Realizing that Anxiety was More than Just a Feeling

My goal with this blog has always been to help me cope with my poor mental health. However, recently it seems my blog may be helping others who are struggling. If something I have written over the past several months has helped you, I implore you to please share the link to my blog site. When I came out about my depression, I did so out of necessity. Realizing that anxiety was more than just a feeling, I knew I needed help. Feeling as though I was at the end of my journey, I knew I needed help.

In my day job, I manage a team of software support engineers. Our customers report problems to us and my team works to resolve those issues. Once the problem is resolved, our customers will typically want to know what was the root cause? Why was the issue experienced? But more importantly, how can they avoid it in the future? In actuality, knowing the cause upfront is usually the only way to ensure the underlying issue is being resolved.

A Layman’s Definition of Anxiety

Simply put, and from my non-Psychology mind, anxiety is our body’s normal response to stress. When anxiety strikes, one may experience a sense of dread or fear. Sweating and increased heart rate are the physical signs of anxiety. And much like the feeling you have after intaking caffeine or nicotine, anxiety can provide you with a sudden boost of adrenaline.

Discovering the Cause of Anxiety

I have used this example before — imagine a college student cramming for an exam. Clearly, he or she would be under a tremendous amount of stress. Additionally, their anxiety level will likely elevate even higher as the exam day approaches. However, anxiety in the case of the college student could be a normal response to stress, with the cause being either the exam or a lack of preparation. We cannot fix the exam as taking those are part of college life.

Moreover, for people whose symptoms linger seemingly without a known cause and are likely experiencing a more serious underlying mental health problem.

Finding the Solution

I had to find help as it had become scarily obvious to me how adept I was at hiding my true feelings. Coming out to my connection group was the healthy outlet I needed to start my journey toward better mental health.

Having known the symptoms of my anxiety and depression for many years, I continued to keep the cause buried in my amygdala. In the past, when asked how I was feeling during an anxiety episode, my response was — “I am not feeling well” or “I’ll be OK, I am just tired”. Of course, this was a lie because health-wise, I was fine however mentally I was a wreck. I would also make up excuses at the last minute for not attending an event — even ones that I had helped to plan.

Today I utilized several coping mechanisms to manage my depression and anxiety.

  • Writing my thoughts on this weekly blog.
  • Creating digital art on my iPad and then share those drawings with others on social media.
  • Operating an online store where I sell my drawings and other designs — with the proceeds being donated to charity.
  • Picking up an old hobby of coding for fun.
  • But more importantly — I pray to God and meditate on His word, seeking His counsel in all things.

So what will be your healthy outlet? What will be your coping mechanisms?

In closing this week’s musing I would be amiss having not emphasized everyone’s journey to better mental health is different. So please, if you are having thoughts of ending your pain, I beseech you to seek out support. Reach out to a loved one, a neighbor, your local church, or your doctor. There is a purpose for your life.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaish 35 (ESV)

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If you made it this far, please consider commenting below, subscribing, and also sharing on your social media sites. Most importantly, I ask for your prayers. I write this weekly blog as an outlet in my fight against depression. However, my hope is that something I write here may help others who may be struggling. If you would like to help with my battle against depression, check out my online Etsy store and affiliate links. Most proceeds are donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by dialing 988. You may also text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.

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