ANXIETYS BITCH BLOG
If I think really hard to my childhood, I see signs that my mother had anxiety. I was brought up in a home that parents whispered to one another bad news about others so that my ears would not hear. If a neighbour was getting a divorce, it was whispered. If someone found out they had cancer, it was whispered. The whole conversation was not always whispered though, just those "bad" words. Cancer. Divorce. Bankrupt. Affair. I would try with all my super powers to hear what the adults were saying in such a hushed voice. Fearing those words like one fears a bullet or knife. I recall once when my mother was sad a lot and did not want to go to the park with me. I remember the doctor coming to the house and when he was leaving talking to my dad. I remember the hushed words that he leaned in towards my father just a bit more to say to him. I remember him slowly saying, "it's a woman's problem". I was horrified. I was a girl who everyone kept telling, would grow up to be a fine woman. I did not want to be sick. I did not want not be able to go to the park. I did not want to grow up if that was my future. My mom slept a lot over a few weeks then was back to being my sweet loving mommy. Depression and anxiety were not uncommon then, they were just not understood. They were mental illnesses or women's issues. I can't imagine not being able to get the proper medical help that is available today. I now think about all the times my Mama stayed home instead of going with my Dad to an event. I remember her always being home. This sudden realisation scared me as I have lived that life too. Is anxiety hereditary or a learned behaviour or just a crap shoot?
Research suggests there may be a genetic component. Scientists have found that a particular genetic variation related to introverted personalities also involves the processing of fear and anxiety. Does this mean that nervous people who fight the beast with have anxious kids? Perhaps! Environment plays a definite roll in the manifestation of anxiety even more than genes. Such as, children who experience many changes in their lives or who do not have a secure attachment to a parental figure may develop anxious responses, even without a genetic susceptibility.
The beast of anxiety could also be a learned behaviour, as your parents ability to handle stress can influence their child and how they react to certain situations in the same way.
It is important, as a parent, to recognize anxious behaviour in your children. Warning signs may include sleeping or eating issues, server shyness, excessive worrying or repetitive behaviours. If your child and or children exhibit one or many of these signs please try to help them overcome the fears which lead to their anxious behaviour. Always acknowledge your child's fears and encourage them to discuss the issue. Please do not tell a child not to worry, as the fear is not going to go away on its own just because you said to do so. They need to know that you are not mad at them for feeling this way. If you get angry with them they will now fear showing any feelings in your presence. Try to come up with a relaxation strategy in times of extreme stress for your child. Breathing exercises, even meditation can help calm in the high level of anxiousness. Playing music that they can either relax to or dance to will also ease their levels. Physical activities such as going for a walk with the dog or even kicking around a soccer ball are stress busters. If the anxiety persists with your child, talk to their doctor. Seeking help early is key to them not having to deal with the beast forever.
I know my own children suffer from anxiety and yes, I often wonder if I am the reason for this. I have to push the thoughts hard out of my mind so that I do not get overwhelmed. I now know that I did and still do, everything in my power to help them deal with the beast. I have always kept an open dialogue with my kids so they know they can trust me. During teenage years life is a constant roller coaster of emotions and when you add anxiety to the ride, the bumps hit harder. I struggle with trying to control how they think sometimes, like most parents as we only want them to live better lives then we did. I do not want my children to have the same demons as I do as it would break me. I can only hope that they never feel alone like I did with their conflicts and fears. It is a parents instinct to want to keep their children safe and out of danger. We do not want our kids to suffer in any shape or form. We want to be able to shelter are babies, regardless of their age, from all the evil this world hands out. Anxiety is one of the beasts I cannot fight for them. I can give them only the skills to understand and the rest has to be up to them. That is one of the hardest and bravest parts of being a Mom.
Most people assume that only women get anxiety but as with many things in life, anxiety does not gender snub. Though society is slowly accepting anxiety and other mental illnesses, there is still a stigma attached. That stigma seems to be slightly harder on the male humans as society still thinks they should be the stronger sex. I laugh as I type that as we all know we are equally strong. If you are unsure of that statement, you need to get out of the 1950's and enter 2017 fast! Seriously! Get in that time machine in your garage. The one beside the station wagon. Turn that dial to 2017 and enjoy the ride.
Anxiety can be frightening to anyone but the sad truth males are told at such an early age in their life to "man up". Again, laughing as I type that as I gave birth. I also bled for weeks on end without dying. Get the picture now 1950? They are told to be strong and that showing weakness is wrong. Young boys have been raised in the past, and unfortunately now, to suppress emotions , to be more independent and defensive. I was raised by a fairly sensitive father and I hope that my son will always be able to be emotional freely. Being emotional is for the females, is something men are raised on hearing. If they express any emotion it is anger or aggression. Men dealing severe anxiety with the added bonus of depression, complete suicide between 3 and 8 times more than women. Whereas females appear to make suicide signs more often than men, the numbers are still higher for actual deaths with males. As men get older, the numbers are alarmingly high.
Research show that men are underrepresented in the running total of most of the common psychiatric disorders. Noticeably true for anxiety, depression and mood disorders. More men than women suffer from drug abuse and dependencies, alcoholism and personality problems. Men are more likely to tell someone they are fine ten minutes before strangle themselves with a rope. Men more often will pass of their anxiety as another illness.
Below is a list of common symptoms of anxiety with it's cruel friend depression mixed in. Perhaps some of these will appear in a man that you love, a spouse, brother, co-worker or even a son. It may amaze you how many men in your life show a lot of these traits.
A lot of the time doctors have a difficult time identifying symptoms of anxiety and depression in men . Since fewer men than women seek actual psychotherapy, researches assume men do not suffer from anxiety. Men who do get treatment get results. Medication and psychotherapy have been resulted in relieving anxiety and especially depression in men. Again. with the help of social media, more males are finding their way into the doctors office. As another sufferer of anxiety, I salute those men. I know how hard it is to ask for help even harder to admit that you need help. I have watched in my lifetime men that I care about suffer from anxiety. Not all wanted help. Not all thought that they needed help. It is a topic that we all need to talk about and share in all public forums. Then and only then, will this stigma be destroyed. Perhaps we need more actors, famous athletes, politicians and every day men to speak up. We need them to be brave and show that others are not alone. I know it is hard. I decided to start this blog as I know that it is hard to open up. I knew that others needed a safe place. I knew that everyone needs to know they are not alone in this battle of the beast. Open up that dialogue. I did. I bare my anxiety ridden soul to anyone who will listen or read.
If you or someone you know may need help, encourage going for an evaluation. Simply talking things out with someone can make a tremendous difference.
It sometimes amazes me that other people can just get up and run out the door without any hesitation. They grab their keys, purse, maybe a water bottle and off they go to an adventurous road trip or just to get groceries. I need to plan and over think every step of anywhere that I go. I Google Map the directions to my destination so I know exactly how long I will feel trapped in a moving vehicle. Over excessive I am sure to someone who does not suffer the wrath of the demon we all call anxiety. It may even be a strange way to deal for those who do deal with anxiety on the daily but this is my process. I need to make sure I have an escape plan, perhaps that means going somewhere that I can call a taxi if needed. Perhaps it means I go somewhere that is open spaced or walking distance from my home. I lather up my skin with my calming oils. I make sure I have water and Kleenex. All this happened 99% of the time when I would leave my house. I am finding that the percentage is lowering due to getting more sleep, eating better, drinking lots of water and taking my medication. I find that this blog has pushed me to try harder, not that I was not trying before. I am just locating my inner warrior who use to rock this world without much fear. I try to exercise daily which helps level my serotonin levels and yes, I still hate working out. I am icing my knee right now as I worked out a little too hard and apparently my old knee has gone on strike. I will still do upper body exercise tonight as I am determined to live the life I want. The life that has me being happy and social with the outside world. I deserve that. I need that. I certainly have earned it. So push yourself. Push hard. Do not let the beast win.
Just with second hand smoke, that of which causes serious damage to ones lungs, second hand stress can do damage. Just think of a time when you found yourself feeling agitated or nervous for no other reason than your spouse rushing around like a maniac. You know when they had a bad day at work and come home venting and looking for an argument. Their speech is urgent and somewhat vile as they stomp around slamming drawers. They make breathless demands while gulping down a coffee or a beer. Now these behaviours bleed into your atmosphere just as if a bad influenza has attacked your lungs. Before you can understand what is going on, you start to feel your chest tighten and your temples ache. You feel angry for no reason and now your words are cutthroat. If any of this sounds familiar, you have dealt with second hand stress. This can happen with a coworker as well and will put a strain on your work environment.
This type of stress can cause others issues such as:
You need to be careful to not become part of the issue by causing second hand stress around you too. It can become a vicious circle that you do not want to be caught in. By managing your own stress, you can reduce the effects of secondhand stress both at work and at home by setting a healthy, centered example. You can learn to guard your own energy by cultivating healthy habits (nutrition, sleep, exercise) that naturally make you more resilient. If you already suffer from anxiety, this type of stress may be a trigger. You really need to distance yourself from people who act in this manner daily as it will benefit your health. High stressed people are hard to be around with anxiety and you must always come first. I have had to learn this the hard way.