“My anxiety is spiraling out of control. I’m supposed to go to a family get-together this weekend, and I’ve had panic attacks just thinking about it. I don’t do well at these family things. I don’t think I can do it.” If this lament sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Over the years, I’ve heard this sentiment expressed more times than I can count. There are reasons that family time can exacerbate anxiety. There are also things that can be done to minimize anxiety during these times. Keep reading »

Imagine yourself at a gathering. Big or small, it doesn’t matter (because with anxiety, even the smallest things can seem gigantic). Perhaps it’s a family get-together, coffee with acquaintances,  a meeting, or a pancake feed for your kids’ school. You’re there, others are there, and your anxiety is there. How do you feel? Keep reading »

There are many pitfalls to being a person living with an anxiety disorder. The mental, physical, and emotional tolls that it takes to live with this disorder is, at times, heartbreaking. Anxiety tells me everyone hates me, it panics me, and it embarrasses me. In the midst of high anxiety and/or panic attacks, it causes me to appear distant, uninterested, or even makes me appear to be ignoring someone. An ill-timed panic attack, for example, at a first meeting, can make it appear that I am a snob.

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Anxiety can be overwhelming, impacting us in every way imaginable – physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially. It can range from mild to debilitating, and no matter to what degree we experience anxiety, it affects the quality of our lives. Happily, there are many things that can be done to treat anxiety. One way is through anxiety medication (but medication is not for everyone). There are so many different types of anxiety medication available; though, just contemplating whether or not to try antianxiety medication can itself be anxiety-provoking (list of anxiety medications). It’s an individual decision that can only be made with a doctor. Here are some important things to consider as you talk to your doctor about anxiety medication.

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I have experienced more panic attacks than I can count. On average, I have one panic attack per week, and that is after panic attack treatment. Before I knew what was happening to me, I was experiencing panic attacks multiple times per week. Because I am a social person, I often experience these attacks around other people. This has made me very good at explaining, in layman’s terms, exactly what a panic attack is.

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Anxiety can be incredibly exhausting. Anxiety can us down physically and emotionally. One reason anxiety is so taxing is that, once in our mind, it takes almost complete control. Fears and worries grow and they stick. It’s a vicious cycle: anxiety makes us worry, and the more we worry, the bigger anxiety grows, and the bigger it grows, the more we worry. However, even when anxiety grows so large it threatens to consume us, there is a way to shrink it back. Keep reading »

A diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or having panic/anxiety attacks doesn’t automatically mean there will be a co-occurring diagnosis of depression. However, many people with an anxiety diagnosis do suffer from clinical depression, even if only from time to time. In my case, I have both bipolar and anxiety disorders. Like many others, I have found that serious anxiety can lead to depression.

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I hear voices. They’re different than the voices of a psychotic disorder. A person living with schizophrenia, for example, can physically hear voices as if they were real. There is a sound to them in the brain. There are other ways to hear voices that do not involve psychosis. I happen to have a voice in my head, and it speaks to me loudly and clearly. The voice, in my case, belongs to anxiety, and it never seems to shut up. Keep reading »

My name is Gabe Howard and I have bipolar and anxiety disorders. As a public speaker and writer using my lived experience with mental illness, I say that sentence often. Some version of that is on my business card and website and it is how I start most of my speeches. But, is that my identity? Is a set of diagnoses really who I am?

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