The United State Of Anxiety
Wellness -Teri Socia, Owner of Rae Soap Co.
Have you ever been in one of the darkest times of your life and you don’t know where to turn? You try to manage things alone. You find yourself stuck, afraid, and lonely searching for answers. No matter what you do, nothing seems to be working out. Fear and doubt start to creep in. You start to doubt your abilities and suddenly you are “in your head.”
Maybe you reach out to a friend for a coffee date or a casual drink but you keep things on the surface for fear of being judged. Maybe you let your guard down and open up, only to learn that the outlet you are confiding in does not understand, even though they may try. You feel like you are being judged. You are now overthinking everything. Soon enough you may feel completely backed into a corner.
The more that time passes, the more isolated you become. Your friends and family ask if you want to hang out and you find yourself creating excuses because they have no idea you have not left your bed for the day. You don’t even realize yourself how withdrawn you’ve become. You also don’t recognize yourself. Many people suffer from anxiety and depression and they often suffer in silence. The taboo associated with mental health, is one that we as a society must overcome. The reality is, it is healthy to openly discuss things that are bothering you. We have been conditioned to bottle everything up. If something is boiling over inside of you, naturally without a release, things will eventually bubble over and leave you in a bigger mess than you once were in. When people with anxiety leave their comfort zone and reach out for help within those they trust, it is a bold move. A move they hope will be beneficial to seek counsel, advice, or reassurance. Generation Z seems to be better at reaching out or openly discussing mental health issues than older generations. Maybe it’s because their generation is coined as “stressed, depressed, and exam obsessed.” Gen Z people have been statistically analyzed to be one of the most depressed generations. Why do you think this is? One of my daughters said in the past that they wish they grew up in a time where social media wasn’t invented. For youth much smarter than generations past and has access to technology that former generations didn’t have, it is actually a common feeling among Gen Z to not constantly have that social media exposure. I saw a presentation recently where a young man reached out to all of his friends but everyone had plans. He felt so lonely but decided to go get himself a drink. He held the drink up and posted on social media with the hashtag best night out in a while. As soon as he hit post, he threw the drink out and went back home. It was one of his loneliest nights, yet he felt compelled to state otherwise. People with anxiety and/or depression may seek guidance or reassurance from an unhelpful source. This can leave you in a darker place than you were before reaching out. It is not to say they are bad people because they didn’t help you, maybe they do not understand anxiety and are not capable of offering help. If you are seeking out that person to help ground you in times of distress, don’t give up. There are tools and resources on this topic as well in my book, Calm The Storm. Meditation and aromatherapy relaxation are additional ways you can reduce your stress and anxiety. There is a big world out there full of people. Wouldn’t it be great to be more united? Yet, it seems our culture has become too busy for deep meaningful conversations while many are all falling victim to mental health issues at an alarming rate. What if we had more conversations and deeper connections? What if things weren’t always so on the surface? What if the “hey how are you’s?” that we exchange, actually went beyond “good, good.” What if we really took the time to get connected? By connected, I mean IRL (not behind a monitor.) Everyone needs someone. Whether you are that somebody for someone else, or someone else is that crying shoulder for you. Life gets so messy and we cannot do it alone. We were not meant to! I think my friends’ appreciate my transparency when we sit and have conversations, as I appreciate their openness as well. We all have different things we can bring to the table to help each other out. I do not care to live in a world of “I’m good.” Of course we want things to be going well, but let’s not be afraid to be vulnerable in the right audience when your life is not well. The statistic of anxiety and depression has gone up increasingly over the years in the United States. Everything has become more competitive. Stress plays a huge role. Here is a non-exhaustive list of examples: •Family problems and relational problems such as division, confrontations, parent and child miscommunication, lack of boundaries, addiction, grief, gossip, and jealousy •Marriage crisis such as infidelity, financial problems, lack of love and respect, sexual problems, trust issues, becoming complacent, etc. •Problems at work such as with your direct boss or a coworker, taking on too much responsibility, unemployment / lacking retirement, struggling to be mentally present because of other stressors, feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders as the bread-winner, balancing work, home, and social life •Socioeconomic Pressure such as kids and parents alike trying to keep up with the Joneses, the one-upping pressure to “be like everyone else”, kids asking other kids about their parents income, maintaining a certain status, poverty issues such as shelter, water, food, etc. •Medical stressors like health problems, worrying about a diagnosis , recovering and worrying about a recurrence, financial issues associated with medical bills, caring for an ill loved one, etc. •School pressures including but not limited to: Sports pressures, pressure to be number one athletically, coaches and parents alike pushing their athlete to get that scholarship (in lieu of, dare I say, having fun). Pressure you might let your team down, academic pressures, pressure to get a 4.0, pressure to get a great score on standardized tests, pressure to be in multiple clubs, groups and sports to show your involvement on your college application, pressure to have the perfect essay for your college application, pressure to get accepted into your first choice college while colleges are becoming more and more competitive and then the pressure to be able to afford said college and fear of failing. •Stress from local, national and world crisis’. News stations broadcasting via T.V. and websites reporting every second more negativity. Upset over crime, famine, war, violence, political unrest, and injustice. Hoping our leaders make the right decisions. Decisions being made that may divide people or groups. People who disagree with you and write you off because you don’t identify with their agenda even though you respect it. Feeling uncertain for the state of affairs on local, national and international happenings.
That list could go on and on as it is endless. “The trouble you’re in right now isn’t punishment, its training.” Hebrews 12:7 We have all been through some terrible times in life. It is no wonder anxiety and depression are on the rise! We must rebuke it. We must learn from it. We must pool resources to conquer it. This is not to say if you take a medication to stop (always follow your doctor’s orders). I am also not saying by simply finding the right person to talk to, that all of your anxiety and depression will flee you. I am saying to please recognize you are not alone in your battle. Don’t succumb to the diagnosis and claim “this is just my life and I am in it alone.” I am saying, be encouraged to put the work in to take back your life! When anxiety says you can’t, start praying. When the enemy starts playing tricks on you and anxiety tells you in the mirror that you’re ugly, start praying. When depression takes root and you feel trapped, don’t isolate yourself. The sooner you can reach out to someone, the better you will start to feel. When the sins of your past root it’s ugly head up and you’ve been forgiven, start praying and rebuke that spirit. When you feel like you need to apologize for anything and everything because your anxiety has you thinking in overdrive, start praying. Ask God to be your everything and your all. God can heal you and get you comfortable in your own skin. Don’t become withdrawn. Keep searching until you find that person or group to help keep you be accountable and then be that person for someone else. Our mental attitude towards our situation is vital to conquering our fears. Anxiety and depression can feel like you have been asleep in a coma of darkness. Our inner light didn’t want to shine anymore. Even after your light has been put out, God can and will reignite that light, that fire inside of you. That will to keep on going. Sometimes it may take you a while to wake up from the sleep you were in, that daze that had you knocked down, you just needed a little help and now you can shine brighter than ever. If you choose to walk around out of a place of total desperation and feat, with a mindset of “things will never get better” then likely, they won’t. Times when things are not going our way are when its most difficult to navigate your own life. That is why it is important to have a good support system, faith, and a positive mindset to yield external results from an internal change in your shift. If your thoughts are always negative, you will reap negative results. Mindset matters. It sounds so elementary but it is very powerful. We must consider that our thoughts lead to feelings, our feelings lead to actions and our actions determine results. These results whether good or bad at the present time are where we can identify that our inner drive plays a large role in our external progress. As difficult as things can be in life, no matter your situation and the experience you may be going through, it is in your life for a reason. There is a gift and a lesson in everything! No matter how messed up things may seem right now, your season of peace is coming. Hold on and believe! Perhaps this struggle is to show you your strength. Perhaps for something else. Whichever your situation is, never give up and always show yourself love because no matter how tough it can be, your life is beautiful and it is worth living. I am not a doctor or mental health professional, but I studied psychology in college and share by exposure.
If you or someone you know needs help today, you can find help at the Crisis Text Line and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They’re free and available 24/7:
- Text “HELLO” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
- Call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you or your friend need help right now, call 911 or go to the closest emergency room.