Transcript from #112

Hi, guys, welcome to threads podcast life unfiltered. Thank you so much for joining us tonight tomorrow whenever you’re listening to it. I’m incredibly excited to record tonight, Ben and I are recording Episode 112 we’re gonna talk a little bit about anxiety, mental health. But before we do that Ben’s gonna introduce what threads is and what we’re all about and what makes us tick and then introduce tonight’s bucket.

Fantastic. Well, my name is Ben, and I’m here with Jason. We are the hosts of the threads, podcast wife, unfiltered. We’ve been doing this for 112 episodes now. So if you are a longtime listener, bear with me, as I explain what this is all about, just in case we have any new listeners, threads is a place for unfiltered and honest conversation. We live in a world where you can be whatever you want to be on social media, and you can present the the good side of your life and the the fun things that happen. And you can gloss over the things that are difficult or unattractive about your life. We’re talking about one of those difficult and attractive things tonight on the podcast, our topic is anxiety. So as we talk about things that make us uncomfortable, we also like to talk about things that have a focus of mental health. And you’ll hear that tonight also, one other area that we tend to focus on quite a bit is faith. Not sure we’re gonna hit that one as hard tonight. But if you’re interested in faith topics, definitely go back and listen to just about any other episode. And you’ll probably hear some elements of faith. And being people of faith Jason and I may sprinkle in some faith bits tonight, but I think we’re really going to stay in the faith or sorry, the mental health and the uncomfortable conversations buckets. And as I said earlier, our topic tonight that we’ll jump into, after some housekeeping is anxiety. And if I’m 100% honest, talking about anxiety sometimes makes me anxious. So I’m going to take a little break and catch my breath.

While Jason tells us all about the housekeeping items. Just a reminder, for those that are listening, we are still remote, just due to the fact with COVID. Although numbers are down, I was excited to see EMI posted 49 counties in Michigan or below 7% positivity rate. So that’s really good. But before we jump in, I just want to talk about a couple of things, we now have a way you can support the show. It’s called buy me a coffee. So what’s that? Well, this, it’s kind of like Patreon. But it’s really cool. You can either do like one time, so like, hey, I want to buy Ben and Jason a coffee and 10 bucks, like, like Joe did. And we can’t thank Joe enough for that. Or you can sign up for a membership, where you get extra perks, specific chat group for where you can talk to Ben and I and just have that comfortableness and not feel judged in a room. And just some bunch of other perks as well. So check that out. If you go to buy me a coffee calm slash threads podcast. Or if you forget that just search threads podcasts at buy me a coffee. And then also we have a newsletter, it’s going to go out starting February. So now’s the time to get signed up for that if you just go to our website, and click on I think it’s newsletter, and then you can put your email address in and sign up for that that’s just going to be kind of going over what we talked about for the last month or episodes, some blog items, and etc. So thank you guys, for you know, tuning in tonight and supporting us and all that stuff. So, Ben, why don’t you give us a definition of anxiety since you seem to be the expert tonight.

Oh, expert by experience writing. What is anxiety? Well, I’m not going to cheat. And I’ll save the official definition for later. So I’ll give you my definition. As I experience it anxiety, I would say is the the racing thoughts, the increased heartbeat, the sweating, the overthinking that feeling that just makes you really short with people and you don’t mean to sound mean or you don’t mean to come across offensive but because you’re so wrapped up in your own head. It can be easy to be short with people. I think For me, also anxiety has a certain element of I guess it makes me reserved or not necessarily being super forthcoming with details. And that’s what my definition of anxiety would be. It’s just a very uncomfortable, sometimes uncontrollable. It’s like a niche that has to be scratched. And if you can’t scratch it, it can’t stop. It can’t make the itch go away. It just gets worse. So, in a nutshell, that’s my definition of anxiety. What about you?

If I were to say that if I would, someone would have asked me the definition? Like you? I guess you are? What you said is, is what I think it is. Now. I think I experienced anxiety too. But I don’t, it doesn’t. I mean, I guess other than you saying, being short with people, that’s it does manifest that way. But I think I have anxiety too, but not in like, I’m worrying about stuff. Like, I feel like that’s part of anxiety is like, you’re just worried that. And sometimes it’s most of the time, it’s irrational. Like, you’re gonna think that, you know, I don’t know, just pick anything that you’re worried about, and where it causes you not to go to sleep. I think, to me, that’s anxiety. I think I my anxiety manifests through anger. So I guess that would be my definition.

Well, we can kick this back to the American Psychiatric Association for their definition. Now, the APA is one of those institutions that kind of has a lot of weight in the psychology therapy counseling realm. So when they say something, it’s like everybody else listens to it. So here’s what they have to say, anxiety is, anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes, like increased blood pressure. Fun fact, when I go to the doctor, sometimes if I’m like anxious about the doctor’s appointment, and they check my blood pressure, it will definitely be higher, and they have to check it at the end of the appointment. So anyway, I’ll keep going with their definition. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns, they may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat. Now imagine having all of those symptoms at the same time, that would probably qualify as a panic attack. And a panic attack is like, anxiety. Exponential alized, if that’s a word,

I think exponential is but I don’t know is that the,

hey, if you can capitalize things, and you can exponential eyes. new word of the day. There you go. All right. So now that we’ve given our definitions, and I’ve read the long and kind of drawn out version from the APA, let’s watch a quick video that has some stories or other anecdotes about what anxiety is. And then we’ll jump into some more personal conversation about how anxiety manifests itself in our lives.

There’s no way I’m going to pass this exam, I don’t even want to show up.

I was so uncomfortable at that party.

It was hard for me to breathe and I got all sweaty, I had to leave.

I won’t go to sleep or leave the house unless I’ve made sure the stove is off and the doors are locked. Sometimes I do this three or four times.

I have to get to the airport five hours early. You just never know what might happen. These are the voices of people who have experienced anxiety. Anxiety is a common reaction to life events like taking a final exam or speaking in front of a crowd. But when it becomes really uncomfortable and makes day to day life hard to live, then it’s a problem or even what we call a disorder. I know I’ve lived with anxiety for a long time. My own anxiety feels like it’s about everything. I worry about so many things in so many ways and it impacts my life big time. I stress about things that are about to happen. might have, and it means I can’t really focus on where I am or who I’m with. Sometimes my heart pounds, I speak really fast, and I kind of snap at people, my family gets really frustrated. When it’s really bad, I have a knot in my stomach all the time. I can even feel depressed. And then I just want to be alone. I feel like if I do something, I’ll screw it up, or something will go wrong. So a lot of times, I just rather avoid at all, I feel so much better staying home and maybe having a drink. Turns out anxiety is a very common mental health symptom. It can be the main sign of generalized anxiety disorder, which I have for social anxiety disorder, which is when people have a fear of being in public or meeting new people. Or those of us with social or Generalized Anxiety disorders, it’s really difficult to live the way we want to live. Some people have anxiety about really specific things, they are afraid of heights, snakes, spiders, or something else. These are called phobias. And when people avoid these things, anxiety mostly stays away. When people can avoid their phobias, it is a real problem. Some people experience anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, or obsessive compulsive disorder, which can make people really overcome with anxiety. And these conditions, anxiety can be so intense that people are at risk for suicide, and they use alcohol or drugs to cope. And sometimes their lives for like they come to a halt. I’m one of the lucky ones, my doctor told me how to get the treatment that would help me and it did. I understand now what my anxiety feels like when it happens, and what I can do about it, I learned some great coping skills, and even just naming it keeps it in perspective. Sometimes my anxiety can still get pretty big, but it doesn’t seem to last quite as long as it used to. My anxiety was treatable. For most people, this is true, you can get your life back to where you want it to be. I know, I’ve got mine back. Well,

what do you think about that? Do you think it’s a good explanation of when anxiety is?

Yeah, I really felt like they did a good job of kind of wrapping all the things we mentioned all the things that is in that standard textbook definition. And just gave some really good real life examples, whether it was being at the party or being short with people, including your family. I just think that video did a really nice job of kind of giving an overall bird’s eye view of what anxiety is.

One of the things we both wanted to talk about is how anxiety looks for both of us. And I kind of touched on it a little bit. I don’t have Well, I shouldn’t say I don’t have physical issues when I get anxious. I mean, I think we all kind of get hot. You know what I mean to get warm, but typically mine manifests itself like in anger, like we talked about, or I’m short with people or I swear at people when I shouldn’t those kind of things. Right, Ben?

I have no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t?

Wow, that’s shocking. So what about for you? I know you kind of talked about it, too, but I just don’t have the level of where you said if you have all those, you’re like in a full blown panic attack. Yeah. Talk a little bit about what what you think it is for you. Like what how does it work?

Yeah. Well, full transparency. For a number of years, I would say maybe even a decade. I’m not sure if that’s the case. But I remember going back to my college years at least. And perhaps even before that. Anxiety just started rearing its head in really weird ways. Like, oh, yeah, as a high school student, I remember the mall rivertown crossings in a city near here in Grand Rapids. I hated the mall. Like it was the place that all the cool popular kids went and hung out on the weekends. And for some reason, I never felt connected or part of that crew. And so going to the mall, even in high school was very anxiety inducing. And to this day, there are times where I go into a shopping mall or a store. And it’s totally irrational, but I feel like people are watching me they’re paying attention to me, like somehow I’m on a stage and everybody’s looking at me and I get super anxious and sometimes, you know, I’m a bigger dude and I sweat easily as it is physically. But sometimes the emotional state of my anxiety causes me to sweat also. So that’s kind of awkward. And for that reason, I tend to avoid shopping in, in stores. And so this whole COVID stuff has been, I don’t mind it at all. Like, it’s been kind of nice. It’s like, the norm is ordering online now I can live with that. But that’s one thing that comes to mind. I think that’s probably my earliest recollection of anxiety being a thing. Now, in, in a professional sense, I still battle anxiety on a daily basis. I work in sales, which is almost ironic because it can be a very high pressure job, high stakes. There’s a lot of things to give you anxiety when you work in sales. And your next paycheck is dependent on the decisions of other people and your ability to lead them to make certain decisions. So I do have occasionally times now where I will be driving. Mainly if it’s during my like, prospecting. I know it’s such an old man word,

Jason’s This is me swinging an axe for gold prospecting. I’m a prospector.

Yeah, well, that’s exactly what I’m doing. And it’s funny, because that’s the kind of thing that gives me the most anxiety when it comes to running appointments, and actually having planned out interactions with my customers. So much easier, no anxiety there. But when it’s, you know, going out, it’s so unknown. Sometimes I fret about what if I can’t answer a question on the spot that they might have? Or what if they throw an objection my way that I don’t have a response to. And so I’ll be driving around, sometimes in circles, you know, going in loops around the block of the place that I need to stop. And instead of just stopping and getting out of the car, and walking in and doing my thing, which takes all of two, three minutes, I spend a lot of time circling, and trying to call my mind down and trying to convince myself, it’s really not that big of a deal. So I still experience a little bit of all of that. Even today, so I’m a work in progress. I feel like I just I could go on and on and on. But

no prayer there. Yeah, that’s totally fine. Thank you for sharing that. I’d be curious if with your, your journey for therapy, has it helped? I mean, it’s hard to put a value on that or like a percentage or whatever. But, you know, cuz therapy so weird, right? Because it’s not like you go to therapy, and like, the next day, you’re like, Oh, I’m gonna do this one, two, and three? Well, they do give you some of that most of that stuff comes over time of like going to therapy and those kind of things. So over time, in general, have you felt like the therapy has reduced your anxiety a little bit?

Yes. But here’s the caveat to that. It took me two or three tries with different therapists to find one that actually legitimately helped long term. I saw one therapist while I was still out in Oregon. And actually, there were two that I saw both really good guys. I didn’t have a problem connecting with them. But I feel like they were very focused on like, here’s some homework, read this, pray that. Do this do that it felt very prescriptive, like, you’ve got a problem. All right, we’re gonna give you a solution. Here’s what you got to do. And then I moved to Michigan, and this is where I’m originally from. So it was coming home. And definitely had a lot of anxiety that I was still dealing with. Especially after the life circumstances that I went through. That led me out of Oregon, I did end up seeing two therapists that were again, great guys. But just no progress was being made. Like I go and talk to them. And I do the assignments that they gave me and I’d, you know, I’d fully invest in the conversations with them. But nothing was really moving the needle and, and like putting a stop to the anxiety.

Do you feel like you were full? I don’t think you were fully invested in them. Because if you don’t have chemistry with them, yes, you’re going to do the homework, but are you going to try to implement it on a regular basis like I know you I know you weren’t like mailing it in when you were talking to them. But I feel like with your new therapist, you’re like, you know, very connected with him and willing to do more the work?

Yes. Well, I guess I was putting forth the same amount of connection as the other therapists were, which, frankly, wasn’t much. Yeah,

they saw me as, interestingly enough, I feel like they saw me as like,

let’s Quick, get him in and get him out. He’s mentally healthy. He just has anxiety. So let’s just deal with the anxiety and send him on his way, like, get him in as quickly as we can and get them out as quick as we can. I feel like that was the approach being taken by the three or four individuals that I saw before my current therapist. And so yeah, I think I matched their level of involvement, which just wasn’t much. But I think that was kind of part of the design, if that makes sense. Yeah. After that, I just kind of stopped for a while, stop seeing a therapist all together, I was a little bummed, kind of like, seriously, why isn’t this working? I would hear Jason stories about his therapist and how great it was. And my wife had a therapist, she just loved and raved about and, and I’m just like, I keep going through them. And I haven’t found one that sticks. But then I found, I did some research into different modalities of therapy. And the providers I’ve been seeing were very CBT focused, which is like cognitive behavioral, very much focused on your thinking and your behavior. And that method just wasn’t working. So I did research and found somebody with a completely different approach, the guy I see is a psycho therapist. So he deals a lot with the Freud in view of psychology, which if you’ve done any amount of basic psychological study, Freud is known for some weird things, but he’s also known for having a method that goes deeper than what my previous therapists were doing. And that’s where I found the most success working with a therapist.

Yeah, the when you brought up like, the other ones, like giving you a task to do and doing it, I would actually prefer that I’ve actually asked my therapist and I have done some of it. But I’m kind of like, we’ve always talked like production based. So in my head, it’s like, Okay, this is my goal. This is what I need to do. Steps one, two, and three, but a lot of the stuff, you know, what that you work on isn’t a one to three, it’s a whole mental shift of how you’re thinking, and that takes a lot of time to do it doesn’t just happen with a one to three steps. So as far as like, I want to go back, way back, you were talking about the crowds, in the shopping malls, and I’ve had the same anxiety dude. Like, it’s gotten so much better since I’ve worked on therapy, but, or gone to therapy, but when I would go in, like Costco, or those kind of places, I did not want people around me, I did not like it. I can I can remember one time. It was mostly when the kids are wrong. Like if I’m by myself, I can manage it. But it’s if when my family’s around, it causes a lot more anxiety because I feel like I’m watching the kids and my wife and it’s like, but I remember one time at Costco. I had lifted one of the kids up who knows probably Sullivan, and his coat caught on my face or something, you know, trying to lift him up over my shoulders. And some lady came up and like started messing with Sally and I was like, get the EFF away like what are you doing? Stop touching us like I was freaking out and ended up having to leave the store. And it was definitely an overreaction. She was just trying to help. I know, this is what this is years and years and years ago, Sally was little so I mean, obviously I don’t think I would do that now. But yeah, I totally hated crowds like that. There were times where it was so packed that I told Megan I’m going to the car. I’m just gonna sit in the car, I’m Nope, I’m not doing this because I’m going to I’m going to either react to someone else or I’m going to get frustrated with my family and say something wrong or inappropriate. So that doesn’t happen so much anymore. And again, there wasn’t a 123 tool that stopped that I just think over time, go into therapy and just Generally working on myself has kind of reduced that.

And one other point that I want to bring up too, because I know, this is a big question for a lot of people who deal with anxiety, the whole medicine piece, oh, yes, like, medicine can be super helpful, and it has its place. To be honest, it took me a while to, to get my thought life under control and to have enough trust in my therapist and enough trust in the process of therapy. It took a while for me to get there to have those things in place. And sometimes if you’re really dealing with anxiety, and it is super disruptive in your life, perhaps having a conversation with your doctor, and getting a prescription for an SSRI would be a good idea. Now, we’re not medical professionals by any means. And we only speak from our experience, but I was on Zoloft for a period of I want to say it was close to three years. And it was helpful when I didn’t have the ability to fully engage in therapy. But once I started making some strides and forming a connection and really buying into the therapy process, I got to a point where I felt like the meds were just not necessary anymore. And I guess the one warning or disclaimer I would put out there about medicine is it is so hard to quit. Yeah. And it was the worst. Like, if you’ve ever heard the term brain zap, that’s very much what happens as you taper off of the medicine. You know, the the medicine does a lot of things in your brain. And when you stop taking it. Your brain wants it and it’s not getting it and it freaks out. Yeah. Little zaps. So yeah, I think medicine has its place. You have any thoughts on that? Yeah, I

mean, obviously, just, I would think everyone knows this, but don’t just stop taking the meds. You got a tear, you gotta tear down with that stuff. You gotta you gotta use your doctor to do that. And I personally, if you are currently seeing a therapist, I wouldn’t just run to a psych doc for meds I would ask your therapist, they’re gonna tell you straight up, like, you know, I think you’d be a little bit more successful with medication. Or, or they may say not, I mean, obviously, there’s psychologists so they don’t prescribe, but I feel like if you go to a site, a psychiatric doctor, they’re gonna give you medicine like,


I mean, they’re gonna give you medicine. That’s just what they do. And I was on medicine. Actually, I am on medicine right now it’s Cymbalta. But it was actually prescribed for pain, because there’s a cross use for Cymbalta that they found out, but it didn’t really help my pain, but it did help everything else. I just kept it.


But you laughed earlier about the tearing down the medication? Didn’t you jump off meds without tearing it down? And like have a terrible response?

No, what are you talking about? I did see, if you listen to previous episodes, you’ll catch on to a couple of themes. I don’t trust doctors all the time. And I hate hate, hate the dentist. It is like pulling teeth to get me to go to the dentist. So I and I think both of those are rooted in anxiety. And so when it comes to the medicine, when I was having those conversations with my therapist, and I’ll just throw this out there too. It’s a miracle that I even connected with my therapist, given my natural distrust for people like that. Anyway, getting back to the point, yes, I did just cut myself off completely from my Zoloft. And my reasoning was I was already talking about it with my therapist. He thought it was a good idea to start tapering down. Keyword tapering down. And so when my prescription was empty, I was like, You know what, I don’t need to taper down. I got this. It’s a low dose anyway, which it was, yeah. But still, even a low dose. It takes time to get off from so yes, Jason can probably recall those times very clearly. Yeah, I was kind of a mass constant brain zaps, just kind of out of it a little bit as my brain was like, Hey, where’d you go with my stimulant like I was I need that thing. And, and I just cut myself off completely. And then I did eventually go see my doctor and she wrote a taper down prescription. So for I think it was like, three weeks, this dose three weeks that dose three weeks, minimal dose and then I was done.

I don’t know if I recall, right, because we all know my memory sucks, but didn’t you like you cold turkey to it? And then like two days later, you’re a hot mess. And then like two days later, you got another prescription and got back on it. Right? It wasn’t very long in between of you cold turkey. You know,

I mean, it was unbearable. When I was totally cold turkey. Like, I think I took off from work, because I was just so out of sorts. Yeah. And then immediately got into the doctor. So yeah, it was it wasn’t a super long span of time. But it was brutal.

You know, you brought up your distrust of like doctors. And I just want to say like, if you really want a journey or a story, you start at Episode One of threads and hear Ben’s dis Dane for not for therapists. But you know, he would always call it a counselor that was that was a running joke for about 40 episodes. His counselor versus therapists and Ben had, you know, a distrust and he thought he was worried what would people think but, and if you really want a cool story, you should listen to episode one. And then this listen to the progress now, how he didn’t really want to go to therapy, and then how eventually he did and you know, wasn’t quite successful. The first one and then found another one. It’s just a cool story to to see. It’s like we’ve documented the journey. front of you pretherapy. I mean, I know you saw therapist, but I mean, you’re really given the college try like you’re really doing it. So just a cool thing. I was just kind of reflecting on like, what, what a neat thing to be able to listen back from Episode One and and listen to all that, that that would be fun to do someday. I don’t think I have how many hours? Man?

Right? It’d be a lot of listening. But it’s so true. And you mentioned my distrust and worrying about what others thought that’s the point I wanted to bring up. That in itself. That’s anxiety, like worrying about what the other person is going to think when I tell them. I’m in therapy. And I recently started a new job. And that was certainly one of my concerns was, I see a therapist on a weekly basis, it’s during the week day, or the work day? How am I going to tell my boss that I have this appointment? And so initially, I just I blocked it off on my calendar so that no appointments would be set for that timeframe. But then I you know, again, worrying what others think I was worried about what my manager might think or say if he caught on to the fact that every Tuesday at four bends off the clock can’t reach him, what’s he doing? So I just, I called him, I picked up the phone and called him which years ago, my anxiety would not allow me to do. And I said, Hey, I just wanted to let you know, I put in a block on my calendar each week. And it’s because I see a mental health therapist, to help me with my anxiety and help me to perform my best on the job. And in all areas of life. I think that’s how I said it. And he paused and he’s like, thank you for telling me that I really commend you for making that step. And that’s just fine. And so, all the the fear, the anxiety, the worry, it all melted, and he was totally supportive. And it’s never been an issue for me to go.

Yeah, I know. I remember saying when you got the job, I’m like, Hey, bro, like, you got to tell him you’re going to therapy. Like you can’t just, you know, you’re like, I’m gonna take a break and like, I mean, you can I mean, that’s okay. I took a break over the holidays. I think I went like four weeks, maybe six weeks. So but and you’re like, well, and then I think it was like a week later when you’re like, you know, I just called them and I was like, Alright, but only took a week.

Yeah, only a week. Hey, am

I sorry. I was gonna say I think that’s a win for you. Normally it’d be like six weeks. It would

you’re very right. I know you don’t remember much but you Remember the episode where we were talking about the silly carwash? The subscription that I had at a local business?

Yeah. And you didn’t want to cancel it because you felt bad.

Yeah. Again, anxiety, like, there are. So you’re so right. There are so many stories, if you were to go back and listen to previous episodes of things that I mentioned as being uncomfortable or difficult, a lot of them have their root in anxiety. It’s just something that’s been so pervasive in my life. And so yeah, you’re spot on with your talk of the journey that

I’ve been on. I get the cancellation, though. I mean, even when I was a member at the boxing gym, I had anxiety cancelling, because I felt bad you feel guilty? And and they don’t let you do it online. You know what I mean? Like, if anybody wants to be canceled something online, I’m in heaven, any company, like, even if it’s like, so for a while, I bought me undies, I got a pair every month, then obviously, I stopped at some point. Otherwise, I’d have 700 pairs. And it was so easy to cancel. They were like, yeah, we get it cool. Here’s the button. And I’m like, why can’t more companies be like that, like, you know, try to route you through the phone tree. So you get frustrated, so you don’t cancel. But, but anyways, I was just gonna say, that causes anxiety for me too. And I’m usually kind of a blunt guy. Like, I don’t want this anymore. But I it does bother me when I have to walk in and look, I’m canceling. Yeah, one of the disgusting questions you had up there was? Oh, did I cut you off?

Well, I was gonna ask the same discussion question you’re fine.

is what? What causes anxiety to form in the first place? So I kind of have a little story with that. You know, Megan has anxiety too. But like, it was a certain point in her life that it just switched on. It was very bizarre. She can’t pinpoint what it was. And but all of a sudden, like, now she’s anxiety and like, what looks like someone flipped a light switch? So I’m not sure if it’s always been in there and one event triggered it. But I’d be curious, what do you think? Why do you think it forms? Anyways? Is it something you’re born with? Or what do you think?

I think there’s definitely a biological component. And I think it’s genetic? Well, I don’t think that I know that studies have shown that if you do research on generalized anxiety disorder, really any personality or mental illness is genetic. So there’s definitely a part there. But like what you’re saying, I, I can recall, it was high school for me where, especially my freshman year in high school, I remember just vividly as if I was just there. And my voice even trembles a little bit as I talk about it. But I can remember ninth grade, I was brand new in a public school, after going to Christian school through eighth grade, sheltered band, we all know the stories. And my bus would get to school super early. And I would have like 30 to 40 minutes every morning. And I was new. And I didn’t know anybody. And I would just walk laps around the school through the hallways, or I would stand at my locker and just pretend to be having trouble with the combination know, wherever to open it. Eventually, I found one, I had one teacher who showed up early every morning. And it was probably his way of preparing himself for the day. But he allowed me into the classroom early. And so I would just hang out in the classroom, but it was freshman year. And then after that the shopping mall stuff and everything else. It’s like high school is when it was activated for me. So I think like Megan, there was definitely a I don’t know, like it was always there. It just wasn’t activated until a certain spot in time.

So going back to jumping into public school. Why did your parents do that?

I think a lot of it was financial.

That’s the worst. I’m not gonna lie. I’m not happy about that. Because that’s like taking a kid. Well, you probably had some connections with people in the public school because just with you know, athletics or you know, sure clubs, church, the whole nine yards, but I’m sorry, that sucks. It’s like going like it’s like moving. Oh, yeah. You know, and then so all the friends that you had up into eighth grade that went to the Christian because it was it would it be Zeeland Christian. Yep, man. That’s too bad. I mean, I get it. We all are in situations where We can’t do things. And your parents probably thought that was the best fit for you at the time, but I disagree.

Yeah. You know, there’s, there’s several decisions that my parents made. And, and I’m not faulting them. But if I were in their shoes, I probably would have decided similarly, but, but it is a frustration because it’s like, yes, middle school was hard, but Middle School is hard for everybody. And I just have to wonder if I were to continue with that group of kids into high school. Would it have been less anxiety inducing? And I really think it would have, I really think that I don’t want to say it was the wrong choice to send me to a public school because part of my story is, high school is actually also when I really found what I was passionate about. And I found friend groups that I would have never met in a Christian school setting. So it wasn’t all bad. I do wonder if I stayed with that class of kids and went to Holland Christian High School, which is the feeder school for Zealand Christian, I have to wonder if it would have happened differently.

I would say it would. I mean, it’s bound to just because you would have different influences around you. Yeah. I mean, as an adult, you look back and you’re like, whatever. You know what I mean? Yeah, cause you anxiety but it did. It doesn’t really shape who you are, as far as I mean, I don’t look back at high school and like, the things that happened I’m like, Oh my gosh, my life is just in shambles, because right but because he I hated high school. I mean, I love the athletics part of it, because I loved you know, sports, but which I don’t know. But it I hated it. I couldn’t wait to get out like the all the clicks, and I just never felt like I fit in. I you know, I was athletic. But I wasn’t like, the basketball athletic. So I didn’t fit in with the jocks. And then, you know, then they had the stoners, and like, I didn’t fit in with them. And because I didn’t do any, anything like that, like drugs or smoking or drinking. So I didn’t like high school. I did not fit in very well.

Yeah. See, I was kind of a social misfit. I didn’t have just one click, I kind of went, like, I went to multiple different lunch tables on lunch breaks. And I had friends that were super into the drama program, I had friends that were super into football, you know. And for me, I really enjoyed high school because of that. So even though it was pretty shitty in the beginning, and super anxiety inducing, there were some really good connections that were formed during that time.

So you talk about the dropsy. That was how it was me I was in drama, I was in all the fall plays, I did didn’t do any of the musicals because I couldn’t say, but I ran track. And I was friends with a guy that played the bat was a star on the basketball team, but he also ran track. So I was like, involved in all kinds of different things, but just never felt like I belonged to, you know, and particularly so

can I tell a quick story about high school before we jump into the next one, for sure. Because this as a parent, if Stefan pulled this, I would be so mad. So in my senior year of high school, I took AP psych, like AP psychology, so advanced placement college level course. At the end of those classes, they have the AP tests. Now, if you take the test, you can get college credit if you pass. Well, let’s just say senior skip day was on the AP test day.

Oh no.

I skipped the AP test. I skipped my opportunity to get college credit that I paid for the following year in college. Like if Stefan did that I would be so pissed at him like what the hell you just spent this entire school year taking this college level course. And you skipped the test what is wrong with you?

Well in 2020 if you did that they give you seven opportunities to frickin retake that test. Let me tell you, I hate that. I absolutely hate that. I mean, I get it for my son. You know, being autistic, but like for my daughter, like even my daughter, my daughter isn’t she said she she made like high high honor roll for the first trimester. And she gets to retake stuff like if it doesn’t go well. And I’m like, What the hell?

Oh, man. So the next question, we have Here, and this is something that I don’t have an answer to yet. But I’d love to hear your feedback. Is it possible to completely rid yourself of anxiety? Um,

I don’t think so. I think that it’s kind of one of those things that I kind of look at it like my, my chronic pain, right? For whatever reason I have chronic pain, I just want to manage it, because I have to wrap my mental mental thing around that and to say, this is what this is the reality, but I’m going to manage it so I can be comfortable in my life. You know what I mean? I think that’s the same with anxiety, I don’t think you’re ever going to get it completely away, I think you’re just gonna have to manage it and find ways that help you manage it, whether that’s medication. I mean, we wouldn’t go to that first. But, you know, exercise or therapy and mean, those kind of things.

One other question that I’ve had to answer in my life? At what point does anxiety need attention from a therapist? And I’ll, I’ll go ahead with that question. All right. I talked about having all of the symptoms at once. So if you find yourself in a store, or in any other situation, where you start to sweat, your hands tremble, you feel dizzy, and you have a rapid heartbeat. I think you probably should seek out a therapist in that event, having all of those symptoms. And if they’re happening often, yeah, one or all of those symptoms, then definitely seek out a therapist. And then I would also say if you feel like it’s interrupting your life, like for me, if it’s keeping me from doing my job, or if it’s keeping you from performing well at school, or, or if it’s hindering you or holding you back in any way. I think that’s also a pretty good sign that, hey, you might want to go see a therapist. So what are your thoughts on that? I know you’re married to an anxious person. So when do you feel like you cross that line of Okay, you probably need to get some help with that.

That was weird. What do you mean? Like my wife?

Anybody? I mean, I’m just saying may have anxiety in your life, but Well, I wait. Well, I

do. Well,

I know. But it’s not as pervasive for you. So I was trying to give you an outro.

What do you mean?

I think we’re multitasking or something. I don’t know.

No, I mean, so dang it. What’s the question now?

Oh, is it what point does anxiety need attention from?

Thank you? Yes, yeah, multitasking is 100%. Right, Ben? I don’t know why we just don’t say the time I can edit that out. But I like you bringing up the rapid heartbeat. I feel like if, like you kind of know, when you have a heartbeat that’s a little accelerated like, Okay, this is normal. This isn’t a kind of a situation that would be but the really rapid where it’s like, it feels like it’s pounding out of your chest. Like, you’re like you’re super scared, right? I feel like that’s the time where like, Okay, this has been a this is a little too aggressive as far as those kind of things. But I think if it’s affecting your life, negatively, I think that any of that. Anytime that that happens, I think it’s a good time to see a therapist. I mean, if you’re having issues where it’s affecting your relationships, oh, yeah, your workload, any of that. I think that’s the time to talk to somebody because, you know, I’ve, I’ve, you know, we’ve talked, probably for the last month since pandemic start about Tick tock, and I do see a lot of Tick Tock anxieties, and I love the one that says, like, just get over it. And they’re like, okay, I mean, I’m not doing it justice, but there’s a lot of them out there that say that. And it’s like, no, if you have anxiety, you need to see somebody you can’t just like, I mean, I’m sure there’s people that can fix it themselves, but it’s affecting your relationships and your job. I guess I know, I’m rambling. You should I think you should see a therapist.

Definitely. Here’s a question for you. That’s not on the script going off script here. Oh, boy. What is it like being close to somebody who does have pervasive anxiety? A little bit more specifically? What’s it like being my friend, when I’m super anxious?

You know, I don’t see a lot of it in person. So it’s hard for me to even sometimes even know that you’re dealing with it. I can kind of pick it up in your tone. And maybe your your typing because I mean, You know, for the last year, we haven’t seen a ton of each other, we didn’t hang out much because of COVID. And we didn’t. I mean, we recorded some, but it was like, record and then out, you know what I mean? So in regards to my wife, I mean, I’m glad you asked that question. I did not appropriately respond when she first started getting it. Now, I didn’t say, you know, it’s fine. it’ll, it’ll be fine. But I did not give her the I don’t know the space or the permission, I guess, to be that way. And she would kind of wear it on her sleeve and not tell me. And so we’ve worked through a lot of that. And it’s, you know, she now tells me because when I talk to her, it’ll go away. Like, even if we’re, I’m just like, yeah, let’s talk about it. Or she’ll be like, I need to talk about this. And I’ll be like, Alright, let’s talk about it. And we kind of talk about it. And really, we’re not talking about much, but that’s just enough for her to bring herself down from that edginess and be like, Okay, I think I think I’m good. And most hers came from before she fell asleep, and she wouldn’t be able to fall asleep. Hmm. Yeah. So that’s, that’s got to be the worst. Because nine times out of 10 days, I hit the sheets. And I’m like, out, I don’t have that problem. And, and I do feel bad for people that do. But I guess, you know, if I had to give any advice is just listen, like, look for cues, and don’t say, it’ll be fine. No, don’t say that. Don’t say just get over it. That’s not going to be helpful. You know, the probably the best thing you can do and say like, hey, I want to be here for you. But maybe we need to bring in a professional just just to make sure everything’s cool and try to work through this.

Yeah, definitely. You were talking about her not being able to fall asleep at night. And recently, I had a couple of episodes, I’ll call them where I was super anxious at the end of the day, like, and it was always when my wife was at work. So the kids were settled into bed or doing their own thing, because it’s COVID. And they stay up late. And I would be by myself, and my thoughts would just start to race and my pulse would increase. And I’d find myself feeling super anxious. But I didn’t know what I was anxious about, and didn’t have anything in the moment to be anxious about. And so I messaged my doctor, because, again, COVID, I couldn’t, it wasn’t considered an urgent thing. So I did he visits and corresponded through a secure email with Spectrum Health. And he said, Well, let’s try this medicine. It’s not an SSRI. So he put me on something that was very light. And just enough to, you know, call my anxiety down right before I go to bed. So I guess I am still taking that medicine, but it’s not near as heavy of a drug like Zoloft was so. So that’s an option to, you know, include my guess my advice with that is to loop in your mental health provider loop in your doctor, if anxiety is, is disrupting your life or your sleep, or keeping you from having the kind of life that you want, you can get help for that. And if anything, I hope that’s the, the message that comes through loud and clear tonight that you don’t have to be bound by your anxiety. And it doesn’t have to be the the end of your story. Like there’s resources available to help. And as Jason said, listen to, you know, the threads podcast over time, and you’ll hear my story.

Yeah, this has been a really good conversation. And that’s the way you kind of wrapped it up is is really good as well. And we’re always here to I mean, not that we’re therapists by any means. But, you know, if you need to bounce something off somebody we’d be, we’d be happy to help you with that. Right, then

we sure would like that’s, that’s why we do this, you know, it’s why we, we come out and say, Hey, anxiety is a real thing for me. You know, I do that because I want others to know that you’re not alone. And like Jason said, we’re here. Hit us up, send us an email. Hello at threads You can find us on all the different social platforms you can. One thing we’re gonna really start digging in is this, buy me a coffee and if you become a monthly contributor to that we’re planning I’m creating a support group for mental health issues like anxiety, and just creating spaces where it’s okay to not be okay. Yeah, you can have a community around you. Yeah,

yeah, no. So yeah, if you want to sign up for that you go to buy me a slash threads podcast, and again, the newsletter. And then I also want to throw out there, you know, if you are interested in sponsoring this show, we would love to have you as a sponsor. We’re, like I said, Episode 112. We’re not planning on quitting, although last week, it was probably close. I’m sure we’ll talk about that on the personal update, which won’t be till the end of the month. So that is a huge cliffhanger for you. It sure is. The

threads podcast, almost became the threads non cast.

I feel like that’s such a damage. Oh,

I know, it really was.

But next week, we’re gonna have Kate, she is going to talk about, well, kind of talk about mental health again, and and implementing exercise which Ben and I are trying to do a little bit more, but so that should be a fun conversation. And I think the last episode of the month is our personal update. And that’s where you get to hear about our big fight. And how Ben was all wrong.

Totally. I’m always wrong. Jason’s always right.

All right, guys. Well, thanks a lot. You have any closing thoughts, Ben, or do you want to be done with this shit?

No, I just again, this is probably one of my favorite episodes that we’ve done in a while. But it’s also I’ve been putting this episode off for a while too. I think we’ve, we’ve had it on the plan. And then I was thinking, yeah, let’s not do it. So I’m just glad that we did it. And I’m being kind of awkward, because I don’t know how to wrap it up. But yeah, I

need to stop saying Do you have any closing thoughts? I just need to wrap the sucker up and end it. Like, that’s my fault. I had that happen on the other podcast, too. And when I I should just wrap it I just always feel like I don’t want to leave you out if you have because you will have some great closing thoughts. And sometimes you don’t and that’s okay, but I shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have put you on the spot. But

no, that’s all right. We were talking about anxiety. So this is just how it is.

Yeah. And I’m glad you talked about it and I’m sure it’s going to help more people. You know, think about maybe I should just talk to my therapist, and if one person does or takes not even that if one person says you know, I’m going to exercise more to help my and that’s that’s a win for me. So absolutely. All right guys, have a good night. Thank you so much for listening to the threads podcast life unfiltered

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