Mental health issues are often hard to confront, especially when you are confused about the cause of them. RESCU talked to Dr. John DeMartini, human behaviour specialist and author of The Values Factor about Anxiety, and the rise of it in society over recent years. He shares his expert strategy to combat the disease, and be able to help when it happens to your loved ones.
RESCU: Hi you’re on RESCUTV with the incomparable Dr John DeMartini, welcome back
Dr DeMartini: Thank you
RESCU: Today we’re going to talk about something that is getting a lot of airplay in the mental health space. A lot of people are saying that anxiety is the new depression, and I’d like for you to share with us your perspective on what is anxiety, and what is depression and why there seems to be this enormous prevalence of anxiety across the board in society.
Dr DeMartini: Well, depression, the way I define it is a comparison to what your current reality is to an expectation either unrealistic or fantasy or diluted that’s making you not appreciate what you’re having or what you’re experiencing, because you are comparing it to something else. In other words if you’re a woman and you are attractive, but you see a woman that you think is a 12 on the rictor scale and you go oh my god I can’t complete with that and then get depressed, because you are comparing it to something that is 10 years younger or 20 years younger and doesn’t have the 4 kids that you have, so you have this comparison, so that’s depression. To compare your current reality to a fantasy or unrealistic expectation, a delusion about how life is supposed to be or how it should be, and you’re not appreciating.
Anxiety on the other hand, is different it’s a form of phobia and what it is, is a compounded phobic experience. If you have an event that you think is traumatic or challenging or a negative experience and then the next day something reminds you of it and it’s totally different to the original event and the next day another thing reminds you of it, and it keeps stacking up all these compounding events that remind you of it, after a while by a conditioned reflex 20 things can trigger that original trauma that have nothing to do with the trauma.
RESCU: That’s right, and if you don’t have anxiety and you are around people with anxiety you think, what’s set them off, you don’t understand.
Dr DeMartini: It’s secondary angst. I had a young child that saw and observed a mother and father fighting and the father was very aggressive and the mother was weak and the son ran to his room and covered his ears and eyes and just sat their a curled up in fetal position because of all the screaming. The next day everything was calm and the mother took the child to the grocery store, the father was wearing a white shirt and blue pants and had a brown moustache with brown hair. So everything was doing fine when they went shopping the next day but the next day some friend of the mother came up that had blue jeans a white shirt brown hair, brown moustache like the father. The second he approached them coming down the aisle in the grocery store it triggered him. Now there’s a fight or flight response or a freeze response. The fight response puts the child in front of the mother and protects her. If it’s the flight response he gets behind the mother and wants to pull the mother away. If it’s a freeze response it just goes limp and pretends like it’s asleep, and shuts out. These are responses.
Now if they do this response and the mother goes well I don’t know why he is acting out but bye, and goes down the next aisle and meets a person with blue jeans yellow shirt brown hair brown moustache, now the yellow shirt can trigger it off as much as a white shirt. If you keep having these secondary conditions occurring 30 or 40 things can trigger an anxiety reaction over an original event that you have lost sight of. So now you are walking around and you don’t even know why you are tense, but it’s all these stimuli in the environment that you now associated with an original event that you have assumed is negative without positive.
RESCU: Why do you think that this condition, or this phobic reaction of anxiety has become so prevalent? Or do you think it’s always been there we’ve just only started talking about it.
Dr DeMartini: Well, I think it has been there, it’s been known for many many centuries. What’s happened is we are so bombarded and so electrified by stimuli today that things can set us off on the internet, tv, there is so many more triggers so we are not even aware of it.
RESCU: So we are interacting with more things
Dr DeMartini: We are interacting with more things, now where does anxiety and depression come in. If you have expectation of being calm, and not reacting, because you don’t understand why it’s happening you get depressed because you have an unrealistic expectation about how life is supposed to be again. But, I’ve never seen anybody in all the times I’ve worked with anxiety states that can’t uncover what that original piece is. So that instead of saying I don’t know why I’m doing this, it’s better to stop and go, what specifically is it that triggers it and what specifically is the reaction, and try to narrow down what it is and identify the original stimulus. And when you have the original stimulus, think when I had that experience, what were the benefits it had to my life, how has it served me and helped me fulfil my life. It’s never what happens to you it’s how you perceive it and if you can perceive it in a way that’s on the way not in the way the very thing that you once initiated a phobia over can all of a sudden turn into an affiliated opportunity, and so finding out how it served you can liberate you from that anxiety, because there’s nothing in life that doesn’t have a way of helping us.
RESCU: I’ve heard some really traumatic things that have happened in peoples lives and through the breakthrough experience, you truly were able to perceive it differently and I can only assume by having that experience it changed the next day.
Dr DeMartini: The anxiety that people have is because it is reminding them of the original event is no longer there, we’ve seen women who have be challenged sexually we have seen people that have been violently effected
RESCU: Or even car accidents, that were injured and felt like they were a victim from that moment onward, and then they had breakthrough.
Dr DeMartini: We don’t have to be victims of our history we can be masters of our destiny by taking command of our perceptions. It’s not what happens to us, it’s our perceptions, decisions and actions that we do from it, and that we have command over. We have command over our perceptions, our decisions and our actions. We can make a mountain out of a mud hole or a mud hole out of a mountain, we can make one hell into an opportunity if we take the time to find out how it serves us. One of the greatest questions we will ever ask on a daily basis is how is whatever I am experiencing today helping me fulfill what is most meaningful to me. If you ask that question and never give up on that question, and answer it, you liberate yourself from a lot of baggage, and anxiety and depressions can be melted away
RESCU: Well that is some very good news, thank you so much for joining us and your excellent expert advice. If you would like to have more insight I would recommend any of Dr John DeMartinis books and seminars.
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