Monday, April 11, 2016

Independent Photographers Anxiety and How I deal with it

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/800
Just this past Friday the Knobs of The Citadel, also known as freshman, were having to walk the gutter to and from class.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/500
Only the upper class could use the sidewalks. It is part of what they call the 4th Class System. Here is the official explanation below. However the very next day was Recognition Day where after a grueling events the system is announced as over.
The purpose of The Citadel’s Fourth Class system is to develop and graduate the “whole person.”
The Fourth Class System hinges on the completeness with which it matures, refines, trains, and schools the totality of a young cadet’s character. This finely balanced process provides the foundation of the “whole person” concept. During their four years as part of the Corps, cadets will develop academically, physically, militarily, and spiritually.

Anxiety is an Altered State of Consciousness

Each day our brain is thinking and processing our thoughts. We know the difference between our thoughts and actions, however anxiety changes all that for us.

Normal thoughts take into account things that could happen when we make certain choices. We understand life has some risks and make those choices where we diminish the possibility of terrible consequences. Anxious Thinking cannot accept any risks. It continually asks for reassurances, and it demands that we avoid situations that frighten us. Anxious Thinking makes no distinction between feeling frightened because of catastrophic images in our mind, and the fear of being in actual danger.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000
Many of the Knobs have trouble sleeping Friday night because they know that the next day is Recognition Day. This is where for the very last time they will be pushed physically and mentally by the upper class.

As I walked around the campus I could hear upperclassmen, parents and friends reassuring the Knobs to not over think it and just leave their best effort on the field.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 2000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

I'll Admit It–I Get Anxious

When things happen to me that I have no control over it is very common for me to get caught in anxious thoughts. While I haven't had a major melt down with an anxiety attack like some people, I can tell you I fully understand how that can happen.

While just about anything can trigger these anxious thoughts it is when I have a few things that happen to me in a row that my ability to manage these anxious thoughts becomes increasingly difficult.

Recently we have experienced a series of medical expenses. We also had to replace a transmission in our van. Also while it is good news you have to pay more in taxes [means you made more money] it can produce more anxiety.

Over the years I have been able to understand that one of my fears is having to go into debt to cover unexpected expenses. Another real fear with medical procedures is they usually involve some pain in recovery.

If you find yourself shutting down and avoiding situations because of the fear you have, then I highly recommend seeing a counselor and/or psychiatrist who can help you manage these anxiety attacks.

Nikon D4, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 800, ƒ/8, 1/2000
After breakfast the cadets all changed into their workout clothes. I then saw all of them running out of the barracks onto the parade field where they would be challenged and tested.

While many of them had trouble sleeping the night before, they embraced the fears and knew they would just do their best in the moment.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000
What was surprising to me was watching many of the cadets smiling and having fun. I think they were the ones who were able to dismiss the thoughts of what could happen and just deal with what is happening.

Call it Anxiety

One of the best things you can do is to realize when you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious that these fears affect you the same way as if you really were in true danger. This makes it extremely difficult for you to think clearly.

Call it what it is as Anxiety. By you naming it then you have better chance of dealing with it. Then just deal with the facts. I had to really think out what was the worst thing that could happen.

Now to be honest logic alone doesn't work for me. I had to use my faith to help me. I meditate on these scriptures many times in times of anxiety.
Philippians 4:6-7 
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
John 14:27
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Now I just don't jump straight to prayer and giving this all to God. I always first experience some anxiety. I think about what I am feeling and try to understand the emotion and pray for wisdom.

I need wisdom for me to think through what is causing anxiety and to get to the root. This also helps me to know if there is anything I can do other than avoidance of the situation. I want to be proactive if there is something I can do, but I also am asking for the wisdom to know the difference as to what I can do and what I have no control over.

Nikon D4, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/250
After that morning the 4th Class System was announced that it was no longer in effect. The Knobs now joined the upperclassmen as fully integrated into the corp.

The marchers depart from The Citadel's main gate, down Moultrie St. and then turning right on King St. to Marion Square. The cadets take the oath – which has been carried out in some fashion for more than 100 years. 
Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. – Corrie ten Boom

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