Believe it or not everyone experiences anxiety. Sometimes it a sense of unsurely as you open the paycheck and wonder how you are going to pay your bills. Then again it may be rearing its ugly head on Sunday evening as you realize that you have to go back to that unfulfilling job. It can come from the lack of connection you are experiencing with your wife. Anxiety can be a feeling of a problem or uncertainty you keep turning to over and over again.
What is anxiety?
According to APA, anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts that can manifest itself in forms of high blood pressure. This is a very normal emotion that everybody feels from time to time. There is a new form of anxiety that seems to be spreading like a plague across our society. This is the condition as to where people are feeling this overwhelm and anxiety all the time. The APA has classified this as Anxiety Disorder. Now I am no doctor but I am a thinking man and I am not seeing that much different from today than what we had 30 years ago. So why is there so much anxiety running rampant? Then there are bits that make me question the full validity of what the APA has to say about these NEW mental illnesses.
As a whole looking at my anxiety and coming to understand other folk’s anxiety I am seeing that anxiety is actually a thought loop error. We get to thinking of something be it a pain in our elbow or why someone is looking at us. Then we start to obsess over that event. We tell ourselves every story possible as to why we are being looked at. The human mind has a few different brains in it. There is the primitive brain and the processing brain or called the prefrontal cortex. This is what is believed to be where our conscious thought comes from.
The Primitive brain is the old part of the brain that is used to keep us alive. It looks at the unknown and worries about all the possibilities that could happen from a lion using us like a cat toy to maybe raiders wanting to use us as target practice. The Primitive brain will be happy when it is comfortable. That is why we like the couch and a movie so much. That is a very familiar activity. While walking down a dark alley is so nerve-wracking. We let our primitive brain run the show more times than our logical brain. Because we are not managing our Amygdala it has become as Brook Castillo puts it. The toddler with a knife, it’s cute and all but can create a lot of trouble.
So our anxiety is an unmanaged brain. We let the primitive brain run unchecked and that is when we imagine our child who is late by 10 minutes has been raped shot and killed in dirty underwear. Why do we let ourselves get this way? The main answer is that it is easier to let your brain think all these random thoughts than to stop its randomness. Our brain likes to be as efficient as it possibly can so as long as it’s not challenged then it is happy and will go do what it does best, and that is, I think in the most efficient way.
Yet there are times that we pick up new thoughts and sometimes those thoughts actually worsen one’s anxiety instead of helping it. We find out that there is a more specific type of anxiety that you think you fit in to. These places are often called echo chambers. The take a thought and amplify it. Throw in mixed information that will help you think you are learning about yourself instead of heling it is amplifying your anxiety. Here are the worst culprits
There are many reasons for anxiety to flare up. the biggest culprits are listed below.
Whether it is Facebook, Linked in or even a slack group, you can often get great and helpful advice from the knowledge of the other members of a group. If you are needing to know how to set up a podcast recording rig there is a group for that. If you want to harassed people of a different political affiliation, there are groups for that. There are groups that can fit every niche and topic possible. That includes mental health groups and specifically anxiety. There are hundreds of groups some that are small and then there are others that have a few thousand members.
I am in a few of these groups and one thing I see more than anything else is people helping others to stay in their comfort zone. You will get some serious push back and people coming to “rescue” from someone who gives an answer that goes against their thinking. I talked about the admin that kicked me because I mentioned how negative her anti-negative comment was. I still find that an interesting reaction and it is their prerogative. Yet that goes to show how many groups don’t really help a person with anxiety. They help to accentuate the anxiety symptoms making the person even more anxious because they are seeing that everyone else is resisting their emotions by taking different pills and not addressing the problem at its core which is people overthinking.
Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding DingDingDingDing Ding Ding Ding Dong Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding! We get a lot of notifications on our phone. Some are important like a call from your child needing you to pick her up. The rest is not so important. We post something on our social network of choice and then we spend the rest of the day looking to see what is getting the most responses. If one particular post doesn’t take off like you think it should we start to worry why. I have the same problem. I am on my phone all day. I ask questions and it seems as if more often than not I get very little in reaction. You worry is it you? Do you just not know how to communicate properly? Are my sales pages that bad? I worry about the lack of interaction is it me? Or maybe my message is really that horrible? The full answer is not that important.
We worry that we are not making an impact on our society. We want the sweet sensation of an oxytocin release, which we only get when we are contributing to our society. Since our phones have since become a lot more constant in our lives they are also the connection to us getting the needed neurotransmitters we need to function. I am swinging over to a side my family will gasp in shock in that I believe that it would do people good to get a good overview of what type of impact their phone has on their lives. Get a flip phone and use it for a month. Then turn around and look at your whole emotional state. Is it better or worse?
Perhaps even do a full digital detox. I use to laugh at this but I am wondering if there is something to it. This I don’t know I may do a test and see for myself.
Panic NOW! That is close to what you are seeing on any news network or news story these days. The mantra is if it bleeds it leads is more prevalent than ever. I have a special loathing for the mainstream media. You want to keep up with the news but it does us no good. It doesn’t help us in any way health-wise. Then political seasons every other year makes the news cycle even worse.
News companies aren’t there to inform you they are there to entice you to watch the news with the most sensational stories possible. They do this so they can see advertising spots. So watch the 6 o’clock news and then go on with your day. If there is something that catches your interest then go do the research on it and see how true it is.
If you want to ease up on the biggest culprit of anxiety drop the news.
Social Media is a lot like your phone. You get a lot of satisfaction from how people react to that witty remark you made. You want to be accepted so you are the different social media groups. Twitter sadly is nothing more than an outrage engine these days. Facebook draws you in and does nothing more than wastes your time with useless entertainment. It is a gamble if you are trying to hop in and look at a group or looing up the results of a sale. Facebook is the original time suck with a close second being YouTube.
Yet because we don’t get the reaction we want we will often experience anxiety and worry when the reactions either don’t come in or they are not what we originally thought they would be.
Lastly, I am going o point the finger at doctors too. Yeah I know if you point a finger there are 3 more pointed at you. Yet still, I see doctors today who are in a position to help take the easy road and prescribe a pill instead of helping a patient through their problems. Are antidepressants useful? Yes, they are but at the same time how are you supposed to understand your emotions and build up the needed emotional strength needed when you can’t even feel the emotions in the first place. Then there are the doctors who have made up so many new names for old illnesses or even made up new illnesses that don’t exist. Yes, they have don’t this they have made being a man is harmful in their eyes. Which gives the impression that they want everybody to have a mental illness.
Another example is this ted talk about who can be psychotic.
You can see I have a little reservation about the APA. Yet they are doing the hard work of trying to figure out how we really think. So I don’t fully poo-poo their work. I just feel they jump the gun too many times about who needs drugs. When helping them process what they have gone through and understand the emotions they experienced is more helpful.
We all want to belong to an exclusive group I get that we need to belong somewhere. Yet many times the groups we are in may not be the best solution. The group if it is like the aliens who worship the Claw from Toy Story then you might want to go look for a place that will help. Look for a place that will challenge you. Yeah, they can confirm a problem but let’s not go to a place that affirms that problem. As yourself do you really want to get better, or do you just want people to agree with you? Healthy discussions are good, and discussions require people to have two different viewpoints. So go find support but have that support work to get you out of the hole you are in.