When You’re Overwhelmed and Anxious About the World

Difficult topics are often taboo on blogs, but I feel led to talk about a time in my life when I was extremely overwhelmed and anxious. What made it worse in some ways was that I felt like I was the only person going through it. There are many people who go through seasons of depression and I don’t want anyone else to suffer alone. Many different things can make people seem anxious, but a big one that I’ve found is all the negativity around, from the news to elections to current events.

When You're Overwhelmed or Anxious about the World

Back in 2009, I went through about a difficult year and a half. There was no visible reason for it to be this hard. It just was. Maybe I was slightly depressed, or clinically anxious, but I never went to see a doctor. In hindsight, I should have. I was so overwhelmed and anxious it was difficult to get up and perform my normal daily tasks around the house. Keep in mind, I had three small children at home and was homeschooling the oldest in kindergarten.

In my mind, I felt as if the sun would never shine again (even if it was shining that day) and that I would never be happy again. I am normally a very cheerful person, so I couldn’t understand where this was coming from. Everything on the news was bad and the world was ending. I just knew it. The entire world seemed so dark. I was starting to have mild panic attacks. I knew something needed to be done for my sanity and peace of mind and family.

There were a few steps I took, to the very extreme at first, to help me cope. These were trigger points for me; if they aren’t trigger points for you, it may not work. The important thing is to find what triggers your anxiety and cut it out, at least for a time.

  1. I stopped watching all news programs, as well as reading the newspaper. We still got the paper at that point, because my husband was a newspaper reporter. But I completely stopped looking at the news. I didn’t even read or watch local news. Nothing.
  2. I was brutal in hiding and unfollowing people on social media. You know how some people just like to share negative news stories they’ve read, or bad stuff they’ve heard about? Yeah, those people basically became dead to me online. I was still “friends” with them, and could go to their pages, but I no longer saw all their updates on a daily or hourly basis. Another thing I did was download a free app called Facebook Purity, which allows me to filter out the Trending stories, ads, and certain people I no longer wanted to see. I actually still use it to this day. I can even filter out certain words that I don’t want to see in my feed, like names of presidential candidates, or even the word ‘election’ in general. These filters are usually in place for a season, and then I can delete certain filters if I wish.
  3. I listened to uplifting music. For me, this was praise music, hymns and songs from my favorite musicals (because they’re so fun!) It might be something different for you, but listen to something you really enjoy.
  4. I read fun and interesting books. These could be comic books, trashy romance or even a good nonfiction book, as long as it doesn’t remind you of anything anxiety-inducing.
  5. I asked my husband, whom I completely trust, to give me only ‘need-to-know’ news information. Because he’s a news junkie, he reads it all the time and it doesn’t bother him. I asked him not to share anything with me unless I absolutely needed to know it. And I trusted him to know what I needed to know. I’m sure this was difficult for him, because it was now one area of his life he couldn’t share with me. But he agreed and did an awesome job.
  6. I prayed. I am a Christian, and this helped me tremendously. It took awhile, and sometimes I felt like I was just going through the motions, but He sustained me in the end and brought me through those times.

Even though this was almost ten years ago, it took me several years to even talk about it without crying and getting emotional. I never want to go back to that point in my life. I know now that I  should have gone to a doctor for help, and I urge you, if you are going through some of these same feelings, to see your doctor.  I have eased up on my tight restrictions for the news and social media, but I have also realized it’s made my life simpler in the process. I’ve also asked my husband to help me watch for the symptoms, and to force me to go to a doctor if there’s a next time.

Since that time, I have discussed it with a doctor, and have discovered that my now diagnosed chronic disease was probably playing with my brain, but that may not have been the case. But if you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, take a step back and take care of yourself first. It’s so important.

2 Comments

  • kristin mccarthy October 20, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Brave and well written post about a topic that is so close to my own heart. Bravo!

    Reply
    • Rebekah @ My Circus My Monkeys November 7, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks so much, Kristin. It was tough, but I feel like a lot of people are going through similar things. (It didn’t when I was in the middle, I felt very alone, but on the other side…I can see it)

      Reply

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