Friday, December 14, 2007

Negativity is Toxic

Lately my work has been unbearable. Days spent crying in the bathroom, power struggling with my micromanaging boss. He seems to win every time and a little part of my freedom or even my job duties are taken away. I spend time whispering with others who are struggling about a revolution that can’t happen soon enough. Its to the point where finding another job is starting to sound like a good idea, even though in my position I should just wait it out and hope for the best. My last job I was in the same boat and I left to come to this job. But I don’t have the same luxuries I did then, now.

Right now my emotions are through the roof and I can’t control them like I used to. I get annoyed so easily and I don’t hide all the anger I feel anymore. Maybe it’s funny at home but it’s dangerous at work. So instead of talking to my boss because I worry about saying something I would definitely regret, I just fester with the hatred.

Today I feel like I have been soaked in this toxic poison called negativity and hatred. I reek with it. The worst part is that I think my comrades in arms are getting sick of me too. They are tired of the complaining, the whispering, and the negativity. I’m tired of it too. It’s so unproductive.

But it seems like every time I try to put on a happy face, turn that frown upside down, or just try to be alone to get away from the situation, my boss pops in with some outrageous request, some conniving power play, or some horrible new thing he is implementing, and it’s like he’s winding me up like a toy. The annoyance starts at the sight of him, the anger starts bubbling up as he speaks, and all I can do is quietly nod and glare so that I don’t start having a tantrum.

The worst part about it is his boss who I should go to talk to about it, loves him, and thinks that we are all just not giving him a chance. So there is no point going to talk to her because it will reflect poorly on you as not being a team player, or being insubordinate, etc.

So here I am sitting at work completely unmotivated, feeling depressed about the situation, with not much I feel like I can do about it. Then I start thinking about how I don’t like me like this, with the poison inside, but I don’t know how to get rid of it.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Listen to Your Body

The biggest lesson I am learning these days is to listen to my body and not my mind. For the last year I have done everything in my power to not throw up and felt like I had a setback every time it would happen. However now I am getting sick everyday because of morning sickness, and its ok because I am learning to accept that my body has needs that I have to abide by. I can tell when my body doesn’t want to eat vs. when it really does want to. I haven’t been losing weight which is really great. When I am tired I rest, when I am sick, I let myself be sick. It’s all working out so far.

But it goes beyond just pregnancy. Weight loss, weight gain, self esteem, our panic; all happen in result to what we are listening to in our heads, as opposed to listening to our bodies. If we really were in tune with our bodies, we would eat when we were hungry, and stop eating when we got full. There wouldn’t be so many overweight Americans. Sure there are always exceptions, thyroid issues or other medical problems, but I am not referring to the exception. How many times do we eat out of emotional pain? How many times do we not eat because of guilt? How many times do we feel bad about ourselves after eating too much, or too little which then lowers our self esteem? How many times do we panic because we care too much about what others think of us and how we should “be” around them as opposed to doing what feels natural? Instead of thinking “I need to eat this huge plate of food cause that’s what’s expected of me…” you might just decide, “I am not hungry right now. Maybe I will just snack on an appetizer and eat something later when my body needs it.” Your body won’t let you starve yourself.

Granted this line of thinking really is closely associated with anxiety around food. I don’t really see how listening to your body will help you drive on the freeway, or take the elevator, or leave the house. That is all about changing how you think and doesn’t really apply here.

But for those of us struggling to gain weight or lose it, I think if we could all learn to stop listening to our thoughts as much and listen more to our bodies; the anxiety will naturally fade some and our bodies will only take what they need. I know, easier said than done.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Catching Up

I apologize for the long delay in posts. I have obviously had a lot on my mind lately and most of my computer time is spent researching what the heck is going on inside of me. Since I have found out that I am pregnant I have had 2 situations where my anxiety kicked in.

One time my family went out to eat after seeing a ballet. I was starving and ate so much I felt huge! Well I wasn’t feeling too great afterward, but it wasn’t nausea. People could see I wasn’t doing too well so the trip home began. The woman sitting next to me who wasn’t immediate family asked me if I was having morning sickness. For some reason this spurred the all too familiar burning sensation in the back of my neck. This happens when I feel embarrassed or ashamed, or I am about to throw up. I told her no, it was something else and then really had to try to distract myself from the pain and the anxiety that came out of no where. I was thinking that maybe it was a miscarriage, and that too had me worried. Luckily I made it home and all is well and I didn’t let my panic accelerate any more.

Last Friday I had a coworker that I have worked with for the past 6 years leave. We had a going away luncheon at a local restaurant and I was feeling nauseas- morning sickness nausea. But I wanted to go to support him, so I went and ordered a soup and salad. I nibbled for awhile and in the end I ate a good portion, and I didn’t throw up. I was nervous that my anxiety would kick in and accelerate my already upset stomach. My worries were that very few people know that I am expecting so even if I got morning sickness, its not like I had an excuse to share. The anxiety did kick in a little, but I was again able to distract myself by taking pictures of the event and getting very involved in the conversation. Any time my mind started to wander to negative thoughts, I just redirected my thoughts to something else. It worked!

I have been off all of my medication since Thanksgiving so I knew the next couple months would be really hard on my emotions.

Lately ANNOYANCE has been the biggest problem I am dealing with. Everything annoys me and I am not as quiet about sharing them like I would have been otherwise. It’s a real bummer cause at work I am always in a bad mood because of what someone else did. I am trying to remember that “Happiness is not something that happens on the outside of you, its something that happens on the inside you.” Or something like that. Basically it means that other people can not determine whether we are happy or not. Only we can decide that.

I will try to post more often about helpful things that come my way. Thank you to everyone for all of your comments and well wishes. I appreciate all of you!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Big News and Lots of Anxiety to Go With It

Well I have just had the craziest week in my entire life. Big news… dum dah dah dum!!! (Those were trumpets and now for the drum roll)



I found out the night before Thanksgiving which means I had to face the scariest day of the year medication free and completely freaked out. I did pretty well actually. I told the family and they were so excited. Plus throwing up when your pregnant is completely acceptable so had I than it wouldn’t have been a big deal. But I didn’t.

So why am I am telling all of you when I hardly know you and I am not in the “safe zone” yet? Because you already know all the most intimate secrets of my life anyway, and my anxiety has skyrocketed the last few days because of it and I need the release. I need to document my feelings and like always, maybe I can help someone who is going through the same thing. I am praying that everything goes well but I know the chances of miscarrying and if it happens well than that’s another trial for me to have to overcome and I am sure my anxiety will somehow be swirled into that as well.

But in the meantime I would appreciate any warm thoughts my way J

So here’s the latest dilemma. I stopped both medications as soon as I found out. One doctor told me over the Thanksgiving hotline that Zoloft was ok to take, but I still want to make sure with my family doctor before I continue to take it. I don’t know if stopping so soon without weaning off is worse for me or not. Today was the first day that I would have been able to ask but their nurse hasn’t returned my call. I guess I will try again tomorrow.

So my morning anxiety is very strong every morning. I feel this huge pressure to eat a lot and eat healthy because I have a lot of weight I need to gain. And this time I can’t just blow it off like “I can do what I want” because it’s not just about me anymore. But by lunchtime and afternoon I have calmed down, and by evening I am extremely excited and happy.

So the stress and the pressure are high right now. I know that I need to gain around 28 pounds and that scares me. I have been doing well to eat a lot and eat healthy so far. I have gained some weight already so that is encouraging, and my appetite is pretty good still. I don’t think I have had morning sickness yet. The funny thing is that I don’t know how to determine whether I am just anxious or feeling pregnant nausea since the symptoms might be the same for me. If I feel nauseous I immediately get anxious so it’s going to be interesting to see how I handle it. I am hoping that I will be able to use the coping strategies that I have learned this past year to help me through any nausea.

So how will this affect the blog? I don’t think it will affect it much. My anxiety isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So keep comin’ back for more!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Proof that Positive Affirmations Work

One of my favorite positive affirmations that I remind myself of daily is “There’s no need to push yourself. You can take as small a step forward as you choose.”

When I first started using positive affirmations, I liked this one because it calmed me down, and made me feel safe. At the time I started using it, I was aggressively trying to gain weight by taking weight gaining supplements, counting my calories, and force feeding myself when I wasn’t hungry. I wrote a post called, “My Healthy My Happy” where I decided that I was putting too much pressure on myself which was causing more anxiety. That’s when I posted a picture of a footprint in the sand on my cubicle wall right next to my monitor at work that represented the positive affirmation above. It’s something that no one else would know its meaning except for me, and I can remind myself often that I don’t have to push myself.

The underlying fear of trusting this affirmation is that I would never make any progress. I do want to gain weight, but I also want to be as anxiety free as possible. So I decided to work first on my anxiety and then when I get to a better place I could refocus on my weight.

Around this same time, I was around 106 pounds. That was after I had gained almost 10 lbs. I went on vacation to Hawaii where I had major panic attacks daily because I was off of my medication (because I didn’t wait long enough for it to work before I decided it was useless, bad decision) and I didn’t have enough Clonozepam with me because I thought I would be fine. (Another painful but important lesson I learned). When I got home from vacation I was down to around 99-100 lbs. I had lost all my progress of weight that I had gained. It was a horrible setback for me. I felt like I would never recover and I would never be able to gain the weight back.

That was back in April. I am pleased to say that I now weigh 105- 106 again and I haven’t been trying to gain weight at all. I have been really good at listening to my body, eating when I am hungry, and stopping when I am full. It’s very cool because before it was really hard work to gain the weight. This time I haven’t focused on it at all, rather I have been focusing on my anxiety instead.

So I wanted to let others know that positive affirmations really do work. They don’t hold you back from progress, but they can help you achieve success.

For more information on positive affirmations, you should check out some of my other posts on the topic.

I hope everyone has a panic free Thanksgiving tomorrow. Thanks for all of your support and well wishes.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Turkey Day Meltdowns

Thanksgiving is easily my least favorite holiday for obvious reasons. It’s the one day of the year where the entire point is to eat as much food as you can in front of everyone you know. It’s a nightmare in real life.

Last year I tried to do 2 different dinners, only to wind up having a panic attack at my sister’s house and having to bail out before the food was even done being cooked.

I remember feeling so embarrassed and upset that day because I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. This was when I was just learning about anxiety and panic attacks and hadn’t quite nailed it all down yet.

Then to make matters worse, the next morning all the girls on my in-law side of the family had to do the early morning shopping. When they were starting to slow down and talk about going out to breakfast, suddenly I started to feel nauseous. Still not sure why I had the reaction I did but knowing it had to do with eating around others, I had to make them take me home before they went out to eat because I was going to throw up. So I managed to thoroughly embarrass myself on both sides of my family last year.

This year, I have already been invited to the morning shopping with a “Don’t worry, we won’t go out for breakfast so you won’t get sick” reassurance that only reminded me of the embarrassing memory and let me know that others hadn’t forgotten it either.

I decided that although I have a much better understanding now how to properly plan and prepare for the holiday, I am not going to throw myself into situations that are too much. Thanksgiving dinner is going to be hard enough without throwing in more dangerous triggers. I don’t feel bad about it because I am not avoiding it because I am afraid, but rather I want to have a good memorable Thanksgiving that I can use to draw strength from next year. So I will stick to the basics and work my way up.

Positive Affirmation Alert: There’s no need to push myself. I can take as small a step forward as I choose.

This Thanksgiving I want to keep things as simple as I can. My sister’s family is going to have dinner with my Aunt but I worry that it will be too small a group to where I will feel uncomfortable. But I don’t want my sister to feel bad if I don’t hang out with them. I don’t even know my in-laws plans yet. Personally I would just have my own turkey dinner if I could! But its more than food, it’s about being with your family.

So my plans for the horrible day are not yet confirmed. I am going to have to do some major prep work no matter where I end up spending the day. T minus 7 days to go.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our Deepest Fear

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others."

-Marianne Williamson
American author, lecturer

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

10 Step Mental Exercise that Will Reduce Panic

When you feel a panic attack coming on, usually everything escalates very quickly. With or without noticing it, your mind begins to race and quickly the negative thoughts overwhelm you furthering the panic. Negative thoughts usually start off with “What if…” “I should be able to ….” “I have to…” or other critical comments like “I’m so weak” or victimization “Its hopeless, why bother”. These thoughts are called Negative Self Talk.

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne lists a quick explanation of what 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)"

Recognizing that you are doing this is a huge step towards learning to manage your anxiety. The next huge step is successfully slowing your thoughts down, analyzing them, and then reprogramming your mind to think differently. This will greatly reduce the amount and size of panic attacks you have. It helps me stop panic attacks dead in their tracks probably about 80% of the time.

So here is the exercise:

I have many posts where I outline this exercise for myself to help me cope with whatever panic attack I may be having at that time. It is extremely helpful for me to go back and read them when the same situation appears again in the future. I encourage you to read a couple to get some ideas or more details on how to fill this out.

  1. When you feel panic coming on, take some deep breaths.
  2. Ask yourself, “What am I telling myself to make me feel this way?
  3. Write out any automatic thoughts (fears, concerns) that are making you feel panic.
  4. Then write out or ask yourself, “What if the worst case scenario happened? What would I do?”
  5. Then write out a rational response or game plan as to what you could do if the worst did happen.
  6. Then take each of your fears or concerns you wrote out and challenge their truthfulness. Try replacing that thought with a positive counter statements and/or positive affirmations:
    1. Ex: WORRY- “What if people around me see my anxiety and judge me?”
    2. POSITIVE COUNTERSTATEMENT- “I am willing to go forward with my life and try to better myself regardless of what others think.”
    3. POSTIVE AFFIRMATION- “I respect and believe in myself apart from other's opinions.”
  7. Repeat those affirmations or counterstatements over and over while taking deep breaths.
  8. If you find yourself not believing them, realize that these can also be considered goals. Place “I am learning” in front of them. Ex: “I am learning to respect and believe in myself apart from others opinions.”
  9. If your mind is still racing, choose one that you are working on and write it out ten times on paper (printing not cursive) so that you can really concentrate on the words.
  10. By this time you should be feeling calmer, or at least the symptoms aren’t as severe as they were. You can then follow up any more anxiety with medication as needed, or by temporarily leaving the situation if possible and then returning when you feel better.

Following these steps takes practice and patience. But it’s worth it. There are many websites that have lists of positive affirmations. Here are a few:

At one point I even taped them around my house so that I could see them often. At work I have little symbols or stickers that have hidden meaning behind them to help remind me of them. This exercise has probably been the most effective thing I have introduced in my life to help me manage panic attacks. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes it all happens so fast that its too late when I try to slow things down, but if you start doing this the moment you feel a twinge of anxiety, then it will help you keep it at just that level of intensity.

Edmund J. Bourne further says, “Cultivating the habit of countering [negative self talk] is one of the most significant steps you can take in dealing with all kinds of anxiety as well as panic attacks.”

There is so much more you can learn about the art of countering your negative self talk. I encourage everyone to find some that can help you in your life and remember them when the panic comes.

I would love to hear if anyone else has used this type of exercise and whether it helped them or not.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Can You Be Declined Life Insurance Because of Anxiety?

This morning I had a nurse come over to my house, take my medical history, draw blood, etc. all for the purpose of approving me for term life insurance. The man signing us up was a little concerned about my anxiety background as cause for being declined. He said that people with anxiety have a separate phone call made (which I am still waiting for) to discuss it in more detail.

My question is, since anxiety isn’t life threatening, why would you be declined for life insurance? Its not like having anxiety means you are suicidal. History of cancer? Understandable. Diabetes? Definitely a red flag. But anxiety? Come on!

So I am waiting to hear the verdict. If I get declined I will be very shocked. Heaven forbid anyone gets a bugbite because that might be next on the list of potential life threatening illnesses or diseases to decline insurance for!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What is RSS? How to Stay Up to Date with The Reality of Anxiety

Explanation taken from Problogger

What is RSS?

Do you want to keep up to date with the latest posts on The Reality of Anxiety?

I have a number of ways that you can subscribe to this site and receive updates. The main one that my readers use is my RSS feed.

RSS is a technology that is being used by millions of web users around the world to keep track of their favorite websites.

In the ‘old days’ of the web to keep track of updates on a website you had to ‘bookmark’ websites in your browser and manually return to them on a regular basis to see what had been added.

The problems with bookmarking

  • You as the web surfer had to do all the work
  • It can get complicated when you are trying to track many websites at once
  • You miss information when you forget to check your bookmarks
  • You end up seeing the same information over and over again on sites that don’t update very often

RSS Changes Everything

What if you could tell a website to let you know every time that they update? In a sense, this is what RSS does for you.

RSS flips things around a little and is a technology that provides you with a method of getting relevant and up to date information sent to you for you to read in your own time. It saves you time and helps you to get the information you want quickly after it was published.

RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. Many people describe it as a ‘news feed’ that you subscribe to.

It’s like subscribing to a magazine that is delivered to you periodically but instead of it coming in your physical mail box each month when the magazine is published it is delivered to your ‘RSS Reader’ every time your favorite website updates.

How RSS actually technically works is probably a lesson for another day but the key today is for you to understand why it’s good and how to use it.

Let me say right up front that I’m not the most technically savvy person - but even I can use RSS. At first I found it a little strange to make the change from bookmarking to RSS but I found that when I started that I just couldn’t stop.

How to Use RSS

Get an RSS Reader - The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re getting into reading sites via RSS is to hook yourself up with an RSS Feed Reader.

There are many feed readers going around with a variety of approaches and features - however a good place to start is with a couple of free and easy to use web based ones like Google Reader and Bloglines. Either one will do if you’re starting out (I use Google’s Homepage Reader) - as I say there are many others to choose from but to get started either of these are fairly easy to use and will help you work out the basics of RSS.

Both of these feed readers work a little like email. As you subscribe to feeds you’ll see that unread entries from the sites you’re tracking will be marked as bold. As you click on them you’ll see the latest update and can read it right there in the feed reader. You are given the option to click through to the actual site or move onto the next unread item - marking the last one as ‘read’.

The best way to learn how to use either Google Reader or Bloglines is to simply subscribe to some feeds and give it a go. Both have helpful help sections to get you up and running.

Note: other options to tracking websites that you might already be familiar with include using pages like MyYahoo, MyGoogle and MyMSN.

Find Some Feeds to Subscribe to - there are two places to look for a site’s feed:

  1. On the Site
  2. In Your Browser

On Site Subscription
Over the last few years you may have noticed a lot of little buttons and widgets appearing on your favorite sites and blogs. Little orange buttons, ‘counters’ with how many ‘readers a blog has, links called RSS, XML, ATOM and many more.

They come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few you might have seen:

There are plenty more - but any time you see any of these buttons or anything like them it means that the site you are viewing almost certainly has a feed that you can subscribe to. In most cases it’s as simple as either copying and pasting the link associated with the button into your RSS Reader or clicking the button and following the instructions to subscribe using the feed reader of your choice.

Browser Subscription

Many internet browsers now have the ability to find and subscribe to RSS feeds built right into them.

When you surf to a site you can usually tell if it has an RSS feed by looking in the right hand side of address bar where you type in the site’s URL. You will see a little orange box like the picture at the top of this post, or little RSS letters, or a similar icon.

Click that and you’ll be locating The Reality of Anxiety’s RSS feed.

Other modern browsers will have similar icons.

To quickly and easily subscribe by clicking these icons you’ll want to set up your browser to do it with your feed reader of choice as by default they will probably subscribe you using the in-browser reader. You can do this by going to the ‘preferences’ to your browser and choosing ‘Google Reader’ or ‘Bloglines’ etc as your feed reader.

Once you’ve done this and have subscribed to a few feeds you’ll begin to see unread items in your Feed Reader and you can start reading.

Don’t want to Use an RSS Reader? Email is an Option

If the above explanation all just seems a little too complicated for you then please don’t worry. Many sites also enable you to subscribe to RSS feeds via a more familiar medium - Email.

Here at The Reality of Anxiety I know that not everyone is into the RSS thing so at the top of my right hand sidebar there is a field where you can enter your email address and get a daily email with a summary of our latest posts. You can unsubscribe at any time and your email will be kept private and not used for any other purposes than to send these daily updates.

Further Reading on RSS

Internal Cleansing: Confrontation and Assertiveness

Lately my life has been filled with confrontation. This is new territory for me. Usually I run from it like the plague. I would rather bottle up any frustrations and deal with those consequences than have it out with someone. Why? Because I hate how awkward it is and I want everyone to like me, and I cave under pressure. I really struggle with defending my thoughts when going into battle. It’s easier to just keep the peace.

However lately that hasn’t been an option. I have gone into battle and I hope good has come out of it.

A given example is at my work. This morning I had to confront my boss about micromanaging me. I was not looking forward to it but I knew if I didn’t say anything, it would continue and I would slowly lose any power that I have over my department. I don't want to lose my job, or submit my team to being told what to do by him instead of me because its confusing for them. Plus it tells me that he doesn't trust me to do my job. Feathers have been ruffled.

So I came clean and told him how I felt. I told him I felt like he was doing my job and that it I appreciate input and feedback, but that he should let me handle my department instead of holding meetings without me there, giving out assignments, etc. He was defensive and tried to invalidate my concerns and justify his actions. I tried to stick up for myself, being strong and staying with my convictions. Maybe I didn’t do the best job, I am very new at this, but the point is that I did it. I stood up for myself and for when I felt I was being treated wrongly.

Its common for people with Social Anxiety to not be assertive. However, if you just allow things to stay bottled up, they fester and boil until it becomes toxic. And then you wonder why you are so sad, tired, anxious, stressed, etc.

I want to know about your success stories about being assertive or confrontational (when appropriate) and how it helped you in your life, so please share!

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Forgiveness: How to Make Peace with your Past and Get on with Your Life

Sorry it has been so long since I’ve posted. There have been some personal issues that have been taking up much of my spare time.

I am reading an amazing book that I can’t put down titled Forgiveness: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Get on with Your Life by Dr. Sidney B. Simon and Suzanne Simon.

It discusses how forgiveness isn’t a gift that you give to someone who hurt you, but a gift you give to yourself. Many physical stressors in our lives occur due to the fact that we are holding onto grudges and other heavy baggage that weighs us down because we feel that by forgiving we are somehow giving in or letting them get away with it or that we are not validating our feelings.

I haven’t finished it yet but I feel like I can relate so well with the words so I thought I would share with you a quick summary and some of my favorite entries so far.

What Forgiveness is Not

  • Forgiveness is not forgetting.
  • Forgiveness is not condoning.
  • Forgiveness is not a form of self- sacrifice.
  • Forgiveness is not absolution.
  • Forgiveness is not a clear cut one time decision.

What Forgiveness Is

  • Forgiveness is a by-product of an ongoing healing process.
  • Forgiveness is an internal process.
  • Forgiveness is a sign of positive self esteem.
  • Forgiveness is letting go of the intense emotions attached to incidents from our past.
  • Forgiveness is recognizing that we no longer need our grudges and resentments, out hatred and self pity.
  • Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish the people who hurt us.
  • Forgiveness is accepting that nothing we do to punish them will heal us.
  • Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing old wounds.
  • Forgiveness is moving on.

No matter what the wound was caused from or who caused it, the healing process has stages that we all go through:

  1. Denial
  2. Self-blame
  3. Victim
  4. Indignation
  5. Survivor
  6. Integration

This book goes into all these stages in more detail.

The author talks about her battle with forgiveness and why she chose to forgive. She said it wasn’t because that was the “Christian” thing to do, but rather “…because that is what I needed to do to feel whole, to like myself, and to rid myself of the excess emotional baggage that was weighing me down and holding me back. I wanted peace of mind, and I could not have it as long as I was stymied by unfinished business from my past and expending most of my energy nursing my unhealed wounds. I was not happy with myself or my life. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could do more and be more than I was. And so I chose to heal.”

I highly recommend EVERYONE to go rent it from their public library because EVERYONE has been hurt at one time or another by someone whether it is parents, children, spouses, lovers, friends, or kids when we were little, the list can go on. We have all felt disappointment, rejection, abandonment, ridicule, humiliation, betrayal, deception, and abuse in one form or another. We all deserve to do it for ourselves so that we can be whole, and we can be healed.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Anxiety of Jury Selection Should be a Reality TV Show

Today I had to go to the downtown courthouse to fulfill my civic duty and potentially serve on a jury. For me, this was a dream come true. I am a big fan of the legal world and love to see it in action. I really wanted to be on the jury. When I got to the courthouse I was about twenty minutes early and so I sat down along with everyone else and immediately I was struck with panic. I tried to take deep breaths and that helped a little. I took some Clonozepam and worried that I wouldn't have enough time for it to kick in. I watched the minutes counting down and realized that if I needed to go to the restroom to let the panic explode, I could be late for the beginning and I didn't know what that would do. I didn't want to miss anything. So I pulled out my lappy and pulled up my/this blog- The Reality of Anxiety, and clicked on the label "Self Talk." I scanned the articles and read positive affirmations and similar situations and what I did to talk myself out of my panic. I opened up a word doc and typed as quickly as I could the following:

"What am I telling myself to make me feel this way?

I am all alone and that is scary. What if I get sick and I make myself late? What if I can’t eat breakfast or lunch with all of these strangers? What if I am sick all day long? What if people judge me? What if me getting sick makes them send me home?

Positive Affirmation:

I respect and believe in myself apart from others opinions.

What if the worst case scenario happened?

If I were to have a full blown panic attack where I have to leave and go to the restroom, and if it makes me late, or makes it so they send me home, I will still be just fine. My life will go on and I will get over it.

First of all, look at all that you have already accomplished today. I found my way on where to go when the GPS was telling me something else. I made it here on time, all by myself. I can do anything I put my mind to. I am strong, capable and secure. I do what I want to do no matter what anyone thinks about it, and I don’t care what they think.

I have already prevented a full blown attack by using deep breathing techniques and managing my negative self talk, and I am starting to feel better already. I feel myself calming down."

It worked. I was able to calm my thoughts and my breathing and I was able to then put the laptop away and get out some reading material and focus on that to further my distraction. Why my anxiety flared up so bad so quickly this morning I am not sure, but I am glad I was able to manage it.

I was so excited afterwards to see how it all works. I realized that excitement is very similar to anxiety, but on a much smaller scale. I went through a grueling QA session and tried to answer as best I could to boost my chances of getting on. And then the question was given that I knew if I didn't tell my experience in that situation, I would be lying under oath. I didn't want to say it but I did. The case was a malpractice civil suit where a patient is suing a hospital. The question was if any of my family had any medical attention that caused them to have any complications from that medical help. I happen to have a sister in law who passed away from taking her prescription medication that was dosed out to her by her doctor. I knew the moment I said "passed away" that there was no way they would put me on their jury even though I really wanted to and I could have been fair and impartial.The defense lawyers even winced when I said it. But many others seemed to have their own personal history or family history that could rule them out as well, so I remained hopeful.

After the lawyers struck people off the list, the suspense mounted. I was anxious, but not anything above a normal amount for this type of situation.

Then the moment of truth arrived. They were going to announce the jury. I could feel the suspense, the excitement, the hope, and the fear. I thought to myself, "Someone should make a reality tv show for the jury selection process." When they didn't call my name, I felt like I had been voted off the island, kicked out of the house, eliminated from the race, and had to take the walk of shame home. Those that were chosen might as well have been given a rose by the bailiff. I was pretty bummed.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

National Love Your Body Day

Today is National Love Your Body Day. According to this website 80% of Women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance. The first day was celebrated back in Sept. 25, 1998.

So this morning I got up and did the works to celebrate today. Shower, shaving, tweezing, bleaching, styling, etc. I was thinking about what I would mention and realized that I had it all backwards. I was trying to be beautiful instead of already thinking I was. I think the most important thing is to realize is that today is a day to love your body NOW, the way it already looks. Its not a day to say, “because I love my body I am going to start that diet..." It's where you appreciate what you already have and celebrate YOU!

Dove has been doing a campaign for a long time on celebrating "real" beauty as opposed to what society tells us is beauty. Here are some of their videos. They are all short but have an awesome message.

Dove- Campaign For Real Beauty

Another video by Dove that is very interesting can be found here.

They have a ton more videos.

I recommend checking out this website for ideas on what you can do to help you "love your body"

So how will you celebrate?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Successful Small Trip

Some of you may have noticed that I removed my last post. I apologize for the broken link to any subscribers. I had mentioned some gripes about work and accidentally left the company name in the post. A coworker found the post by googling the company name and so I thought it would be best to remove it before my company removed me!

Lets catch up. This weekend I took a trip to Vegas to watch a football game. Its tradition that we always go to the away game to Vegas and dress up like idiots for the game. Everyone stares at you and either cheers you on for being so gutsy or just stares in amazement.

This time when we went I wasn’t looking forward to it because I was worried about my anxiety flaring up and ruining the trip. Needless to say the morning of I took a little Clonozepam and it helped. When I felt anxious the next morning I just did what I wanted to do and didn’t force myself to do anything. I only ate what was comfortable. And I made it through panic attack free.

It was a fun little trip. Our team won (Go BYU!) and we had fun talking in the car. That’s one of those great things about road trips. You don’t have so many distractions and you can actually talk to each other. We talked about where we see ourselves in the future, what we want to accomplish, and even went on a tangent about if we killed someone how we would do it and how we would cover it up. So anyone reading this that knows me, if I am ever found deceased at an early age, check for poisoning!

Tomorrow is National Love Your Body Day. Sounds like a good excuse to pamper yourself to me!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day as initiated the World Federation for Mental Health and has been celebrated annually since 1992. The theme for this year is "Mental health in a changing world: the impact of culture and diversity".

"Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

The culture you are surrounded in greatly determines the way in which you deal with your symptoms. However, mental health effects every country no matter where you live. According to the WHO website:
  • Mental, neurological and behavioural disorders are common to all countries and cause immense suffering. People with these disorders are often subjected to social isolation, poor quality of life and increased mortality. These disorders are the cause of staggering economic and social costs.
  • Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are affected by mental, behavioural, neurological and substance use disorders. For example, estimates made by WHO in 2002 showed that 154 million people globally suffer from depression and 25 million people from schizophrenia; 91 million people are affected by alcohol use disorders and 15 million by drug use disorders. A recently published WHO report shows that 50 million people suffer from epilepsy and 24 million from Alzheimer and other dementias.
  • In addition to the above figures, many other disorders affect the nervous system or produce neurological sequelae. Projections based on a WHO study show that worldwide in 2005, 326 million people suffer from migraine; 61 million from cerebrovascular diseases; 18 million from neuroinfections or neurological sequelae of infections. Number of people with neurological sequelae of nutritional disorders and neuropathies (352 million) and neurological sequelae secondary to injuries (170 million) also add substantially to the above burden.
  • About 877,000 people die by suicide every year.
  • One in four patients visiting a health service has at least one mental, neurological or behavioural disorder but most of these disorders are neither diagnosed nor treated.
  • Mental illnesses affect and are affected by chronic conditions such as cancer, heart and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Untreated, they bring about unhealthy behaviour, non-compliance with prescribed medical regimens, diminished immune functioning, and poor prognosis.
  • Cost-effective treatments exist for most disorders and, if correctly applied, could enable most of those affected to become functioning members of society.
  • Barriers to effective treatment of mental illness include lack of recognition of the seriousness of mental illness and lack of understanding about the benefits of services. Policy makers, insurance companies, health and labour policies, and the public at large – all discriminate between physical and mental problems.
  • Most middle and low-income countries devote less than 1% of their health expenditure to mental health. Consequently mental health policies, legislation, community care facilities, and treatments for people with mental illness are not given the priority they deserve.

As Dr. Deb says on her post on this topic,

“The goal of World Mental Health Day is to address stigma and to show that mental illness is neurobiological - not a scarlett letter with which to be ashamed or a weakness of someone's character. And this year's theme highlights the importance of culture and diversity among us all.”

I never heard about this until today. I am very excited to spread the word. Rather than regurgitate the entire post, I will just mention it briefly with a link. Awhile back I created a post called "Breaking the Stigma" that talks and shows some videos of some campaigns the United States and the UK are doing to help people become more aware of the support that is needed for friends and families suffering. There are links for places to donate or get more involved if interested.

I have known a few newlywed couples that have a situation where a mental illness is revealed such as depression or an eating disorder. Interestingly, the first thing the parents tell the spouse to do is to annul the marriage before they have any kids. This is shocking to me! That because you have a mental illness you are suddenly unworthy of being loved.

Any other mental health bloggers out there- I urge you to spread the word!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Feelings of Rejection Lingering

photo by Ben Larson

I had another dream last night about being rejected. This seems to be an ongoing theme to my dreams almost every night. Usually it is being rejected by men, being back in high school and getting rejected by boys I thought were cute for example. But last night’s dream had a twist. My best friend in the dream was Sara Jessica Parker (probably because I really got into the Sex and the City series and considered the relationship the women on that show had as my ‘ideal’ kind of friendship). But at the end of the dream, she decided she didn’t want to be my friend anymore and it really hurt.

This brought me back to some real traumatic events in my youth that I was thinking about in the shower. A lot of blog post ideas come to me in the shower. I had a best friend all growing up that lived right down the street. We were the kind of friends that are inseparable, weekly sleepovers, secret clubs, dressing alike, the works. Only in eighth grade she decided to trade me in for someone else. The rejection I felt was awful. Suddenly I had no friends. Meanwhile those two girls became the most popular throughout high school. I struggled my first year in high school as many do but mainly because I really was all alone. I eventually made a friend with a fellow cheerleader. Her name was Laura. She wasn’t as pretty as me I thought and that gave me a sense of security. (aren’t girls horrible?) We became best friends and things started getting better for me. I had a boyfriend who I consider my first love. We dated off an on for several years. At one point when we were “off”, I found out that he and my “best friend” had hooked up. This too was devastating because I had no one to talk to about it. The two closest people in my life were the ones that had hurt me. This time I went into a mini depression. My grades fell and I became a bit of a recluse. I spent almost all weekends at home alone watching tv. This continued throughout my junior and senior year of high school. Eventually I reunited with this boy (what was I thinking, I know- I ended it about a year later) but I never reconciled the friendship after that day with Laura. Why was I able to forgive him and not her? Thats another question that I never understood.

Since then I have had a hard time making friendships with girls. But I try. I have a few, but none that I consider a “best” friend. I don’t know if I will ever have one again, but I would like to.

So it’s safe to say I have some issues with rejection and trust. Why I am STILL struggling with it I have no idea. I found a nice article that talks about how to get over rejection, but I don’t know if it’s really going to help me in any way. I consider myself “over” this history but I still dream about it in one form or another almost every night. Why? Anyone have any ideas or suggestions on how to get rid of them?

I came across an article today at the AnxietyConnection that talks on Anxiety and Insomnia. Since I have posted on that recently I thought I would mention it.

One more off topic random thing. Here is a fun quote that I came across that reminds me to be silly,

“I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities.” ~Dr. Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss

I would like to thank my good friend Ben for the picture I used for this post. He is a pretty great photographer and a really supportive friend.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

A Quick Update and Other Ramblings

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I made it through my birthday without a panic attack. I didn't really do very much for it and maybe thats why. I kept it pretty low key. And although a part of me was sad that there was no party, no big dinner celebration where all the attention was on me and my existence, the majority of me was happy to just be panic free.

So I took the route of doing what I wanted. I took a half day of vacation from work and went out to the mountains with a couple of mt friends to take pictures of the fall scenery. I had been wanting to get up there before the weather got too cold, and photography is very relaxing for me. The weather was perfect. As I have said before, I am a big believer in taking up hobbies because they are very therapeutic and I think they help you to gain confidence. I personally enjoy photography, blogging, and playing the piano to name a few. Here are a couple shots that I took:

It was nice to have a panic attack free birthday for the first time in years.

In other news, I chopped my hair. I took off about three inches and I dyed it pretty dark with red highlights. Its about a shade darker than my natural color. Some days I really like it and others I think, "What have I done!?!" I've gotten a lot of compliments but for some reason I rarely believe any of them. Its hard for me to accept compliments. I guess that goes back to my low self esteem, but I really think people are just being polite. And I'm not blogging about this because I am fishing for compliments, because like I said, I probably wouldn't believe you if you did. I do think its an interesting thought. Does anyone have a hard time excepting compliments? On the flip side, I don't give out compliments lightly. If I give a compliment to someone, I really do mean it. I can't stand it when people say they agree with or constantly praise either me or someone else just to break the ice, or an awkward silence, or to make people like them. Its so fake.

Well either way, I am not one to cry over a haircut.

Well I have rambled on long enough. I hope everyone has had a great weekend.

P.S. The buttons at the end of this post are different ways you can share my blog. Many people like to use social bookmarks like StumbleUpon, or, or technorati. If you enjoy any of these services you can click on the button that represents the service you use to bookmark a page. Let me know if this is useful for you or a waste of space. Enjoy!

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

If it's Your Birthday, You Can Be More Prone to Panic

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So today it’s my 25th birthday. I love my birthdays, I love the gifts and the doting comments you get. The attention is nice and I love positive attention. However there is another side of my birthday that I really hate. Every birthday that I can remember I have had a panic attack. Usually because in our society you usually celebrate someone’s birthday with a big meal. That much attention focused on me always made me sick. I can’t count how many birthdays I have been sick on. This makes sense because people that have social anxiety often don't like to be put in the spotlight. I hate the feeling of having to preform for people. And when its your birthday you are definitely in the spotlight all day long.

A year ago I was out to eat for my birthday lunch with my coworkers and in the middle of the meal I went to the bathroom and threw it all up. I remember very clearly looking in the mirror and thinking “This is not normal. There is something very wrong with me.” That’s when I decided that I needed to do something. I didn’t want to have another birthday like that ever again. That’s when the research began and the diagnosis was made and I started on my journey. So it’s a year of reflection for me, to think of everything that I have learned.

However today I am struggling. There has been anticipatory anxiety for a few days about today because I know it’s a big day potentially for my anxiety. Part of me feels like I should not have a panic attack because then I can prove to myself that I have accomplished something. Part of me is worried what it will mean if I do have a panic attack. All this pressure is making me very anxious. I woke up with it. I am feeling it right now, even after taking a Clonozapam. I thought it would be fun to go take pictures of the fall scenery today so I mentioned it to my coworkers and now we will go and do it but last time we went I panicked so that has me worried.

It’s no fun. Birthdays are supposed to be a happy day celebrating you. So on the way to work this morning I started listening to my recordings I have made of some positive affirmations. I have already decided not to do a big meal because I don’t want to push myself and I don’t want to deal with it today. However because I am still so nervous and anxious, I feel that I need to talk myself through it now.

Q: What am I telling myself to make me feel this way?

A: Today is a panic day and I usually throw up on a day like today. I should be cautious so that I don’t panic. If I do panic than that means I am back where I was a year ago and I haven’t learned anything. Then the worrier comes in: What if I start out ok but then they go to get food or the panic comes on very quickly like it did last time? What if I get sick?

Now I will address these worries:

If the worse case scenario came true and I had a panic attack today, I would be just fine. I don’t have to be all better today just because I want to be. I can take as small a step forward as I choose. I can’t force the growth. If I did panic, no one would think badly of me, not even myself. If I decided that I wouldn’t go shooting with my coworkers after all, then that’s ok because it’s my birthday and I should do what I want on my birthday.

If I get sick today than so what! If they pass judgment on me what’s the worst that could happen? People are going to not like me or think ill of me no matter how “perfect” I might try to be. So I should stop trying to please them and do what I want, because I’m the one that has to be happy or miserable. If they want to go shooting and I decide not to go, I could tell them, “You know, I changed my mind, I am not feeling well and I have a lot of work to do. I better stay back, but you can go.” Or I could say “Do you mind if we go after you guys eat lunch? I am not feeling well and I would rather go when I don’t have the smells in the way.” And it might sound awkward but what’s the worst that could happen? They could again pass judgment on me but I have to learn that it’s their problem if they think ill of me, not mine and that I am being me which is the most important thing! If I feel sick and I don’t want to eat, than don’t eat. My body will tell me when it is hungry and there is no need to push myself. If I am feeling anxious and I don’t want to go than don’t go.

Positive Affirmation: There is no need to push myself. I don’t have to be all better today.

A lightbulb just went off for me as I wrote this post. Today isn’t about pushing myself to prove that I can face my fears and not panic, proving to myself that I am somehow “cured”. It’s about creating a birthday that is happy and anxious free so that next year I can reflect back on how it’s possible to have a good birthday. Then maybe I won’t be so scared of them.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

A Case of Stolen Identity Blog Style

It has come to my attention that there is a website out there that automates all of my content onto their website. Now normally I love links back to my site or when someone mentions a post I did or reposts one of my posts on their blog. However this isn't anything like that. This website just takes whatever post I have done and posts it as their own on their website with ads everywhere so they are making money off of my blog. That bothers me because I don't have ads on this blog and if anyone should be making money off my content it should be me.

So why am I bothering all of you with this? Because I cannot get this person to stop, so I am hoping that they will see this post when they steal it and get the hint. I have emailed everyone I know of to try to stop them but I haven't heard back from anyone. Not even Google who is sponsoring her ads has responded to my 2 emails I sent them.

The website in question is If you are currently on this website and viewing my content, I would urge you to check out the real thing, cause it is much better. My website is at

I don't want to dwell too much on this as it deters from the real focus of this blog, but I felt a post was necessary to try to get the word out.

In the future if anyone wants to use my content, I don't mind a link back or a repost (I encourage them in fact), but reposting all of my new content daily is a problem.

Has anyone else ever had this kind of problem? I know Debaser has and luckily he was able to get a hold of Google to stop it. Unfortunately this person's personal email address generated nothing, isp service was unreachable, and I am at a dead end.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Warning: Anxiety Can Cause Insomnia

Lately at my house we have been going to bed earlier because getting up earlier in the cold, dark mornings of fall seems so impossible. Tonight we turned the lights off at 10:00 which is pretty early, especially for a Friday night! However my mind was tired and I LOVE sleeping so I don't mind.

The last little while I have been having problems falling asleep. This has never been the case before. I used to be able to fall asleep anywhere at any time of day. Lately, when I lay down to fall asleep, I feel like I have restless leg syndrome, only its in my legs and my neck and my arms, etc. I can't get comfortable and after 30 seconds in one position I desperately have to rotate because my body is just itching to move. Previously this behavior would continue for a couple hours until sleep finally came over me, but its a horrible battle. Tonight, I got so tired of it I just got out of bed and decided to do something more productive until I got really tired.

I was doing research on insomnia and found this on,
"Insomnia may result from either psychological or physical causes. The most common psychological problems include anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, insomnia may be an indicator of depression. Many people will have insomnia during the acute phases of a mental illness."
I also came across this at

"The undisputed number one cause of insomnia is excessive stress, anxiety, and depression. Almost everyone has experienced transient insomnia the night before a job interview, big presentation, wedding, or other significant personal event.

Transient insomnia usually passes after the stress-inducing event has been overcome. Chronic insomnia is more serious because it can affect an individual for an extended period of time.

Persistent stress at work or home can lead to chronic insomnia. Anxiety and depressive disorders are another major source for chronic insomnia."

Its so ironic that I love sleeping so much, but I have so much difficulty with it. I struggle to fall asleep and have awful nightmares all night long and wake up feeling like I didn't sleep a wink. Maybe thats why I think I love to sleep, cause when I truly get a good night's sleep, its so rare and wonderful that I want to have more.

Here is another interesting piece of information I found at,
"Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, or waking too early in the morning. These result in the feeling that sleep is not restorative and often are associated with impaired function during the day."
I always thought insomnia was just people that stayed up all night long and never slept. I didn't realize that I suffer so much from it. So right now I am frustrated. Since I am all about self diagnosing myself on the internet (which I don't recommend doing if you suffer from Hypochondria) I wonder if maybe I do have RLS. Here is what I found on the same site mentioned above,
"Restless leg syndrome (RLS) – RLS is an unpleasant tickling, burning, pricking or aching sensations in the legs that are generally only relieved with movement and tend to occur while relaxing in the evening hours. A similar and often overlapping disorder is periodic limb movement of sleep, which are the recurrent movements of the legs during sleep that may cause arousals from sleep."
Is it possible to have those same sensations in areas in addition to your legs? Anyone else have RLS?

Now I don't like labeling myself with these "conditions" for a few reasons. It makes me feel like there is something wrong with me if I have chronic anxiety, chronic insomnia, and what the heck lets throw in RLS while we're at it. Its like I am ordering off of a menu. I also don't like listing everything that I think I may have because it feels like it comes across as a cry for attention when its not. I just like sharing what I am going through in case it can help someone else.

So its now after midnight (I know thats still early for lots of people but its late for me) and I don't know if I should try to go back to bed, if I should just try to fall asleep on the couch, maybe get something to drink I dunno. I don't think anything I do is really going to be a great solution at this point.

But please don't worry about me, its nothing to lose sleep over...

Has anyone else had this or a similar problem? If so any tips? Maybe I can try using them next time.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blog against Abuse Day

Today is the official Blog against Abuse Day as you may have noticed on my little poster on my sidebar. It’s where bloggers all around the world are, you guessed it, blogging on any form of abuse in any field. There are blogs today on stopping animal abuse, elderly abuse, abuse against children, sports games, anything and everything you can think of. So when thinking about what topic I would choose that was relevant to my blog, I decided to take a stance today that is controversial in the world of anxiety. And that is whether or not to take medication. In my opinion, by depriving yourself of medication that can help you live a more ordinary life, you are abusing your self worth and your right to happiness.

That’s a pretty bold statement to make and I am sure many of you are reeling right now ready to rip me a new one. So I will list all of the reasons I know of as to why people don’t take medication and my thoughts on them. If I forgot one or don’t have your reason on there, please educate me.

Reasons people do not take medication to treat anxiety or other mental health disorders:

  • Many people think that taking medication is not natural. They think that our bodies should be able to handle things on their own or look for strict organic alternatives.
  • They think that they should be able to handle their “mental shortcomings” on their own, that using medication is somehow degrading or embarrassing.
  • Or maybe they have simply had a bad experience that has turned them off of the idea. The side effects were so horrible that they would rather live with the original problem.
  • Or maybe you are like me and have insurance problems and can’t afford it!

Let me address these issues.

  1. Medication is not natural- I have a hard time understanding this one. Maybe my spiritual beliefs are giving me a blind spot. The way I see it, everything we have been given on this Earth is a gift from God. A man having the knowledge to take certain elements and put them together to make a medicine that will help us doesn’t qualify something as “man made” to me. This is in reply to people who consider medicine to be man made vs. organic alternatives which are not man made and are therefore better somehow. Everything is created from God. He just gives us the knowledge and enlightenment on how to use everything to our advantage. Just because it doesn’t come directly from the ground or a plant doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad for your body. To me you might as well go back to the Stone Age and live without electricity because the light in your house isn’t natural and who knows what kind of long term damage that could have on you. Granted there are medicines that have proven to be bad for you, but I am not arguing that ALL medicines are good either. I am purely stating that there are SOME medicines that can really help you and shouldn’t be pushed aside simply because it’s a pill. I am talking about people who won’t even take a Tylenol because of what it might do to their body. (If you actually do have unpleasant side effects and that’s why you don’t take medicine than that’s a different situation that I am not referring to here, and will address that later.)
  2. Embarrassed or too proud- that’s exactly what it is. Pride. LOTS of people struggle with this one including myself for a long time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you have diabetes, and you need to take insulin every day for it, than that’s what your body needs to survive. No one thinks twice about that. But somehow people think that if your mind doesn’t have the right chemical balance and that causes them to have unrealistic fears or high levels of anxiety, that they should be able to handle it on their own and learn to deal with it, otherwise they are incompetent. Why on earth has that stigma been placed in our society? If your brain needs medication to function normally, adjust the chemical imbalance, than by all means give your body or your mind what it means. No one should look down on you for that and if they do than why would you want to hang around them anyway? I struggled with that because I want everyone to like me and worried what people would think if they knew I took medication. It turns out that not very many people even know that I am on it, and the ones that do have been extremely nice to me and have continued to be my friend.
  3. Bad Side Effects when attempting to take medicine- This one I feel for the most. I have been extremely lucky to not have really horrible side effects for the medication I have been given. I still think that even if you have had a bad experience, it doesn’t mean you should swear them all off. I think you just haven’t found the right one. There are doctors that are willing to work with you to find what works best for you, but it’s a longer process that can get tiresome. Its easier for me to say don’t give up when I haven’t had the same experiences. But if I did, I would like to think I would continue to look for options to help me and not just accept my fate. Sure you can do other things that help immensely such as breathing techniques, positive affirmations, writing out your thoughts and then analyzing them, etc. All of these are great tools that have served me well. However the frequency of having to rely on these dropped dramatically when I finally got my act together and started taking medication regularly. Every time I stop taking it for whatever reason, (I forget or get out of the habit, I don’t have insurance so I don’t get the refill, etc.) I always pay for it with a setback. It makes my life so much easier to be consistent. For people still trying to find what works, you can take Vitamins B and C to help in the meantime.
  4. Can’t afford it- This I have to admit is a hard one. I bet you there are programs out there to help you. I know your local LDS church has a welfare program that might be able to help you pay for needed medication. I am not sure on the policies for non members but it might be worth looking into that or a government operated welfare program. For me it was just a weird situation where there was an unexpected job change and we had to switch insurances and the timing was bad so I have been a couple weeks without meds and I wish I had thought it through with more importance instead of just having a “whatever” attitude about it.

What I am trying to get at is that we are all worth the time and trials to find a medication that makes our body and mind feel like your normal self. You are worth not having to wake up everyday and feel defeated, wondering how you will ever make it through this all over again. You are worth a trip to a doctor who can help you make the right decision for you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking its not worth it, because “its” = you. Its one thing to let yourself be abused as a child by someone else, let your self esteem be abused by mean kids or even adults, but today I am begging you to not abuse your self worth by thinking you don’t need medication, its not good for you, by giving up the search because its too hard, or by leaving you at the bottom of your priority list.

You deserve better.

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