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!


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