Tag Archives: Wisdom

Some Truth About Anxiety

Hello there! For those just viewing this blog this is a continuation from last week’s post Fast and Furious. Do not worry it is not political it just mentions politics. I surveyed the social/institutional landscape and commented on the pace of life and level of anxiety that is present in it all. This week I have promised to put some thoughts and suggestions on the table. Go back and have a look if you want, but the synopsis I just gave should be sufficient for you to get the hang of what the discussion is about.

I realized a few days after I wrote last week’s post that I was getting into a territory that I am intentionally staying away from in this blog. That would be advice giving, or another way of putting it would be to appear to have the answers. The full post on that is here. This post is not an easy bake way of dispelling anxiety. It is just a supposition of what is going on, and my own evidence for it. It is a fine line to walk. I am not entirely aware of where it is, but as Potter Stewart put it when trying to define pornography, “I know it when I see it.”

Where I left off last time was that roughly 10% of Americans where being medicated for anxiety and depression, while 30% of the population experienced levels of each enough to justify being medicated. In addition nothing good can be done in the business and political spheres, because as Americans we live in a society that demands immediate results. It all boiled down to calling our fast living society a symptom of anxiety, and anxiety is what I am going to focus on in this post.

Let me confess that I loaded the dice on the last post.  No, it was not a trick I was playing with you. I just realized I fell into the trap before I named it for what it was. My vision is distorted by my own anxiety, and I was merely painting the picture that matched the anxiety that I feel about the culture I live in. On some level I feel anxiety about the lack of education for youths that live in poverty. I feel anxiety that our government is not proactive in resolving issues. I feel anxiety that I must wake up tomorrow and work on an objective that is being driven by the fear of coming up short. I have anxiety this post might come up short of expectations. Whose expectations might you ask? Most likely my own.

Either way you and I know the world may not be as dire as it seems. I know this because the anxiety I feel comes from reading the news. The anxiety gets stirred when I read of a half way informative article of what really happened in Benghazi, or when I check in on the latest swing state poll. “Oh my gosh! It is 49% to 49%! Who is going to win?” Owning a smart phone with a robust data plan ensures I can keep spooning it in at a high frequency. These are the inspirations for the landscape I paint of the broader world. Note to self: start getting new muses.

There may or may not be an amount of anxiety that you are presently experiencing in your life. I once believed that everyone suffers from at least a kernel of anxiety bouncing off their innards. The kernel would be something like some constant nagging worry about their lives or future. But I have been out in the world enough to know some people that do not seem to be affected by anxiety this way. Some of them could just be good suppressors. The stuff is buried so deep that they do not even know it is somewhere in them. Though I know the lives my worry free friends live well enough. There is too much integrity in them for me to believe that they are in the habit of burying feelings even subconsciously.

I poured a great deal of thought into these friends of mine. I was interested because I had been plagued by depression and anxiety for a great deal of my life. I even named it. I call it the monolith. I watched them closely. Yes, even I studied them. Being the anxiety free people they are they happily talked very plainly with me. The truth is they do not see the world differently from me. They read the same papers and believe it is not a pleasant picture too. The big difference was that they see themselves differently than I see myself. My anxiety free friends carry with them a sense of purpose like I have never seen. They hope as a choice and consciously believe people close to them love them even when things get tight and people get hurt.

I need to back track for a moment and say that calling my friends anxiety free is a bit of a misnomer. They do experience anxiety. It is a natural part of living. They respond to the worry and fear by giving it up and choosing to hold on to hope even in the middle of hard times.

I am faced with an outlook on the world that deals with people clamoring for money, sex, and power as if that were all there is to living. Then I have friends in my life that live in the same world as I do and see the same things, but they walk through it with more grace than I would think possible. Going from the society at large to my social life it becomes clear that the issue behind the anxiety is one step closer. It is me. If two subjects are placed in the same environment and respond differently the difference is likely in the subjects.

Somewhere under the hood there is something missing or an atrophied emotional muscle that I am loathe to use. The brokenness can be many things, but the response for me is always the same. I am the one responsible for the level of anxiety I choose to have in my life, and there are real ways of dealing with it. I would not have known that if I was not told that by my friends.

The missing piece was to have faith that ultimately the truth will always win. I learned that without that kind of faith there is no point of looking for anything else for help, because in the end it will be a temporary fix. The next big wind, and by wind I mean trouble, will blow your life to the ground.  This could very well be a great mini sermon. “Faith will cure Anxiety.” But that would not be entirely true there are many things that will help people deal with anxiety, and each person needs their own custom prescription. In addition, there is no such thing as a cure for anxiety. Anxiety cannot be completely erased from living. Most people deal with it on some level from time to time.

What is true is that having faith is where I started to find the truths about my life, and then started living accordingly. What is true is faith stretches someone to reach outside of their own vision. This is especially useful when everything seems to be closing in and worry is the theme of the day.

One more thing I discovered was that whatever the faith is in  it must be greater than yourself. I also know some narcissistic friends. One thing I realized is that they are internally (emotionally spiritually, intellectually) stunted because their inner bean poll was only as big as their concept of themselves. In other words, they were not being stretched to grow outside of their own perspective. The anxiety that is in me would appear to be a permanent state of affairs without something that is bigger than me to trust in; because, I am not enough to deal with it alone. If I were alone in this I would want the fastest life possible with all the money, power, and sex I could find in order to cope.

Thankfully, that is not the case for me.

If you want to read up on a person I feel is living with this kind of truth in his life his blog here. Enjoy it, it might inspire you. In fact, WordPress is full of inspiring blogs. Go explore!

The Writer

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fast and Furious

First off I want to say hello to the new followers of my blog! Welcome! I am glad you resonated so far. Be sure to read the “Why am I Writing This” section to get an idea of what this blog is about. I will be going to a lot of places, and I am glad to have you along for the trip.

And now to the post…

Fast and furiously working for results we forget it is the slow and steady that live longer and are more satisfied with life. For the most part I see people are becoming more reliant on higher frequency forms of gratification. I want to take a moment and consider the implications.

No doubt many good things have been botched because there is a quarterly report that needs to be released and stake holders are demanding results. The new Apple IOs map is a likely example of fast paced culture. I read in the BBC technology section that Scott Forstall the senior manager in charge of the project just announced he will leave after nearly 15 years of service. That is business as they say, but it is not how life works.

Legislation is not developed with a long view. The result is disheartening. Taxpayers want a refund check now, and will cross the bridges of insolvency when we get there.  The treasury issues debt in a way that gives a new meaning American express. The Congressional Budget Office releases reports that summarize in a few words, “This cannot last forever”. President Barack Obama rightfully points to the eight years prior to his term as part of the reason for the awful state we are in. Yet, there is no long term plan in the wings to explain how much more we will need to pay and what we are going to live without. House republicans want to quickly withdraw government spending from the economy in the middle of a meager recovery because their constituencies want it and want it now. The system simply does not support the long view. This is also not how life works.

The housing bubble is another example where expediency trumped wisdom. I am not going to get into the numbers unless you want me to; however, it is fair to say the effects of the collapse of the U.S. housing market were felt worldwide. The desire to live fast destroyed more than what was created. I can think of other examples in the macroeconomic and political spheres, but this horse was dead before the gate opened.

At this point it is easy to look at the disarray and feel lost. There is anxiety at play in the way the world operates. As an anecdote, observe the amount of antidepressant medications that are prescribed in America. I read 10-11% of Americans use the medication, and that is just a third of those who exhibit symptoms of major depression(1).  I think this anxiety is what drives the need for now rather than deferment for a better future.

I have some suggestions to put on the table, but I am out of time for this week. I am reluctant to do a two part post, but I want to give this time and space it needs. I feel this is a very important observation that deserves careful exploration. Please be patient.  In the mean time taste the irony.

The Writer

(1) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db76.htm

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: