The people's voice of reason

Tears and Laughter: Anxiety Has Become A National Obsession

In response to the fast-paced lives Americans tend to lead, countless books and articles have been written offering ways to simplify life and minimize stress. Typical lifestyle change suggestions include unplugging from social media and television, reconnecting with nature, and taking time out to meditate and pray. Minimalism is encouraged in both commitments and possessions. Learning to say no – to yourself and to others – is imperative.

These articles pull attention because more and more people are finding themselves in a position where they can’t keep going at their current speed of living, yet feel they can’t stop or even slow down. They are desperate to gear down because the quick pace is taking away from the quality of their lives.

Some people want to get completely off the grid. They want to be self-sufficient and not have to rely upon a job, adhere to a schedule, or have any of the demands and responsibilities of modern life. They want to grow their own food and have chickens and hogs and goats and their own water supply. They do not want to have to answer to anyone, or be held accountable for anything – other than their own survival.

Used to, we would have quietly and respectfully called that a nervous breakdown. I’m sure anxiety existed when I was growing up, but it was not something anybody ever really talked about or acknowledged much.

We would sometimes get nervous. Everybody got nervous when they took their road test to get their driver’s license or when they were going on a first date. Or if they were in trouble or needed to make a certain grade on a test. Even on into adulthood, people would get nervous before a job interview or when they got married.

Today anxiety is much more severe and widespread. It has become a crutch. There are people – especially young people – who are avoiding life because of crippling anxiety. They can’t go out into the world and be productive. They can’t comfortably carry on necessary conversations. Gone is the attitude, that when you feel nervous, you do it anyway. Which, in retrospect was good, in that it didn’t allow for wasted time and it generated confidence…eventually. It helped navigate a bit of success.

Anxiety has become like a modern day plague, and we are about all well-medicated on account of it seems. Statistics suggest people have learned what to say to get their anxiety medication. Or the kind of pain medicine that helps ease the hurt of old heartaches as much as it helps any physical pain.

There are others who want medication but are too locked in the grip of anxiety to go say it out loud to a doctor. They know how to get what they need to self-medicate in other places. There is a whole menu of illicit options.

There is also temporary relief bought in bottles off shelves that allow people to drink away their anxiety legally – in the comfort of their own homes in the evenings and on weekends…and sometimes some mornings, and always on certain dates and special occasions.

Now we also have the CBD oil option. It is available in a water-soluble solution, a tincture that dissolves, a pill, candy gummies, or convenient vape cartridges. It is said to help calm anxiety.

Maybe there should be more articles about how to live a life where you don’t need to be numb.

Amanda Walker is a contributor with The Selma Times Journal, Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Alabama Gazette. Contact her at or at


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