Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Panic Attacks Triggered by Labor Pains

Lately I have been getting more and more nervous about delivering this baby. With my first child, I was very oblivious to what labor was like.

Let me preface by stating that I am a HUGE wuss when it comes to pain. A lot of woman try to be tough when delivering babies and it seems like a contest to see who can go the longest without an epidural. I commend the women who do it naturally. If that works for you than great. I on the other hand, just wanted to survive the experience. Before going to the hospital I had imagined that before any real pain or discomfort started surely in this day and age I would be pumped with pain medications. But while waiting to determine if I was in true active labor, and while waiting for the anesthesiologist to come back to the hospital since they sent him home for the night, I experienced a lot of pain and was very much unprepared for the agony I felt while waiting for an epidural. I have a distinct memory of burying my face into the bed, holding onto the bed rails and kicking my legs, literally writing in pain.

Then after getting my epidural, the rest was a piece of cake. But I learned just how unprepared I was for those first few hours. 

Now that I know better, whenever a small contraction starts I have immediately gone into panic mode.

Yesterday I went to the doctor and they checked me and told me that I could go pretty much anyday. Last night, I had several contractions while trying to go to sleep. I started shaking uncontrollably. I had a hard time catching my breath or my thoughts. I was petrified that I would soon experience the hard excruciating labor pains that I did the first time around.

I realize I am also worried about not being in control of the situation. I tried to schedule an induction because that would help me feel more in control of the when and how, but unfortunately my doctor will only do those after 39 weeks and she doesn't think I will last that long. I scheduled one anyway as a plan B, but I know that I am going to have to figure this out for the surprise middle of the night scenario.

Because I am feeling extreme anticipatory anxiety I know I need to sort out all of my thoughts just like I would for any other trigger and hopefully that will help me. My plan is to research more about breathing techniques (related to labor) that I can use as well as some helpful coping statements I can refer to to help control my thoughts.

I have attached my exercise I did to help address my fears. I plan to print it out and keep it in my hospital bag so I can refer to it when I need it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Update to Get You Through the Day

I've had some people asking for an update. I know that I am not the best at posting on a regular basis. Its not that I don't care, but rather I don't want to put lame posts up that were created just so I can say I posted. I want the quality of posts to be better than the quantity if that makes sense. This means when my anxiety is up, usually I have more posts, and when my anxiety isn't really bothering me much, than my post count goes down. Just more proof that anxiety comes and goes like a roller coaster.

Lately, I haven't been having many issues with my anxiety. I think I am in a good place right now with my pregnancy. The beginning of the pregnancy didn't help out with my anxiety like I thought it would, but I think by the second trimester eventually my hormones leveled off to a good place :) I am due in about a month and it will be interesting to see if I continue to do well while nursing or if the anxiety returns.

Some of the best life lessons can be found in simple childrens' stories, songs, and poems. So here are a couple fun quotes from the best children authors to help you through the day:

 “Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
-Shel Silverstein
 "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Suess

Hope everyone is doing well!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Discipline and Peace in the Home

I have tried very hard to make my home my sanctuary. A place that I can rely on as a safe haven from my anxiety. A place that promotes peace and love. However lately I have noticed that delicate balance shifting. As my sweet little baby girl has been growing up and turning into a full blown whining, tantrum throwing two year old, I find myself struggling with discipline. Specifically, the balance with myself and my spouse. 

As new parents we are both trying to figure out our parenting style and come up with a consistent method of discipline, but it gets difficult. When you feel like you have no idea what you are doing, or feel like you don't know what you should do, and the whining and crying doesn't stop, it can be FRUSTRATING. When I am alone with her I can handle the time outs and there are no anxiety related problems. But when my husband is disciplining her, I get very uneasy. I don't like feeling out of control and I don't like seeing Mr. T frustrated. Even if he isn't frustrated, I am worried that he will be.

We don't spank and we try our best to keep our cool and not raise our voices. But I am still worried about losing that peaceful spirit we have whenever a tantrum erupts or maybe when the 5th tantrum of the day erupts. We'll take turns when we've had it to get refreshed. Sometimes I will even walk outside and take a few deep breaths.

So I am not sure where to go from here. I guess this is more of an observation post about new triggers in my life. As my life is changing and I overcome old triggers, new ones are developing.

I've noticed that any disruption of the peace in my home is a cause for me to feel anxious, not just discipline. But this particular instance is a daily occurrence right now.  Looking at the bigger picture, I feel that I need to learn how to better deal with confrontation in general.

Anyone else have any suggestions or any stories of similar triggers?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Feeding Our Hungry Souls

Today has been one of those days. I'm big and tired and I feel a little lost. I clean the house to have it dirtied just as fast and I wonder why I bother. I'm a little sad, but really for no reason. Today is one of those days where my soul is hungry. Give me purpose!

I came across this video of a local woman who is also a blogger. I've heard her story before and to see this really touched me. She and her husband survived a plane crash and this is a little bit about their life now. She was even on Oprah at one time. No matter what your religion or personal beliefs, there are really great lessons about life and family in this woman's story.

Just what my heart needed today. I really feel it is important to feed our souls daily with inspiration, motivation, or some form of meditation. Something to help us reflect on the big picture and realign ourselves with the present instead of always living in fear of the future. I'm not always good at doing this everyday, but when I don't, I feel my anxiety swallowing me whole.


Monday, August 9, 2010

I'm Being Followed by a Moon Crater!

Do you remember in junior high when you would get that one extremely large pimple on your face and it would destroy your self esteem? You couldn't look anyone in the eye and tried at all costs to cover the spot with your hand. It felt like a huge spotlight was on it  and everyone was laughing at you. My brothers and sisters would taunt each other singing "You're being followed by a moon crater, moon crater, moon crater!" to the Moonshadow song.

TMI ALERT! if you are easily grossed out, you may not want to keep reading.
I have been blessed with this special gift I like to call forced humility even now when I am 27 years old. Occasionally I will get a nickel sized infection on my chin that scabs over like a cut or cold sore would and takes a week or two to go away. Nothing makeup can cover though I try heaven knows. I've only had it about three times over the last ten years but each time I get it, I think I am either really stressed or my immune system is down. But when I get it, oh man do I feel so embarrassed. It's hard enough to deal with social situations without the additional worries!

Well this last week I got it. Just in time for when my whole family came to town. I couldn't stop thinking about what I would say to them when they asked me what it was. I went over my medical explanation over and over on the drive to meet them. It makes me feel to some degree like a leper must have felt. When I showed up and greeted everyone, I surprisingly veered way off my planned course and just announced to everyone that I was aware of the invasion on my face and they shouldn't be alarmed or something similarly sarcastic. My sisters laughed and told me they didn't even notice it nor would have if I hadn't pointed it out, nor did they care. I guess now that we are older the moon crater song has been forgotten. But I felt better because it was out in the open and I didn't have to try to hide it or explain it or worry whether people had noticed. I could relax a bit more and try not to think about it.

I've decided to look at it like I mentioned earlier. As an opportunity to be humbled and as a reminder to not judge those around me so critically.

Anyone else ever have these humbling teaching moments?

On a side note, I have the best readers ever. Its so silly that I could get so worked up over one lousy comment when there are so many other wonderful people out there that are looking out for me everyday. Thank you to everyone that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside when I really needed it. I hope I can someday return the favor.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Warning: MY "Incessant Monologues" are "Hardly Interesting and Certainly not Helpful"

As I was checking my email today, I received a comment notification that someone left on the blog. I was shocked as I read it, and although its not flattering I decided to publish it anyway. I decided to post about it as opposed to replying in the comment section. Here is what the person said,
"My take on this site, incessant monologues and content:

ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, Me, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME.


Hardly interesting and certainly not helpful.

Yes, management of any condition is crucial and continual. But until you address the underlying events and sources....forget it.

Your daily doodlings and cake talk are a disservice as the fake smiles and cute fonts mask any acknowledgment of underlying issues. It's denial in my opinion.

Yes, affirmations are great. Coping mechanisms are great. Some therapies are great. Anything that helps and is healthy is a positive direction.

What concerns me is your self branded character is simply that, unsubstantiated unvalidated diary entries making lite of a real medical condition.

This site should be renamed: "MY reality of MY anxiety".

Any person in search of real data and hopeful of achieving real results (founded on medical data and empirical research) should avoid this site.

Really? Seriously?

I am all for reviews and comments, good or bad, but this was a bit on the harsh side on my opinion. I guess I was under the impression that people who suffer from social anxiety was more sensitive to the feelings of others, but I guess this is not always the case. Rather than let this ruin what was starting out to be a good day, I have decided to leave my thoughts on this and then forget about it and move on.

Let me explain what I believe this site is so as to not confuse anyone. This site is a BLOG. A blog as stated by is "an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page." Of course this is not a site strictly about the medical aspect of anxiety although I do dabble in that at times. There are PLENTY of medical websites out there and I am not a doctor. I post journal like entries, about me, because that's all I can speak for. I am not about to tell you how you feel or what your symptoms are. I try to provide personal experiences that other people can relate with and hopefully learn from my mistakes or my successes. Its a place to draw inspiration, motivation, information, and mainly SUPPORT.

This site is a place that I spend a lot of time and therefore I like to make it a place that is comfortable and uplifting. I want it to be different from all the formal looking medical websites that are out there because again, its a BLOG.

I have learned in life that no matter how hard you try, you cannot please everyone and someone out there isn't going to like you.

Anyway, I could go on but I don't think it would do any good. In other news, I quit blogging for because I didn't like how neglected this site had become. Hopefully I'll be able to post more interesting and helpful blog posts in the future.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cool Quote Alert

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” - Ernest Hemingway


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My 2 Least Favorite Words: Just Relax!

This past weekend I attended a 2 day photography workshop. I picked this particular workshop because it wasn't too far away from where I lived.  I paid for it over a month in advance and I was really looking forward to it. I knew when I paid I would cross my fingers that my hubby would be in town to watch the little one, but that he could possibly be gone as well. Sure enough, the day before the workshop he had to fly out of town last minute for the entire weekend.  It made things complicated which was what I wanted to avoid. We were scrambling to find babysitters for both nights but we managed to do it. Now I had to drop her off on my way there with dinner and a nap in her as opposed to just leaving her with her Dad.

Day One

I ended up arriving 5 minutes late the first day, a bit frazzled from my circus routine in getting there. The instructor made sure to point it out to the class which left me a little uncomfortable right from the start. He was poking fun at how unprofessional I was to arrive late and how real photographers are always early. I wanted to sock him for not realizing the hoops I was jumping through to even be there, 5 minutes late or not.

The first day was classroom instruction. The second day was an actual photo shoot of two models and a motorcycle, but the location was undisclosed until we were at the workshop. When he announced the photoshoot was 40 minutes away, I was again annoyed. That added two more babysitting hours onto the next day, and it meant I had to drive on two unfamiliar highways to get to a random overpass. Driving to unfamiliar places, especially when there are highways involved make me very nervous.

Day Two

The next day I left much earlier so that I could have plenty of "getting lost" and "freaking out" time if I needed it. On the way there I thought to myself, "I am actually paying someone to torture me like this. I put myself in this uncomfortable situation, and its a good thing to do, but I still paid an arm and a leg for it. " In the end I was so proud of myself. I found the location in one piece and I got there early. Anyone that gets nervous driving knows that after a drive like that you are still a little on edge.

As I was setting up I asked the instructor a question. I don't remember the question, and I don't remember his answer except for when he told me I should "Just relax!" He said that several times to me over the two day course. I must have come across to him as a really uptight person. That's not who I want to be. However this workshop was a stressful thing for me to do. And again his judgmental, transparent comments left me annoyed.

Anyone with anxiety knows that if we could "Just relax" we would in a heartbeat. Its not easy for us to calm our nerves, slow our pounding heart, and fully enjoy everything.

I had a stressful but growth filled weekend. I learned that even if I don't like someone's personality, I can still learn from them. I learned that I can do hard things, all by myself. And I bet you can too.

If you enjoyed this post Get the Reality of Anxiety via RSS or Email
This post was originally posted on Aimee's other anxiety blog, The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety at

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Knew it!

With this pregnancy being so different from my first one, I knew I had to be having a boy this time around. My first trimester was pretty awful. Now that I am in my second trimester and the morning sickness is gone and I am getting my energy back, hopefully things will liven up around here. Finding out I am having a boy has only ensured many stressful, gray hairing days to come. Hope all is well with you! Drop me a line and let me know how things are going. Feel free to ask any questions too :)


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where's my Anti-Stress Calming Collar?


Here is what I just posted over at The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety:

I have a cat. Got her as a cute kitten but now she is a cat. This is the first one that I have ever owned. I am a big animal lover, but this cat has been testing my patience. She has issues with a quiet house. Anytime someone is sleeping, she can't stand it and starts meowing. She meows right outside my daughter's door when she is napping. Worse is every night when the family tries to sleep and the wee hours of the morning. Constantly meowing, loudly. She has food and water, access to the outside, access to any room she wants, lots of cat toys, two dogs to play with, but nothing keeps her quiet. On top of all that she's mean and bites or scratches you if you try to touch her. I am at my wits end, willing to try anything so I don't have to give her away.

Today I found and interesting product in the pet aisle. Its called an "Anti-Stress Calming Collar" and is designed to "safely and effectively calm cats". The box continues, "Ideal for stressful" and "unexpected situations". The collar contains pheromones that are supposed to naturally calm your pet cat. I bought it to try out for nighttime to see if it could help calm my uneasy cat so I can finally get a good night's sleep.
As I was reading the box I found myself thinking, "Where's my anti-stress calming collar?" Wouldn't it be great if someone invented a similar collar, like a bracelet for example to help you with anxiety? The boxes could read the same thing, "ideal for stressful and unexpected situations." Take it out before going to that party and tah-dah! You are anxiety free for the evening. Having a rough batch of morning anxiety? Slip it on when you first wake up and your day is suddenly much brighter.  It would be nice if there was a simple cure-all for our anxiety. Unfortunately we as humans are very complicated creatures and our minds are not so easily fooled.

Also unfortunate, the calming collar did nothing to stop my cats meowing problem. Have you ever tried a product claiming to cure anxiety only to have it not work?


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cool Quote Alert

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."
-Dawna Markova


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Do You Have Anxiety While Driving?

On Saturday I went on a road trip. I drove all by myself to Moab and back in one day. That's about 9 hours on different highways, freeways, state routes, whatever you call them. Big multiple lane roads moving at very fast speeds. For most people this is nothing special, but for someone who gets anxious and has fears associated with driving, its a huge accomplishment. One speeding ticket and one potential dead deer later, I rolled into my garage at 10:30 at night ready for bed.

I am generally okay when driving around in my comfort zone, but I do not like driving somewhere I have never been before. I especially don't like driving with other people in the car with me. I used to be really scared on the freeways but a daily 2 hour commute for a couple years has helped me to overcome it. That said, I am okay on freeways that I am familiar with. Once I start having to merge onto other unfamiliar freeways, things get tense for me.

The trip was to visit an old friend and take pictures of her newborn baby. I had a GPS telling me exactly where I needed to go so that took a lot of the fear of the unknown out of the equation. I was enjoying my tunes and making progress. I like to listen to music when I drive. It helps to calm my nerves. Then I got pulled over. Argh! I had been trying so hard not to speed the entire time. But the road slowed as I drove through a small town and I got careless. That put me in a bad mood. After that, the only music that was helping me was anything really mellow.

I made it to Moab and had a great photoshoot. It was so nice to visit with my friend and it made me glad that I didn't back out or cancel at the last minute.

On the trip back, I stayed in the slow lane and set my cruise control to the exact speed limit posted. I wasn't taking any chances. As dusk hit, I noticed several "Warning: Deer Crossing" signs. Sure enough, a deer jumped onto the road right in front of my car. I slammed on my brakes but still managed to take the deer out by his back legs with the driver side of the car. The deer was down for a minute or so, got up, stumbled, fell, and eventually jumped off the other side of the road. I had pulled over, and was shaking. I didn't know what to do at that point.

The sky got really dark and driving out in the desert, there was hardly any light anywhere. I was really jumpy. Anything that looked out of the ordinary I was sure was another deer. I was thinking what else could happen on this trip? Only to see a Warning: Falling Rocks sign.

I was done with driving. I just wanted to get get home. I wanted to get pulled over so I could ask the cop for an escort home. I was really scared that I was losing all control.

I eventually made it home all in one piece. In the future I don't think I will take on such big road trips all alone. Having a friend there to support me would have been really nice.

Have you had any scares while driving?


Monday, April 26, 2010

Great Song- I'm Moving On by Rascal Flats

I was on a road trip this past weekend, more details on that adventure coming soon, when this song came on my iPod and I remembered just how much I love it. It really is a feel good song, and makes me realize that I don't have to pity myself or stay stuck with my anxiety. I can do something about it, and so can you. Today.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why Do We Shut People Out when We Need Them the Most?

In our society it is widely known one should wait until after their first trimester before breaking the good news of pregnancy to friends and family. This is because after the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage significantly decreases. The idea is that if you tell people you are pregnant and then miscarry, that it would be painful to have to tell everyone that you lost the baby. It's a way to protect yourself from pain. After spending the day in the ER with the suspicion of having a miscarriage I realized doing this may prevent additional pain but it also shuts out the opportunity to feel love and support.

With my first pregnancy, everything was flawless. So when I found out I was pregnant again, I hoped and even assumed things would be very similar and I wouldn't have any problems. Although we only told a few, the news spread in Mr. T's family like wildfire. I told my mother and three of my sisters on Easter that we were "egg"specting, and two of my closest co-workers and a best friend.

Feeling Ashamed for Breaking Social Norms

As the symptoms started on Sunday, I decided for various reasons to wait to go into the doctor's office on Monday as opposed to the hopsital. All afternoon and evening I mourned what I was sure had to be a miscarriage. I felt stupid, embarrassed, and ashamed that I had told so many people. Not because it would be painful to tell them the latest news, but rather because I was worried they would judge me for not following social norms. "She should have known better" they would think.

I just stopped my medication two weeks ago. Do I stay off of it or get back on and go through another horrible two weeks of side effects?

Even worse, we were supposed to go to a family get together and I didn't want to see anyone. Mr. T eventually had to make an appearance so he went later on to let everyone know what was going on and why I wouldn't be coming. I was grateful he did the talking for me. He unfortunately had to leave that night for a business trip.

The Pros of Letting Others Into Your Life


But then a wonderful thing happened. The next morning I got a call from my sister-in-law (who has had 5 miscarriages) and she offered to go with me to the hospital. My mother-in-law offered to watch my toddler. Flowers and dinner were brought over. I received phone calls throughout the day to check up on me . I received so much unexpected love and support that I never would have gotten had I kept this all to myself. What a horrible secret that would have been to keep. I would have had to go through it literally all alone. Suffering, all alone. Instead, I really feel loved and encouraged by those around me.

I understand there are limits and everyone is different. I agree that its best to wait to share the exciting news with your boss at work or all over Facebook for example.  For me, I now see the importance of letting those that are closest to me in on my life, both the good and the bad, and letting them give me all the support and love that I need. I've decided not to feel bad for being different or for not acting the way others may think that I should.

It turns out that I have a SCH (a hemorrhage) which is not a miscarriage. It will be a week or two before I know for sure whether there is a fetus since the ultrasounds can't pick one up yet. I haven't miscarried yet, but it's still a possibility and I just need to take it easy. Thanks to everyone for the kind words of support and encouragement.

How This Can Apply To You


Maybe you aren't in this exact situation, but maybe you hide other hardships from your friends or family because you want to appear happy. It may be worth rethinking who you let in and shut out of your life.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oh boy...or girl?!?

I had an extremely shocking and surreal day on Monday. I had a suspicion, and it took a couple of tests to come up with conclusive results. Mr. T is out of town all week, so I had to tell him over the phone. I couldn't keep this to myself for so long. I found out that I am pregnant.

If all goes well with this pregnancy, it will be our second child. It was neither planned, nor prevented, and I am thrilled and nervous at the same time. I  feel very blessed to be trusted to raise and care for another little one. So what does being pregnant mean for my anxiety?
I have stopped taking my Sertraline (Zoloft) cold turkey and will definitely not take any more Clonozepam until after I am done nursing. Even though my doctor said Sertraline or Zoloft is okay during pregnancy, he also said it is best to not take any psychiatric medication if you can help it during the first trimester.

With my first pregnancy, I was lucky enough to be mostly anxiety free and medication free the entire time I was pregnant and for about the first 10 months of nursing. My mother was the same way. She always felt better when she was pregnant. I am hoping it will be the same with this one.

I am nervous about any side effects of suddenly stopping my anxiety medications. Usually if I forget to take my Sertraline for more than a day, I get horrible stomach aches and cramps. I don't remember feeling any side effects last time I stopped for my pregnancy, so I am hoping again for the same.  It is not okay to take Clonozepam during pregnancy or nursing. Besides possible birth defects and withdrawl symptoms in the newborn, it can cause your baby to have gray teeth!

When I was deciding to get pregnant the first time, I didn't know if I should wait until I "recovered" from the anxiety before getting pregnant or not. This is partially why I have the feelings I do about being cured from your anxiety. If you feel that way, you can put off these life decisions for who knows how long. Instead, I decided that this may be something I need to learn to live with, and therefore, when I felt I had the social anxiety under control, I felt comfortable getting pregnant.

I consider myself lucky that I do so much better with my anxiety when I am pregnant, but that doesn't mean you will be the same way. Some women find their anxiety symptoms get worse after being pregnant. So if you are contemplating this decision, my advice would be to wait until you feel you have successfully learned and used the tools to manage your anxiety and then go for it.


Monday, March 22, 2010

My Thoughts on "Recovering" from Social Anxiety

Everyone reading this is probably looking for a way to be cured from anxiety. I have found that when I focus on words such as "cure" and "recovery," it tends to lead to disappointments. If I am doing really well, I may feel that I am close to recovery. Then if I get hit with a setback, I am really upset because I thought I was doing better.

Instead, I focus on finding the hidden lessons within the setback and use it to move forward. My philosophy is to treat anxiety as if you may have it the rest of your life. If you do this, you can learn ways to reduce and manage the anxiety symptoms so that you can still live a happy fulfilling life.

In this anxiety video that I made for The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety, I go into more detail on my philosophy of managing symptoms of social anxiety vs. recovering from anxiety or curing anxiety.

What are your thoughts about setbacks and recovering from anxiety? Do you think you can fully recover from anxiety or do you think it's something to plan on living with as best as possible?


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

7 Tips for Reducing Gym Anxiety

I decided I would spend some time implementing important new habits in my life that would help me to be healtheir- which in turn would help my anxiety. Mr. T and I got gym memberships because they have a daycare and that works best for our little busy body toddler.

However, I find myself feeling VERY insecure at the gym. I usually prefer working out at home for this reason, but I didn't realize just how much I cared about it.

The first few times I went I actually put makeup on and did my hair. I bought new workout clothes.

I select my treadmill by finding one in front of a large pillar holding the ceiling up. This way I don't have to be as concerned about people directly behind me watching me. The mirrors on the side portray a dreadful figure staring back at me, and all I can think of is how everyone there is looking at me and laughing.

I made a note to look around for these horrible judgemental people, and not a single person was looking around like I was. Everyone was focused on their workout. Why couldn't I?

I turn on some tunes to try to distract my thoughts, but my eyes are continually looking around. My arm gets caught on my headphones and pulls my ipod out of the container and it falls on the treadmill and conveyors to the floor. So mortifying! I guess it could have been worse. I could have fallen and conveyed to the floor.

"What levels has she set on her treadmill? She is so pretty, I am so embarrassed to be near her! I have no clue what I am doing. Should I have worn this?"

I don't want to give into the insecurities and cancel my membership because I know that will only feed my fears and make it harder to go in the future. So I plan to stick it out until I feel comfortable working out by myself alongside all the beautiful toned women.

So as usual, I decided to do some research. I found these tips to help with gym anxiety (sure enough I am doing it all wrong!):

1. Take a friend with you. I think it is less nerve-wracking to go to the gym with a friend. You won’t be so focused on yourself and what everyone else thinks of you if you have a friend working out alongside you.

2. If you cannot bring a friend with you to the gym, bring some music to listen to while you workout. Bring an MP3, iPod, or Discman with you to the gym to listen to while you exercise. Listening to music while you exercise will energize you and help you keep focused during your workout.

3. Take a tour beforehand. When you sign up for a new gym, they will usually allow you to take a tour of the exercise room before you actually go in there to workout. Some gyms also give you a guide for your visit to show you how to work the machines and weights in the gym. If the gym you chose offers this service, I’d recommend taking advantage of it. It can be really helpful.

4. Wear something comfortable. Be sure to wear something you feel comfortable in to the gym. This will help you feel better about yourself.

5. Don’t look in the mirrors if you can help it. I was reading a study the other day that said people who go to gyms with mirrors in the workout room are less likely to keep going to the gym, so I don’t even know why they still put mirrors in there, but if you can help it, don’t look in the mirrors while you workout. Having some music might help you distract yourself from watching yourself workout in the mirror. Some gyms also have televisions you can watch while you workout.

A couple I have observed on my own:

6. Read a book while on the treadmill. I see lots of people doing that and want to try it out.
7. Hire a personal trainer. I would love this but they are too expensive for my budget. If you can, they will help you stay focused and motivated.

I also need some newer workout songs for my ipod- any good suggestions?

Do you ever feel insecure at the gym? What do you do to reduce the anxiety?


Monday, March 1, 2010

Last Day of the Giveaway

I have decided that rather than do a new monthly challenge for March, I am going to continue to focus on getting healthy for another month. I want to feel comfortable with my goals before moving onto the next thing and this one is a hard one to implement. I am going to the gym, but it doesn't feel like a normal routine yet. I am trying to eat healthier and drink more water, but I want to keep working at it.

However, tomorrow is the last day to enter the giveaway. Sign up now for your free online therapy session!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just What I Needed to Hear Today

Why Does Heavenly Father Love Us?

"Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.
God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.
He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.
What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us."

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Love of God,” Ensign, Nov 2009, 21–24


Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Couple Healthy Breakfast Ideas

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It should never be skipped. Eating right away when you wake up gets your metabolism going which will help you lose weight, and can regulate blood sugar levels which can relieve morning anxiety.

Here are some yummy but healthy breakfast ideas I have found in The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook:

Banana Split for Breakfast?

On top two banana halves, substitute ice cream with fat-free, sugar-free vanilla yogurt. Add some fresh cut strawberries, a tablespoon of crunchy high fiber, low sugar cereal (such as Grape Nuts) and some fat-free, sugar-free hot fudge.

Your looking at a YUMMY breakfast that's only 195 calories.

Instead of using Fresh fruit and ice cubes to make a smoothie, skip the ice and use frozen fruit. That way you don't have to worry about your fruit going bad or that your smoothie will be too watery. You can use fresh fruit in season and freeze it yourself or you can buy the packaged varieties.

Make your own smoothies instead of going to the smoothie bars. If you look at the nutritional value of their smoothies, they can pack upwards of 600-800 calories and tons of sugar!

Ever heard of green smoothies? I hadn't until I saw this video of Robyn from Green Smoothie Girl. It has me very interested since vegetables are really hard to get down any of my family member's throats. I don't think my blender would work but maybe I could throw in a few baby spinach leaves next time...


Do you have any healthy breakfast tips or ideas? Whats your favorite?

Don't forget to sign up for the free online therapy giveaway! First come first serve, so anyone can still win...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

5 Tips for Starting an Anxiety Reducing Exercise Program

There is a poll on the sidebar right now about how often people exercise. I am surprised to see that it varies all over from NEVER exercising (that's the one I chose) to everyday!

Mr. T and I decided to get gym memberships to follow through with our goal of being more healthy and exercising. And more specifically, I am expecting it to help me reduce my anxiety. This is the best option for us because the gym has a child center where Lil' P can play while we work out. It also has a rock climbing area which we love. A little while back I had my first day at the gym.

I got to start out with a personal trainer who assessed my fitness levels. Overall, it appeared on paper as though I was in pretty good shape. However, when I started an actual workout I ran into a problem. After any exercise set my heart rate would skyrocket into the 170's. I had to wait for a few minutes everytime for my heart rate to go back down before I could continue. The trainer explained that my heart is really out of shape and that I need to do more cardio to get it used to working out. He suggested 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week.

I am so out of shape that I couldn't move for the next two days. I was soooo sore! I have a lot of work to do.

Here are a few of my favorite tips (from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook) for starting a new exercise program in order to reduce anxiety:
  • Expect some initial discomfort. If you are out of shape, aches and pains are normal. As your strength and endurance grow, the pain will pass.
  • Ideally exercise should be aerobic.
  • Optimal frequency is 4-5 times a week with 20-30 minute sessions.
  • Optimal intensity for aerobic exercise is a heart rate of (220-your age) X .75 for at least 10 minutes.
  • Avoid exercising only once a week. Infrequent spurts of exercise is stressful to your body and generally does more harm than good. (walking is an exception).
Don't forget to sign up for the free online therapy giveaway! First come first serve, so anyone can still win...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Healthy Swap: Drink More Water, Less Caffeine

Never would I do this if I wasn't contractionally obligated. I hate being on camera. Too many imperfections and too much to judge. Every month I have to post a video on The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety. So even though I cringe when watching it, I decided since it goes along with the monthly challenge, I might as well share it here as well. I learned that I am no where near drinking the amount of water that I am supposed to. So the first thing I am doing this month to get healthier is to drink more water!

Joe Barry Mc Donagh from ezine articles says this,
"Nearly every function of the body is monitored and pegged to the efficient flow of water through our system. Water transports hormones, chemical messengers, and nutrients to vital organs of the body. When we don't keep our bodies well-hydrated, they may react with a variety of signals such as anxiety, which we would never think are related to our poor drinking habits."

And only for The Reality of Anxiety readers, here is where I got my information about the dangers of caffeine for anxiety suffers, and a diet to help eliminate anxiety.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Giveaway! Free online therapy sessions! is an on line provider of EMDR therapy for anxiety, stress,depression and PTSD. According to their website, EMDR is "Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, is a powerful new short-term psychotherapy technique which has been very successful in helping people who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. Until recently, these conditions were difficult and time-consuming to treat. EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its simplicity and the fact that it can bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress."

These sessions usually cost $18.00 each but they are giving 100 free sessions away to the loyal readers of The Reality of Anxiety!

How to get one of these free sessions:
  1. Become a new follower either by subscribing via RSS or email, or by "following" the blog through blogger, or following through twitter. You will have to let me know if you do this by leaving me a comment with your email address and how you joined.
  2. Leave a note on the discussion forum. This can be a response to someone else or a new topic altogether. Again I need an email address so I can contact you if you win.
  3. Join the monthly challenge. Let me know you are joining by leaving a comment and what you plan to accomplish this month (plus your email address).
Disclaimer: All winners need to send me a valid email address so that they can be contacted of winnings and also to set up their session. I have been guaranteed that your email address will not be emailed by the company after your free session. There is no after session marketing or sharing of your email address. Only one free session per person.

These will be given away in first-come-first-serve style so hurry and enter!

This giveaway will be valid until March 2, 2010 (30 days).


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Monthly Challenge: February 2010- Let's Get Healthy!

I've procrastinated this goal for awhile now, mostly because the holidays were not when I wanted to start, but also because I am scared to make this lifestyle change! I don't believe in diets. I think being healthy is an everyday thing, not just every once in awhile. And my general health is in bad shape.

Not sure if you are out of shape? Here are some common symptoms:

  • Being out of breath or having a long recovery time after walking up a flight of stairs
  • Feeling exhausted after short periods of exertion
  • Chronic muscle tension
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Obesity
  • Muscles cramped and aching for days after participating in a sport
  • General tiredness, lethargy, boredom
This month, I want to challenge all of you to join me in making personal adjustments in your lifestyle to better your health. I plan to focus on exercise ideas as well as diet changes such as drinking more water, healthy food swaps, recipes, and cooking tips, etc.
    Edmund J. Bourne says, "One of the most powerful and effective methods for reducing generalized anxiety and overcoming a disposition to panic attacks is a program of regular, vigorous exercise...Exercise is a natural outlet for your body when it is in the fight-or-flight mode of arousal...Regular exercise also diminishes the tendency to experience anticipatory anxiety toward phobic situations, expediting recovery from all kinds of phobias, ranging from fear of public speaking to fear of being alone."
    I hope since I gave the challenge away early that you have had enough time to think about what you want to do. An exercise program is a commitment that shouldn't be done by flying by the seat of your pants. It will differ for everyone depending on your health goals. There's running, swimming, cycling, aerobics, walking, strength training, exercising at home, joining a gym, etc. So many options!

    As always, I'll share what I am up to and what I find helpful. I'd love to hear from you if you plan to join the challenge, and what you will try to do. You can leave a comment below or I have created a new topic in the Discussion Forum where we can share tips, recipes, fun workout ideas, etc.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Adding Twitter, Facebook, and Followers

    I have always been a fan of RSS feeds and have offered ways to subscribe to The Reality of Anxiety through feed readers and email. I've also attached links at the bottom of each post for StumbleUpon, Technorati, Digg,, and my yahoo! However, there are many people that use other popular methods of tracking their favorite blogs such as Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger's Followers widget. All are methods of sharing information. And I want you to be able to access The Reality of Anxiety however is best for you, so I have added functionality that will allow you to do just that. You will notice share buttons at the beginning of each post for Facebook and Twitter, and a Followers widget along the sidebar. If it starts to get too crowded I will remove the less used ones, but I think I've spaced them out okay. Let me know if you like the updates, or if its all just too confusing!

    Share and Read On!

    P.S. There may be some issues since I am new to these- for instance the tweet button on each post defaults to one- not sure why, still trying to figure it out. If you have any problems using the new features just let me know.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Chronic Stress Equals More Belly Fat!?!

    Are you an apple or a pear?

    I find myself in a weird and unfamiliar predicament. All my life I have been too skinny. Even after having my daughter I dropped the weight pretty quickly. After the holidays and all the food filled parties, I weigh the most I ever have (besides when pregnant) and although I want to gain weight, I don't like where it is showing up. All of it is in my belly and hips, whereas my arms and legs are still sticks! I look very disproportionate. But I guess beggars can't be choosers.

    I took a look at my eating habits and lack of exercise and found LOTS of room where I can improve. I also came across this article that explains the difference in body shapes. An apple, vs. a pear (gaining weight in your midsection vs. gaining weight in your thighs and buns):
    "We crunch. We Ab Blast. We eschew carbs. Heck, we'll even go under the knife to get rid of ab flab.
    Unfortunately, recent research shows that you can crunch until you crumble and diet till you're drained of energy, but if your days are full of stress, the perfect six-pack--or even a flatter midsection--will continue to elude you.
    That's because fat in the abdominal area functions differently than fat elsewhere in the body. It has a greater blood supply as well as more receptors for cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol levels rise and fall throughout the day, but when you're under constant stress, the amount of the hormone you produce remains elevated. With high stress and, consequently, high cortisol levels, more fat is deposited in the abdominal area since there are more cortisol receptors there.

    But ab flab is not the only price you'll pay for chronic stress (the kind created by a marriage that's unraveling, a job you hate, problems with your health--rather than, say, tension caused by a traffic snarl). Chronically high cortisol levels also kill neurons in the brain and interfere with feel-good neurotransmitters--such as dopamine and serotonin--which can lead to depression and feeling more stressed.
    More stress = more fat
    In short, the whole issue of abdominal fat goes far beyond how you look in a bikini: The fat at your waist--what researchers call central obesity--is associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer. And while it's true that heredity plays a role in overall body type (that is, whether you are more of an "apple" than a "pear"), says Brenda Davy, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, "genetics accounts for only 25-55 percent of the tendency to develop the most serious diseases associated with abdominal fat--the remainder is lifestyle."'
    Knowing that the odds are stacked against me, I am taking some steps to get my body in less of an apple shape, and more of an hourglass shape :)

    Monthly Challenge Update

    I took a break from the monthly challenges in January, mainly because life has been so busy I needed the time to really figure out what was next. Starting February first, I will do another monthly challenge, this time for being more healthy.

    Why am I telling you this now? Because in order to have success, a trendy diet isn't going to work. Being healthy is a LIFESTYLE change. And that's what this is all about. Changing our lives and health for the better. Take some time and think about how you can be more healthy and what you are realistically willing to do. If you want to start exercising, than what program will work best for you? Is it a gym membership? Is it a treadmill in your home? Will you start jogging? What kind of changes can you make to your diet?

    Some stuff to think about. Oh by the way, there will be a giveaway as well :)


    Monday, January 18, 2010

    The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety at HealthyPlace

    A little while ago I did an online television interview with the people over at HealthyPlace. They have asked me to start an anxiety blog on their site to help contribute to their anxiety and panic community. I agreed graciously, as this opportunity will allow me to reach out and hopefully help more people. The blog is called The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety and I will blog there twice a week, as well as have audio and video posts occasionally. I like to think of it as a sister site to The Reality of Anxiety, since I plan to continue blogging here as well. The two blogs are very different however. The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety is a more formal place with several blogs in the mental health category, all with the look and feel of the rest of the HealthyPlace site. So far the posts are mostly just my history which most of you already know. You may notice they still have a few wrinkles to iron out. The Reality of Anxiety is my own little corner of the internet where I can express myself however I want, being as creative with my design and posts as I want. Both will be worth reading! They are announcing the new blogs today. Check it out and let me know what you think. But please come back! 


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