Monday, March 20, 2023

Joshua’s Blog: “Under pressure…………

YT welcomes its latest blogger, Joshua Yeldham-Smith as he discusses the nature of anxiety.

Don’t pressure us: Anxiety.

Hey, You! Yes, You! Who’d you think I’d be talking to?

Stressed, overworked, under-performing?

Are you sure about that?

Check your Email – 1 New message!

Congratulations, you’ve got anxiety.

Anxiety is the physical culmination of self-doubt and the inability to trust others; for whatever reason. Too often, cases of social anxiety are treated with medication and a dispassionate, unsympathetic response from the people who’s very occupation is to help.

Although we might all present ourselves as tough when faced with others, people are sensitive to changes in their environment. Sometimes, our emotions can become overstimulated by our surroundings, especially with us living in the age of LCD screens and easily shared opinions through Social Media.

I’m sure that many a reader has become furious at a reply to an internet forum post they might have once created and which meant so much to them; I know I have. The stimuli of reading a reply and processing potential criticism creates that impression of an imagined voice heard but from within your mind and, as any good horror director will tell you, people respond with greater fear to sounds, or lack thereof, than to any visual Bogeyman.

We are all well aware of how an off-hand comment, contentious political debate, differing view, News story or rejection can cause us anger, frustration or despair: a description of anxiety made manifest. We recognise these resultant symptoms as blights to the very concept of what it means to be civilised.

Alcohol, television, sleep, drugs, reading, exercise, video-games, idleness, gambling, shouting, and in some cases, self-harm and suicide: a small list of things that people in general, from all walks of life and at all levels of anxiety and stress, can and will use in order to medicate themselves. Obviously, some medicines are stronger than others and the same applies to activities but this does not excuse people on weaker prescriptions from ignoring the possibility that they might actually be compensating for a problem; in this case, anxiety. Are you avoiding something?

From my own experiences, I can deduce that anxious people can at any time be either very independent, sometimes too much so, or very good at following orders, but only those orders and nothing else; we avoid conflict. It is when arriving at a stressful situation that this model no longer applies.

Stress occurs when, either emotionally or physically, a person has been backed into a corner; there is no escape. Urges to protect become desires to fight as agitation kicks in and we feel temporarily stronger. Stress is when our inhibitions give way and we act how we really feel about someone when emotional sympathy has drained away. If you have ever felt tired and became emotionally hostile to someone who has kept you awake, it is because they were deemed as a threat by your survival instinct which seeks rest and recuperation. It is when under the influence of stress in large doses that mankind’s potential for violence truly shines through.

I can think of one simple coping mechanism for when faced with levels of anxiety and stress: If we desire to serve and appease others to avoid conflict when we become anxious then, in order to avoid missing out on our own needs, it may be important to think of ourselves as yet another person that we wish to appease; this way we become equals.

Social health should perhaps be seen from the perspective of an exercise metaphor rather than as a clinical construct because, as is the case with running, swimming and football, or even education, people become fitter and more able with time and practice. Social-Fitness demands a ‘Social-Gym’.

If, as a society, we do not make steps to solve and correct for other people’s stresses and anxieties then all of us are in some way responsible for heinous crimes, deprivation and, ultimately, our own


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