Former park ranger on anxiety: ‘I couldn’t keep myself from worrying’

Former park ranger on dealing with anxiety
Former park ranger on dealing with anxiety(KWCH)
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 9:32 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Randy Just says it’s hard to explain how anxiety made him feel.

“You feel like you are on your own little island floating away,” he says.

Eyewitness News is looking at mental health issues all year as part of an initiative we’re calling “State of Mind.” Just contacted us after our first story aired, wanting to share his.

He says he was supposed to put on a brave face every day as a Kansas park ranger, but on the inside, he was fighting a crippling mental disorder.

“I didn’t want to talk to people or associate with people. I didn’t want to hear music or eat. I didn’t want to do anything around people,” Just says.

The former El Dorado State Park ranger says after he turned 40, he began to suffer from severe anxiety.

“I would worry about the strangest things. I would worry about if I would mow my lawn that my lawnmower would break down. I thought all of the sudden we would lose all of our money and we’d lose our house. I thought I was going crazy. It was so weird. I couldn’t keep myself from worrying,” Just says.

Just is retired from his job as a park ranger and now works for Communities in Schools. He says he uses his experiences with anxiety to help teens.

He’s healed now, but at the time he struggled deeply, he didn’t know he was fighting the most common mental disorder. It’s estimated anxiety affects about 20 percent of people.

Like many others, he didn't get help when he should have. That's when he says things got really bad.

“I went into a full-blown depression. I couldn’t sleep, eat or concentrate at work. I think if I didn’t have my family and faith in Jesus Christ I wouldn’t have made it,” Just says.

His family is who helped him out of it. He finally got treatment, including therapy and medication. He says he’s proud to tell people he’s still on that medication that helped heal him.

His mission now is to save others and encourage them to get help.

“I said, if I had to go through this, I don’t want anyone else to go through this,” Just says.

You can use this screening to determine if your recent thoughts or behaviors may be associated with a common, treatable mental-health issue.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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