduous and could trigger anxiety, depression, but just take this, this program and put it in the current social context of what everyone's been dealing with, right? Right. So we have students who are nurses, school teachers, parents and with the world essentially shutting down and operating on a very different level for the past year and a half or so, everyone's anxiety and depression are probably at levels that they're not used to, or they're experiencing people that they know and love having levels that they aren't used to. And this idea of the stigma and your pivotal point of sharing with your parents, you actually wrote a book called: You're Not Alone. And I think that's a really important message for everyone to hear. I really appreciate that. It's one of my most important sayings, if you will, is that you're not alone. I think that when you're in that dark place, you feel like you are the only one. Like, I just remember thinking back in my journey and feeling like I was the only one on the face of the planet that was experiencing anxiety, depression and ultimately thoughts of suicide. And I couldn't have been more incorrect. There are millions of Americans in this country that experience anxiety and depression. And then there are millions of human beings worldwide that experience these symptoms as well. Until we start talking about it in a more casual manner, right? Having these conversations, people are going to continue to feel like they're alone and you brought up something that I think is really, really important. I think if people understood the overarching factors that can impact your brain health, we would be a lot better off as a society. Because I think that there's this belief that brain health equals brain illness. In other words, you're either mentally ill or you're mentally well, so it's really binary. People are either like you've got schizophrenia or bipolar, or you've just got a sound bill of health. Like that's it. Those are the two options. And what I learned through my journey is that our brain health is on a continuum and that there are a lot of factors that impact our brain health, like the daily stresses of life, what you just brought up, significant life events and then our genetics. So we know from a genetic standpoint, you can look at our family tree and we'll talk about granddad's cancer and what the likelihood is that we'll now have that. We'll talk about that with diabetes, heart disease. But we don't talk about it when it comes to our brain health. And yet in my own journey, if we would have had those conversations, I would have known that one of my grandfathers did have obsessive compulsive disorder, completely untreated, was detrimental to the way that he conducted his life. He was actually a doctor. So well-respected in his community, but, he himself as a doctor, didn't take care of his brain because of the stigma. And then there are significant events, right? There's death, there's divorce, there's breakups, there's job loss, all things that you just talked about in the last. 18,19.. I am, I'm losing track. I know that it started in 2020, and now we're deep into 2021. I thought this was supposed to be behind us and it's not, I mean, we are still experiencing these things at a significant level. And then the daily stressors, our brains are hardwired for survival. davidji talked about the amygdala, right? That fear, that fight or flight system where we experience anxiety, our brains want certainty. They want comfort because that means that we are much, much more likely to survive. And with the amount of uncertainty that we're getting hit with in the media, and social media ,and our daily lives, at work, in our studies, on campus as well. Figuring out how to navigate our children, going to school, is school safe? There's just so much uncertainty and it becomes an overload for our brains. So even that individual with the clean bill of health for their brain can fluctuate on that continuum to the other side, where they are not living a balanced life. And as a result of that, they're much more likely to experience the symptoms of anxiety, depression. And again, if it goes untreated long enough thoughts of suicide. You've brought up a couple of times: now we know if we don't take care of our physical body, it's going to start to break down. The human body is like that. But similarly, if we don't take care of our brain, we may be predisposed to float over to that side of the continuum, that's maybe a little more uncomfortable. So I know you've got a lot of things that you like to share in terms of simple practices that make a significant impact on keeping your brain healthy. Yes. And I would love to share those and you bring up a really good point by the way. So a Lebonese statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb actually talks about a concept that I found to be very interesting when I learned about it. So it kind of breaks things down into three categories, things that are fragile, things that are resilient and things that are anti-fragile. Essentially something that's fragile is like this, this glass cup, right? If I slam it on the ground, it's going to shatter into a million pieces and it won't be able to put itself back together. It doesn't have the capacity to heal. Things that are resilient are like the golden gate bridge or a skyscraper in San Francisco. It's built to withstand the shock of an earthquake and it doesn't grow weaker in the absence of earthquake and in the presence of that earthquake, it doesn't necessarily grow stronger. Well human beings and every part of our bodies, right? Our muscular system, our nervous system, our immune system is what he coins anti-fragile. Essentially in the absence of stressors, it can deteriorate. And you brought this up with our physical health. If I were to lay in bed, right. I just got sick, I just got over a two week cold. So my muscles after laying in bed for two weeks straight, have atrophied. There has been a decline in the functionality of my lungs and hearts. I just went on a run today. It wasn't my best run, right? I'm building that back up. So in the absence of stressors, we can deteriorate parts of our body. And this is the exact same thing with our brains. We actually have to take actions every single day to put our brains under healthy stress, to keep them on that balance side of the continuum. So that's one thing that I want people to understand that certain levels of stress and activity are good, right? As long as we are somewhat choosing that in our doses, right. There is such thing as too much stress. And then we need to take those precautions to remove that out of our lives. But the first thing I'll say is seeking help has to be number one. Above all else. We have to break down that stigma and we have to understand that going to seek professional help is the most important. And I was, of course I was doing research on you. I know you understand that. You have a background in psychology and you understand the importance of taking care of our brains, but I don't think, I don't think we're always taught that. We know to go to the general practitioner. We know to go to some of these specialists, but we're not always told that we should address our emotional wellbeing. So if you start to feel symptoms like racing thoughts, sweaty palms, dry mouth. If you start to feel higher levels of irritability, if you begin feeling a low mood, if it's becoming harder for you to get out of bed in the morning, if you're feeling a lack of motivation, if you're dealing with a lack of appetite or maybe an increase in appetite, just throwing some symptoms out for the listeners, this could be a sign that you are beginning to experience the onset of symptoms of anxiety and depression. And that automatic triggers should be oh I need to go and I need to speak to somebody about this. And there's really kind of three broad umbrella approaches to therapy. You and I know that there's a lot of approaches, but from a talk therapy standpoint, there's cognitive behavioral therapy. That's kind of like the umbrella overarching talk therapy that has been scientifically proven to be effective in treating many different brain health ailments, if you will. Then there's ERP exposure and response prevention. That's for individuals that are struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder and then ACT as well. So there's a couple of different talk therapies, just wanting to give that to the listeners. The next would be meditation. Which davdji talked about at length. What I'd like to tell listeners is that how I'd like for them to think about is that it's exercise for the brain and he talked about this, but it actually grows and shrinks various regions of the brain, right? The hippocampus, it grows out, which is responsible for memory and learning. And then it shrinks that almond shape, amygdala in our brain, which is responsible for that fight flight or freeze response. So it's, it really is exercise for the brain and we can create new neural pathways. And the best part about it is that you don't need to do more than 10, 15 minutes of meditation a day to reap the benefits. And I can speak from my own experience. I don't meditate for more than 10, 15 minutes a day. Sometimes if I need more, I will, but my anxiety levels are low. I don't struggle with depression at all anymore. And I attribute meditation as a big part. I want to stop you with meditation because every once in a while, when I suggest that to a student or faculty, I can kind of see this look in their eyes where they're thinking I'm not interested in sitting in the Lotus pose for an hour. So I love that you said, Hey, My practice is 10 minutes. It really can be simple. And sometimes I think people don't trust simple remedies anymore. They don't. And I think with your audience too, right? They like the research base. They want the data, they want to know that there's been some scientists behind it studying it. And davidji talked about this, but there is emerging research coming out that does prove that it is effective. It is ancient wisdom, and there's a reason why it has stuck around. It really does work. And it does transform your brain in ways that people don't understand until they start to meditate. And look, I like to keep things very simple and very approachable. I don't even sit cross-legged when I meditate, I sit in the chair, I lean back and get comfortable. I use an app known as Headspace, but there's other apps out there like calm my life. You can get meditation videos off YouTube. Here's something, I know that your listeners, they might feel like they need to be the expert that they have to do all the research, know everything about it, that they want to be amazing at meditating before they even start. And the reality is make yourself the Student again, be the Student. I that's what I do. I use Headspace every single day and I'm just guided through a 10 to 15 minute meditation by Andy Puddicombe . He's the founder of the app. And I love just being the Student, every single day. And I will make sure to link to all these different resources that you're suggesting in the show notes, but that invitation to just let go be the Student, let someone else be the expert and Hey, just experience it. Right. I love to say to people, just try it. Don't take my word for it. Try it because it's undeniable, the results you'll get. I agree with that so much, but sometimes others, you know, getting people over that initial hump can be a challenge. I'll say one of my best friends, I'm still working on him. And we talked about different messaging early on. So I think he needs to listen to that davidji episode, but it does, just try it. It really does work. Besides talk therapy, it is the next, most important thing that I've ever introduced into my life period. I've become a more compassionate human being, more thoughtful, less likely to react, more likely to respond. And you talk about this as the founder of Expand Your Happy that you know wouldn't the world would be a better place. If we were, if we were just happier? Well, meditation can help you achieve that because it does get you to think in a more compassionate manner. You know, I read the other day that 80% of our thoughts are about ourselves. Which means that we're living in a fairly selfish world. And yet one of the biggest things that I've learned through my advocacy is what actually brings the most fulfillment and the most joy is when you help other people. When you help somebody else, you help yourself and meditation helps you tap into that deeper part of what I would consider to be uniquely human. Which is compassion. And it sets the foundation for taking care of yourself so that you can give to others. Right? There's that saying, I love to remind my students. You can't pour from an empty cup. I actually love that. How can you ever expect to pour into other people when you are operating on E. When you're pouring from an empty cup. Then that would bring me to the kind of the last two things I will talk about on just the essentials. The brain health essentially is exercise. So we were talking about that. Anti-fragility putting your body under a healthy amount of stress. A few times a week, three, four times a week. It doesn't need to be a ton of exercise. I like to use the word movement. Could be a really long walk. Maybe you find one of your peers and you take an hour long walk around campus, or you take your children on a walk around the neighborhood. You go on a walk with your spouse, your significant other. And that's what my fiance and I do every single day. I can't wait for my 7:00 PM hour long walk. It's coming every day. And I look forward to it because it really does release a lot of that tension that can build up in the body, especially when we're sitting in front of our laptops more than ever before. So exercise and then, I know in undergrad, at least sleep was not a priority and it didn't seem to be a priority in the corporate world. So I'm sure that your doctoral students are experiencing this as well, which is just the lack of emphasis on sleep, that getting that dissertation done and hitting that timeline is more important than getting that 8 to 10 that we all so desperately need. And what's interesting is that when you don't get that amount of sleep you open up the door to experiencing higher levels of stress. They actually did a study and they found a correlation between the likelihood that somebody experiences high levels of stress, or really they were measuring for cortisol in the body and the amount of sleep that that individual got every day. A direct correlation. So we can't sleep on sleep. We have to get it. We can't ignore it. It's one of the most important things. So seeking help, meditating, exercise, and getting enough sleep 8 to 10 hours. is the foundation to really take care of your brain health and living a balanced life. And all of those things that you brought up: seeking the support, meditation and guys, again, we're only talking a couple of minutes here, movement getting out, moving your body, preferably with someone you love, because that always makes it more fun. And then you have that connection, that support aspect too, and sleep. They're all investments that pay huge dividends. Right. They do. They pay massive dividends. OCD impacts about 1% of the world's population and it can be quite debilitating. Some people never really get out from underneath that umbrella of deep anxiety and depression. And to kind of see where I was at, where I am today and looking back at the decisions I made. It's exactly what you said. It's an investment investing in therapy, spending the, whatever it is, the 90 bucks annually for Headspace, investing in exercise and taking care of your body and then getting proper sleep, which is an investment in time really do pay dividends. For me to see where I'm at my life now and that felt like such a distant dream after getting the diagnosis and kind of looking at what has helped me along the way. I just, I can't emphasize it enough that the investment to, to your point, what you said is just so important. Thank you so much for sharing a message that is just so important, not just for the students, but for everyone in their network to know that you're not alone, especially during this time period. And I will be sure to have all your contact information, a link to your book, additional resources in the show notes. But before we sign off, do you have any final words of wisdom or maybe a favorite quote you would like to share? My favorite quote that I'd like to share is: this too shall pass. I think sometimes when people are in a dark place, they feel those symptoms are going to last forever, and they're always going to be in that dark place, but that's not true. We know that our brain health sits on a continuum, and if we do the core foundational things through seeking help, and meditating, exercising, and getting enough sleep, you can come out of this dark place. So infusing that hope into your journey and knowing and believing that this too shall pass I think is so important. So infusing that hope into your journey and knowing and believing that this too shall pass is so important. Zach thank you so much. Thank you Before I sign off, I want to remind you that there are resources in the show notes and repeat the number that I gave at the beginning of the show. If you were a loved one is experiencing thoughts of suicide or is in need of help. Please call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Again, that number is 1-800-273-8255. Thanks so much for listening. And until next time, I'm wishing you more joy in your journey. The Happy Doc Student Podcast is brought to you by ExpandYourHappy.Com and you can learn more there. One more thing, just a quick reminder that the information opinions and recommendations presented in this podcast are for general information only.