Anxiety can be an all-consuming illness. Anxiety produces symptoms such as worry, doubt, fear, rushing thoughts, a brain that won’t shut off, compulsive behavior, and a perfectionist mindset. (Any grammar freaks out there?) =)
These symptoms are key markers of some form of anxiety. Today, we are going to dive into the topic of anxiety through the lens of pop-culture. Viewing Anxiety through the lens of pop-culture media is pretty interesting as it allows us to see what’s on the cutting edge of treatment, or at least what’s trending in care. Vox is not a mental health or spiritual publication or journal, they are a pop-culture magazine. Their views and opinions are their own and do not represent the views and opinions of Azimuth Christian Counseling. However, their article is worth considering, so we are going to examine an outtake from their article a little further.
Here’s an outtake from Vox’s Mental Health article published on Sept 10th, 2018. It’s focused on anxiety consumerism in American and considers anxiety toys/tools such as Fidget Spinners, Weighted Blankets, Adult Coloring Books, and briefly mentions SSRI medications, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Prolonged Exposure.
“…So a weighted blanket it is. “We’re not understanding how to deal with [mental health]. Instead, we’re throwing products at it,” says Beautiful Voyager’s Arthur. “It’s very American. To be fair to fidget spinners, however, it can be difficult to treat mental health issues even with the tools backed by the best scientific evidence, including the ones Lembke uses with her patients: cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, such as Lexapro or Prozac), and lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, or creating a more heavily structured schedule. When I started therapy a year and a half ago, I expected my therapist to challenge my methods of fidgeting and physical distractions, developed over a lifetime, as unhelpful ways to avoid facing my underlying issues. Instead, she ended up doing the opposite: Over the course of a few months, she gave me a strip of wax-like putty to morph into shapes, a large stone to hold as a means of separating the concept of my anxiety from my actual self, and a smaller one for little reminders. It turns out that having the stuff did, in fact, help a bit, if only for a few moments at a time…”
These observations in the advancement of care for Anxiety through tools such as fidget spinners and the like are worth noting. It’s worth noting because at the end of the day these treatments help treat the symptoms of anxiety but do not attempt to treat the root cause.
This is important to note. Dr. Lembke’s methods concerning treatment for anxiety are standardized across the board. She is talking about standardized treatment for anxiety and other mental health issues using very common methods in the field of psychiatry and mental health. SSRI drugs, CBT, EP, diet, exercise, structured schedules are all vitally important treatment options. To dismiss these would be disastrous and foolish.
What is missing, however, is the connection between SSRI prescription drugs, cutting edge mental health treatments such as EMDR, CBT, EP, etc. and Holistic Spiritual Care. The value of understanding this connection cannot be overstated. Many world religions certainly do understand the interwoven connection between the mental, spiritual and physical in overall health and vitality. Unfortunately, many world religions aren’t always the best at applying the benefits of the mental and physical. This is a mistake on their part. On the other hand, for humans in the last 100 years to so quickly dismiss the spiritual-mental-physical connection has been disastrous on societies around the globe, particularly in the western world.
The Spartans, Samurai, Romans, Aztecs, Native Americans, and Vikings to name a few, all understood that the connection to mental and physical health was first established and maintained at the spiritual level. Warfighters of every era and every culture have used ritual and nature as a foundation to bring healing and health to first the soul, then the mind and finally the body. Only in modern times have we neglected such vital truths.
It would be foolish to believe we can dismiss the lessons of ancient warfighters throughout history and so quickly dismiss our need for Holistic Spiritual Care when treating wounds of the soul, mind, and body such as anxiety, PTSD, trauma and the like.
This is why we see so little lasting results in care for many mental issues, in the western world particularly, we parse and dissect life into categories, and when we do this we more often than not throw the baby out with the bathwater. We are often guilty of completely neglecting other vital areas of care and wonder why we never see improved or lasting results.
Treating physical and mental health illnesses is a complicated and ongoing process. The process, however, must return to the roots of antiquity and embrace the wisdom found in the past as well as the groundbreaking treatments of today. Holistic Spiritual Care that implements nature and ritual alongside the very best advances in medicine and mental health treatments promises the very best chances of helping patients find some measure of lasting serenity, peace, and healing. Without Holistic Spiritual Care that includes nature and ritual in treatment plans, we will continue to only treat the symptoms of such illnesses with little to no lasting results.
So, if you are dealing with anxiety, go ahead and pick up a fidget spinner, coloring book or weighted blanket. These all work in the moment and can be very effective at bringing about measured relief. Just keep in mind, that as effective as these tools can be, they are only designed to treat the symptoms, not the root issues of anxiety. If you are interested in combing these tools with a more Holistic approach to care, we are here to help.
Thanks for Reading!
We Wish You & Yours The Very Best In Holistic Spiritual Health!
(You can read the full article here: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/9/10/17826856/fidget-spinners-weighted-blankets-anxiety-products)