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Stress, Anxiety, Grief, and Its Manifestations  RSS feed

 
garden master
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I think this is worth discussing.

How do you all know that you are being impacted by stress, anxiety or grief? And how do you deal with it? Do you get physical manifestations of your grief or stress, too?

My voice is kind of the central essence of being, and I have found that this is where my body manifests physically my stress, anxiety, and grief.
I found this out two years ago. This was a year after one of my family members passed away. A year after they passed, I had trouble using my vocal cords and fought o even speak for about a year. Then, I must have finished grieving internally, because I eventually got my voice back for another year. Now that I am finishing college, approaching the adult world, and facing the challenges of being myself and doing what I believe is right and decent for myself, despite how different it is from society, I am struggling to speak again. My voice does not want to be available.

Another manifestation of my internal emotions physically are my eyes. After I had finished therapy for anxiety and depression this last spring, there were so many more emotions to be felt and a whole new depth to the world I had not felt before. And empathy became stronger, too. This summer, there were a few mass shootings, and I heard about them constantly on the news. First, I had burst into tears after hearing news reports for a couple days, and then for about a week and a half, just one of my eyes was constantly leaky and shedding tears. And that was how my body was expressing the grief I felt about these events. One half of my face was always wet.
 
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If people are prone to hard core clinical depression (i.e. losing the will to live for a year or two, staying busy to avoid constantly thinking about dying etc...) stress has to be managed since high stress levels set off a chemical reaction that triggers depression.

Becoming extremely emotional over mass shootings and the like is typically considered to be grief transference (you feel very grieved and empathetic because it reopens the wounds from losing loved ones) and it is really not a good idea to engage in that especially if you are prone to depression.

While mass shootings and the like don't bother me (I don't typically get all that empathetic over humans) anything animal related upsets me greatly. As a result I make it a point to AVOID TRIGGERS, right now I am avoiding most articles and videos on the California wildfires because I know there will be some very distressing incidents relayed and I don't want the images in my head. I do try to help when I can, but otherwise I try to avoid the topic entirely.

 
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To help I would say take care of the foundation stuff.
sleep (8hr ish), water (1gal), balanced nutrient dense probiotic-rich food.

Then avoid enhancers: Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine.
Indulge in physical activity and try relaxation techniques (breathing, meditation, being present/mindful, yoga, hanging out)

Keep a Stress Diary to identify stressor/trigger,
Take Control and do something about your triggers

Manage Your Time don't let the small stressors add to the big ones, don't procrastinate get the todo list done.
The big picture is great, but create small daily actionable steps to reach it.

Learn to say no to people, triggers/stressor, increasing your todo list, your inner voice that says be unhealthy and get less sleep/etc.

Talk to people, we are social creatures, alot of herd/social animals will die if they don't have some fellow animals around them. This doesn't mean you have to be a social butterfly.

And lastly if you are ill, just rest take a break.


According to WebMD Stress can Manifest itself in the following way:
https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body#2

Physical symptoms of stress include:
Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing/talking
Aches, pains, and tense muscles
Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
Insomnia
Frequent colds and infections
Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
Low energy
Headaches

Emotional symptoms of stress include:
Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
Avoiding others

Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
Constant worrying
Racing thoughts
Forgetfulness and disorganization
Inability to focus
Poor judgment
Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side

Behavioral symptoms of stress include:
Changes in appetite -- either not eating or eating too much
Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing

What Are the Consequences of Long-Term Stress?
Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders
Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke
Obesity and other eating disorders
Menstrual problems
Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature ejaculation in men and loss of sexual desire in both men and women
Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss
Gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable colon
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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One more thought, in the adult world the vast majority of healthy functional individuals compartmentalize their grief.  When folks have jobs, kids to care for, animals to care, relationships to maintain etc.... crying much of the day for an extended period of time is simply not an option. Compartmentalizing means controlling one's thoughts to prevent or delay emotional meltdowns.

It isn't a product of modern  society, it is an evolutionary tactic for the survival of the species since our ancestors suffered loss and grief on a frequent basis and often on a huge scale, and those that couldn't compartmentalize and remain functional didn't successfully pass their genes on.

Of course some individuals are incapable of compartmentalizing, and that is unfortunate, however if some environments (i.e. Universities) are actually encouraging people to not compartmentalize they are doing a disservice to their students.
 
master pollinator
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Agreed. The paleolithic warrior or hunter who wasn't able to compartmentalise their freakout, or to choose fight rather than flight, when faced with a hostile animal or person, wouldn't likely be able to pass their genes down the ages. They'd be too busy being dead to either procreate or to ensure the survival of offspring.

My anxiety reaction is quite simple; I stop exhaling completely due to core muscle tension, leaving spent air in my lungs, which precluded taking in normal breaths. It used to create a feedback loop wherein I would become anxious, sometimes about something as simple as not being able to catch my breath, and that would make me more anxious. Before I figured this out, I could literally pass out from hypoxia because I was breathing in gasps.

Once I figured this out, it was simply a matter of thinking about the mechanisms at work and consciously emptying my lungs completely.

-CK
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Chris Kott wrote:Agreed. The paleolithic warrior or hunter who wasn't able to compartmentalise their freakout, or to choose fight rather than flight, when faced with a hostile animal or person, wouldn't likely be able to pass their genes down the ages. They'd be too busy being dead to either procreate or to ensure the survival of offspring.



Good point though the fight or flight (or freeze) reflex is an automatic neurological response.  Though I suppose some people have their wires crossed and end up feeling fight or flight anxiety at various odd times due to other triggers.

The intense adrenaline rush from a life threatening situation actually shuts down the neocortex (the upper level of your brain responsible for risk analysis, new ideas, strategy, etc....). It often causes people to "freeze" simply because the brain cannot come up with ideas or weigh the risks of any course of action, and freezing or doing what the herd does is the safest default option.  It also causes time to speed up/slow down (tachypsychia), sounds become faint/distant, tunnel vision, and the blood rapidly pulls away from the extremeties along with the upper reaches of the brain which leads to a loss of fine motor control.

The remedy for that is a) realizing it will happen and b) formulating a simple plan of action in advance. Don't expect you will be able to come up with one because you probably won't, and if you can chances are it won't be a good one since you aren't able to analyze the risks. That is why the military trains and drills new soldiers so extensively, when the firefight starts they can't strategize but most at least can follow a simple  plan. The neocortex doesn't work but your memory (mid-brain) still functions to some extent so recalling very simple plans is quite doable for most people.

On the subject of mass shootings, if I had kids I would probably make spotting exits into a game every time we went shopping, "Kid, if you can list ___ exits when we are at checkout you can choose a candy bar from the rack" etc....so the kid becomes so habituated to noting exits they do it automatically. When they were old enough we would discuss run/hide/fight and when they were teens the game would become "How many nearby items could be repurposed into weapons?". I wouldn't be raising pacifists but would aim to raise the next generation of Vikings. :)
 
pollinator
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I am very good at crisis, but everyday crap wears me down. Simplifying my life, saying no, and severely limiting my exposure to people other than loved one has improved my health greatly. I try not to spend more than an hour a day dealing with others. Being outside in nature, away from human construction helps a lot.
Grounding - walking barefoot, mindful breathing are great ways to reduce the stress of the day.
 
master pollinator
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Dave Burton wrote:I think this is worth discussing...



I would see your Doctor as quickly as you can. Everything you describe is just screaming that your Thyroid is out of whack. Most likely it is a Goitor, because what you describe sounds like the Goitor is pressing upon your voice box and causing problems with speech. The Thyroid (adrenal system) also controls your emotional health and Goitors can make the numbers go really wonky.

I am not here to scare you, and I realize online, what other people have, automatically equates to what you must have. I know that, and I am not trying to be one of those people, but everything you wrote, I could have written about my own life. Are you also extremely fatigued? Crave sweets or salty food? Gaining or losing weight with no real change in your diet?

Honestly, I could be VERY MUCH off base here, but in my case it took a logging accident, and then a CAT Scan from the chainsaw cut and Concussion to my head to find a problem with my Thyroid.

It is a simple blood test to check your TSH levels. In fact you might just have to take some Lethroxine to keep you at optimal levels. It is not even a "medication", but just a suppliment that your body cannot seem to make enough of yourself. Something very simple, may be able to keep you in check.
 
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I'm sure I'll get flak for this but I have anxiety that prevents me from breathing. Really freaky stuff. So I don't keep track of the news anymore. I don't keep track of nearly anything. It's amazing how happy I am. I greatly suggest it! I pretty much eliminated people who suck from my life as well. It's amazing how nice it is to "unfriend" people online and in real life. Really eliminates so much negativity and stress.
 
Travis Johnson
master pollinator
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Me? I am not so fortunate, my Thyroid was cancerous and completely removed. Two years later, three years battling this, Doctor's cannot get a handle on what is wrong with me. Eight days ago I did not make it through church, dragged out on a stretcher to an ambulance and the emergency room without any real answers. It is so frustrating.

I have been given pills to sleep at night, and while they work at putting me to sleep, that was never my problem, STAYING asleep is an issue. They say my Cortisol is okay, and that my lethroxine is controlling my TSH well, but goodness I have no motivation, the world looks bleak, and my heart does not seem to want to stay beating. (The latter would be nice).

I might be depressed, but honestly I think it is from the root cause, whatever it is. I sent a letter to my Dr today encouraging her to keep trying to help me. This is one paragraph that sums up a lot:

My greatest fear, typed with tears as I say this, is that you feel I am a “difficult patient”; medical coding for a hypochondriac, someone that is prone to drama, or simply a person who likes attention. There are no words I can use to state how adamant I am about wanting to get better. For three years I have pinned my hopes on prayers, to surgeries, to thyroxine and testosterone treatments, all to no avail. I do not blame the medical specialist’s such as the endocrinologist’s or gastrocrinologist’s who have seen me, for I know they are inundated with other patients, or are Locums, and I am not a quick patient to remedy. Still, if I may, I ask that you stay the course in my care, and do all that you can to determine what is wrong with me. Even more boldly, I hope to convey a sense of urgency, only because my energy levels have been taxed for so long. As a father, as a husband, I truly want to provide for my family, and just cannot, taking a toll upon me that I realize you might not fully understand. For it states in the bible, “It is better for a man to not be born, then to fail to provide for his family.” Better not born; strong words that bring about deep guilt within me.

Note: Testosterone Treatments for me is NOT about sex. Due to 23 years of industrial exposure to radiation, my Pituitary Gland is demolished. To replicate what it does, I need hormones that it is no longer providing.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Travis Johnson wrote:
I have been given pills to sleep at night, and while they work at putting me to sleep, that was never my problem, STAYING asleep is an issue. They say my Cortisol is okay, and that my lethroxine is controlling my TSH well, but goodness I have no motivation, the world looks bleak, and my heart does not seem to want to stay beating. (The latter would be nice).

I might be depressed, but honestly I think it is from the root cause, whatever it is. I sent a letter to my Dr today encouraging her to keep trying to help me. This is one paragraph that sums up a lot:[/b]



Travis, I don't know what type of doctor you are seeing but have you considered seeing a neuropsychiatrist? They are shrinks with additional training in neurobiology, They specialize in diagnosing and treating chemical or physical issues that affect mood and behavior, they treat various disorders including depression, chronic pain, etc....  If you can find a good one they may be able to find a solution or at least rule out some things that may not have been considered before.
 
pollinator
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:
The intense adrenaline rush from a life threatening situation actually shuts down the neocortex (the upper level of your brain responsible for risk analysis, new ideas, strategy, etc....)). It often causes people to "freeze" simply because the brain cannot come up with ideas or weigh the risks of any course of action, and freezing or doing what the herd does seems like the safest default option.  It also causes time to speed up/slow down, hearing to become distant, tunnel vision, and the blood rapidly pulls away from the extremeties along with the upper reaches of the brain which leads to a loss of fine motor control.




This is important information.

The body's chemical response to stress may be in reaction to a "real" threat—like seeing a snake rise up in the grass and hearing its tail start to rattle.  You body almost instantaneously shoots a shot of adrenaline and cortosol into the blood stream.  Your fight or flight response instantly kicks in with rapid breathing, accelerated heart rate, and muscles primed to respond.  RUN!  Your body is poised to react.

But what of threats that are only perceived?  What if it's an angry boss who doesn't seem to ever be happy with your work?  What if it's internalized pressure that you put on yourself to do better or be perfect all the time?  What if it's going home every night to a demanding spouse and a fear of external factors over which you have no control?  The body responds the same way.  It "shoots"  a jolt of adrenaline and cortosone (or cortosol) or even endorphins (the "runner's high" drug) into the bloodstream and our body becomes physically primed to fight off the "attack".  But there is no attack -- or seemingly, there isn't.  When we are grieving a major loss in our life, again, these same chemicals are pumped into the blood stream and our body is at a heightened state of alert.

All of these chemicals are tremendously corrosive to the machine.  Where elevated levels of adrenaline, cortosone and endorphins remain high for an extended period of time, the immune system is compromised.  Heightened levels of these tremendously strong chemicals are responsible for stomach problems, back and neck pain, lowered immune system, coldsores and chest infections . . . it goes on and on.  That's why students get sick around finals week, or people physically break down after an intense season where much is expected of them.  Their immune system is pooched --- they have poisoned themselves with the elevated levels of Fight or Flight chemicals.  In this way, stress and anxiety are toxic.  

Further, these chemicals are highly addictive.  Endorphins are chemically very similar to heroin.  This helps to explain the phenomenon of adrenalin junkies.  People push themselves to greater and greater levels of stress and danger, just to get "the rush".  They can't sit quietly and read a book.  They can't just go for a walk.  They HAVE to be doing something exciting and even dangerous.  Their body craves the chemicals that are usually reserved for high stress moments, but they turn to these activities in the same way a junkie turns to a needle and spoon.  The adventure is the gateway drug.  

The advice given above is sage: plenty of rest, plenty of water, moderate but regular exercise . . . these are the ways to purge the toxic chemicals from your body.  And of course, getting yourself out of the environment responsible for the elevated levels of these chemicals in the first place.  For some, this means leaving the stressful job or marriage that caused it all.  Get to a place where your body doesn't have to poison itself in order to ramp everything up in order to cope.  It'll take two weeks of quietness and lack of intense stimulation to purge these chemicals from the system and bring things back to a level where the immune system can recover.

Grief can take upwards of a year or more to process, so don't be surprised if that same experience of loss also results in a heightened chemical response from the body --- also for the duration of that year of grieving.

Hang in there.
m
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Marco Banks wrote:
All of these chemicals are tremendously corrosive to the machine.  Where elevated levels of adrenaline, cortosone and endorphins remain high for an extended period of time, the immune system is compromised.  Heightened levels of these tremendously strong chemicals are responsible for stomach problems, back and neck pain, lowered immune system, coldsores and chest infections . . . it goes on and on.  That's why students get sick around finals week, or people physically break down after an intense season where much is expected of them.  Their immune system is pooched --- they have poisoned themselves with the elevated levels of Fight or Flight chemicals.  In this way, stress and anxiety are toxic.  



Exactly. And in individuals that are prone to depression the cortisol levels can stay abnormally high for an extended period of time.  High cortisol lowers Serotonin and Dopamine in the brain which causes anxiety, sleeplessness etc... That in turn triggers more cortisol, which lowers serotonin even more etc.... For those people even removing the stressors won't stop the process/depression because it has become self-perpetuating. It is also linked to PTSD.

If this is happening one symptom is often waking up in the middle of the night and ruminating on problems/regrets. Often times people wake up feeling anxious and THEN their brain scrambles to find a reason for the anxiety, it quickly finds a reason to latch on to and they fixate on that "problem" for an hour or two.  If that is the case and people consciously realize the anxiety came first they can have some control over it and can distract themselves.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Marco - lots of good points here. It explains why PTSD is so exhausting,  and why I have to limit my exposure to people. I see people as the threat, and cannot relax around them.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Travis - I haven't known how to respond as our beliefs differ, but I want you to know that you are heard. One of my children has been ill most of his life, endless tests to no avail. We have chosen a different path, but I understand your frustration. Answers aren't always easy to come by. Something that has helped me over the years was the litany "I am enough, I have enough, I do enough". I wish you well.
 
Travis Johnson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Travis - I haven't known how to respond as our beliefs differ, but I want you to know that you are heard. One of my children has been ill most of his life, endless tests to no avail. We have chosen a different path, but I understand your frustration. Answers aren't always easy to come by. Something that has helped me over the years was the litany "I am enough, I have enough, I do enough". I wish you well.



The interesting thing is, while Veteran's get a lot of press for PTSD and suicide, a Full-Time farmer is twice as likely to comit suicide as a veteran, yet there is nothing in the way of a movement to address this issue at all. Equally, in the general population, a Christian is twice as likely to commit suicide as a non-Christian. If you add all this up, it makes for a Chritian Farmer four times likely to commit suicide over that of a non-Christian Veteran.

Sadly these numbers are probably low, incredibly low. That is because many farmers probably commit suicide and no one knows, it merely looks like an accident considering the large equipment we work with, the dangerous arena we are in daily, and the access to firearms. The latter would be easier to determine of course, but myself, while I would never purposefully go out and blow my brains out with my shotgun, I don't care if I die, so I take a lot of risks. Financially I know my death would contribute more to the family then what my meager amount of farming pays. But an accidentally death, the pay out for that would be twice as much.

This is the sort of conversations we need to have, and yet our modern health care is so messed up we cannot. A person cannot talk to a medical professional because if gun ownership heads in the direction it is going, any mental health help would disqualify gun ownership, and honestly I have to have a gun on my farm; for protection, to put down livestock, and to kill prey. And people cannot talk to crisis workers because they have specific words they are looking for. Say the wrong thing (admit you have a "plan" and you are headed to a padded room). I talked to a social worker about this stuff one time and it was like playing chess, she waited for me to say this or that, and I was too smart to play into her hand. It is completely surreal that I can have a conversation with my attorney about anything and have attorney-client privledge, but I have to have guarded conversations with my Primary Care Physician. It is completly insane. A person should be able to talk honestly to their health care provider.

But I am not one to bring something up and not try to help. I love community so I joined a community committee regarding drug addiction and mental health. In some ways I am too close, and in other ways I am not. We got a great mix of people, Dr's, nurses, retired mental health councilors, mothers of addicts, mothers of people with schizophrenia. We do not have the answers, but we are trying to work with the police, mental health, hospital's, etc to better triage those in crisis so that they can go to where they need to be. It may be jail...for some people. It may be medical care for some people. And for some it may be to mental health institutions. But right now Maine has the least amount of facilities in the country for mental health and so it is not uncommon...common actually...to have a patient spend a month or more in the emergency room, baby sat by a police officer because there is no place to put them. No one wins at this. The tax payer is paying gobs of money for ER visits and police presence. It is ineffective, and how can the patient thrive if they cannot even look out a window for months?


We have to do better!
 
pollinator
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Travis, I am sorry for your suffering and I hope your physician hears what you have to say.
what you say above for the bigger picture is so true, so much is needed still. your description of the word dance with care providers is too familiar in my family.

After a long healthy stretch, and thinking I was free of them, I am dealing with kidney stones again. None of my tests are off, and there have certainly been enough of them. But the past few months have been the most stressful in a good 7 years-- since the last stones (coincidentally, since I stopped commuting and started getting my life in order).
 
steward
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Wow, I feel for all of you who have been brave and shared your stress, anxiety, and health issues here. Thank you.

I have struggled as well, fairly mildly, so I didn't recognize it, really; and I'm still working out what is what and such. Let me try to untangle things a bit.

It's physical and real
First, for those of you struggling, I just want to say, that when you feel icky (whatever flavor or spectrum of icky) doing some things, or almost anything is HARD. I get that. And I want you to have a virtual hug. I also wish I could make you a mug of tea, a cold glass of Switchel, or a cup of warming broth - whatever might be a simple, caring little thing to you, for you, from me. Here's a virtual pic of tea I could make:


(Wildcrafted mullein, fir needles, yarrow and rose hips herbal tea.)

I also have a fried thyroid, and have other issues and sensitivities that can create black moods. Have you heard of the saying "seeing the world through rose colored glasses?" You know, it means seeing things as even prettier or better than they really might be. Well, if/when I'm off, when I have eaten wheat, it's like I have on what I call "shit colored glasses." Hooboy!!

And, I feel the need to repeat, that for me, it's physical - a reaction to certain foods or infections - not any failing of my mental stamina or an indicator of mental weakness.

I'm describing this because it's kind of amazing how we have this underlying supposition (is it cultural or something?) that if someone just went to bed at a decent hour, or pulled up their bootstraps or something...they would feel better and have less anxiety. While I do think there are some simple things that can help, if you are really feeling VERY low, I think it's almost impossible to do some of those simple things.

At the same time, there is a growing awareness that some people, no matter what physical or pragmatic things are tried, they simply have brains that have a permanent "shit colored glasses" view or worse...and I can't imagine how difficult that must be. I feel for you and hope you get the support or medications that make things a bit more bearable. And that in any case, I wish for you to give yourself the kindness and care to be who you are and wish for you the ability to get (or accept?) the help you need.

At the age of 13 years old I found that I felt better in a lot of ways if I didn't sprinkle sugar on my Cheerios for breakfast. (I didn't know I was struggling with hypoglycemia at the time.) I'm now over 50, and over the decades, I have continually focused on what foods and other things make me feel better or worse. I won't bore you with all the things I've tried (though I want to tell you that I did give up the Cheerios as soon as I moved out of the house!). Though I think some of my recent "aha!" moment discoveries are very worth sharing.

There's underlying causes, and then there's causes under that!
So, I'm usually looking for something physical, or nutrition-based as the underlying cause of my pesky issues. In doing so, I've worked with Naturopaths over the years, which has been great and led me down some interesting paths. Though really, here are a list of books and how they helped me grapple with some things. (Note:  if you are vegan, these are not the books for you - except Eating on the Wild Side would be. There might be similar books that have a vegan focus.)
  • Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson - different foods vary wildly in their nutritional and sugar content; we did not evolve to eat the sugary fruits we have today
  • Dr. Terry Wahls TED talk on Feeding Your Mitochondria - tlr:dr - eat four cups of veggies with each meal (!!) Well, there's certainly more to it than that, but that's a huge takeaway for me.
  • The Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet, Ph.D. and Shou-Ching Jaminet, Ph.D. - if you wanted a research-based nutrition book on how to eat for optimal health, this one is amazing. Big take-aways:  most Americans are deficient in choline, and there were some really horrifying examples of how babies died (yes, died!) because their fatty acids weren't properly balanced in the stuff they were given via food tubes. Balancing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids turns out to be rather important.
  • Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter - a neurologist explains how your gut microbiome affects your brain health, including brain functions and dysfunctions or differences, plus how inflammation plays such a huge role in dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and more. His diet recommendations are quite comparable to the Jaminets and Dr. Wahls' (even if the other two books don't go quite as extreme with the veggies as Dr. Wahls).
  • Dirty Genes by Dr. Ben Lynch - recommended by my N.D., this book blew my socks off. It explains how if your gene has a variation to it (from poor diet, exposure to toxins, etc.) it's considered "dirty" and, in some cases, your body uses up certain things too quickly (like dopamine or seratonin) and then uses up excesses of other things to compensate. This, IMHO, goes underneath the nutrition component, yet is tied to nutrition, and more. When some genes are "dirty" they increase anxiety. This just seemed really huge to me! It also explained in ways that finally made sense to me, how stress eats away at things inside you that your body needs.
  • Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson - and now, this last book, is tying together the nutritional and physical and brain chemistry aspects with a mental aspect of dealing with stress. I just had to write this down from the book:

    Modern life violates this ancient template [most of the time in responsive mode, brief bursts of reactive stress, followed by periods of responsive recovery] with its pervasive mild to moderate stressors. Consequently, the reactive mode has become the new normal for many people. A kind of chronic inner homelessness that has harmful effects on mental and physical health and on relationships. [Bracketed part by me to summarize previous stuff.]


    Whoa. This struck home since I'm finally realizing how stress can be hard on a body.

  • And now I'm finally getting serious about reducing stress
    I come from a secure, rather privileged life and background. Sure, I've had my struggles, but except for an extreme episode when I was around 40 and going through probably the top 5 stressors all at once, I've never really thought I needed stress reduction for my health. I don't have PTSD. I'm generally a calm, rational, genial person - most of the time! - which was deceiving even to me about whether I was stressed or not! So even the very relevant posts in this thread about how stress compromises the immune system, etc., etc., keeps falling on deaf ears to me (so to speak).

    Then I began to look at and work with the N.D. with how difficult it is for me to sleep. Plus other physical manifestations like inflammation, and weight gain, etc., became harder and harder to resolve. So now I'm here, finally admitting these are my physical manifestations of stress. Plus, I'm actually learning to be more aware of feeling stressed. That sense of chronic reactive state and "inner homelessness" as Rick Hanson described.

    So, as I'm finally coming out of denial, I'm going to be working on a list of things to help (things I feel that I can easily do right about now), plus practicing the new techniques in the Hardwiring Happiness book.
    1. stretch and breathe deeply more often
    2. get outside and move more
    3. continue to say 'no' to some things
    4. continue to eat well and use supplements (with N.D. help) - biggest boost recently from MagSRT a truly awesome magnesium supplement
    5. gratitude or H.E.A.L.* practice (like this)

    *I'm just getting to this part in the Hardwiring Happiness book, so I'm still learning about it:
    H - Have a positive experience.
    E - Enrich it.
    A - Absorb it.
    L - Link positive and negative material.

    A positive experience can be as simple as having clean air to breathe. Really, that is a wonderful thing.

    This topic is an important one. And I'm wishing for everyone less stress and more simple pleasures.

     
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    Stacy Witscher wrote:Marco - lots of good points here. It explains why PTSD is so exhausting,  and why I have to limit my exposure to people. I see people as the threat, and cannot relax around them.



    I believe that's why forums fulfill a useful purpose of allowing for virtual interaction without real threat.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    I keep seeing this - does this method help?



     
    Stacy Witscher
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    I've found grounding to be more helpful with dissociative episodes than anxiety attacks. But maybe, others can chime in. The best way that I've found to manage anxiety attacks is routines, doing anxiety provoking activities with loved ones, human or canine, and always leaving an escape route. Unfortunately, that means no carpooling, I need to be able to leave immediately, not dependent on others.
     
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

    I keep seeing this - does this method help?




    I'm not sure, but suspect that each will find their own calming and anxiety-reducing methods through trial and error.  The first part regarding the breathing is close to what one would do when beginning a meditation session.  The "Mindfulness Meditation" class that I took some years ago was designed to offer practice for full meditative sessions, but also *emergency* stress-reducing protocols for anxiety attacks.  The latter generally were based on finding a place to sit (if possible) and to begin breathing with awareness.  This means locating some portion of your breathing (feeling your lungs, feeling the air pass through your trachea, feeling it pass through your nasal cavaties, etc.) and then 'attending' to that cycling.....the measured breathing in and breath out.  By contrast to the method in the list as posted, it is often accompanied by eyes closed so as to facilitate attending to the breathing without distraction.  'Thoughts'....which clearly can be the source of the anxiety or be amping-up the anxiety.....are relegated to a priority second to the attunement and attention to the breathing cycle.  They are not suppressed, but when they arise, they are noted as you return your attention to the breathing.  It is simultaneously one of the easiest and most difficult endeavors to undertake.....hence meditation being a 'practice'.  Many with scattered minds like mine will consider themselves a complete failure because of the difficultly in keeping attuned to the breathing....too easily distracted by thoughts.  But like any exercise program, you become better with practice......and with extended breaks in the schedule over many weeks, you may find the need to 'rebuild' your ability to stay attuned.  Anyway, it's helped me and others I know for either anxiety attacks or even other 'blue' periods, but the method you've presented may work just as well.  Hope this may help in some way.....

    (Upon re-reading the list, what I see as the common denominator between what I wrote and the list as presented is in removing "thoughts" temporarily from the equation:  Irrespective of whether one's attention is on the breathing or on *deliberately* seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and feeling.....(I mean it!....emphasis on *deliberately*), both acts serve to take you away from your 'brain chatter', which can be the cause of so much anxiety and irritability.)
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Good feedback Stacy and John. I would imagine that during an anxiety attack, it could be difficult to do a multi-step grounding process.

     
    John Weiland
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:....I would imagine that during an anxiety attack, it could be difficult to do a multi-step grounding process.



    Yet given your location, one other method between the other two:  At times, I've gone out to one of the large spruce trees on the property when needing such a break.  Arriving at a tree, you feel your breathing, lay your hand(s) on the bark (touch), observe (if daytime) the patterns made across the trunk, following across lines, around old wounds, tracing the puzzle present there (seeing), give attention to the wind going through the tree or those around you (hearing), and take in the pine scent from the sap (smell).  The advantage of having these companions right outside your door is a plus and may offer some diversity in how you tackle such episodes.  Good luck!..
     
    Dave Burton
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    After all of these responses, I have another yarn to share about my experiences. I wrote this all down on pen and paper before typing it, so that I would be able to carefully consider my response and make sure this is not just an impassioned tirade of mine, of which I have many things that I will go into tirades about, because there is much to be said on so many topics. (but more importantly, there is much to be done)

    Extreme compartmentalization was my coping mechanism to handle the negative emotions I was feeling, when I was growing up, because I was so depressed about the world and my situation in it. And so, by extreme compartmentalization, an entire layer of reality was missing to me, and the only benefit I gained from that was numbness from the pain I felt of living and being alive and knowing that these things feel unnatural and wrong- like the houses in suburbs, the raising of kids  segregated by age groups, being indoors, being told what to think, having my curiosity beaten out of me, being put into society's boxes, not seeing enough wildlife around me, walking on concrete, etc, etc, etc.

    This stuff pained me, and still does. I feel all of my emotions now, and I refuse to compartmentalize them, because the universe and this and this world are made up of many parts that act as an integrated whole that greater than the sum of its parts, and by golly, I will not be an exception to that. And I find it highly disturbing when people refer to the mind and body as separate entities. I do not think that they are separate, because the brain, which houses the mind, is part of the body. What I think, in my experience, most certainly does affect how I physically feel, and I find the reverse to be true for myself as well; when I do not feel well physically, I do not feel well mentally, either.

    With regards to emotions, I think what Recipes for Disaster has to say about Mental Health resonates with me- perhaps these emotions that people feel of depression, loneliness, stress, and anxiety are the natural and appropriate response to the unnatural and disturbing nature of our current societies. Perhaps my anger and dissatisfaction of being trapped in a society that I did not willfully choose to be a part of is justified. Perhaps, my sadness and despair of the damage, from the way things are, to the environment and to people's physical and mental health is a natural thing to feel. Perhaps, hopelessness is appropriate when you are expected to live out a future life that is nothing you enjoy or desire for yourself. Perhaps, when this gift of life that you have been given- a gift you were given without your consent, for I did not choose to be alive- is expected by society to not even be your own until you retire, a natural cause for fear. Having been willed into existence, because two people fell in love, and now you are theirs and their society's property and will be put into your place, whether you like it or not, is reason for anger, fear, and depression.

    If your life, which you never asked for anyways, was not going to be your own in the first place, then why live? And knowing that what is happening around you is not natural and does not feel right does not make this gift of life sound any more desirable than before. These are all part of why I felt the way I did growing up.

    And I think Jocelyn makes a good point from Hardwiring Happiness (which will now need to go on my reading list) that life is meant to be slow and responsive with only short reactive stresses. I experience this, for example, at work when the library is busy with may people coming and going and some of my coworkers having their regular banter with each other nearby- all of this noise-, and all I feel at those moments is the desire to scream at the top of my lungs, to run away into the woods, or to do anything that will bring me to a place of quiet, peace, and calm. To be some place that I feel safe and feel secure- to want to do anything feel safe and secure.

    And let me back up to a bigger picture farther out from just me. In our current society, in this day and age, we have issues with drug addiction, suicide, depression, and escapism, especially in people my age group and younger. And I am willing to hazard a guess that these are all symptoms of how unnatural, unsatisfying, and distressing our current society is.

    I do not think that I am the problem, because I feel that these emotions I have been given and the way I experience the world is Nature speaking Her will to Me. I have been birthed into this world to serve Nature, and the manifestations of stress and depression that i feel is Nature saying that I must do something to help Her sing. I have lived a little over twenty years with these feelings of hopelessness, of enslavement, and of entrapment that I cannot go any longer not living my life the way I believe I have been called to spend my life. One of the reasons I never killed myself- above honoring my family and above honoring myself- was that I believed the highest honor I am obligated to pay respect to is to the gift of life itself that I was given. It is disrespectful to life- to Nature- for me to think that I have the right to revoke the gift of life that I was given, without having done everything I can do. And so, here I am, still alive, because I have a duty to do everything I can over the course of my life to make this world a better place, a more natural and abundant place, and to help Nature sing.

    And on those obligations, the permies community, since I learned about you all, has been very supportive. Some senior staff members, and some other members, are well aware of my mental health issues, and they have been there for me. So, I am also obligated to contribute and help the permies community, as well.

    I know what I am supposed to do with my life, because I have experienced fully the depths of joy and unfulfillment that comes with doing what resonates with me and what feels like whoring around. it was brutal the first few weeks back at college, with my full emotional capacity, because my week started off doing what I loved and then were spent the rest of the week doing nothing I enjoyed. On Mondays, I was at the River Roots Farm- harvesting vegetables for the CSA boxes, hanging out with other farmers, enjoying Nature, listening to birds, and getting dirty in the soil; then for the rest of the week, I was stuck studying classes that my heart was not into and doing work I did not care for. This made me feel so unfulfilled that I wanted to die, almost every Friday without fail. I am doing a bit better at keeping my insides inside of me (in every meaning of that phrase), mostly because I am getting so much closer to being able to do what it is that I actually believe I am here to do with my life.

    Tying this all together, I resonate strongly with Sepp Holzer's spirituality and understanding of life: I must put myself in other beings' shoes, and if they do not feel comfortable, I am obligated to do everything I can to fix that. And that what I feel is Nature's Words. And this all ties into my core beliefs, as well: because they live, they matter, and the reason they live is to express the fullness of what it means to be themselves (people, animals, plants, all of life).
     
    S Bengi
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    I like what you are saying. You want to work with the soil, fruits and trees. You want to grow old on a farmstead. The question is how to get to that point. Unfortunately we aren't born with much, and we have to beg and listen to our parents/teachers for what little they want to throw our ways.

    So what do you have to do to secure a future that is intimately connected to the earth. That is primarily depended on the land, sun and sky, without score of middle man bringing you food or telling you, that you can only pick berries fresh 3 times a year while camping or something.

    I think securing your own homestead is the best for the long term. What do you think about this.

    Then you could also offer this outlet to others. You could be a future beacon.
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    Dave Burton wrote:Perhaps my anger and dissatisfaction of being trapped in a society that I did not willfully choose to be a part of is justified. Perhaps, my sadness and despair of the damage, from the way things are, to the environment and to people's physical and mental health is a natural thing to feel. Perhaps, hopelessness is appropriate when you are expected to live out a future life that is nothing you enjoy or desire for yourself. Perhaps, when this gift of life that you have been given- a gift you were given without your consent, for I did not choose to be alive- is expected by society to not even be your own until you retire, a natural cause for fear. Having been willed into existence, because two people fell in love, and now you are theirs and their society's property and will be put into your place, whether you like it or not, is reason for anger, fear, and depression.

    If your life, which you never asked for anyways, was not going to be your own in the first place, then why live? And knowing that what is happening around you is not natural and does not feel right does not make this gift of life sound any more desirable than before. These are all part of why I felt the way I did growing up.  



    Life is hard a great deal of the time. We often don't think it should be that way especially when we are young, but the reality is life often sucks and that applies to just about everyone. It is simply a product of the human condition.

    It isn't because of our evil modern society (though reflecting on it too much may be). In fact we are extremely blessed in many ways, and from an historical perspective even the standard of living for poor Americans is in the top 1% compared to the living conditions of our ancestors. While our modern society may not be perfect, it offers more freedom and opportunity than just about any other. Or can anyone name an existing society that does a better job of meeting their overall ideal?

    Honestly if I had a son in his early twenties going through similar angst I would be strongly tempted to send them off to a very poor (but reasonably safe) third world country to dig wells, or teach agricultural practices, in an extremely poor off-grid village for 6 months. Basically it would be an attempt to hit "reset" and give them a different outlook on survival and the human condition so the "injustices" of our modern less-than-perfect society will be seen in perspective. The experience and wisdom that can be drawn from people that live in a very basic way, subject to nature's whims and in uncertainty, and how they deal with and accept it,  can provide a different outlook on life.
     
    Dave Burton
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    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:While our modern society may not be perfect, it offers more freedom and opportunity than just about any other. Or can anyone name an existing society that does a better job of meeting their overall ideal?



    I can name a few, in fact, and there are many more I have yet to learn about. The indigenous First Nations  of the world and the way they lived before colonizations occurred are societies that I find to be doing it well:
    -The Hidatsa (good reading is Buffalo Bird Woman)
    -The Navajos
    -The Apache
    -The Inuit
    -The Mapuche
     
    John Weiland
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    Dave Burton wrote:

    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:While our modern society may not be perfect, it offers more freedom and opportunity than just about any other. Or can anyone name an existing society that does a better job of meeting their overall ideal?



    I can name a few, in fact, and there are many more I have yet to learn about. The indigenous First Nations  of the world and the way they lived before colonizations occurred are societies that I find to be doing it well:
    -The Hidatsa (good reading is Buffalo Bird Woman)
    -The Navajos
    -The Apache
    -The Inuit
    -The Mapuche



    Emphasizing your qualifier here in bold text but will in general agree with you here.  Will add to these the Efe (Africa), the Piriha  and the Yequana (South America)......many such examples that, even if not perfect, offer insights into societies that seemed to have greater contentedness combined with low impact on the planet.  We are where we are at this point in time, but I feel it's good to gather as much information as possible as to what worked, what works, and what generally fails to work, in producing more harmonious communities.
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    Dave Burton wrote:

    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:While our modern society may not be perfect, it offers more freedom and opportunity than just about any other. Or can anyone name an existing society that does a better job of meeting their overall ideal?



    I can name a few, in fact, and there are many more I have yet to learn about. The indigenous First Nations  of the world and the way they lived before colonizations occurred are societies that I find to be doing it well:
    -The Hidatsa (good reading is Buffalo Bird Woman)
    -The Navajos
    -The Apache
    -The Inuit
    -The Mapuche



    I said an existing society from the perspective of personal rights/freedoms/standard of living. Of course the societies that we read about through rose colored glasses from one perspective may appear perfect.

    But I see where this is going and will simply wish you the best. :)
     
    Dave Burton
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    Yeah... kinda got sidetracked there.... I'll step off my horse now and sit down right now, so the thread can go back on topic...

    What I was trying to get at with this thread was the interactions between people's emotions and their body
     
    Travis Johnson
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    My doctor's visit last Monday went horribly bad.

    Despite having a host of problems for three years, as soon as my Doctor heard that we lived in a Tiny House and that I slept nightly on a couch, the prescription was basically for "a full size bed." I was pretty much incensed and demoralized.

    With that information I started fresh as my Dr certainly is not helping, so instead of concentrating on finding something new that might be wrong with me, I started concentrating on what I knew was already wrong. That was my criteria, what I knew was wrong and following the path backwards.

    I started with Empty Sella Syndrome which is well documented.
    I also knew from my Dr that my Pituatary Gland destruction was on my brain side, and was interupting my hormone secretion.
    The biggest demise has been with testerone and will need to be on that replacement for the rest of my life.
    The only reason they performed a biopsy on me at age 42 was because as a welder I was subjected to 23 years of x-ray welds
    So I investigated x-ray welds, it uses Gamma Rays
    Gamma Rays penetrate...yes, steel, but also the body very easily, and produces cancers (no surprise)
    Gamma ray radiation is unique, numerous low dose of exposures are more detrimental then high doses to the human body
    I found out Radiation-induced hypopituitarism mainly causes gonadal problems (my almost non-existent testosterone problem)
    Secondary hypopituitarism (brain side) causes an inability to handle stress, brings on extreme fatigue, and can bring on cardiac issues
    3 weeks ago I suffered a cardiac issue while at church
    Hypopituitarism effects the thyroid (my cancerous thyroid has been removed)
    There are only a few hundred cases of hypopituitarism dignoses per year (a rare brain cancer)
    Hypopituitarism has the unique chracteristic of causing high iron in the liver (my levels are through the roof)

    What does all this mean?

    Potentially my inability to handle stressful situations and extreme fatigue is because my pituatary has been destroyed by low levels, but years of gamma ray radiation. There is no cure, but because of hormone replacements, I should not suffer premature death. As far as I can tell, like my Thyroid Cancer this is a stage 2 cancer.













     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Wow, Travis - just wow. That is a huge set of physical issues. I'm so sorry. And the physical incapacity to handle stress is important to know. It's funny, and frustrating, what doctors (or counselors) will focus on to try to help. I'm so sorry you didn't get the care and support you were seeking. Thank you for sharing about it, too. The more I learn about how these stress, anxiety, grief and the physical body interact, the more it informs my choices and my ideas for my own health.

    I'm reminded of a past doctor of mine that recommended doing what I've referred to as "purple breathing" on a daily basis. I can't recall if she described how deep breathing (and other stress reduction practices) calms the nervous system, improves digestion, reduces inflammation and so on, because if she did, I think I might have been more motivated to try it. I think it was simply, do this breathing in to each chakra to reduce stress. The "reduce stress" part I used to not listen to. We *all* have stress, and I had thought of my stress as a "first world problem" in a lot of ways - meaning, I really have a good life! I hadn't realized how deeply troubling some of our "first world problem" constant stressors and bad habits can affect us physically. I'm more with the program, so to speak, now.

    John Weiland wrote:

    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:....I would imagine that during an anxiety attack, it could be difficult to do a multi-step grounding process.



    Yet given your location, one other method between the other two:  At times, I've gone out to one of the large spruce trees on the property when needing such a break.  Arriving at a tree, you feel your breathing, lay your hand(s) on the bark (touch), observe (if daytime) the patterns made across the trunk, following across lines, around old wounds, tracing the puzzle present there (seeing), give attention to the wind going through the tree or those around you (hearing), and take in the pine scent from the sap (smell).  The advantage of having these companions right outside your door is a plus and may offer some diversity in how you tackle such episodes.  Good luck!..


    Thankfully, I haven't suffered from anxiety attacks, or a trauma that leads to PTSD or other triggers, so that grounding process was offered in case it might help others who have shared so openly (or not) about theirs. Though for my general stress and well-being, I am doing what I can to appreciate and soak in the nature around me a bit more. This morning, I stopped washing dishes, and stared out the kitchen window for a bit at the light dusting of snow on the forested hillside, kind of drinking in how snow increases the light so beautifully this time of year. That was pretty grounding and calming without even going out to touch any of it.

    The discussions about indigenous cultures or about developing nations (er, what is the current p.c. term these days, instead of 'third world'?) are interesting to me because I think there are happiness, contentment, and stress reduction/recovery lessons to be learned there. I think there are people living in mud huts with just one pot to cook in, or tin and cardboard shacks that are far happier and less stressed than I am. I think it's not about learning that we are privileged in our Western world habitats, it's learning to be happy with what we have, and how to eschew and/or recover from the crazy stress of modern life.

    Put another way that I'm learning from Hardwiring Happiness, I think it's not about denying that we're stressed, or lonely, or have a serious illness, or whatever. It's about finding simple pleasures, contentment, appreciation, and maybe even joy in addition to that. That's my goal any way.
     
    Travis Johnson
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Wow, Travis - just wow. That is a huge set of physical issues. I'm so sorry. And the physical incapacity to handle stress is important to know. It's funny, and frustrating, what doctors (or counselors) will focus on to try to help. I'm so sorry you didn't get the care and support you were seeking. Thank you for sharing about it, too. The more I learn about how these stress, anxiety, grief and the physical body interact, the more it informs my choices and my ideas for my own health.



    That is kind of why I posted what I did, to let people know that MAYBE (not always) that anxiety is more then just mentally based. In fact, since Thyroid problems are underdiagnosed, it is likely they might have D3, TSH, Cortisol or other issues.

    My anxiety is rather strange. For instance I am fine, and honestly would buy anyone on this site a coffee even if they hated me, I would not hurt anyone, but when my wife came in last month with a bad review from her boss, in two seconds i could have driven to his house and kicked his teeth in. I can flip that quick from one extreme to another. The same thing happened with a friend when he wanted me to work for him. I was okay until the night before, and then I got thinking about...of alll things...having to have my wrenches at his job site and not being able to work on things here. It was just that amount of stress that set me off. The same thing in church a few weeks ago, no... it was not the guilty part of the sermon that upset me :-), but rather just thinking about how I cannot provide a very good Christmas this year to my daughters. That was enough to send me to the Emergency Room with (3) nitroglycern pills under my tongue to revive me.

    According to medical coding, I am so screwed. I have a list of ten medical conditions plaguing me, (3) of which are tracked by the US Government's CDC (2) cancers and my seizures).

     
    Travis Johnson
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    But if I sound like I am whining, I assure you I am trying to do something good.

    My wife and I have a heart for those addicted to Opiotes, but my good friend is the Sheriff, and he got me onto a committee that tries to change policy for addicts and mentally ill patients. Right now Maine has the LEAST amount of resourses for people, and yet we are the 6th highest in opiote deaths per capita.

    It is so bad here, that if a police officer confronts a mentally ill patient, and they have not committed a crime, they will go to the emergency room and stay there for 1 to 2 MONTHS because there is no facilities for these people. They either go to jail, or they sit for months at the Emergency Room waiting for a bed to open up. Yep, the police taking turns watching him all that time. It is expensive for tax payers, and silly!

    We are trying to change that in Maine.
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    Travis Johnson wrote:
    It is so bad here, that if a police officer confronts a mentally ill patient, and they have not committed a crime, they will go to the emergency room and stay there for 1 to 2 MONTHS because there is no facilities for these people. They either go to jail, or they sit for months at the Emergency Room waiting for a bed to open up. Yep, the police taking turns watching him all that time. It is expensive for tax payers, and silly!



    Yeah right now the prison system is used to handle the mentally ill. Some are so whacked out everyone KNOWS they can't possibly stay on their meds and remain functional once released, but they release them anyway even if they have a history of violence (which is what landed them in prison to begin with).

    I think all of the asylums were shut down in the late 70's in large part because Geraldo Rivera got inside one particularly nasty asylum and filmed patients rocking in corners, naked and sitting in their own feces etc... It caused an uproar and the gov quickly agreed it was horrible  so they basically shut down all of the asylums (the politicians had LOTS of other uses for that money!). Then many (if not most) of the mentally ill became homeless street people, and of course now there is "no money" to open new facilities.
     
    S Bengi
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    Yes it is sad that prison are better than mental health centers (asylum), and so they were shutdown.
    I like that our police force isn't just the armed forces to kill on sight, but that they help old ladies cross the street.

    Mental health issues are real, I wonder how we can help prevent/decelerate them with a permaculture lifestyle.
    I have heard quite a few mentions of being around trees (fruit/nut trees), grounding/dirt.
    Being connected/dependent on the earth vs cubicles/walmart.
     
    Dave Burton
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    S Bengi wrote:Mental health issues are real, I wonder how can help prevent/accelerate them with a permaculture lifestyle.
    I have heard quite a few mentions of being by trees (fruit/nut trees), grounding/dirt.
    Being connected/dependent on the earth vs cubicles/walmart.



    For me, I feel so much better when my feet are in contact with the soil, when my hands touch plants and animals, when I have the touch of another person's warm embrace, and when I have a gentle cold Winter cross-breeze going through my room. These things help to keep me calm.
     
    gardener
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    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

    Dave Burton wrote:

    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:While our modern society may not be perfect, it offers more freedom and opportunity than just about any other. Or can anyone name an existing society that does a better job of meeting their overall ideal?



    I can name a few, in fact, and there are many more I have yet to learn about. The indigenous First Nations  of the world and the way they lived before colonizations occurred are societies that I find to be doing it well:
    -The Hidatsa (good reading is Buffalo Bird Woman)
    -The Navajos
    -The Apache
    -The Inuit
    -The Mapuche



    I said an existing society from the perspective of personal rights/freedoms/standard of living.



    hau Lucrecia, all the above nations are still here and active societies. There are many others too that are still here and their traditional society structure is still living and working. The Sioux nation consists of the Nakota, Dakota, Lakota, and Oglala tribes, we are all still here.
    If you do a search for POWWOWs for 2018 you will see that we have many gatherings and that we invite non-natives, or if you prefer non-indigenous peoples, to come and even to participate in our culture traditions during these powwows.

    It was the White eyes that came and stole, murdered and starved the people who already lived here. They tried to take away our culture completely, they forbade the speaking of our languages, they took our children and put them in boarding schools where they were beaten upon any teachers whim.
    We lost all our great leaders, many hung by the pony soldiers just to get rid of them. The buffalo was nearly made extinct just because the white eyes thought that would starve us out, they wasted thousands of whole buffalo to do this thing.

    We teach about our traditions and we explain why we do things the way we do.
    Our society is one of caring for each other and for providing for those who have needs, we care for the earth mother and always have, we care for the animals, never killing just to kill something.
    We feel that we must use all of any animal we take so that we can honor that death and the spirit of the animal will be pleased with how we treated the gifts given through their loss of life.

    Our warriors go to war along side many others, but when they come home they go to the warrior tipi where they all work together to bring them back to balance.
    We have always known that war changes people, we have always made sure they come back to balance of spirit, mind and body before they walk again among the people.
    Our society has been around far longer than the Europeans have existed, those who came and invaded turtle island tried very hard to rub us out, but we are still here and we are once again becoming strong.

    Redhawk
     
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    I'm so glad I ended up reading this thread. I'm wondering how to raise kids so that they are less anxious and able to deal with life's stresses.

    =====================

    A bit about me. Like Jocelyn, I had a pretty privilaged upbringing. We were never rich, and actually rather poor when I was little. But, we always had what we needed, and I had a LOT of stability. And, because I had so much stability and a very calm mother, and lots of alone time, my anxiety never really debilitated/disabled me... Sure, I'd get overwhelmed, but I was able to work through it and have time to do the things I needed to do. It never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do.

    But, then I grew up. And changes came faster than I was used to, and I had a hard time coping. But, it was still never really debilitating--I was able to say "No" to a lot of stuff and spend a lot of time at home being an introvert, spending time in thought/prayer, and recovering and processing.

    Then I had kids.

    And my husband had Crohns.

    And now reading everything you guys have mentioned, I can really see my anxiety. When life gets busy and stressful (like now when my husband is picking up a bunch of shifts), my fight/flight responce kicks in a TON. It's reeeeeaaly not useful to have instant intense emotions when your kid repeatedly doesn't do what you asked. My brain really struggles to deal with life's stresses, and I often feel very much like a failure.

    ("Mommy guilt" is a big thing. I don't take my kids to library time. I don't arrange play dates. Most every day when my husband works, I either stay on the property or go for walks.  I don't go shopping. I don't get involved in community stuff. Sometimes, if life is less stressful, I'll do some stuff like that...but most of the time eveyrhting seems way too overwhelming for both me and my kids to attempt that).

    =========================

    Sometimes I wonder if I'd not had such a sheltered and safe environment as a kid, would I have learned to deal with stress? Would I be a stronger person if my parents had pushed me more? Would I be more "successful" (what's success, anyway)?

    My son also probably has high anxiety. I tried SO HARD to make his life calm and stable. I left work while pregnant with him because I was worried what the stress of dealing with my boss would do to him. He still came out screaming. I held him and comforted him, even when everyone told me to "put him down and let him cry." It just seemed like such a bad thing for his emotional development to have a him crying nonstop, (which he already did), let alone to do that crying away from Mama.

    And, it seemed to work. I kept life as less-stressful as I could, and really tried to make his day something he could succeed in. By the time he was two, he didn't have tantrums and was generally sweet and agreeable. And then I got pregnant. And then my husband got Crohns. And we weren't able to help him...and suddenly he was tantruming constantly and always high-strung and anxious. It's only in the last half year (Read: two years of a high-strung, destructive, tantruming child) for life to calm down enough for him to finally get back to where he was emotionally before all this stress.

    But life HAS stress. How do I prepare him for it? How do I equip him with the tools to not become an emotional/mental mess when life gets crazy? Because life DOES get crazy, and there are sometimes times when you just don't have TIME to do any of your coping mechanisms (someone shared this article on crucial self-care tips for introverted women, and I had to laugh and cry a little, because the only one of those I was able to do for 4 years was to be outside. I'm pretty sure that's the only reason I have any sanity left).

     
    Seriously Rick? Seriously? You might as well just read this tiny ad:
    It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
    http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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