I may be as normal as I’ll ever be.
A friend in the health-care industry responded to my comment that I needed to see my physician about my anxiety with: “If so, you are normal. Everyone is overwhelmed and needing help.” She reminded me that anxiety and depression have experienced an increase for the first time in 80 years. It has become serious!
Me? Normal? If that is true, the general population is in big trouble. I’m not surprised that the population of the Western Hemisphere is needing help with depression, burnout and anxiety. What is surprising is that I’m in that group.
This week I ran across a series of booklets I wrote to provide at our seminars in the 80s:
- Please Pass the Valium—Stress
- View From the Fetal Position—Depression & Anxiety
- Learning to Hate Natives—Burnout
- But the Cubs Still Need Me!—Mid-life Crisis
My research for those subjects was extensive and personal. But what is torching our culture in 2022 surpasses what I thought would guard and fortify me and my readers. We are confronted with dimensions of mental health (and lack of) and spiritual battle not generally experienced in our lifetimes. Panic and anxiety attacks are rife with demonic attacks. If I were to update those booklets, they would have a section on The Armor of God—Ephesians 6:10-18 in 2022 words and modes of attacks. Evil has been unleashed and in some places invited, welcomed and enthroned.
One thing that seems different in this season is that The “Armor” used to seem static. You put it on with Velcro and it stayed there. It felt like a flannel graph truth. Now it is not a defensive agent. It has become lke Ukraine-level combat. We must learn how the Armor can be active and learn how to use it aggressively.
One of my favorite brain specialists is Dr. Daniel Amen. You may have seen one of his events on PBS television. He is a man of faith and teaches and practices from that base while being widely respected in the psychiatric community. We watched one of his YouTube interviews you might find helpful:
I am reading three of Dr. Amen’s books:
The Daniel Plan with Pastor Rick Warren
The End of Mental Illness, Dr. Daniel Amen, MD, (Tyndale 2020)
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, Dr. Daniel Amen, MD (Harmony Books, 1998 2015)
“Change Your Brain…” has been Revised and Expanded. I read the first edition (1998) and have returned to this edition and finding it very helpful—practical. Guided directions to Cut The Chaos.
John Eldredge has a new book: Resilient—Restoring Your Weary Soul in These Turbulent Times. (Nelson Books, 2022)
How to: From Relevant Magazine, January 12, 2022
- Remember where your roots are—connections, interaction, support.
- Work out—exercise till you sweat.
- Practice self-care
Dealing with Automatic Negative Thoughts. (ANTs) When you are having a panic or anxiety attack, your mind will lie to you. It will tell you all the possibilities of what could happen if you don’t run, hide, or excuse yourself. None of which will ordinarily happen.
The Four Questions from Byron Katie to deal with the “lies.”
- Is your thought true? (Will you really throw up? Pass out? Make a fool of yourself? Go crazy in front of everyone? Have an unprovoked attack?)
- Can you absolutely know whether it is true?
- How do you react, what happens when you believe it to be true?
- Who would you be without that thought?
My current journey
- What uniquely triggers my reaction that becomes anxiety, stress and/or depression?
- What am I still doing that increases the chaos?
- What drains my emotional/spiritual resources?
- What are my ANTs? (Automatic Negative Thoughts)
- What replenishes my soul? Mind? Brain? Mental health Reservoir?
Psychology Today says:
“The most mentally healthy people you know remain steady and calm no matter what’s going on around them because they’ve developed some key habits and traits….”
Rick Warren’s book The Daniel Plan (Zondervan 2013) promises, 40 Days to a Healthier Life.
Pastor Warren pulled together the team—Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D and Dr. Mark Hyman, MD. Their program wraps around five dedicated practices—key habits and traits—which give tools and containers that can fill our reservoir from which mental and soul health and resilience comes:
(If you don’t want to buy the book, go to Amazon to check on the Table of Contents and see how the spiritual leader and medical doctors define each of the five.)
When Jesse Watters was selected to anchor and host “Prime Time,” he talked to colleagues and mentors for wisdom. Brit Hume said, “Listen when your guests talk.” Tucker Carlson recommended Jesse to routinely plot time to declutter his mind—choose self-care. Whatever works for you to cut the chaos. I think it will include the Daniel Plan listed above.
I’m changing habits and working on some different traits.
©2022 D. Dean Benton