Monday, September 7, 2015

Not Really Anxious . . .

Uneasiness. Not really anxiety or fear . . . maybe stressed, but not on the extreme end. I just find myself with a general sense of uneasiness all of a sudden. Sometimes after I think of something I need to do, but sometimes it's just out of nowhere.

It's reminding me of my history with depression. Back when I was working on my master's in counseling, I read some studies that gave me insight into my own depression problems. You see, I would, sometimes out of nowhere, have this kind of blue feeling. (Our emotions, you know, are actually feelings, something we physically feel in our bodies.) I would feel down, my body would be dragging, my thinking would be slowed, and I would say to myself, "I'm depressed. Why am I depressed?"

Well, friends, if you start looking for reasons in your life to be depressed, you're bound to find one. I'm so unfulfilled in my work! My husband just doesn't understand me! You'll find something. So I would find something (or several somethings) and then obsess about that something until I had cranked that little blue feeling up into a full-blown depressive episode.

But I started to realize that those little blue feelings often had nothing to do with sadness really. There were all sorts of other reasons why my body would create those physical sensations that my brain interpreted as depression. As I've mentioned before, I'm a sugar/carb addict and have been for years; coming down off of a sugar high gives you that blue feeling. I've had sleep problems for most of my life, as many of you know; sleep deprivation most certainly slows your body down and gives you that blue feeling. I'm kind of right on the line between an introvert and an extravert, so too much time surrounded by people OR too much time isolated by myself can both lead to that blue feeling.

In other words, I had to train myself to think correctly about my body and my situation; just because my body feels this way doesn't mean I have a reason to be sad. I usually don't. And even when I do have a reason, that doesn't mean I have to be sad. I can choose to think differently.

I've been trying to apply this to my general uneasiness of late. Yes, I have a lot going on in my life. Yes, my workload has increased and I haven't yet been able to figure out how I'm going to manage that well for the long-term.

But I always do figure those things out. I have a good support system in my family, and nothing is out of control here. I have no reason to feel anxious. This is just my body being wonky.

Now, why my body is being wonky is a good question. My youngest has been having what looks to me like similar symptoms for a couple months. And my oldest has a long history of anxiety. I suppose there's possibly a chemical reason for this, too. (I've concluded that, for whatever reason, my depression setting is a bit lower than most; I start further down than the average Josie, so it's a shorter fall for me to get to the bottom of the pit. Maybe something similar is involved with the anxiety.)

So, this is the new frontier to explore in my family: what's causing this jitteriness inside? Because while I can manage this, my girls seem to struggle more than I, which breaks my heart. And we may as well do the Barney Fife thing and nip it -- nip it in the bud.

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