Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why is it so easy for me to have anxiety?

I can tell you that I really don't get it. There are days that I wake up and I can just feel it welling inside of me, waiting for the opportune moment to pop out and ruin my day. There are days I wake up and I am already anxious, laying there in bed, not wanting the day to start because I know that the medication to calm me cannot be taken when I am at work. That only makes the situation worse. I try, as hard as I can on these days, to keep my head out of that anxious spot and in my work, but honestly it doesn't usually work. By the end of the day, I have had two or three anxiety pangs that keep me in that "fight or flight" mode for a couple of hours. I hate that. I can look at the face of the sweet children that I am there to take care of and only sometimes does it distract me enough to stop the anxiety. The other times I just end up changing eight diapers in fifteen minutes.

Sometimes I wish I could just cork the monster until I am off of work, but that does me no good, either. I end up not doing anything when I get home because my fears intensify after dark. I have been trying my best to work though this, to do things despite the anxiety I feel. It is hard when your gut instinct is telling you to get into bed and stay there where it is safe, or don't go to the store because it isn't safe, or go anywhere for that matter, when you know that God protects and takes care of you and your fate is in His hands, where it should be. I wish I could have my heart know what my head already does.

It is during these moments I get reminded exactly how helpless we really are in the light of saving ourselves from our sins. Praise be to God that Christ won me on the cross because I can't save myself from my sins, let alone the little monster in my life known as anxiety.

Monday, November 10, 2008

If you weren't sure there was a stigma attatched...

While waiting in line at Wal*Mart, I found my eyes wandering to those magazines that remind you of a car wreck. You know that they are something you shouldn't waste your time with, but at the same time, you can't help but gawk at it. Afterward, you always wonder why you looked and feel a little disgusted. There were magazines about which stars are pregnant and which are suspected to be. There were headlines advising how to have the greatest love life, how to lose the most weight, how dress and look like the stars, and the latest gossip involving people's lives who have little to no impact on the average person. I think we might all get more out of the Weekly World News or whatever fake magazine might be on the racks today. However, one caught my eye (isn't there always one that does that!) This was about Britney Spears. It supposedly chronicled her "brave battle with mental illness". Honestly, I don't care about her "brave battle". What bothered me was how this was written to catch the eye. On the same magazine, the word "cancer" appeared, but the words with the biggest font and the most prominent place on the magazine were the "mental illness" words describing Ms. Spears.

The most prominent feature is usually what the magazines rely on to sell their magazines. So the average Joe walks up, looks at this, and gawks at how mental illness destroyed this star's life. Writing about the bizarre behavior, the magazine attempts to look as if it is showing the star rising from the depths of whatever her affliction is but instead it is another gossip column selling magazines at the expense of this star and quite possibly of all people suffering from some sort of mental illness. Disgusting doesn't quite cover it in my book. Regardless of how you feel about the star, her choices in life, and how she lives her life, there is no need to make the main point of the article about the horrors of mental illness, virtually scaring anyone from coming in contact with those who have a mental illness because they might all have a breakdown and act like she did. Granted, the right people got involved in her life to help her straighten it out, but she has been branded as a fragile, mentally ill person who probably will never be able to take care of herself. Although this is sometimes the case, it is by no means the prevailing prognosis.

Those of us who have a mental "illness" are no different than those who have heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a multitude of other health issues. It all goes back to the fall of mankind in Genesis 3. Unfortunately, because people don't understand and are scared of the things that cannot be tested for by a blood or urine test combined with the fact that for centuries those with a mental illness obvious enough to need drastic help were locked up, it seems as if those who have any sort of mental disorder are looked upon with a strange combination of fear and distrust. In all likelihood, in your family you have a brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, child, spouse, aunt, uncle, or grandparent who had a mental disorder. Things like depression, anxiety, OCD, and a multitude of others are more common than you think. Think you are untouched? Think again. Most people are pretty good at hiding what is going on with them. Others chalk it up to personality. At any rate, instead of looking to sell more magazines, it might be prudent just to talk about how a star got their life back together and present the mental illness as one component, not THE component.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Odd Teaching Tip

A very wise teacher once told me, "If you are frustrated with a trouble- maker student, the first thing you need to do is change your attitude towards the student." This is a very wise saying, especially in the daycare industry. I have a child in my room who is very high maintenance. He needs so much attention and so many hugs. This in and of itself isn't a bad thing, however, it can get hard when diapers need to be changed, snacks and lunches need to be put out, general cleaning of the room needs to happen, and the other children need attention as well. It can be very frustrating when the innocent behavior turns mischievous and the priorities of what needs to happen *now* are drastically changed.

It is equally hard to take a deep breath, take a step back, and see how you can incorporate what you are doing into something that the child can do with you to fill the need of attention the child has. It's so easy to punish and assume the situation is over instead of discipline followed by a change in action for the adult as well as the child. Granted, there are some things that cannot use a "helper". It's impossible to have a child help change another child's diaper, but by the same token, I can't expect the child to sit through fifteen minutes of diaper changes, either. Changes and compromises must be made to meet the needs of everyone in the room.

As I have started to do this, both change how I feel towards the child and how I deal with the child, I have found my days to be better and happier. The child is also happier and better when it comes to learning how to act in a social setting. Improvements have been made on both sides! It's been amazing to watch.

In our society, compromise isn't a word we like to use all that much. We would rather have others work to our wants and needs, compromising what they need first. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but this should not be a the prominent attitude in our dealings with others.

So, this reflection causes me to ask myself, is there anyone else in my life I need to have a change of attitude towards?