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From Audio: What Is Anxiety?

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station description Mental health affects every area life, yet most of us are confused and intimidated ... read more
‎Thought Life
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Duration: 33:47
Listen to Crystal Turman and Bryan Saylor tackle the topic of anxiety.
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Listen to Crystal Turman and Bryan Saylor tackle the topic of anxiety.
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because uh as I thought about this topic of anxiety, it really is something that affects a lot of people. If I give a sermon on anxiety and then at the end I'm like if you'd like if you're dealing with anxiety and you want me to pray for you raise your hand, probably 50-75% of the people are going to raise their hands. So I think it's something that a lot of people deal with in addition to that, I think that um, you know, even in the past couple of weeks, I've talked to multiple people who really struggle with this. And so I just wanted to read a couple of things. Um, I asked a couple of my friends, how do you, um, like how does the anxiety affect you? Uh this is what one person said physically, you feel dizzy. Lightheaded, chess titans start breathing heavier. It's like bees being set loose in your stomach, which I thought was a good descriptive and then emotionally, I feel super out of control. Like my whole world is slipping away. I feel dread and I cant relax. I feel like I'm losing touch with reality and I get really worried about the people around me. There are usually a million thoughts racing in my head all at once and nothing I can do to stop it. Exactly. There's a very real physiological responses which lead us to the behaviors of withdrawing from certain activities and how it affects people can be very different um where some people might have that feeling in their stomach, other people might get a headache or migraine, you might have muscle spasms, muscle issues, digestive issues. It can be have a very big impact on your health. Anxiety also affects women differently than men, especially in the areas of digestion and heart interesting. Yeah. One more just to read to you, this is kind of more on the, on the mental side of things. But mentally, when I'm anxious, my mind is in overdrive. I just think too many thoughts at once. Sometimes it's worrying about the future, stressing over things that I can't control or thinking of hypothetical situations that most likely won't happen, but still dwelling on them and allowing myself to be controlled by the fear of the unknown. If something unexpected happens, this can be a trigger. Exactly. And think about the energy that the person whose mind is racing, thinking of every possible aspect so that I can feel prepared so that I can manage my anxiety, the mental and emotional energy that has to be given to that it's a drain then what what am I irritable later? Do I need to go to bed early? Do I not have the energy for the things I really enjoy or really want to participate in? So that energy can um and the emotional expense that is wasted on energy, it can deprive you of your sleep, especially when it's quiet and then your mind starts racing and you're trying to fall asleep and you thinking of a million things that you could have said that day or done differently or the things that are coming up? Wow, that's incense. Yeah, and and I definitely think, you know, one thing as I was thinking about this and asking those questions to people, it definitely like hearing those stories definitely gave me a lot of empathy to understand. Like man, that that is something like really real that people are going through. And one thing I think is interesting is that like, I feel that sometimes people can have almost like a skepticism to anxiety. You know, we would never like for someone who's in a wheelchair or something, we would never be like, man, like why don't you just like go for a jog, you know? But but because we can't see the anxiety, maybe people are like, well why don't you just, you know, like, I don't know, relax a little bit or something. Not only the skepticism, like, you should be able to will that away or change your mind or just stop doing it a lot of times, there is, there are no synaptic connections. You have a shortcut to being anxious and who thinks about that? Oh, I have a shortcut to being anxious. I need to make my relaxation, neuro synaptic connections stronger in my brain. It's not something we think about every day and it's really not easy to turn around because of those things we mentioned a minute ago, you have physiological responses, You have thoughts attached to those anxious feelings, You have beliefs attached to those anxious feelings and all of those need to be addressed. And that is something that people who are introverted, who have a more quiet personality, they tend to be very anxious, especially in social settings and it can come off to other people as conceded or snobby when really they're just trying to manage their anxiety. Yeah, that's really profound. So we talked about, you know, kind of you mentioned a couple of the factors of of of anxiety and even um addressing the skepticism of it and I do want to get back to that, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, um let's kind of get a little bit of a baseline or a foundation for just what is anxiety if you are going to try to explain what anxiety is to someone who is skeptical about anxiety and who would say like, well isn't that just sort of a fancy word for being worried? Like what would you say to them to kind of help them understand? I would affirm that that worry feeling because I I believe there's a spectrum of anxiety, it can be as light as I'm worried and it can start off as a worry, but then what happens after that? Am I able to get to a rational thought? Am I able to feel normal, like I'm in my own skin when I'm having this worry or do I start to have physiological responses? Can do I feel stuck? Do I feel like I can't move forward, Does this not make sense? Can I not move on? It's like the brain gets hijacked or the physiological responses get hijacked and sometimes you can say logically I know that this is just a physical response but I'm feeling like I either need to flee or freeze. I cannot think clear. So my thought process is my actions. My body have a very real response that I can't control. So this this is going to be sounds super random. So forgive me for this rabbit trail. But have you ever like uh seen one of those like science experiments where like the kid builds like the rockets and then they launched the rockets? Okay so I remember those and I remember it being something where like literally you have no idea where the rockets going and I almost wonder like would you say it's fair to say that anxiety is like that where it's like anxiety is almost like the launch pad and then like this could go a million different ways. This rocket, it could be like spinning out of control in like a million different ways. Exactly. People have ended up in the hospital over it, feeling as if they're having a heart attack, that's not something somebody wants to do or can stop. And so if I know that I have a problem with anxiety getting out of control, that knowledge in and of itself can send me down an anxious trail. So then what I would normally do is start to modify my behaviors, modify my environment so that we don't even get to that unknown possibility because it's a very uncomfortable Yeah. You know, I was really fascinated as I kind of was doing some research on this and trying to kind of dig into what it is to discover that you know anxiety really does spring forth into a lot of different things. Like some of the things that I learned was you know that anxiety can lead to like panic disorder which would be like panic attacks social anxiety disorder, O. C. D. P. T. S. D. Major depressive disorder. Which if I'm understanding that correctly, it would be what most people would consider to be depression exactly in the clinical sense. Okay, so yeah, all of these things are happening because we have anxiety and that can kind of grow into something that can even almost like get out of control. Exactly because of the spectrum of the emotions. So if I am feeling worried or anxious then my heart might start to race. My breathing might shorten and get faster and heavier and I might start sweating then all of a sudden, what am I thinking or telling myself during that? Maybe I'm telling myself I'm out of control or maybe I'm telling myself I might pass out. Maybe I was telling myself I might die. Then? Does my heart hurt? Does my chest hurt? Do my legs go numb? All of those very real responses are what gets us onto that path of the panic attacks or feeling like you're having a heart attack. So the reason that I modify my behavior in to what extent I modify my behavior is the list of what you just O. C. D. So I feel if my environment is a certain way all the time I'm not going to have an anxiety attack. I'm not going to have a panic attack or if I don't leave my front door I won't have a panic attack And sometimes they still happen. But I start modifying more and more and more till my circumstances my life gets really small wow. So what do you think are the causes of anxiety? I think the causes of anxiety very it can be a chemical imbalance that is triggering a very real feeling. It could be my personality, maybe I'm introverted, maybe I am shy and when I'm in these social settings, I don't feel comfortable. So all of a sudden now I'm dreading my social engagements now. I'm avoiding my social engagements. And where does it go from? There depends on each person. So it could be chemical, it could be personality or temperament type. Um, it can be that an experience just happened to happen at the same time. For example, I happen to feel faint while I'm speaking in front of an audience. All of a sudden, speaking in front of an audience causes me anxious feelings. And now the next time I'm going to do that, I'm feeling anxious. So it could be a circumstance, it could be a behavior it could actually be implanted. So maybe I have a parent who's afraid of flying, then the child is afraid of flying. Why? Because the parent talks about their anxiety about flying all the time. So that's something that they've learned to be anxious about, wow. So I want to point out one thing really quick. Uh, and that is, as I was doing research for this podcast, um, I discovered uh, from the anxiety, depression association of America that there are, they listed off many causes and literally all of them were what you already said. So this gives me comfort that, you know what you're talking about already knew that. But you know, just congratulations on hitting four out of four. Um, they said genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events, which in a way, you know, is, is encouraging to know that, you know, maybe if if you're struggling with anxiety that that could be coming from a lot of sources, but it's also a little discouraging because anxiety can like kind of come and happen because of a huge variety of things. Exactly. If I don't have a problem with dogs and all of a sudden I get attacked by a dog, I may be very anxious the next time I see a dog, that makes sense. Right? It does make sense. Before I was three, I didn't have a problem with birds. Good put. And the good news is, it can be undone. You can retrain that brain cannot be afraid of a bird. I could have freedom in this area. It could be incredible. So I have a couple of kind of more specific questions about anxiety for you. Why do you think that like young people, I say that like I'm like 100 years old. But specifically, I think if you were to look at um college students, young adults, high school students, middle school students, they would say like I have an incredibly high amount of anxiety. Why do you think Folks under the age of 30 or 35 would say my anxiety is extremely high? Well, I don't think that's always been the case and I think the culture in which we're living in today lends to a lot of that. For example, confidence comes with the ability to know you can do something. I know that I have the ability to do something. I feel confident in this area. I can sit here and talk to you about anxiety without notes in front of me or anything because I know this information and I've worked in this field for a while with a specific topic. If I was coming in and I, and you hit me with a question out of the blue about I don't know, something in the area of decorating, home decorating. I would, I would draw a blank. I know nothing about that. That is not my field. I hire people for that. There's so many gifted, wonderful, beautiful people out there, I don't know and I'm happy to make friends with, but I had I didn't have anxious, anxious feelings about the topic. And so I think that today we have seen a parenting shift for this population that you're describing right now. And that parenting shift I think comes from a good place. You know, we don't want our Children to hurt, we don't want our Children to suffer. We we want our Children to have better than we had. And and I think sometimes it's hard, it's actually always hard to watch your Children suffer and, and we live in a very fast paced society as well when you put all of that together, I think there was some components mist of, hey, I can do this and I feel like very confident in this area of doing things for myself. One of the things I've noticed is talking on the phone, you would not think that that is such a big deal, but when you've grown up texting and typing and emailing and that you're not confident in that face to face, you know that over the phone conversation because you haven't had the opportunity to do it very often. Oh yeah, no, for real, that actually is like a thing like I've experienced that before where I'm like on my phone and like someone calls and I'm like, I don't want to deal with this right now. That's terrifying to have a conversation. And it feels like a really huge thing, even though like, you know what, it's probably just going to be two minutes of my day and then I'll move on. But yeah, there's a dread that comes when the phone lights up sometimes. And it's the opposite of text because I love text, but you know, I'm the opposite of that because I'm in too much of a hurry to text and I'm always having typos, I'm pretty famous in my household for typos. I just got to a lesson. I think this one is my favorite one so far, there's some sort of competition going on that I don't know about, but I think that for for those under when you understand that, you know, okay, so I haven't had opportunities to build up my confidence. This is a fast paced society. The expectations that are put on me by my family, by my environment, whomever are greater, in my opinion than they have ever been before. You have to know what you're going to be when you grow up by the time you're 15 these days and I tell people that come into my office, it's okay to change your mind. This is my second career. I went back to school as what they would call a seasoned student. I'm still not sure if I like that term or not, but sounds like an insult. They didn't know what to call us, but you know, just being able to bring that down, bring that pressure down. So I really think that those are factors, those are some factors, plus as you mentioned, genetics and experiences, um, and an anxiety. If you've had an anxious moment, it can prevent you from me to your goals. I'm a terrible standardized test taker. I'm really awful because I get such an anxious feelings over it and it's not really true to my, it's not a true example or understanding of what my knowledge bases. You talk to me. Let's have a conversation. You'll know how much I know you're crushing it right now. Do you think, You know, you mentioned a couple of things here when it comes to kind of like people who are, let's say you're under 35 and the experiences you said, kind of the culture, you said the fact that there's sort of been this parenting shift, which I want to talk about that for a second, you would think that less failure would lead to less anxiety. But it seems like what you're saying is like parents don't want their kids or their students to fail and so that's actually leading to more anxiety. Exactly, because if I'm going to rescue you from that, you don't know that you can overcome that. And one of the things my husband told me and I was so grateful for him. The first time I went for my license, for example, it has a 60% fail rate. That's a whole another podcast. But I failed, I failed the first time I went for that test and I was devastated. I thought this was God's path for my life. And why could how can I fail? How can God let me fail if he set me on this path? Um, and I questioned everything by that questioning process. It made me stronger, my resolve, stronger, my confidence, stronger, my understanding. And then my husband put the cherry on the top and he said, how can you comfort other people who have failed if you haven't experienced this devastating failure? And then it came to me and I think it's very relevant to the scripture that talks about we're able to comfort those with the measure that we've been comforted. That's good. And I comfort myself with that as well, and myself is included in that That's so good. I think that's super powerful. And I think about, you know, even as you were talking about that, we're sitting in this beautiful 15 13 studio and I think about my friend Ethan, san Sony, who's in the room with us right now, shout out and uh you know, he's created this amazing thing and it's going to continue to be amazing. It's this beautiful podcast studio. If you go onto the website, you'll see, you know, this amazing table and this beautiful lighting. It really is an incredible environment. And I'm projecting here. But I can only imagine that you having dreamed about this and then created this even through failures, through criticism, through people not believing in you has created like this deeper confidence that you can build something. And if the next thing that comes to build, you're gonna be like, well, yeah, like I've done that before, so like, you know, God seen me through that, he's gonna see me through the next thing. That's super fascinating. I never would have thought that no failure can actually lead to anxiety, think about it any time you have to defend your position on something, you feel more resolved, more confidence and if you haven't had to defend or have a consequence for the reason you didn't get that great or the reason you didn't make that goal, then you don't know what areas to improve upon. And and so one of the hardest things ever is to let your Children suffer the consequences of their actions. I remember my daughter was in of 55th or 6th grade and she missed a deadline for her science fair project and the teacher was so apologetic and it was a good science fair project and she said, I'm so sorry, but she accidentally took the wrong thing home and the reviewers are here and she can't participate and and and then she braced herself and I had to tell her, listen, I am okay with my child learning the consequences of their actions when the consequences are this small, The consequences only get greater, wow. Yeah, that's that's really, really strong. That's that's super profound Man. There's so many places I want to go with this. But let's let's talk about one more thing when it comes to those who are like under 35. And honestly, this could actually affect many people. Probably not just people who are under 35, but what do you think our phones and specifically social media have on our anxiety? Oh, this may take a while. I believe that generally speaking, they prevent the person from scene, the consequences, the response to their words. So you and I are face to face. I can see you when I say something, I see a reaction on your face of some sort. I see a reaction on your body. I am attached to my words and the effect that they're having on you. So I might be more careful. Maybe I'll be more stern whatever the situation calls for, I think we're detached from that face to face interaction. And so maybe we're careless with our words, maybe were bolder with our words and maybe were bolder with our words and then we get a backlash and so we're too careful. Um one of the reasons I don't have facebook is because I am very sensitive to how somebody might feel if I put that out there and I have a myriad of friends and relationships, well if I state this so and so might feel bad because she's going through that and so and so I think I'm talking about her because I happen to have knowledge of what she's going through and it just snaps the joy out of it out of it. For me, that's that's a really interesting angle that that I wouldn't have thought about. Um yeah, is that idea that uh you no matter what you put out there because it's so public, someone's going to have a problem with it. Exactly, and so we really do live in sort of the overthinking generation because we live in the outrage generation, and, you know, it's possible that, you know, no matter what happens, we can be like, oh, I wasn't invited, I wasn't this, I wasn't that. And so you're almost afraid to put anything out there because somebody is going to get frustrated by it and you can almost project what people are getting frustrated by. Exactly. And there's some circumstances I wouldn't like this podcast, it's not my intention to offend anybody or leave anybody feeling out or you don't have anybody be feeling left out. However, when it's my own personal social media, those people are my friends and I don't want to hurt any of them and or cause pain, I don't wanna be the cause of pain. Um and so it requires too much energy for me to say, well, you know, what how is this going to affect these people that I'm friends with on facebook? Um, so that's why I choose not to because I do care about how they're feeling, but I think as far as the anxiety man, if I put this out there I might get attacked. So let me put this out there and said, let me put a lighter version of what I was intended or let me put this, that actually isn't how I'm feeling out there. Um so you can also have a not very realistic, how does that when you are pretending to be someone else on social media platforms, how does that cause anxiety? So then when I come face to face to you with you for in real life, I'm having to be somebody. I'm not going to have to be inauthentic because I put it out there that it was this other thing I've corrected people on many occasions. Oh, it seems like someone is having a really hard time based on their facebook post. No, that was a snapshot of what that person might have been experiencing at that moment, but then they moved on and you're left with this horrible feeling. Okay, So I think that it's relevant what I'm putting out there, the miss alignment between what I'm putting out there and what I'm actually feeling or where I actually am, may hinder me from. What about the next time I see this person? Yeah, that's, that's really powerful. And then one other thing that you, that you said earlier that, that I wanted to highlight with social media that I think is really, really important is the expectations for us or even perceived expectations that we have for ourselves have never been higher. And you know, we have all of these celebs, influencers, even friends who you know are getting to live these amazing lives and you know you can scroll through instagram and you can see 47 people that you have all living an amazing life while you're yeah, exactly while you're laying, you know in bed on a saturday afternoon because you just woke up at three PM and it's like, man, I am uh horrible slob of a person last week we talked about the idea of should and that we should, what did you say? What was the term that you said that should on ourselves or others? We shouldn't should on ourselves. That is what instagram or twitter or facebook is all about is oh man, I should be doing this, I should be having this vacation, I should have this weekly rhythm, I should be waking up at five a.m. And reading my bible and then going on a long run or what all those things and it's like there is so much expectation on us and that unmet expectation on ourselves has to be leading to so much anxiety exactly when we're looking at other people's lives as a goal or maybe we just desired it. I saw their pictures from their vacation and I would love to do something like that. I should be doing something like that. Why aren't I doing something like that? My husband doesn't love me enough to do something like that. It just spirals and spirals out of control. I think that it's like that rocket that like once it gets going and goes crazy. Yeah, you can't, you can't control it once you open the door to it and you and you don't know where it's gonna go. So what I try to think about in social media is this is no different than, well, what we used to do back in the old days was look at people's photo albums when they came back from vacation and we would sit there and look at their pictures and that's how I see instagram. This is a photo album that I can share with people who live very far away. So the meaning that I give it, the expectation that I have of it is to be a photo album. Yeah, that's strong. It's not to show who I am or oh, look at me. I went on this fabulous vacation. So we're doing a lot of kind of a deep dive of looking into anxiety and really this episode is really gonna be analyzing anxiety and helping to understand what it is. Um in the next episode, we're going to talk a little bit more about how to battle anxiety and really giving some specifics. I do have a couple more questions for you, but we're going to take a quick break and be right back. So we'll get back to this episode in just one minute. But first I want to talk to you quickly about Patreon. So, Patreon is a secure website that allows creators to make albums, videos or podcasts, like the one that you're listening to right now, If you've heard any podcasts, you know that a lot of podcasts have ads, uh, we don't have an ads, well unless you consider this an ad right here, but if you'd like to donate to this podcast or really, if you'd like to, um, you know, if this has been beneficial to you and you want to check out how to help us out in any way, um, you can do that on Patreon. So this podcast thought life is part of the 15 13 podcast network and so you can go to uh xV ex II dot com or just spell out 15 13 in your browser and then click on the Patreon banner at the top. That would be an awesome way if this podcast is benefiting you to help us and you can sponsor for $1 month, $5 a month, if you're Jeff basis listening, $10,000 a month, whatever you'd like to do and uh thanks so much and we're gonna get back to the show. So, Crystal, we've talked a lot about kind of what anxiety is. We've discussed, sort of, what are the causes of it? And I have a couple more kind of deep dive questions for you. Um one thing that, that I've had a question about, especially, you know, as I talked to, like so many people who have anxiety or who say they have anxiety and maybe it's it's the cynical nature in me. I don't know because I do genuinely want to have, like, empathy, but also I'm like, does everyone have anxiety? And so I guess like, is there a difference between like just experiencing sort of situational anxiety and uh like having an actual, okay, I have an anxiety disorder where this is severely affecting my life. Exactly. I think we utilize these mental health terms in a very careless manner these days when people tell me they have anxiety and you know, genuinely I want to know said who said that? Who told you you had anxiety? Oh, it's just something I noticed, I'll tell me, tell me about that. I think the word anxiety is used for I'm worried or I'm feeling uncomfortable or I'm not feeling confident in this area. And so it requires a couple of follow up questions so that I know how to attend to it if I'm going into, well, you know, have you talked to the doctor when they just don't have confidence over a situation that I missed the mark? So I think the way people are using those terms today are really validates your skepticism because they may not know or understand the differences. Yeah, for sure. Well, there's like an example of like, I heard, I heard someone say that like some millennials, which by the way, I have a millennial and I, I love young adults, so I don't like, like, you know, pooh poohing on millennials because I believe it, that were amazing generation that God's gonna use powerfully. But one thing that was pretty funny was someone said the term situational depression. I'm diagnosed with, like, situational depression and was like, do you mean that in certain situations you're sad? Because that's like, we all have that, you know? Exactly. Exactly. And I and I think that when you're there are various levels of depression and you can have it during seasons and um you're putting your life and all that, but I did they say they were diagnosed with that, I don't know what I heard it, but I mean, it seemed to me it was like, one of those things that we've made up or something, right? And that is, you know, I'm depressed and, you know, well are you depressed or are you sad? So how how does someone know, like, like, like what kind of what level that they're at? That's a really good question. And I think it's, I think we should be cautious of labelling ourselves, you know, I'm having these feelings of depression or of having these feelings of anxiety. The level of, you know, when you should be concerned is how long have I been feeling this way and to what degree is it affecting my life? How long should I be feeling this way? How long have I been feeling this way? And to what degree is it and to what degree is it affecting my life? So at what point would you say or is there a correct answer to the point? Like, okay, this has been too long. Like would you say like one day, one week, one month, that's like, man, there's a red flag here happening. I think if you're two weeks straight of experiencing it more days than you're not and you're withdrawing from activities you would normally like to do, it's time to talk to somebody. And then when you said the idea of at what degree am I experiencing it, Can you talk us through that and help us understand a little bit about what that means? So the degree would be, what toll is it taking on me or my life? Have I stopped engaging in certain activities because of it? You know, Have I not gone out with my friends? Have I stopped doing the things that I do for hobbies? Am I missing a lot of work? Those would be an indicator of how it's affecting me outwardly, Also how it's affecting me inwardly and I haven't digestive issues. Am I getting a lot of headaches? Those are physiological responses, you know, is is our my muscles tents are, you know, my sore all the time. So those would be things to keep up on for sure.
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