Happy Monday, folks!
Another week is officially in the books. Can you believe that we are already into the second week of May??
The time is seriously just going way too fast.
Anyhoo, let’s get down to business.
It is currently 8:32pm on a Saturday night, which means that I’m sitting in the lobby of the Ephrata Performing Arts Center as the incredible performance of “Passion” is performed on the stage that all of you should buy tickets to see. (You can go online at epactheatre.org to purchase).
And as I sit here writing this week’s post, I’m currently looking outside the windows at the sun setting on the grounds of dew wet grass that embraces the area around the theater.
And even as the beautiful music of Stephen Sondheim plays in the background, I think to myself that even in the world of Mr. Sunshine, there are moments that bring a few rumbles of thunder and clouds.
Anyone else have these moments of rumbles in their life?
As we continue to live in a world that is still trying to navigate the shit of mass shootings, negative news, economic uncertainty, racial issues, prejudice, and political turmoil, I can’t help but think of one word that has decided to creep into all of our lives as we grasp with the fact and reality that our world is a scary place.
And that word that I’m talking about is this: anxiety.
What is anxiety?
We could go around and ask everyone in the world what they feel the definition of this word is and we could come back with a different definition for each of those people.
According to Dictionary.com, the word anxiety is defined as the following:
- Distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune
- Earnest but tense desire; eagerness
- A state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder
According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), here are a few quick facts and statistics about anxiety:
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
- Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
- Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
As someone who has been given the nickname of Mr. Sunshine (that I continue to wear proudly), I tend to believe that people around me think that the actions and word of anxiety are not something that I experience.
And, let me tell you folks, anxiety is real even in the life of Mr. Sunshine.
The year is 2023 and I have a stronger conviction and passion now more than ever to make sure that we are taking time in our lives to talk about this very word.
It is a real thing.
And it is a real thing that real people around us are experiencing.
So many people I know are experiencing this.
You who are reading this is probably experiencing it in some form.
And it is something that Mr. Sunshine has experienced, even more so in the last months. I found myself being nominated to take on the role of church Council President recently after the pandemic hit and honestly, it was something I met with hesitation. I wasn’t sure how I would be able to deal with the many emotions of congregants. And I wasn’t sure how I would handle those that have beliefs which differ from the path that our faith community is trying to create for ALL.
This week, there is a topic of discussion at a leadership meeting that is making me anxious. And I won’t even be in attendance to discuss.
It’s a lot. And will continue to be a lot.
Our world is just so backwards.
Anxiety is a real thing.
And it is a real thing that can cause even more serious issues if it is not talked about.
So, I’m talking about it now.
I’m anxious about this letter.
So, how does one deal with anxiety, especially when they are nicknamed Mr. Sunshine?
Well, here are my personal tips and tricks.
- I make sure every night ends with episodes of watching The Golden Girls. It is a time where I get to be in the space of my room, with my weighted blanket and cuddling tight as the voices of Blanche, Rose, Sophia, and Dorothy are heard in the background.
- Journaling. I find spewing words on paper is so good for the soul.
- The gym. That’s right. I have become somewhat of a “gym rat” so to speak. It is time in my life where I get to release toxins, decompress, and also build up my body to become stronger in worlds of physicality and mentality.
- I use the support system of friends and family when I need some extra love, support, guidance, or encouragement. Reach out when needed and don’t be embarrassed if you are struggling. And, if you need to seek professional help for additional support, so be it. There is nothing wrong with that and the people that think it is a problem are wrong.
- Talk about it. You will never be able to foster a healthy environment for you (or anyone around you) if you aren’t willing to share and talk about your struggles.
Anxiety is a real word.
It is a real thing that many of us have experienced, are currently experiencing, or will experience in the future.
It is called being human.
And it’s ok if you are dealing with it.
You are not alone.
Let’s talk about it.
It isn’t going away.
And let’s say it loud and proud.
Sprinkle sunshine always,
Also…quick little story for those who actually read the entire post all the way to the end!
On Sunday during the children’s sermon, we were talking about struggling with going in all different directions. And I talked with the kids about how this month is one that we recognize as one to bring awareness to people around us who might be super sad and struggling with a variety of things in their life. And I told them that this week, they should ask the questions of “How are you” and “Are you OK” to someone around them. Speaking about this with the kids got me a bit emotional to be honest. And as we went to bow our heads and pray with Pastor Angie, Jelani–a handicap African American individual placed his hand on my shoulder. He sensed that I needed that gesture of comfort right at that moment. I got tears in my eyes. It was beautiful and the sign from the spirits of alignment that everything will be ok.