I've never been afraid to die or to get old. I've been afraid of how I die when put on the pain and suffering radar. When I was younger I thought the worst way to die was to drown and the best way to die in my sleep. I think it all came down to the least amount of suffering in my mind. Those perspectives have all changed. Almost dying from white water rafting on a class five level Royal Gorge experience could have something to do with that. Ask me sometime I'll tell you the story. Okay... I digress let's get to the heart of this blog. My second misperception, I thought with age came wisdom and peace. The wisdom is playing out due to experiences in life that have manifested to a live and learn outcome. Now the peace... that is not falling into place like I envisioned. If I were to be honest I would say it's turning into the opposite. I have more anxiety about things that never bothered me before. For example, I use to fly in a glass chopper with my photographer with no doors. I've lost a bracelet in the Mississippi when we hit an air pocket. I've had emergency landings in a Cessna. I was even on the plane behind the Continental flight that skidded into the water March of 1994 on a snowy day at LaGuardia Airport. None of it even phased me when I was younger. Fast forward to today. I DO NOT do LaGuardia. Now, I get on any plane without my loved ones and there is a strong sense of unease. Don't know when it changed but it still isn't a fear of dying. It's the fear of dying before everyone in my life is taken care of and situated. Researchers are finding that Anxiety Disorders are common among older adults. Wait, let me clarify! Anxiety disorders may be increased if you are a woman in peri-menopause or menopause. Just great! My two cents is this is the result of being the logistical organizer and multitasker for the entire family all our lives! Throw in forgetfulness, social media, a faster paced world, and a daily dose of the nightly news and this is our midlife reward. You've got to be kidding me?
We can't give into this, it takes us down a path of no return. I am writing to say we have to help each other fight through this and support one another. Anxiety is a mental condition characterized by an inability to stop worrying about the future, to the extent that day-to-day life is affected. There are physical symptoms you can look for and spot before you or a friend should probably head to a doctor. Serious physical symptoms such as insomnia, dizziness, palpitations, high blood pressure and panic attacks. Some say the midlife crisis anxiety is becoming an epidemic for women. I'm not saying to self diagnose, I'm saying be aware of these symptoms. Just so my internist won't yell at me, I'm going to preface that Web MD is not the answer if you are anything like me. I read the words, if you have five or more of these symptoms seek medical help immediately. Yes, I am one of those crazies that rushes to the emergency room. I have gone two times without telling my family thinking I was having a heart attack. A third time I went for an emergency scan because I thought I had a brain aneurysm. Call your doctor instead... Don't be like me. Unfortunately, as I get older my phobia of illnesses increases... it could be the rarest disease and I'm positive I have the symptoms after I read them.
There are several ranges of anxiety that are expected as we age. Your anxiety could be within normal ranges as you enter into midlife. CLICK HERE to take a test and find out. (I tested moderate which seems about right) Be aware that anxiety control is a long term process but there are some key ways to stop anxiety. Remember nothing good ever comes easy and it won't start now. Follow these reduction strategies. Another tool that works for me when my moderate anxiety kicks in is to reach for my spiritual anchor, my Catholic faith. Prayer is a powerful thing and sometimes we just have to turn it over to the big guy upstairs. As mothers, wives, sisters, friends, co workers, we carry many burdens for our loved ones. It's okay to just lean on God and say, 'Today... I can't do it... I need your help!' Offering it up could help us steer clear of high anxiety.
*Above image The Scream (Norwegian: Skrik) an Expressionist painting by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch
Keep looking forward so you don't miss what God puts in front of ya!
Matuschka's Midlife... Telling it like it is.