Schooling Myself In Apathy To Deal With Anxiety
Posted 25 June 2012 - 07:13 PM
Just recently, a friend from my childhood invited me to his wedding. I started having an anxiety attack, and was terrified of replying because I didn't know what to say, and could never be sure I was saying it right. Texting tends to be much easier for me than other forms of communication, but I can still get really anxious from it. This is one of the situations where I had to tell myself that things simply don't matter and make myself stop thinking about it before I could reply to his texts. It frustrates me, though, because I've done that before, and it seems to have side effects. Perhaps these are side effects of depression in general, but over the years, my mind has grown dull. My brain is far less active in terms of actually thinking things through when a problem isn't standing right in front of me. I also have a habit of disregarding anything that isn't directly relevant to my daily life in a significant way. I feel as if I'm going blank, and I wonder if part of it isn't from my coping methods. If I repeatedly teach myself to be all-around apathetic often enough, wouldn't that cause me to be apathetic in situations when apathy is detrimental? Is there any way to counter-act that? Zombifying my brain and forcing myself to dumb-down and be ignorant is by far the most effective way I have of being able to perform in uncomfortable social situations, so it seems like I'd have to either continue making myself more apathetic or simply be anxious more often, and be forced into straight-out avoiding social situations. The former seems far more likely, if only because it's easier.
Posted 25 June 2012 - 08:36 PM
Anxiety to a certain degree is healthy. It alerts us to potential danger or a problem. When anxiety consumes us and takes over our lives though, that is when we need to get professional help.
On the other hand, totally numbing out and in essence trying to abandon the problem (which is causing you to be overly anxious) is usually not a recommended way of facing a problem either. I think you have to face the problem (whatever is causing the anxiety) through therapy or some other means, as suppression can't last long and usually ends up causing more stress.
Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:05 PM
I think this apathy thing sounds great to some degree, yet I am at a loss as to how to employ it in myself. I worry about everything and would like to learn to let the little things slide. There is a guy I know who doesn't care about ANYTHING, yet he also lets people down all the time because he is so selfish. I am not a selfish person, but could stand to take a quarter-page or so from this guy's book, simply for the sake of my own peace of mind.
Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:46 PM
I don't know exactly how to do it, but the only advice I can really give in terms of employing this strategy is to just kind of turn off your brain. Have you ever been smiling or laughing, and then tried forcing yourself to make and maintain a straight face? It's sort of like that, but in your head. Except in stead of laughing, it's more like panicking. Though, often times I do end up relaxing all the muscles in my face, and just sort of in general, while trying to relax my brain. And I suppose I tell myself it doesn't matter, and I try to tell myself it will have little to no impact on my daily life, so it's ok.
Another way to think of it would actually be the Void and the Flame. Something I got from a book (the Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan). Let me look it up.... This is basically a direct copy and paste from the Wheel of Time wiki.
""The Flame and the Void" refers to the visualization of a flame in a void; all concerns - emotions, thoughts, even the concerns of life and death - are fed into the flame. This allows the blademaster to perceive reality as it is, in the present moment. Pain and fear become merely passing phenomena. The separateness of blademaster and enemy disappear. There is only the Void."
And then it gives more information at the bottom, for parallels in the real world, which I'll copy and paste here for your convenience, in case you want to do some research of your own into meditation and relaxation and such. This might be a good starting point.
"This state of mind is taught by a number of meditative traditions, such as Ch'an Buddhism (Wikipedia:Zen). The essential practice is being mindful.
Some martial artists, such as those training in Japanese Zen archery, use this state to allow the arrow to fly to its target at the most opportune time. Another example involves the Hindu hero, Arjuna, central to the Bahgavad Gita. Arjuna was able to hit a target with his arrow because he was able to precisely see a tiny target during the chaotic flow of battle. Many books and scrolls have been written on this subject, such as Issai Chozanshi's The Tengu's Sermon on the Martial Arts or a modern example, Peter Ralston's Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power.
It should be noted that there are several paths to mindfulness. "The Flame and the Void" can be classified as a one-point meditation. In other one-point meditations, "The Flame" would be substituted for the breath or the tip of the nose. The concentration on doing exactly nothing is another, called wuxin in Chinese (mushin in Japanese). For more information on the practice of mindfulness, a good place to start is the book, Mindfulness in Plain English"
It is useful for peace of mind, but as I said in my first post, I want to find a balance so I can do all this without slowly treating the rest of my life the same way. I suppose I should do some research too...
Edited by jackotheshadow, 29 June 2012 - 03:46 PM.
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