Disclaimer – The following post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or sickness. Please use caution if any parts apply to your specific situation and contact a health care professional for further advice.
Hello everyone! It has been many moons since I have written anything, and I think I am ready to share some fire thoughts and experiences from my life the last 5 months. 2020 has been the year of complete chaos. Every day we are asked to take a side or stance on several issues. Every day it seems like there is a new threat to our sanity. Currently I am typing this post trying to snag a couple clean breaths of air from my homemade air filter as I am stuck indoors from the West Coast wild fires.
The intentions of this post are not to try and persuade anyone about anything or any person. Anyone that knows me knows what I stand for and what I think is right. We live in a broken world and I only wish to share the light with those suffering. And that light is Jesus.
My part of spreading that light is to share my battles with anxiety, depression, and mental health during these times. If even one person reading this feels like maybe they are not alone, then I will go to bed tonight a happy man.
I also consider humor to be my #1 form of therapy, so I will be including some jokes for the loyal followers of the blog.
Chicken Soup for the Anxious Soul
When a person is under stress or panic, the body releases a response called “fight or flight”. This is an evolutionary survival mechanism developed to keep humans safe from dangerous situations. We get the energy (adrenaline) needed to either fight off the bad guys or run away from the bad guys. Most of the time this phenomenon happens during real threats. Real dangers. Like a polar bear is in your bed. Or you realize you have to play me and cousin Jason in the spikeball championship at the family reunion. For those that suffer with certain mental health disorders (anxiety, panic attacks, depression, etc), this response can be triggered much easier and can last for much longer amounts of time.
Now add in the events of 2020.
Australia wildfires. Kobe Bryant died. Covid -19. Murder hornets. Racial inequality and protesting across the country. Politics. The West Coast wildfires. The Black Panther died. RIP Chadwick Boseman. Hurricanes.
ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER.
I have been in state of anxiousness for 9 months. This has had some pretty harsh impacts on both my mental and physical health. I started developing constant stomach pain and my chronic POTS headache came back. I also began obsessing over every negative thought that came my way. I would like to call out just a few of them.
Health Anxiety – I have more or less thought I was dying from an illness or cancer the last 3 months. The constant state of stress leads to physical symptoms, which I in turn obsess over and make worse. Fortunately, I have been going to counseling and have just now within the last week or so seen some improvements. Funny how you hear about the “superman” syndrome young bucks like myself are supposed have where we think we are invincible. Instead I was blessed with the opposite. Remember that episode of Spongebob where that dude tricked Spongebob into believing the guy’s bones were made of glass? That’s what my mind does. Here is a picture for those that don’t get the reference.
Depression – It is just really hard to stay happy and positive. I like to think God is trying to teach me how to enjoy the little things in life, like each and every day waking up to my son’s smiling face. But this year is wearing me down. Some of the strongest people I know have had mental breakdowns this year. My grandpa who is 85 told me the other day that this year has been the worst he has ever seen. YIKES. Do you know how much has happened since 1935?? So many grim stats I could share about mental health in America since Covid-19 hit. But I’ll let you do your own research. I think what I have is a chronic case of “Eeyore” syndrome. Need a little more Winnie the Pooh mentality. Which reminds me I could use a snack…
Fear – I have been really afraid of a lot things this year. At first it was the fear of actually getting Covid. Then it was the fear of helicopters (RIP Kobe). Don’t even get me started on murder hornets. I was afraid of the divisiveness in our country. Are we on the brink of another civil war? Right now I’m scared of climate change. (Pro tip, don’t read books about how the world is going to end from global warming if you are already anxious). I have had fears that my fears would lead me to dying of fear. All the fear led to the chronic state of stress and anxiety that I just couldn’t break. Thankfully a good buddy of mine gave me some great advice and told me to just relax and wow I’m all better now 😊 Jokes aside, I had to go see my doctor. I had to get on something from my anxious thoughts. I had to start therapy.
This year has been a total dumpster fire for a lot of people. Families losing everything to the fires. Families losing everything to Covid. Families losing everything to the violence. But you are not alone. I am not alone. We are not alone.
I write this post being open and honest saying that this year has been tough, but it has also been a lot due to the result of my own selfish thinking. Jarod Gunning thinks the world revolves around him a lot of the time. And that is just not the case. Ever.
I end this post with my top 5 DudeWithPOTS words of wisdom from a “Covid Blues Struggler”.
1 – Each day you wake up is another day. You survived 100% of the days before, and the stats say you are gonna survive this one too.
2 – Reach out to friends and family. Ask them to tell you a joke. I went on a family vacation last week and had the opportunity to just vent my life feelings to some close family members. It really helped. So did the beer.
3 – Limit the news reading/watching to once a day. I think it is important to stay informed. But there is absolutely no reason why I needed to know that “lady diagnosed with IBS actually has bowel cancer”. Or that “Donald Trump lied again!” for the 100th time today. (If you want to know my political stance, it’s that we should elect Andrew Yang president. Or hell even Elon musk. Anybody to get the people going again. But alas, we get two old white men to choose from 😊).
4 – You have to believe in something. I heard a good inspirational quote once. It was something like a dad talking to his son about being up to bat in baseball. And he said “Son you believed in santa for 7 years, I think you can believe in yourself for 10 seconds”.
5 – Be kind.
Thanks for reading! Please contact me for any specific topics, questions you want answered, or reviews you want!
Jarod Gunning – Dude with POTS.