Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty . . . whoa, did you see that squirrel run across that wall, well, I guess it’s a fence, chasing . . . eggs . . . I need to go to the grocery store because we have no food because I keep forgetting to go and I’m tired of fast food . . . that squirrel was fast and he’s gone . . . I love fall . . . I keep forgetting to schedule my daughter’s senior pictures.

Wait. What was I doing? Oh yeah, reading this nursery rhyme.

Ugh! How am I going to be able to hold down a job if I can’t even read a stupid nursery rhyme? I guess I wouldn’t have to remember going to the store then because I wouldn’t have any money. I’m so useless. How am I supposed to concentrate when there’s so much pressure in my head? Make it stop! What is wrong with me? Keep reading »

Like many people, I have been diagnosed with more than just anxiety. While it is possible to be diagnosed with just an anxiety disorder, I was not fortunate enough to be one of those people. As I have discussed before in this blog, I have co-occurring bipolar and anxiety disorders.

As readers of my blog will know, each of these disorders is awful in its own way. Occasionally, I’m asked which one I hate more. Sometimes, I wonder this, myself.

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If you’ve ever had a panic attack,  you know what it’s like. You’re just going about your life, perhaps in class or a meeting or a store or somewhere else, even home, when bam! Out of the blue, your heart begins to pound and your head begins to swim. The world around you blurs. Your hands shake and sweat. You can’t breathe, and your chest constricts painfully. The ground wobbles, making it all the more difficult for your weak legs to keep you steady. You’re nauseated and oh god you don’t want to get sick. And as if symptoms like these (they can vary a bit from person to person) aren’t horrible enough, on top of all this you begin to doubt and question yourself. Keep reading »

Over the weekend, my wife was bitten by a dog. It was a serious bite, costing her the tip of her right index finger. I was present when it happened, watching in horror as she stepped in between two angry lab-mixes that were fighting over a bone.

We went from watching college football to panic in less than 30 seconds. As my wife sat down, holding her bloody hand, there wasn’t time to think about much. My only concern was how to help her. My mother-in-law had separated the dogs, placing one in a cage, and raced over with napkins and began to apply pressure to my wife’s wound. At that moment, we had no idea how serious the injury was.

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Anxiety can feel as though an incredibly loud and boisterous parade is charging right through your very being: blasting bands, flashy floats, animals, and announcers ad nauseam. This chaos within can cause headaches, chest pain, difficulty breathing, excessive sweating, aches and pains, and other noxious anxiety symptoms. Further, our thoughts become anxious and race with worry and obsessions. Often, panic sets in. As if this weren’t bad enough, we have to live in the midst of this parade. We have to deal with parade garbage (think about it—debris, litter, road apples) while simultaneously dealing with everything else around us. With pandemonium on the inside, how do we deal with all of the stuff on the outside? Keep reading »

When I was younger, there was a public service announcement that ran over and over that explained that the majority of car accidents happen within a few miles from home. The purpose of this message was to encourage people to wear their seatbelts, even when travelling short distances.

I was a precocious youngster and when I saw these commercials I thought to myself, “No kidding! You travel close to your home most of the time, so it’s just common sense that most of the accidents would happen there.”

Anxiety and panic disorder follow a similar pattern. Since I am home more than I am away, the majority of my anxiety and panic issues occur at home. Additionally, I am more likely to have elevated anxiety before I fall asleep and I spend most nights in my own bed.

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To have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is to worry — a lot. While true, this is an oversimplification. “Worry” doesn’t really begin to describe what happens in GAD. Everyone worries; it’s part of being human. It’s a given that people will worry about their grade on a test, for example, worry about their job security when downsizing is taking place, or worry about their child’s safety when he or she is away. But in GAD, the worry becomes all-consuming and typically isn’t limited to a single situation. Rather than having worries in one’s life, for someone with GAD, life itself is a constant worry. Keep reading »

Over the past few months, I have been experiencing more anxiety and panic attacks than I have been used to. Many people take anxiety medication to control anxiety and I am no exception. Before I was medicated, the anxiety was unbearable and uncontrollable. Many years ago, I worked with my doctor to gain as much control over anxiety as possible.

Prescribing medicine, whether for physical or mental illness, is not an exact science. The medicine that provides relief for one person may not provide relief for another. Even when two people are on the same medication, they may be on different doses or need to take them at different times of the day.

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I must confess; I’m a bully. But not to others. I tend to bully myself relentlessly, criticizing what I do and don’t do, say and don’t say. It’s a nearly endless stream of self-denigration that runs always in the background, often in the foreground, of my thoughts. This harsh self-criticism is entangled with all types of anxiety. Keep reading »

By now, everyone has heard that beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams has died, probably by suicide. His death, like all deaths, is a tragedy. The fact this was a suicide adds an extra wrinkle to this story. To most, it makes the event sadder or incomprehensible. For people who also suffer from depression or any other mental illness, it makes it more personal.

When a famous, wealthy, and generally well-liked person succumbs to their illness, it’s natural to wonder how we can survive our own illness when someone with all that going for them could not. Nothing creates more anxiety than wondering whether or not we can beat our illness. Keep reading »