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Let's Talk About Anxiety

245

Replies to: Let's Talk About Anxiety

  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,484 Senior Member
    That's really interesting, @surfcity.

    And yet....when you read descriptions of life in that era -- either fiction or nonfiction -- there always seem to be some people who are "invalids." I wonder whether some of them might have been suffering from mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders, that were not recognized as such at the time.

    I was reading a biography of the Wright brothers recently, and it described a period in Wilbur Wright's young adulthood when he became withdrawn and largely housebound for several years (missing out on college as a result). Might this have been mental illness? Similarly, might at least some of the problems that led to Elizabeth Barrett Browning being more-or-less an invalid for much of her adult life have been of mental origin?

    I agree that physical activity, social interaction, outdoor life, and feeling productive and useful might have helped many people avoid or minimize anxiety and depression in the past. But there were also people who were unwell, and it's not always clear whether their ill-health was physical or mental.
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 2,597 Senior Member
    Emotional health problems go back in my family. I had a great aunt on my father's side who committed suicide in the 1940s. At least two of my mom's relatives in the old country (Bohemia) killed themselves. My grandfather physically abused my grandmother and their daughter, my mom, struggled with mental health issues for much of her life, including a very serious bout of postpartum depression, for which she was hospitalized, after I was born.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 13,957 Senior Member
    @surfcity

    "I eventually learned a lot of coping techniques and how to cognitively retrain my brain and have been panic free for years."

    Love you comments and reasoning. I've had similar thoughts regarding societal changes and the impact on people. Any techniques you're willing to share?
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 32,140 Senior Member
    *Logically* I KNOW that he doesn't mind one bit when I wake him up. This is the guy who sleeps on the ER floor just to make sure I'm not alone for even a minute. He has the patience of a saint.

    But the anxiety monster tells me that I'm a bad spouse for waking him up and depriving him of sleep.
  • surfcitysurfcity Registered User Posts: 1,882 Senior Member
    @Marian I agree that there were always and will always be people who suffer. The language has changed, people were said to suffer from nervous exhaustion or shell-shock or hysteria or something. I do think perhaps the situations I described may have helped some people not develop full blown panic or depression. But others would still suffer despite the sunshine and physical activity etc.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,069 Senior Member
    My son suffers from anxiety... it always manifests itself in physical pain of some sort: terrible migraines. Severe intestinal/digestive issues that have landed him in urgent care more times than I care to remember. He deals with it OK in the work place -- though he still stresses more than the average person -- but school continues for him to be difficult.

    I don't know if these disorders are on the rise, but suspect that-- like panic attacks -- they finally have a name, recognition and attempts at dealing with them.

    I'm grateful I live at an age when mental/psychological/emotional problems are no longer a taboo subject.

  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,484 Senior Member
    @katliamom, I think a lot of people have similar issues. Certain physical problems -- like irritable bowel or migraine -- may get worse when the person is stressed or anxious. And then, of course, people worry about that happening, and that leads to increased stress/anxiety, which leads to an increased likelihood that it will happen. It's a vicious cycle.
  • gclsportsgclsports Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    I have anxiety and depression. It's in my genes, I think, since both parents and most of my aunts and uncles are also affected. I think everyone experiences anxiety differently. For me, I tend to feel an inordinate amount of pressure to make the right decision, even when there is not necessarily a wrong decision, and even when the stakes are objectively low. I worry constantly about things that I know are completely outside of my control. And, I tend to want everything to be perfect, so if I am planning a party for example or if I have an important event coming up, I cannot relax until it is over. And then, I can only relax briefly before I start replaying everything in my head and second guess everything I did. The way I deal with my anxiety is to plan and plan and plan. If I know I am going to be expected to make a decision, I research the options to the point of overkill, spend a lot of time considering all the scenarios, solicit a lot of opinions, and eventually I can get to the point where I am somewhat comfortable making a decision. If I'm planning an event, I start months in advance, keep a notebook where I essentially journalize my thought process, make lists, refine my lists, etc., etc. Those coping mechanisms do help with things I know are coming and things I have at least some control over. It's the things I can't plan for or have no hope of controlling that stress me out the most.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 13,957 Senior Member
    Forgive me if this question sounds callous or ignorant, but for those of you who come from a family history of anxiety issues, do you think some of it might be learned behavior (nurture) as much as genetics/dna (nature)? Is it possible that if you have family members with anxiety that you didn't learn through example the coping mechanisms that others might have learned?

    Another ignorant question: How is anxiety diagnosed exactly? I mean, don't all people worry too much, at least if we aren't slacker types? I guess the difference is the magnitude and whether it consumes your life and ability to function?

    For example, in the situation above regarding parties, to me that sounds like being an organized person. I'd do the same and view it as good project management because I would want it to be a nice event. Maybe I have anxiety without knowing I do.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,101 Senior Member
    edited August 11
    All these symptoms do tend to get jumbled under certain headings. Some decision making issues, eg, could be ADD. Some fears are justifiable.

    I hope all who are naming diagnoses are working with a professional.

    Dos, we can also look some of this up in the diagnostic manual. Or google, looking for the professional orgs, how they define and test, their criteria.
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 2,597 Senior Member
    edited August 11
    @doschicos, in my family, I think both nature and nurture are involved. But the nurture goes both ways. While I don't think my parents necessarily modeled good natural coping devices, they did acknowledge the existence of mental and emotional illness and were willing to get treatment, for example, for my mom's postpartum depression and for my eating disorder. In contrast, I think my ex-husband's father has also struggled with anxiety and depression but he has refused and ridiculed professional help or treatment (e.g., therapy or medication). I don't know if he knows that his son, my ex, has been in treatment off and on for decades. It's possible that my own father was self-medicating with alcohol. Drinking a little to reduce stress might be okay but I didn't think it was a good behavior for him to be modeling. It distressed me.

    As to your question about diagnosis, I think that's difficult with mental and emotional illnesses. Much of it has to rely on self-reporting of symptoms in contrast to measurable things that can be determined by lab tests. But if, for example, someone says that her rumination or sadness or rapid heartbeat or stomach aches cause her to do or not do things that interfere with her life to an unpleasant extent, that seems like a valid sign of anxiety or depression.
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