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"Notes" #32

A "Notes" reader requested some information on anxiety, so here is a one page synopsis on that topic.

It is said that physiological disturbances are mostly responsible for one's anxiety. So, just what causes these physiological disturbances?
     -Chronic stress due to psychological conflict can contribute to panic disorder.
     -Chronically suppressed anger sets up a disturbance in brain serotonin levels that is a contributing cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
     -Psychological conflicts and repressed anger, may, in turn have been caused by a person's upbringing.
     -a hereditary predisposition toward anxiety (and possibly phobia).
     -early childhood circumstances that fostered a sense of shame and/or insecurity.

Childhood circumstances that sometimes lead to anxiety include:
-- parents who communicate an overly cautious view of the world
-- parents who are overly critical and set excessively high standards
-- experiences of neglect, rejection, abandonment, divorce or death, and physical or sexual abuse can also produce the kind of basic insecurity (as well as emotional dependency) that forms a background for anxiety disorders
-- adult children of alcoholics grow up with characteristics such as: obsession with control, avoidance of feelings, difficulty trusting others, over-responsibility, all-or-nothing thinking, and excessive eagerness to please
-- parents who foster dependency on themselves or suppress your will to assert yourself.

Behind most anxiety disorders is a deep seated sense of insecurity.

There is no one cause, which, if removed, would eliminate the anxiety. Contributors to one's anxiety include: heredity, biology, family background and upbringing, conditioning, recent stressors, negative self-talk and irrational beliefs, and your ability to express feelings.

We don't inherit a phobia, panic attack or general anxiety, but rather we inherit a general personality type that predisposes us to be overly anxious.

How do we overcome anxiety: relaxation, exercise, desensitization, changing negative self-talk and irrational beliefs, dealing with one's feelings instead of burying them.

In my first life I taught school for 18 years.
 These days my heart goes out to all those dedicated educators who are spending countless hours preparing lessons for our children (grandchildren in my case), keeping classrooms safe and in many cases putting their own safety at risk-I thank you!

Schools have become caring places full of wonderful teachers who understand that teaching students to love themselves and to have compassion for others is to be given as much attention as geometry and grammar.


Every evening for six summers now Old Nosy has been coming to our terrace towards sunset to receive the dog biscuits she relishes. She asks for her biscuits with dignified assurance, and likes to take them delicately from the donor's hand. But she is always apprehensive, always alert to run given any unfamiliar sound or threatening motion. And this is well. Like every form of goal, that which she gets from us is unreliable. When the house is occupied she can be sure of a meal which fills her small stomach's highly elastic capacity. But occasionally this Bureau of social security is closed, and Old Nosy must and does fend for herself until reopening. If she were not so nervous I would not expect to see her again when I come back.

Anxiety, in short, is a function of freedom. Only the fully domesticated animal, only the enslaved human being, can or should expect a life devoid of continuous tension. From tension, indeed, all of human progress springs (who would have thought).
                                                    Felix Morley