Fear and Anxiety – Kern Valley Sun

Healthy Living / Christine Harness

Fear and anxiety fill up far too much of our lives, while awake and extending into much of our dreaming. We are quick to seek medical attention for all of our aches and pains, medical maladies of all sorts, yet we uncomfortably ignore our apprehensions, often burying them even more deeply. We start out early in life thrown into those childhood fears we must face such as that monster under your bed every night. You know it’s real regardless of your parents’ reassurance because your body automatically reacts with faster heart beating, quick short gasps of breath, forehead and palms cold and wet with perspiration. Yet somehow, we help ourselves to begin facing those monsters. We begin by pleading with our parents to keep lights on and begging dad to re-check one more time to assure us that ‘the coast is clear’. Our school years are fraught with more fears, anticipating less than required preparation for those up-and-coming tests. Dreams turn into nightmares when you find yourself unable to move as the gunman rages at you, or even worse, as you scramble furiously trying to escape from those slithering snakes racing toward you.
We practice facing and dealing with most of our fears on a routine daily basis. We give regular attention to accident and injury prevention in and around our homes. Fear of falling increases with aging and most of us are willing to give up those loose throw-rugs and add those dim but effective night lights for safer trips to and from the bathroom at night. Each year innovations in our automobiles stress safer driving. That back-up camera is so reassuring!

Too many of us paid too little attention towards saving for our later years, and yet anxiety associated with under planning can bring on serious health issues including depression, loss of sleep as well as nightmares. Putting off basic dental care leads to swollen, infected gums can magnify into expectations of needing total extractions, yet another common neglect.
Very little research goes into studying and advising us how to deal with interrupted sleep patterns, often filled with frightening dreams. We learn about relaxation techniques, dietary changes we need to make, and breathing exercises to practice which can all be effective. Medications can mask our symptoms, yet are heavily in demand as well as over-prescribed.
Somehow, we need to search out ways to deal with these painful and frustrating fears and anxieties we experience. They rob us of our comfort, they fill up too much of our time, and they need to be eliminated, or at least lessened.

Christine Harness has worked in the field of Occupational Therapy throughout her adult life, both in and outside of the Kern River Valley. She has helped countless individuals to maintain or regain their independence. Christine believes that enjoying and taking satisfaction in one’s day-to-day activities is the key to a meaningful life.