The Grip of Anxiety
When we talk about health and wellness there is a lot of focus on the physical aspects that go along with it. We think of our bodies looking and feeling better. We think yoga, hot stone massages, and group workout sessions. How often do we think of our mental health? Sure, we all use the cliche phrases about being crazy at work or when dealing with the kids, but do we really think about what’s going on in our heads?
Personally I live with anxiety on a nearly daily basis. The reality is that many of you reading this are suffering from it as well. Anxiety disorders affect one in five people, with women being twice as likely to be impacted than men, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. So, if anxiety impacts so many people why aren’t we talking about it more and how to deal with it? I can’t say for sure why it isn’t more widely discussed, but if I had to guess I would assume stigma and lack of understanding.
I get nervous when I fly. It is not really a fear of flying that makes my legs compulsively diddle while I wait in the boarding area. It's not the close confined space of the aircraft that makes me sweat and shortens my breaths. It's 2 other things that my mind obsesses over.
First is the fact that I am close to a person I do not know when I take my seat. That person might even be touching my shoulder or try to climb over me to get to the lavatory. I like people, but I need my space. I don't think that I have a problem, at least not a problem that is out of control. However, anyone that knows me, knows I am uncomfortable with too much touching. Basically, I don't want you to get me sick.
The other thing is that despite all of the amazing engineering that goes behind building these planes, it still just doesn't sit right with me. Did you know the average commercial airliner full of fuel weighs about 130,000 lbs. That is not including the weight of the people it carries and the luggage. The average African elephant weighs approximately 12,000 lbs. So, when you fly around 6 miles above the Earth's surface, it's like you are flying around inside of about 11 elephants. How can we really have that much control over a machine that big?
For me, anxiety can be paralyzing. It lurks in the shadows and I can usually ignore it, but when I can’t, it jumps out and tries to strangle me. When it shows up, I want to exit stage right, but between family obligations and managing my different businesses, I can’t just disappear. I tried prescriptions but hated how absent they made me feel. I tried a therapist but many of the coping mechanisms provided didn’t seem to help.
If you suffer from anxiety and are looking for a way to manage it that better fits a health and wellness lifestyle, you should speak to a medical professional. Don't give up the fight to find a solution though, life is too good to let anxiety bring you down day after day.