BP and My Anxiety

July 5, 2010

I have so many topics I want to cover on this site, but lately I am keep coming back to thoughts such as:  “How important is this topic?” and “Does this really matter in light of the condition of the world?” 

In the mind of an anxious person, these are the thoughts that may consume the person.  The worst oil spill in history?  Those pictures of the gushing oil bother me, and I wonder when and how we are gonna get out of this.  Should I be worried?  Should I let go of it and just hope it will work out for the best?

Anxiety runs in my family.  We are worriers, sometimes prone to catastrophizing (worrying so much that your mind goes to the worst case scenario).  The anxiety tends not to be so overwhelming that it interferes with functioning but it is present.  I have had  a few crazy dreams and nightmares lately about disastrous situations.  I am sure this is due to the anxiety I am feeling about the BP oil spill.

Same thing happened to me with 9/11.  I was in NYC on that day. I was not close enough to have witnessed the attacks or see the towers collapse,but close enough to see enormous plumes of smoke at a distance, and see carless New York streets where droves of people were walking covered with dust.  I think I am more susceptible to anxiety over man-made disasters, maybe because the anxiety distracts me from some of my anger.

There are different kinds of anxiety and differing degrees of severity.  In my opinion, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the worst types because it is difficult to treat.  This involves combined anxiety and depression symptoms one could experience after a trauma.  A related problem, though less severe is Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety (Depression and conduct Problems may also be present), that a person may experience after an event such as divorce, or losing a job.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder is probably the mildest type, but the symptoms tend to pervade the person’s life.  Other Anxiety disorders include:  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder and Social Phobia/Social Anxiety.  Go to this link for more information:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml.

What kind do I have?  Well, it would probably be Anxiety Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified, which means I don’t fall easily into any of the categories, but have prominent symptoms.  My symptoms include:  excessive worry, nightmares, and restlessness.  Most of the time I do not have symptoms but the sense of not having control may trigger them.  Yes, therapists have issues too.  We are human after all.  See:  https://makeitplainonline.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/how-to-find-a-therapist-part-i/ 

Under these extraordinary circumstances many people may have anxiety related symptoms.  There is more focus lately in the media about Americans in the Gulf region who are suffering in terms of mental health (probably a great deal of Adjustment Disorder and PTSD).  I do empathize deeply with what it may be like for them now.  However, we are really all in this together in many ways.  The health and well-being of the people in the Gulf region along with the environmental fallout created by the spill, affects us all. 

I am able to control symptoms with deep breathing and yoga practice.  What helps me more than anything else though is getting on with my life; trying to care for the people I love, and trying to do the best work I can do.  So, all of this blogging is important to me.  Part of my work as I see it is to share information.

More severe cases that interfere with functioning may need therapy.  Some people prefer medication or some combination of therapy and medication.  If you believe you may be suffering with severe anxiety, talk it over with your physician, shaman, pastor or other helper in your life, and make a plan to address it.

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2 Responses to “BP and My Anxiety”

  1. BP and My Anxiety…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. yoy50 said

    Nicely done.

    I think I’ve developed into a worrier since 9/11. I currently live in a high rise, and this past Saturday I heard an aircraft unlike anytime in my life. I braced for an impact! Man-made disasters ‘frighten’ me more because they are hardly ever unintentional.

    The BP spill has me very concerned as well. I hate the cover up and the media block out that is taking place. Reporters are now threatened with arrest if they come closer than 65 yards of oil soaked marsh. Military(if you can believe that!) and local police are enforcing this as if it’s right. These few things alone indicate that this is much worse than we are all led to believe. I think that’s a good reason for anyone to develop a little anxiety. 😉 Thank goodness for yoga!!

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