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The Reality of Anxiety

And coping strategies to manage it

Updated: 2018-04-23T09:05:54.413-06:00


New Year's Resolutions: 2013- My Year


I am a big believer in setting goals. I have always done New Year's Resolutions because even if I don't accomplish them all, I feel it helps me stay focused throughout the year on whats important. The last few of my goals this year deal with my anxiety. I made this scrapbook page and printed it out so I can hang it up in my office and I also made it my computer desktop wallpaper so I will see it everyday as a reminder of what I should be doing and focusing my time on.#7. Baby #3?!?- Although I am much better anxiety wise while I am pregnant and nursing, both times I have had to deliver a baby my experience has been pretty traumatic for me. I want to have one more child for our family to be complete but I am terrified of going through that again. I don't want the age gap to be too big so if I am going to have another baby, this it the year to do it. This terrifies me. I'm excited for my mental state being better, but not wanting to be pregnant again or dealing with a newborn.#8. Discipline Yourself to Add More BALANCE to your Daily Routine- I tend to be an all or nothing kinda gal. If I get immersed in a project, I can spend hours on it and neglect other more important tasks. I want to be better disciplined about my time. Allow certain times for projects and fun stuff, and make myself stop to do other non fun but important tasks such as cleaning, oh yeah, getting dressed, and exercise.#9. Make Health an Important Priority- There are so many things I could do to improve my mental health but I am just too lazy. I need to make it a priority and take my multivitamins, drink my water, do my yoga, adjust my diet. These are no brainers but for some reason I never do it. Again, I need to not be so lazy!!!#10. Travel Abroad- We have been planning to celebrate our 10 year anniversary as well as my 30th birthday by cashing in some sky miles and taking a trip far away. Like Thailand far away. This is exciting but also very scary for me. I have a lot of anxiety about traveling and have spent many a vacation sick the whole time throwing up on the side of the road. I know its important to face these fears and so even though its scary I plan to follow through and go. What are some of your New Year's Resolutions for your anxiety?If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

How Stress Affects the Body


Today has most literally been an uphill battle with my anxiety. I started my day at 6:30 am and attempted to hike The Timpanogas Caves with some extended family. Pretty much any early morning activity is going to cause me to have anxiety, but include a lot of family which is a trigger for me anyway and its a disaster waiting to happen. I was so anxious I couldn't eat anything. I threw up in the parking lot of the trail. I was very jittery but I wanted so badly to make the hike up to the caves. My husband's ancestor discovered the "Middle Cave" section of it so it was a really cool idea for all of us to go check it out together. The hike was hard but at first it was fun. It was pretty steep right at the beginning but I was a trooper up until the 1/2 way point. Then I started to have a hard time breathing. It may have just been the altitude but I already have issues with my heart rate spiking while exercising so all the additional factors weren't helping either. As we continued up I was at the end of the line of our group and the space between us were widening. I had to stop frequently to try to catch my breath. I tried to channel my inner "Biggest Loser" and kept telling myself, "pain is temporary, glory is forever!" But I could tell I was getting dizzy. Suddenly everything started spinning and I couldn't stand up or I would fall over. It was frustrating to me to see old men and women or little kids passing me on this trail. I didn't want to be the weak straggler. But when my vision went black for a minute and I was all tingly I knew my body was not okay.I was determined to not give up. However all the water and Gatorade I drank I kept throwing up. A firefighter was there by chance and he checked my pulse and told me I needed to find a way to calm my heart rate down. I said, "I am going to get there." Even though I was tingling and dizzy from head to toe I really wanted to go through the caves. However looking at our watches we knew there was no way I could make it by the time the tour would start. I was soooo close, but yet so far. I was at the homestretch but it didn't matter. I disappointedly turned around and went back down the mountain and went home. I was so sad that I was so sick and I felt like I let my family down as well as myself. Could there have been a different outcome? I don't know. Mentally I was there but my body just shut down on me. Had I not had anxiety I know I would have been able to make that hike with everyone else. It's hard to accept that my anxiety really is debilitating at times. And its amazing the effects it can have on our bodies.  Here is an interesting chart that explains How Stress Affects the Body.My only concern now is that we are leaving in the morning with the family to go to Bear Lake, Idaho and I am worried I will be sick on this trip now that I am all sensitive. Ugh so frustrating. I plan to prepare as best as I can and I am telling myself that this trip is for me to have fun so whatever I want to do to be happy is what I am going to do regardless of what everyone else has planned. One more thing. For those of you who don't know it yet, we have an AWESOME group on facebook where approximately 130 people are members and browse and talk and help each other out everyday. Its a closed group so no one in your newsfeed can see what you post, so this means you have to ask to be invited. Its really simple. Just click here to go to the page. I have made some real online friends from this group and I wish we lived closer. AimeeIf you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Positive Affirmation Flip Book


I am a big believer in using positive affirmations to reprogram your negative thoughts. As I have learned from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, here are a few pointers from the book to quickly explain what Negative Self-Talk is and how it works:It is so automatic and subtle you don't notice it or the effect it has on your moods and feelings.It appears in telegraphic form- one short word or image ("Oh no!) contains a whole series of thoughts, memories, or associations.Anxious self-talk is typically irrational but almost always sounds like the truth.Negative self-talk perpetuates avoidance.Self-talk can initiate or aggravate a panic attack.Negative self-talk is a series of negative bad habits. (You have to reprogram your brain to say helpful uplifting confident talk to remove the negative thoughts)There are different kinds of negative self-talk. The Worrier often promotes "what if..." thoughts and promotes anxiety. My biggest what if thought is always, "What if I get sick and throw up?" The other kinds of sub personalities are the Perfectionist ("I should, or I have to" thoughts) which promotes chronic stress and burnout, the victim ("I can't. I'll never be able to) promotes depression, and the Critic ("Can't you ever get it right?") which promotes low self esteem.The important thing to do is be able to recognize when you are promoting this behavior and what you are telling yourself. Then you counter your negative self-talk with positive counterstatements that you believe in or want to try to believe in. The book goes into more detail about questioning your thoughts and working through them rationally to prove they aren't true. It also helps you to create the positive counterstatements so that when you are in a situation where you are anxious and start to worry and promote the negative thoughts you can replace them and prevent your anxiety from going out of control, and giving yourself the confidence and respect you deserve.When things get rough for me I tend to put positive affirmations or counterstatements up all over my house to remind me to hang in there and to reprogram my negative thoughts with positive ones. However, when things get better I throw them all away. The next time I need them, I find myself having to look them all up again online. This got me thinking of a more permanent solution so that I could have all of my favorite quotes and affirmations where I see them often and easily accessible.I came up with the idea of making a flip book. This now sits on my nightstand where its the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. The cover title is, "I Choose Peace"I chose that because it helps to remind me of the following excerpt from the book "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook Fourth Edition":"Focusing on a fear always makes it worse. I can change my focus to loving, supportive constructive ideas. I can't make fearful thoughts go away. Struggling with them only makes them loom larger. Instead I can redirect my mind to more peaceful calming thoughts and circumstances. Every time I do this I am choosing Peace instead of Fear.The more I choose peace, the more it becomes a part of my life.With practice I get better at redirecting my mind. I learn how to spend less time focusing on fear. I grow stronger in my ability to choose wholesome, helpful thoughts over fearful ones. I make time to relax- to reconnect with that place deep within myself that is always at peace. When I make time to do this, I can choose to move away from fearful thoughts. I can allow my mind to expand into a wider place that is much larger than my fearful thoughts. When I relax or meditate my mind becomes deep enough to transcend fear.I'm learning to see that my fearful thought grossly overestimate risk or threat. The true risk I face in most situations is actually very small.I'm learning to recognize my tendency to exaggerate risk, to blow them out of proportion. Every fear involves both overestimating the threat of danger and underestimating my ab[...]

Scripture Journal Tutorial


There is a quote by Susan W. Tanner, “When I know who I am, I can do anything He asks me to do.” I have been working really hard this year on learning more about who I am, where I came from, where I am going. This brings me peace. I used to not even be able to talk about death because it made me really uneasy. Knowing who I am is helping me to value myself more. I am feeling more at peace with my trials in this life, why I have them, and that I won't always have to go through them.This is a post that I am sooo excited to share with you. I feel very passionate about it because it has CHANGED MY LIFE. I recently came across the idea of making scripture journals from Shannon at The Red Headed Hostess blog and I have spent the last few months creating my own through trial and error. I want to share with you what I've done in hopes of helping you feel enthusiastic and excited about studying scriptures. It's no longer a chore for me. It's my favorite part of my day and I want it to be yours too.It doesn't matter what religion you are. If you study the Bible, Book of Mormon, or any scripture you can apply this idea to your studying. If you are not religious you can apply this same concept for anxiety related quotes, uplifting thoughts, positive affirmations, etc.The best part about this is that you can be as simple, straightforward, and logical as you want, or you can get as artsy and creative as you want. Wherever you are in the crafty spectrum and have time and patience for YOU CAN DO THIS. The important thing to remember is to make this yours. Do what works for you.Why keep a scripture journal? Here are a few reasons:"We often leave the most precious personal direction of the spirit unheard because we do not record and respond to the first promptings that come to us when the Lord chooses to direct us." -Elder Richard G. Scott"I've found, as I'm sure you have, that when you are trying to learn from the spirit, it's important to make a note so it will not be forgotten. The more you not only hear but abide by what you've been told, the more the Lord will give to you. It will come more and more rapidly and you will begin to hear and feel those impressions of the Spirit more quickly than you have previously done." -Elder Gene R. Cook"The prompting that goes unresponded to may not be repeated. Writing down what we have been prompted with is vital. A special thought can lost later in the day through the rough and tumble of life. God should not, and may not, choose to repeat the prompting if we assign what is given such a low priority as to put it aside." -Elder Neal A. MaxwellIn the few short months that I have started my scripture journals, the knowledge that I have learned and retained is more than I have learned about in years of just reading a chapter a day (which is how I used to "study").My main reason for doing scripture journals is to give them to my children as a family heirloom after I am gone or when they are old enough to appreciate them. As Shannon said (I'm paraphrasing)- it's a way to keep teaching my children after I am gone. I give full credit to Shannon at her blog for this idea and I thank her for all the work she put into sharing her journals. I want to help spread the word to more readers because its worth sharing if it helps people grow spiritually.Materials Needed:First you have to pick some journals. This is important. You want to find some that is the right size, enough to hold lots of information, will function the way you want it to, and look the way you want it to. If you plan to keep it simple, pick a lined journal that you can do lots of writing in that has thick pages so your ink won't bleed through. I planned to be more artsy and wanted to decorate my covers using scrapbooking supplies so I bought a coptic journal kit from Etsy. When it is all done I will bind it so that it will open and lay flat.This may be a little more extreme but for me this is my creative o[...]

January 31st- Support Group Call! Be there!!


I know I know, could it be any shorter notice? I have had a whirlwind month but I still want to get a call in if you are up for it. The date and time is January 31st at 6:30 p.m. MST. I've now made signing up even easier. Here's the scoop:A Returning Member:If you have already signed up for a previous call and sent me your username for Skype, all you have to do is pay the $2.00 fee. To pay simply click on the paypal button on the right sidebar.A New Member:Please download the instructions here that will explain more about the call (system requirements, how to sign up, what to expect, etc.) (Please note that the time is actually 6:30, not 7:00).Pay the $2.00 fee by clicking the "Pay Now" button on the sidebar to reserve your spot.Sign up for Skype (its free) and email me your username and I will add you to the group list.The $2.00 fee is simply to pay for the premium membership at Skype to facilitate the calls. I have to make sure that if only 5 people show up for the call, costs will still be covered. Sign up for the October call is officially OPEN! Only 14 people can be on each call and it is first come first serve so sign up today :) If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Guatemala Trip Update


First, let me say thank you to everyone that sent me well wishes and good vibes for my trip to Guatemala. Overall I am really glad that I went. It was truly a trip of a lifetime that helped strengthen my marriage and my relationship with my kids.The first three days were unbelievably PERFECT. I had no anxiety whatsoever. I enjoyed everything.The land there is absolutely gorgeousand the people are so humble, kind, and hard working.The food was delicious and I was eating soooo much! I kept marveling at how well everything was going. It was too good to be true. It was awesome! I was actually starting to think I may gain weight on the trip.We had to do a lot of driving and by a lot I mean aLOT! And the roads are constantly twisting and  turning around the mountainside and I am prone to getting carsick. Everywhere we were going was at least an hour and a half away from our hotel. So by day three I was so grateful that I was feeling so well and happy.Then came day 4. I don't know if I talked myself into it because of how happy I was, but I woke up with anxiety. I was able to shake it off and still enjoy my day. But everyday after that I woke up with anxiety until I got back home. Also, by day 5 I started getting car sick (which for me is a headache right behind the eyes and feeling nauseous). So out the window went my appetite. But I decided instead of letting it get the best of me I would just accept that this is my body doing its thing and I would just have to tough it out for a few days. Which I did.I am glad the first few days were so amazing because I was able to experience what a vacation should be. And looking at the silver lining for the rest of the time- it's good to be reminded that I can do hard things. And that I can still enjoy life WITH anxiety. If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Look What I Got for Christmas!


I sent Santa Clause my wishlist in December and I must have been a good girl. In my stocking I found this: Can you believe how expensive this is for one DVD? I couldn't justify buying it so that's why I asked Santa for it. I was tired of the same 4 episodes on my DVR and it wasn't playing any new ones. I also got this to help me drink more water and use it at the gym:I recently hurt my tailbone by being my usual clumsy self, so I have been hesitant to try the yoga out. But my body stress levels have been getting higher and I knew I needed to do something to decompress. So today I braved through and just had to take it easier on some poses. So refreshing. I love it.Did Santa bring you anything for Christmas to help you out with your anxiety related goals? Did you make any New Year's resolutions to better your current mental or physical health? If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Traveling with Anxiety: Trip #6- GUATEMALA!


This week I have a once in a lifetime opportunity. I surprised my husband with a week long trip to Guatemala and we leave on Friday. Ten years ago my husband served an LDS mission in Guatemala. This means when he was 19 years old he lived in Guatemala for two years teaching the gospel and baptizing the locals to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Ten years later the church has grown enough that a temple has been built in that area, and next week they dedicate the temple and open it up for patrons. Its such a rewarding feeling for him to know that he helped the church grow there so I thought it would be awesome for us to go celebrate the temple opening and revisit his mission stomping grounds. Especially since he hasn't been back since.This trip is bringing up a lot of anticipatory anxiety, mainly because I will be leaving my 3 year old and 12 month old behind with family. I have never left either of them before. My baby boy has intense separation anxiety right now I can't even leave the room without him crying in protest. I know this trip will be good for both us and the kids, but that doesn't mean it makes it any easier to leave them. In a way its nice to look back at my previous trips that I have blogged about and see the same pattern of anticipatory anxiety and the same concerns arising. At least I'm consistent :) It gives me hope that maybe the anticipatory anxiety will be the worst and when I am actually on the trip I will be ok.I know that I need to prepare, prepare, prepare if I want to feel better and have a successful trip. So I have been putting some time aside to do my ten step mental exercise so I can start reprogramming the negative thoughts with positive ones. The idea is to print this out and bring it in my pocket so I can take it out and read it whenever I need to. Feel free to read the ramblings of my worried head.What am I telling myself to make me feel this way?    This is stressful. I should feel stressed. I am going to freak out any minute. This is too much for me. I’ve been worrying about this for months and its now right around the corner. This is going to be soooo hard. I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to ruin the trip. I don’t want to feel stressed. I am going to worry so much about the kids. My baby is going to have such a hard time. What if he cries and is fussy the whole time and is too much for my sister? What if I am too sick to do anything? If I am stressing this much already how bad is it going to be when its time to go?What if the worst case scenario happened? What would I do?        Worst case scenarios are:I am so sick that we have to come home. Or I am so sick that I am no fun on the trip and its a bad experience.The kids are so miserable and upset that we have to come home.  After writing this, I took my kids to visit my sister where they will be staying. Watching her interact with my kids has made me feel SO much better. I know they will be fine. So this helps with number 2. I know they won't need us to come home. The anxiety isn't as intense, but it's still there.If I am as sick as I am worried about, I will have mt Clonazepam with me which should be enough to handle any anxiety I may have. If not, my husband has ALWAYS been super supportive of me when I am sick and he won't think I am ruining it for him.Alright, now here are some positive affirmations I can use to help me with my other worries:What if I am anxious the whole time? I will ruin the trip for my husband. I don't want to feel this way. Circumstances are what they are but I can choose my attitude toward them. I can be anxious and still have fun on this trip. I've done it before and I can do it again. I can handle this. He loves me more than this trip. I love and accept myself the way I am. I respect and believe in myself apart from other's op[...]

November Support Call Sign Up is Open!


The next call will be November 17th at 6:30 pm MST. If this is something you want to do again or try out, please sign up. Here is how:

A Returning Member:
  • If you have already signed up for a previous call and sent me your username for Skype and profile card, all you have to do is pay the $2.00 fee. To pay simply click on the paypal button on the right sidebar. *Note* This fee is nonrefundable, even if you miss the call.
A New Member:
  • Please download the instructions here that will explain more about the call (system requirements, how to sign up, what to expect, etc.)
  • Also download, fill out, and email me back the Profile Card here that will help me keep track of who is who.
  • Pay the $2.00 fee by clicking the "Pay Now" button on the sidebar to reserve your spot. *Note* This fee is nonrefundable, even if you miss the call.
  • Sign up for Skype (its free) and email me your username and I will add you to the group list.
The $2.00 fee is simply to pay for the premium membership at Skype to facilitate the calls. I have to make sure that if only 5 people show up for the call, costs will still be covered. Sign up for the November call is officially OPEN! Only 14 people can be on each call and it is first come first serve so sign up today :)

Reminder for Tomorrow's Call


Reminder: This is your last chance to sign up for the call that is taking place tomorrow night at 7:00 pm MST. For more details click here. There are still a few spots left but time is running out. Hope to see you tomorrow!

ROA now on Facebook!


I have always been hesitant to start a facebook page because I didn't think many people would want to publicly join an anxiety page. But I think its time. I think the benefits can outweigh any doubts. By joining the facebook page you can stay up to date with announcements, inspirational quotes and thoughts from your facebook news feed. I don't have time to spam you constantly :) so don't worry about getting a storm of posts overtaking your page. If you would like to join the facebook page you can view it here. Thanks and I look forward to sharing more conveniently with all of you!UPDATE: Due to the request to make the page more private, I have had to switch from a page to a group. This means that you have to ask to join and I will approve you. This also means people can see the name of the group and who is a member, but cannot see what is posted without becoming a member too. As always if you have any questions just let me know. If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Support Group October Sign Up


Tonight we had our first support call. I was nervous setting it up and worried about how it would go, but I have to say that I LOVED every minute of it. It was SO nice to talk with people from all walks of life who are going through the exact same thing in their own way. I loved how someone would be explaining something and you could hear people laughing and agreeing because they knew EXACTLY what you were talking about.I loved it so much that I will be doing it once a month. The next call will be October 20th at 7:00 pm MST. If this is something you want to do again or try out, please sign up. Here is how:A Returning Member:If you have already signed up for a previous call and sent me your username for Skype and profile card, all you have to do is pay the $2.00 fee. To pay simply click on the paypal button on the right sidebar.A New Member:Please download the instructions here that will explain more about the call (system requirements, how to sign up, what to expect, etc.)Also download, fill out, and email me back the Profile Card here that will help me keep track of who is who.Pay the $2.00 fee by clicking the "Pay Now" button on the sidebar to reserve your spot.Sign up for Skype (its free) and email me your username and I will add you to the group list.The $2.00 fee is simply to pay for the premium membership at Skype to facilitate the calls. I have to make sure that if only 5 people show up for the call, costs will still be covered. Sign up for the October call is officially OPEN! Only 14 people can be on each call and it is first come first serve so sign up today :) If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Last Chance to Join The FREE Support Group Call


Just want to remind anyone who is interested in joining the first Reality of Anxiety Support Group Call- this is your last chance to sign up! The call will be this Thursday at 7:00 MST and there are only 4 spots left. It is done on a first come first serve basis.

When: Thursday, September 22nd
Time: 7:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time

Email me if you are interested and I will get you more information or if you already have the information but forgot to sign up, here's a little reminder.

I am so excited and can’t wait to talk with everybody!


We Must See Past What it Seems…..


I am sharing a really great story that was originally blogged at the Brave Girls Club. Anxiety has really made me more compassionate towards others suffering with their own trials. This story is such a great way to look at things, I love it. Enjoy!"After a dear friend telling me about a hurtful experience she’d had this week…..I began thinking again about a story I have told a few times….a story that my children will tell to their children, and maybe even beyond that… because it was such a learning experience in our family….maybe even a turning point…it’s a story that I think about often because we were the main characters in it 3 or 4 years ago, and even though it was something that lasted less than 15 minutes….it changed all of us….and now I see others differently, especially when it seems that they might be main characters in the same story…or one a lot like it. I used to be too embarrassed to tell this story….but I am not anymore. This is a human story that everyone needs to hear, I truly believe this…I hope you will stay with it, it’s kinda long.As we move along…I want you to think about some of the big signs with big messages that I bet you wish you could wear around your neck sometimes so that people would be more gentle….or even that you could put around the neck of someone you love….so that you didn’t have to go into a big long story to defend yourself or someone else….so that people would just stop judging and and just be kind.First, if you don’t know my history because you are brand new to Brave Girls Club…welcome welcome welcome! I need to start this story by giving you a little bit of background….. you see, my husband had an accident in 2004 that injured the frontal lobe of his brain……it has taken 6 years to get him back……but in the middle there, between 2004 and now…lots and lots of stuff happened. He was essentially out of it…but not just that….he changed to someone else, we lost him. His personality changed completely, he could not work, he was angry and depressed and could not cope with human beings. He did not feel love or affection, really he only felt anger…rage…and he was suicidal most of the time. He did not remember a lot of things. He could not take care of our family or even himself, really……..(and I want to mention again that through lots of miracles, he is 100% recovered now…we are so thankful….he is even BETTER than he was before his accident)But……during that time…..he would have these confusing and amazing glitches of time when he would be totally normal. It was bittersweet. They would last for an hour sometimes, and sometimes for days…or even weeks…then he would sink back down into that horrible place. When he was sick, I protected him fiercely. I didn’t want anyone to see him like that…I had faith that someday he would recover….but man oh man it was lonely…I wished every single day that I could just walk around with a sign like this….….because on the outside…I looked like I had EVERYTHING GOING FOR ME…I looked like I might just have a perfect life….but I was hiding a very painful secret….Well…a lot of other things happened too………you can imagine what might happen over the years while we have a 7 acre farm, a pretty big international business that we own with lots of employees…..a life that HE managed before his accident, while he just let me do the fun and creative stuff….now we had lots of medical bills…lots of sorrow and lots of distractions……we also had LOTS of kids…..and no one competent managing the business…Well…after a few years, I couldn’t hold it all together…our business was suffering for all of the reasons [...]

Endure it Well


Yesterday morning I awoke with the familiar butterflies in my stomach and the anxiety levels rising. I could feel it getting worse even though I was trying to breathe deeply. I started to get really frustrated. I was tired of feeling sick. I was feeling guilty and annoyed that I was still feeling anxious. I started to worry that things wouldn't get better.But if I think about it, I have been rushing this whole process. I keep expecting to feel better and then when I don't I am immediately put into a bad mood.So my mantra yesterday was "You don't have to be all better today."I really think this lesson is learning to love myself WITH my anxiety. I don't have to be all better in order to be worthy of love and respect from myself. So last night I was reading in the Bible and came across a story that was an answer to my prayers. It is about a father that brings his son who has a demon inside him to Jesus to be healed.Mark 9: 22-24 (bold and italics added)22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have acompassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are apossible to him that bbelieveth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine aunbelief.This story was another reminder to me that I need to have faith that things will get better. And that I need to pray for help with my doubts and frustration. So my goal is to try to stay positive and patient even though things are really crappy. I don't want to fall into the victim trap where I revel in the sympathy that others may give me when they hear of my situation. I want to be strong even when I feel so weak. I don't just want to endure this, I want to "endure it well".D&C 121:8-"8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." So this morning I woke up with panic. Not worst case panic but pretty severe. I had burning in my arms and breathing wasn't helping. So I told myself its ok if still need to take Clonazepam to help me through the day. So I took one and although it made me tired for awhile, I am now feeling much better. I'll get to where I want to be someday, but it doesn't have to be today. I just have to remember that. If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Staying in the Present


I have often heard about anxiety a lot of times being about the future or the past but not usually about the present. I saw this quote today:

and I like it because its a reminder to try to stay in the present. Sure it's not that easy to read that and say "Ok I will stop worrying now!" but its still something to think about. My good friend told me when he feels panic coming on he gets out a jar of lemons and smells them because he is trying to associate the smell as something comforting and it helps bring him back to the present. Not sure if that would work for everyone, I've never tried it, but it sounds like an interesting idea. What are some ways you try to stay in the present instead of worrying about your past or the future?


Having the Faith to Endure the Hard Times


Faith- [feyth] -strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence.I do a lot of thinking when I am in the shower. Its the only place where I can really be alone and let any emotion out that I want without worrying about my kids seeing me so upset. So the other day I was taking a shower and I just sat and cried. I did a lot of praying in that shower. I found myself pleading to Heavenly Father to take away my anxiety and I suddenly heard in my mind,“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”My thoughts turned toward my Savior and how he cried those words which were my same thoughts to his Father in Heaven when he was suffering in Gethsemane. If anyone understood how I was feeling at that moment it was Him. He was certainly in much more pain and fear than I was in and he was all alone.Elder Bruce R. McConkie was a member of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He knew he was to die shortly, and this talk was his last testimony. He said the following:"We do not know, we cannot tell, no mortal mind can conceive the full import of what Christ did in Gethsemane. We know he sweat great gouts of blood from every pore as he drained the dregs of that bitter cup his Father had given him. We know he suffered, both body and spirit, more than it is possible for man to suffer, except it be unto death. We know that in some way, incomprehensible to us, his suffering satisfied the demands of justice, ransomed penitent souls from the pains and penalties of sin, and made mercy available to those who believe in his holy name. We know that he lay prostrate upon the ground as the pains and agonies of an infinite burden caused him to tremble and would that he might not drink the bitter cup. We know that an angel came from the courts of glory to strengthen him in his ordeal. As near as we can judge, these infinite agonies—this suffering beyond compare—continued for some three or four hours." But He suffered for a purpose and so am I. I do not mean to compare myself to Him by any means. I do hope to someday be like Him. And in doing so I want to learn from His example. There are still lessons that I need to learn and to share. I felt very strongly that I need to endure this pain and have faith that things will get better. It may not be today or tomorrow, things may be rough for a little while, but if I continue to work and not give into the despair than things will get better. If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Risking Medicinal Side Effects is Like Licking the Hand of Someone With the Flu


Would you willingly lick the hand of someone who has the flu? I feel like I just did.I went to my new doctor today. Turns out I have lost about ten pounds in the last few weeks from all this stress. (Not the kind of diet I would recommend to anyone) I gave him my history of anxiety. He was really great about what my interests were concerning my well being and how he could help me. He made me aware of other alternatives besides medication such as counseling but also informed me all about the different kinds of medications I could take. We decided to stick with the Zoloft and the Clonazepam because it has worked well for me in the past. My only concern with Zoloft a.k.a. Sertraline is the side effects. So to help reduce the chance of getting the them we decided I would take only half a pill a day for the first week to better ease it into my system.I do think I will take another look at counseling, as long as the therapist specializes in anxiety and as long as we a.k.a. insurance can afford it. So, I just took my first half pill of Zoloft a few minutes ago, and I am so worried about the side effects of (just to name a few)nausea dizziness diarhea upset stomach trouble sleeping happening to me like some of them did last time. Knowing that I could spend the next week more sick than I already am, I still took that pill. L-I-C-K!I did it because I am hopeful that it will really help me in the long run when it finally kicks in.----------------------------------------Middle of the Night------------------------------------------------------Woke up with a panic attack around 3 am. Very unusual for me. So I took a clonazepam and didn't really feel any better so I took another one an hour later (they are only .25mg each) I finally fell back asleep but woke up around 7 still panicking so I took another one. Hard to function this morning but its my daughter's first day of preschool so I had to get up and at'em. I am hoping as the afternoon wears on I will start to feel more normal but last night/early morning is really rough. Cant hold anything down to eat so I feel really weak and tired and lightheaded. I am going to go to the store to pick up some Ensures because they always help me in times like this.I just keep telling myself just endure it a little bit longer and things will get better soon. I appreciate all of your warm thoughts, prayers, and well wishes my way. I can't count the number of times I have prayed for all of you to find some peace in your lives. Take Care of Yourselves, If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

A Hard Pill to Swallow, Is Medication Right for You?


A few weeks ago when my anxiety flared up after two years of silence, I was able to get it to calm down after a few days. However since then it has been popping up again and again. A panic attack while out at lunch with my sisters, and now I have the morning anxiety again the last two days in a row.Although I don't usually post horrible pictures of myself up for viewing, I thought this was an exception because even though I am smiling for the camera, I am sick as a dog and feeling like I am going to lose it any second. The anxiety just hit me super hard and it took leaving the restaurant for it to finally go away.This has me contemplating going back on medication. Are you trying to decide if medication is right for you?According to the book The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques by Margaret Wehrengerg, "if you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you may be helped by medication.Are you having panic attacks a few times a week or more? My experience with people who have panic disorder leads me to think that if people are having attacks that frequently, they might benefit from medication. Their brains may be so agitated that it will take some time to calm the panic. It may thus be too discouraging to get their thoughts and behavior in control without the help of medication.Are you able to push aside ruminating worry when you have something important to concentrate on but find yourself worrying again the minute you have nothing to focus on? You may do okay without medication, but if it is a huge effort or you cannot draw your attention away from worry even for short times, medications are in order.Do you feel sick to your stomach with dread much of the time and find it interferes with eating and sleeping? If so, you will probably respond better to anxiety management techniques with the help of medication, because this level of distress should be interrupted as quickly as possible. Having an agitated brain without relief is not good for your emotional or physical self.Do you immediately flush, have shaky legs, a quivering voice, and a palpitating heart even at the thought that someone might watch you leave a theater, watch you speak up at a business meeting, or observe you ordering food or eating in a restaurant? You might benefit from using medication on an as-needed basis while trying techniques to get over those signs of social anxiety.Do you feel so terrified of attending a party or being in a busy public place like a shopping mall, airport, or school that you refuse to go? You will probably benefit the most from a combination of medication and treatment methods, because this is about the most difficult situation in which to calm yourself. Medication will allow you to focus on using new anxiety controlling skills and social skills that will help you in your interactions with others."Because I am answering yes to almost every single one of these, I have decided that I am going to go back on Zoloft. I know some of you may think that's a mistake, but I know my body and my mind and now that I am no longer nursing I think I need the additional help to make my days feel more normal. I am tired of feeling sick and scared all the time. Because of the side effects I felt the last time I got on Zoloft, I am not sure when I should actually start taking it. I have the weekend to figure it out since it won't be until Monday before I can even see the doctor. I hope this helps you to figure out what is best for you in your situation. As always, your doctor can probably give you the best advice. If you en[...]



Oh this song couldn't describe anxiety any better, it just hit home today...

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Here is the same song including a dance that I had seen before when it first came out. The dance is about addiction, but I think the mean guy representing addiction can still be representing anxiety. When I watched it thinking of it that way it brought me to tears. I love Mia Michaels coreography.

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Dealing With Unexpected Anxiety Setbacks


It's been at least a year and a half since I have had a panic attack. But sure enough, Thursday night I had 2 panic attacks and then generalized anxiety ever since. I believe it was brought on due to the fact that I weaned my baby from nursing last week and my daughter's 3rd birthday party was on Saturday. The combination of my whacked out hormones and a huge stressor was more than I could take. I've noticed a pattern to how I deal with these sudden anxiety outbreaks. I think I get a little better each time at dealing with them so I thought I would share my process (both the good and bad) with you. Hopefully you can adjust as needed for your situation.The first thing I do is freak out. (This area needs improvement lol). After the panic attacks happened, my mind was racing worried about the impact this would have on the next few days and I was a little out of control. I cried alot and my stomach cramped all night and I couldn't sleep.The next thing I do is mourn. I mourn for the loss of my anxiety free days. I have my internal pity parties, why me moments, and laying around feeling sick and sorry for myself. This is what I did all morning on Friday. In the past this mourning period has lasted much longer. It could drag on for a week. So just one morning is improvement for me. Maybe someday I will be able to skip this step altogether. Then I finally realize I need to change my attitude and get to a better place. On Friday afternoon I went to the Reality of Anxiety site and read the following blog posts to get me pumped:Even More About Morning Anxiety: It's All About Your AttitudeNeed a Little Faith and Motivation? On Saturday morning I implemented the coping strategies in those posts and others I have learned over time. I did a lot of abdominal breathing, I repeated positive affirmations (ex: This may be hard but I can handle it) over and over again, I asked my spouse for a lot of love and support and got lots of hugs and kisses and I listened to my body and ate when I could. Sunday I made sure to have a destress day where I lounged around in comfy clothes and then today I did some yoga and tried to get back to my normal routine. After the birthday party I felt alot better simply because the stress was over, but Sunday and this morning I still had lingering morning anxiety. I've continued to tell myself it isn't a big deal and it has been going away much quicker. I am hopeful it will be gone completely in the next few days. And if its not, I will reassess if I need additional help like medication. If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

The Daily Postmortem of Social Interactions


When I worked in the software industry, after every release we would sit down and have what we called a "post mortem." This is where we would talk about everything that went well in the release, everything that needed improvement, and what we would no longer do anymore. Seems like a good idea. I seem to have my own daily post mortem. I can't avoid it. After every phone call, text message, face to face encounter, or facebook post, I find myself reliving everything I said and did. I can't stop thinking and worrying, "I hope that comment didn't offend them." or "Why did I say/do that? That was really stupid." Do you ever find yourself doing that? Is it more often than you feel is normal? I seem to do it every day and I am noticing that I am really lacking self confidence to spend so much time worrying about offending others or not coming off as best as I could have. Its to the point where I feel like everyone must really hate me. Sigh.There are so many layers to anxiety its like an onion. You can pull away the daily panic attacks or generalized anxiety and you still have so many underlying issues to deal with. Will I ever be okay with who I am right now?  If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Thinking about starting a Local Support Group


I get alot of emails from readers asking questions about certain aspects of their anxiety. I feel like I write novel length replies sometimes. Its like texting, sometimes its just easier to call the person instead of typing everything out.This morning the idea struck me to start a local support group. Something where we can just get together to talk about how we are dealing with our anxiety, a place to find friends that share the same problems and offer support to each other.Here are a few benefits of support group memberships: Members become part of a collective voice. The group is non-judgemental. This creates a safe environment for members to disclose their problems.Members become more informedBuilds confidence for coping. Being able to discuss their circumstances enables members to look at how they cope, think about the advantages and disadvantages associated and adapt their coping strategies.Development of skills. Improved communicationI've done a little research and have only found one local support group in Provo, Utah which for me is a good 45 minutes away. So I am thinking about starting one in the Salt Lake area. Although from what I have read they say its good to get a few people interested in starting one to form a little team as opposed to doing it on your own.So two questions- if you live in the Salt Lake City Utah area, is this something you would be interested in attending, and if so, is this something you would want to help out with starting?Just testing the waters...If you would like to contact me as opposed to leaving a comment, you can email me here. If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email [...]

Are you a Perfectionist or Healthy Striver?


Being a stay at home mom of a baby and preschooler with a husband that travels a lot, I feel that everyday is a real challenge. The simplest thing like going to the store is such a production. This last week I had several appointments during the week where I had to arrange for babysitters or drag the kiddos along with me. On one hand I am proud that I am getting out and dealing with the kids too, but on the other hand, its so stressful for me that I feel like I am frazzled all the time.I feel like expectations for me are high and that I don't get any slack. At night I lay down and I am so high strung that I have to take time to wind my thoughts down. My body feels tense all the time. I feel like I am going to lose it any minute and just start bawling. I know I need to strike a better balance of relaxation, but its not easy getting to the gym or doing yoga when my two year old thinks its time to climb on me like a play gym. Sigh. Ok, done venting.In all reality, I know the only one not giving me any slack is myself. I have a hard time allowing myself to struggle. I often feel like I should have it together by now and I am disappointed in myself for not being perfect. I am a perfectionist, which isn't a healthy pursuit of excellence. The University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center says,"There are big differences between perfectionists and healthy achievers. Perfectionists believe that mistakes must never be made and that the highest standards of performance must always be achieved. Those who strive for excellence in a healthy way take genuine pleasure in trying to meet high standards. Perfectionists on the other hand are full of self-doubts and fears of disapproval, ridicule and rejection. The healthy striver has drive, while the perfectionist is driven."Ever wonder if you are a perfectionist vs. someone who is a healthy striver? Perfectionist versus Healthy Striver  Perfectionist  Healthy Striver Sets standards beyond reach and reason Sets high standards, but just beyond reach Is never satisfied by anything less than perfection Enjoys process as well as outcome Becomes dysfunctionally depressed when experiences failure and disappointment Bounces back from failure and disappointment quickly and with energy Is preoccupied with fear of failure and disapproval––this can deplete energy levels Keeps normal anxiety and fear of failure and disapproval within bounds––uses them to create energy Sees mistakes as evidence of unworthiness Sees mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning Becomes overly defensive when criticized Reacts positively to helpful criticismA couple coping strategies to help with perfectionism that I thought the most helpful are:Increase your awareness of the self-critical nature of your all-or-nothing thoughts, and how they extend to other people in your life. Learn to substitute more realistic, reasonable thoughts for your habitually critical ones. When you find yourself berating a less-than-perfect performance, whether your own or someone else's, force yourself to look at and acknowledge the good parts of that performance. Then ask yourself questions like these: Is it really as bad as I feel it is? How do other people see it? Is it a reasonably good performance for the person(s) and circumstances [...]