Anxiety 101

1-19-2021: Sometimes I’m a good interpreter even though I only speak one language, meaning that sometimes I observe miscommunication between people and rephrase/articulate their responses in a way that they can now understand one another more clearly. Sometimes people don’t understand what another person is saying even if they technically speak the same language. Sometimes people don’t understand each other because their cultures or lifestyles are so different that they cannot even fathom what the other person is trying to communicate, so maybe it feels like a different language…

… “I know that youngster is trying to say something, but…

... “Does anyone actually understand what teacher so and so is even saying”

... “I know you are saying something smart and specific about what you know and all, but you lost me a minute ago and you need to rephrase if I really need to understand what you are trying to communicate”

Other times people that don’t understand what another person is saying because the other person is lying to them, so they are being deceived or manipulated so it's an intended misunderstanding, but other times, or sometimes...

... sometimes I don’t understand what people are communicating to me because the other person is expressing themselves with words that do not accurately describe the situation, not because they were intentionally lying but they really don’t know what they are talking about, they talk through the filter of their ego and limited understanding and do not communicate relevant information accurately/correctly... sometimes I have difficulty communicating with people that express themselves incorrectly when their ego is prone to ignorant assuming, they don’t know what they don’t know so they communicate what their limited understanding of what reality is, they communicate what they ‘think’ is reality, but it still feels very much like they were lying to you.

... and sometimes people have difficulty communicating with other people because they are at war with each other, maybe, technically speaking… my example of war in this case is when you have a nation that is led by an out of control ego, an ego that was allowed to grow to power despite their dysfunction… like maybe a dictator with an out of control ego that has an appetite for accumulation of things that are not really important, so they steal, they take or attempt to take what isn’t theirs by passive or forceful invasion just to satisfy their need for accumulation/wealth/more power. If the victim can stick up for themselves with enough force they may be able to repel the attacking nation to the point where the dictator must admit defeat, and maybe removed from power, and maybe even punished… but maybe it takes a full on war to reach resolve, or a declaration of peace! … And sometimes the violence in a war is so extreme that ‘allies’, or ‘united nations’ have to step in to temper down the atrocities between the waring egos/nations... and sometimes allies and united nations need to get involved to keep one waring nation from devouring the other… and sometimes people that have difficulty communicating with other people because they have either declared their war against one another or are just acting like it, well sometimes they also require intervention, not from united nations but from friends, family, police, social services, legal system, counselors, religious leaders or marriage counselors… not all of the time, but sometimes.

No matter who the person is, or what the topic of conversation is about I understand now that the times that I’m a good interpreter of what someone is trying to communicate, well the only time is when my mind is free of anxiety and the subsequent distractions… the distractions that keep me from being able to clearly articulate and communicate with others… distractions that ‘assume’ what the other person is ‘trying’ to say, or distractions that … well it doesn’t matter what other types of distractions, because what matters is that I understand that distractions keep me from seeing and understanding truth, reality, and possibly what I had been missing because I was too blind to see what I didn't understand… distractions can be terrible if they keep you from being honest and real and in the moment/present… distractions can be terrible if they keep you from noticing your own dysfunction… if they keep you from realizing/understanding and growing past your dysfunctions… some people that choose to live and remain in their dysfunction embrace and practically celebrate their shortcomings, “here I am, love me or hate me, I’m a stinking hot mess but for equality sake you better not judge my dysfunction, I mean me, you better not judge me… even though my idiosyncrasies/dysfunction is blatantly obvious to most other people you are still supposed to love and not judge me, or point out my dysfunction, so embrace it, just embrace my dysfunction so I won’t have to grow/deal with it myself.” … not everyone with anxiety and unhealthy egos that surround themselves with distractions think that way, but some people do.

Some people that suffer with various types of dysfunction, I mean anxiety, some people that suffer from varying types of anxiety will never seek help… and other people with anxiety will only ‘allow’ certain kinds of help, they might let you help them somehow but only if they remain ‘safe and comfortable’ with your help, you know, as long as you don’t hurt their ego/pride they are willing to accept help… as long as you don’t call-out/point-out their anxiety they might let you try to help.

Some people that deal with certain types of anxiety have realized that life isn’t what they expected it would be like. Some people’s expectations of what they thought life would be like compared to what their current situation/reality is, well some of those people really get shaken-up when they understand that they don’t have all of life’s answers, and they aren’t quite as prepared for life as they had assumed and they don’t know what’s wrong, what’s wrong with life and what might be wrong with them.

Some people that wrestle with particular types of anxiety are at war, they are at war with themselves, or war with others, or war against life… some people that war against themselves have ‘inner conflicts’, or ‘compromises’, they are doing things or have done things that they are not proud of, things that may have compromised their own personal integrity, things that they now regret, things that they know are wrong but the conflict that they are waring against is based on the excuses, the reasoning, the logic they now choose to believe instead of doing what is right, some people’s morals/values have been broken, maybe once, or a few times, or everyday and the compromise that they have settled for is troublesome, disturbing, maybe even a seemingly impossible situation they had created for themselves… some people recognize that they have become hypocrites to their own values or morals and the anxiety that follows becomes their struggle/burden. Unresolved issues, or inner conflict is painful to your ego if you have made yourself a hypocrite, or if you aren’t doing what you know you are supposed to be doing… if you know that you should be doing something differently in your life, or in your behavior and procrastinate and simply won’t do it… ensuing anxiety, anxiety, anxiety, and more anxiety.

How does a guy that suffers multiple types of anxiety come to a point of realization, and understanding of my own debilitating dysfunction, and see through the cloudiness of anxiety… I don’t know, but I partially understand some of the reasons behind ‘why I do what I do’ now. I deal with various forms of stress/anxiety, some internal, some genetic, some trained/learned behavior, some from traumatic experiences… many people do… And I know that from my own personal experience that ten months of a painful transition, 10 months of very little income and complete uncertainty for employment (I'm supposed to be earning enough income to support my family of 5), and ten months of my emotions getting stirred up by national events that I thought were wrong and I had zero ability to control the things that I thought were wrong… 10 months of pondering/suffering can break a man’s unhealthy ego, ten months can seem like an eternity to some people but looking back it now feels like it was really only 10 minutes. It now feels like it was 10 minutes of my life that was going through ‘turmoil’ because the significance of a life-changing revelation can help to stop the 'nonsense' of my irrationality and begin to live my life with a more healthy and truthful perspective.

During the turmoil that I felt from March thru December of 2020 there was another blow to my ego… a remedial driving course. A 51 year old guy should not have to go through remedial drivers training because a 51 year old should be expected and capable of teaching less experienced people how to drive. But that wasn't the situation for me because I had a compromised ego that learned how to make excuses for my actions, I used my own sort of logic to lie to myself and think that it was the police officer’s fault for two separate traffic tickets, two 'moving violations'. There were two separate incidents within a year of each other that I didn’t believe that I deserved, so instead of paying the fines I had selected the other option to go to a ‘hearing’ in front of someone hopefully more reasonable than the two police officers that wrote those tickets … and a year went by with no hearing, no word from the MA RMV, but any day I was expecting to receive a return letter with instructions and a date for my hearing, it never came… But, when I tried to renew my expired drivers license in NH I was denied and told that I had to contact Mass RMV… great… and when I contacted them I was informed that I would not be allowed a hearing because I didn’t send money in with those two tickets, and not only was I no longer entitled to a hearing but now I had to pay for and take a remedial online driver’s course, which also cost too much money… a 51 year old guy shouldn’t have to watch 6 hours worth of video explaining how to safely take a turn, and what the various colored traffic lights were for… unless he was wrong, unless his compromised ego required fees, fines and remedial driving/humiliation to realize that I was wrong. Somewhere in between my fury the thought had come to me that the excuses that I had rationalized for those tickets were pretty solid, but I was still wrong… my actions were still wrong and humility and honesty with myself were now required, the thought that my actions had both deserved and required remedial behavior, and since there was a TON of money involved to go through this painful process, that I should make the most of the opportunity and learn as much as I could from it, I think I did… not only do I know how to safely take a turn and fully understand what the 3 colors of traffic lights mean but I also realized what happened to my ego, and so the whole process worked and it was worth every frustration, every second and every penny/dollar…

… I had mentioned early that I had been unemployed for 10 months with very little income, so how was I able to come up with the TON of money that was demanded? I couldn't, but friends, the help of a friend, a friend that is more like a brother helped me… let’s call this friend ‘Gordon’ for the sake of this article, Gordon has been like a brother to me for about 35 – 40 years. Gordon understood my financial difficulty/limitations, and he understood the basic need for a 51 year old unemployed person to have a driver’s license and he offered to pay for the fines/fees, and class, wow… wow ... it was somewhere close to a thousand dollars that I couldn’t have even imaged coming up with but a good friend took it all on himself, he and his wife actually (we’ll call her Elizabeth) paid for my dysfunction, well they actually paid to help me understand and grow past many of my dysfunctions, I haven’t explained that aspect of it to them yet, but I will. I will explain to Gordon and Elizabeth that I sincerely believe that they not only helped me restore my valid driver’s license but in that process they also helped me discover the depth of anxiety that I had been struggling with, they helped restore a moderate ego that was previously ready to kill anything and everything that didn’t agree with me or became an ‘obstacle’ in my life, they helped restore a more healthy dignity that I didn’t realize I had needed, and they helped me to safely and legally rejoin traffic once again…

… But there is another issue worth mentioning… Gordon and Elizabeth are somewhat successful according to most of their peers and American ‘standards’, so they actually had the financial resources to help a friend in need. Gordon and Elizabeth have worked tirelessly for many years to achieve the success that they now share today, many long hours of admirable work were involved to reach where they are now. They are both loving, and obviously generous and not just to me, they are generous enough to have helped other people too, they are sincere in their love for other people … but … but what. Well I have a better understanding of how their busy and hardworking lifestyle has taken a toll on their lives, and the stress and anxiety that they have suffered from and still suffer from, not fully... I mean I won’t be so naive to think that I know and understand everyone's problems that they try to work through, but I can’t mistake anxiety and many of it’s obvious symptoms after the 10 months (51 years actually) that I rolled around in it, I think I might actually still smell of anxiety even after all of the showers that I have taken since then. But some people, well most people are too busy to take 10 months of torturous soul searching and remedial driving courses to understand the depth of anxiety and fear and the state of their egos… 10 months is a long time, it can be a very long time for anything, but if I could take some of the information gathered in ten months and turn it into a 10 minute article, a semi-short article that would only take about 10 minutes or so to read, maybe I’ve done that… maybe this article has enough truth and honesty and sincerity to help some busy people realize that most people, yes, most people have some form of anxiety and the importance and significance in seeking help for it… most people will not need medication to control their symptoms like I had required, and some people have healthy egos but still wrestle with negative and confusing/debilitating thoughts, and there are many types of anxiety, and many symptoms, and a zillion reasons why every person that has it has it, but it’s too complicated and important to ignore because it's something that could kill you... Anxiety can kill you physically from the inside out if you internalize/surpress/ignore your misperceptions... and anxiety can kill you if you let your perception of life or your current situation overwhelm you to the point of suicide, and can kill you many other ways that I can't image.

The most gratifying thing that I could imagine is that some of the information that I shared would not only begin to help someone, anyone else, but especially if it helped my two friends recognize that the money they gave me somehow turned out to be a short-term investment for their own health and sanity and marriage, that would be crazy-cool and gratifying to me.

DISCLAIMER: Please don’t take my word for it, meaning, don’t assume that anything I’ve written is scientifically and medically and psychologically proven fact, I have researched enough to be able to write with some conviction, but I hold no credentials, certifications, or degrees in anything worth mentioning… your health is too important to ignore, and too important to just take my word for it… please seek help in understanding and working through your anxiety, don’t let it kill you because you are too important to let that happen. -- christopher