Stressed out

In recent conversations with four various people, it came to light that all four are taking medication for depression, anxiety or both. For others, it’s a simple sleeping pill to help bring the rest that doesn’t come easily, if at all. I started looking around, listening more and talking less (Yeah, what a monumental event—me, silenced?). It became apparent, at least to me, that we Americans are stuck in high gear. I used to be a stay-at-home mom, then was a single parent, and trust me, I knew what it meant to multi-task. I could have made Oprah proud!

Corporations are cutting back to meet the demands of the economy. One of their solutions is to reduce their workforce without reducing their work load. What used to take three or four employees to achieve is now expected of one mere mortal. I can almost hear it being shouted, in unison, “Please pass the Zoloft!”

I was talking with my husband during our daily “lunchtime chat,” and mentioned sometimes it seems like people are running the “Xanax 500”—either expected of others or of themselves to persistently live full out, pedal to the metal, keep going and don’t stop. Let me make this perfectly clear. I do not doubt that a single person who is seeing a counselor or therapist, or anyone taking an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication has a legitimate need! There are serious chemical imbalances that require serious treatments. And I’m so over society damning and condemning those whose lives are improved by legally managing to find that balance. So, how do we slow down a bit as we run this race called “life?”

Does anyone recall the days as a child when it was commonplace to go to church every Sunday, come home to a nice roast resplendent with fresh new potatoes, carrots, rice, thick gravy, fresh green beans, and on special occasions, a ginormous pan of good old homemade banana pudding? We’d change from “church” clothes to “everyday” clothes (not to be confused with “school” clothes), sit around the table and chat while we had an actual family dinner with all the family present. Does that still happen anymore?

Orange grove

After the dishes were done (hand washed and dried, no machinery involved), we’d load up into the big red station wagon and go for what was called a “Sunday Drive.” Do Gen-X’ers even know what that is? We’d slowly cruise through the countryside, with nobody blowing horns or flipping fingers for us to speed up, and just enjoy the orange groves sharing their verdant green leaves and sweet fragrance of orange blossoms, or catch sight of an occasional gator sunning on the bank of a phosphate pit. Most of the time, all us children would wind up sprawled across one another, sound asleep, having that “Sunday afternoon nap” our parents usually demanded take place. Now I realize it was more for them than for us, or at least I’m pretty sure it was. That was a guaranteed time of rest and quiet. After the drive, we’d pull into the yard, trot inside and join as a family to share the pan of “nanner puddin’.”

We simply must learn to slow down and take better care of ourselves. Coronary disease, heart attacks and strokes are more and more common. Divorces are through the roof. The days of bubble baths, ambling through a wooded area, simply stopping to smell the roses, as smarmy as that may sound, just don’t happen like they used to, nor as they should. In the meantime, pharmaceutical companies are making profits that go through the roof, and I’m part of this national dilemma. There is such a thing as “self care.” If we do not learn to stop and spend at least 5 minutes of “me” time a day, it’s only going to get worse rather than better.

Listen to Carolyn’s interview with Cynthia Brennen, on “Help, Hope & Healing.” Visit her website at

  1. Deborah Day Poor says:

    An apology is not an apology unless it carries with it a committment to not repeat the bad deeds or words. Therefore, a victim needs time to decipher if her abuser is sincere. He/She should never put herself in a position for him/her to abuse her again just because he/she said they were sorry. Trust and respect are earned. Consequently, victims must keep themselves safe while the abuser goes through the long process of changing oneself before the victim agrees to be alone with him/her. Unfortunately, the only change most abusers make is finding a different victim.

  2. Thanks so much, Deb. I want to be sure the readers know you are a professional in this field, and perhaps one of the most knowledgable and compassionate counselors going. I suggest to everyone your book, “Peace at Any Price.”

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