Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Dr. Peter Steinke writes “With anger and anguish, anxiety shares the same Latin root word—angere. It is translated ‘to choke’ or ‘to give pain by pushing together.’ The noun form of the verb is angustus, meaning ‘narrow.’

"Anxiety is emotional pain. It constricts and limits life. At the center of its painfulness is uncertainty. We can neither put our finger on what is disturbing us nor pick out a clear-cut villain who is threatening us. Nothing in specific stimulates it, and nothing in particular is its object.”

We listen to spouses and caregiving children fumble for causal explanation as they struggle to recognize and understand anxiety. Because the cause cannot be isolated, management is a challenge. Issues in their relationship may now surface as the caregiver resents anxiety’s imposition on the relationship. The dementia sufferer is no longer able to invest in the relationship and this loss causes pain.

“Because anxiety affects our thinking capacities, it diminishes clarity and objectivity. It interferes with our capacity to think creatively. We cannot stand outside of the vague dread and observe it.

“We do not know what we are afraid of, what terrifies us. In contrast to fear, anxiety is undifferentiated. It has no definite focus.”

Explanations like "it is what it is" provide little comfort. Caregivers may wait too long to seek support and help for their loved one. Dementia is not contagious, but anxiety can seep into our pores when we think we have the situation under control.

How Your Church Family Works p. 14

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