Friends, the statistics aren't good. Anxiety and stress in America are at extreme levels and it hasn't gotten any better since our confrontational, name-calling, shaming, unkind, so-called leader in chief cheated his way to the big table. It's gotten worse. A lot worse. According to Psychology Today, "Americans certainly appear to be more stressed than ever. The most commonly shared explanation for why is the nation's extreme political polarization. Indeed, 57 percent of the more than 1,000 people surveyed for the study said the current political climate was a "very significant" or "somewhat significant" source of stress."
And while it would be easy for me to use the blog post to state all the horrible things he and his greedy cohorts have done to cause such worry and stress, I don't want to. I want to use this space and my voice to talk about good things we can do for one another to help ease that stress and anxiety. I want everyone who reads this to think about one thing they can say or do to help someone feel just a little less anxious, even if only for a moment.
Let me share a moment that changed me this past year. Back in 2017, I was in a pretty significant car accident and while I didn't break anything, I have three herniated discs in my back and neck that I struggle with all the time. I have pain, less mobility and worst of all, anxiety. Waaaaay more anxiety. Beyond the pain, beyond the loss of mobility and ability, it is the certainty that I will never be the same that causes me the most anxiety. I now walk around with the burden of knowing that my body will just get worse, that the arthritis will get worse as I get older, and for someone who has loved dancing her entire life, it can be a total bummer. But that's not the focus here.
After steroid injections, chiropractic treatments, traditional physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, pain pills, I sought out treatment with a very specific physical therapist who specializes in treating tissue. Prior to seeing her, I started suffering from vertigo (which sucks on its own) and one day while walking the dog, I had an episode, fell over and severely sprained my foot, resulting in having to wear a boot for three months. It sucked. I was so low, and so stressed and sad about my health and totally freaking out thinking I might never feel right again. I remember telling my husband that if this was going to be it for the rest of my life, I wasn't game.
By the time I got to my new therapist, I was at my wit's end. I had several friends recommend her as the person you go to when nothing else works. I was there. Nothing else was helping with the mobility and the anxiety and pain and I needed hope. I needed there to be a light to ease all the shit I was dealing with. And, thankfully, there was.
After going through the rather pathetic-sounding laundry list of ailments, aches and accidents (doesn't that sound like a kick ass country song?) this woman put her hands on my shoulders and said "You will be okay."
You will be okay. It broke me. I wasn't destined to feel and be miserable the rest of my life. This person had given me hope and given me permission to grieve my loss of mobility which, as I already mentioned, as a former dancer, was something I really did grieve. I cried at that moment and then later again as I thought about her words lying in my bed, covered in pain ointment, on top of a heating pad. I felt hopeful again.
Now, this wonder woman is not one to allow anyone to wallow and so, we get down to business. Her practice requires a belief in change, something not everyone can manage. As much as it's a physical treatment, it is also requires a major psychological commitment to connect with that pain and that anxiety and work through and around it. It's definitely not for everyone. It's unconventional and unlike anything I have experienced and I love it. I continue to go back not just because my body needs the relief and change, but because I need that feeling of hope.
That moment taught me so much about what we all need right now and how powerful one sentence, one moment of hope can be. So, offer up that moment every chance you get. Yes, continue to be pissed off (hello, see my social media pages!) and continue to vent and rant. However, you cannot solely do that without seeing the other side, the light. See it, be it, live it as best you can, and share it. Tell those you know who are anxious and stressful, that you see them, you hear them and it won't be forever. Offer them a smile, or a hug, a pat on the hand, a like on their social media page or a kind word. They need it. We all do.