I saw a post on social media from Jason Medows of the Ag State of Mind podcast that asked if you knew what your triggers for anxiety are. At first trying to figure out how to answer the question ramped up some anxiety, how do I compose an answer that makes sense and is coherent yet coveys what I am trying to say without unnecessary rambling on, I mean this is Jason Medows, a future super star in the Agriculture Mental Health arena, now is not the time to sound like a complete idiot, and if my friend Jeff Ditzenberger reads the reply I best have used correct grammar and or spelling or things may get ugly.
The more I thought about the question the more I realized I have never really sat down and thought about my triggers. The answer I responded with was the fact that I have 6 kids and that is probably a large portion of my triggers because with 6 kids something is always going on in our household, often it feels like we bounce from one crisis to the next. One prime example was 2 nights ago my wife and I were sitting peacefully and quietly watching one of her TV shows and our 17 year old daughter came into the room crying. Of course being a parent my anxiety ramps up and my mind instantly goes to the worst case scenario, something bad must have happened. Long story short, my daughter had 3 mice as pets and now she has only 2, I will spare you the gory details of what happened, none the less, not the end of the world, well not to my wife and I anyways.
Yesterday the president announced he wants to force the meat processing facilities to stay open, and of course that stirred up the social media masses. It is already bad enough that social media is very divided on the idea of should we open the country back up or stay closed. It does not take more than a few minutes to realize how ugly and mean people can become while discussing their opinions on what they feel is right or what they want to happen. After about 5 minutes of reading social media I realized that social media is a painful anxiety trigger of mine, maybe not as much of a trigger as dealing with a crying teenager daughter, but pretty close.
It got me thinking about what ever happened to being able to understand that not everyone will agree with you and you are not going to agree with all of them? When did we as a society stop having respect for one another? As I felt myself stating to feel anxious, annoyed and saddened about all I was reading I decided I had enough, I closed my social media apps and redirected my energy to making my wife dinner before she had to remind me a second time that she was hungry. The wife being hungry is also something that can trigger anxiety, luckily I was making her favorite meal so she was able to spare some mercy on my soul.
As it turns out I learned a valuable lesson yesterday, if you are someone that deals with anxiety and you have not taken the time to sit down and think about what your triggers are I highly encourage you to do so. As firefighters we always trained on the basics so that things that could save our lives were second nature to us. While attempting to rescue a victim in the middle of a house fire is not the time to figure out just exactly how your air tank and mask work, you should have known that before you ever stepped foot into that fire.
Same goes for mental health awareness, I have identified that when social media is a powder keg ready to explode it is best for me to just put it away for the rest of the day. It is not the responsibility of everyone else to change their behavior because it might upset me, the responsibility lies on me to recognize the danger and to have a pre plan in place of how I am going to mitigate the danger. Now that I have identified something that triggers my anxiety I am better prepared to avoid the situation in the future.
Lastly if you feel social media is beginning to get you down I encourage you to head over and catch me on twitter, it is money back guaranteed to put a smile on your face and cheer you up, or it may have you shaking your head and wanting to send my wife your condolences.
If you have more questions about mental health and need a good source to turn to check out Jason Medows at https://agstateofmind.com/ Also check out his podcast, they are well worth the time to listen to.