This week’s Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog is an interview with one of my very good friends. I have known her for over 10 years and she has witnessed and helped with many of my anxiety and panic attacks. In order to “shake things up,” I thought it would be eye-opening to hear about anxiety and panic disorder from a loved one’s perspective. I asked her three questions and her unedited responses are below.

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“I want to break free from anxiety!” It’s a common cry, and for good reason. Anxiety, no matter the specific type of anxiety, can be miserable to live with day in and day out. Frequently, anxiety is a cruel warden, keeping us locked tightly behind bars, veritable prisoners of worry, fear, and guilt. Thankfully, it is indeed possible to break free from anxiety. One of the keys to doing so is to find something to take the place of anxiety. Keep reading

Anxiety can grip us like a vice. Once the worry sets in, the body reacts with a host of anxiety symptoms that vary from person to person. Headaches, pain, stomach trouble, sweating, trembling, and breathing difficulties are some common ways anxiety makes itself known from head to toe, inside and out. Intertwined with the worry and the physical sensations, and an integral component of anxiety is, often, fear. What, exactly, is fear? And if we deconstruct it, can we reduce our anxiety? Keep reading

Finding a therapist to help you with anxiety is easily done by opening the phone book or doing a quick Internet search. The difficult part is finding the right therapist, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for. There are many different types of therapists. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common type of therapy offered. More important than the type, though, is your personal connection with the therapist.

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Anxiety affects us in profound ways. It colors the way we think, feel, and act. Anxiety, once it takes root (Anxiety in Our Brains), it becomes a lens through which we view the world. Our interpretations of what is happening in our lives is filtered through the anxiety disorder with which we live. To be sure, it’s uncomfortable at best to experience a world colored by our own anxiety, but thankfully, we can clean that lens. After all, as Marcus Aurelius wisely observed, “Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Keep reading

Feeling delusional and suicidal doesn’t lend itself to stable relationships of any sort, especially those of a romantic variety. Many people with mental illness, including me, describe a loss of friends, alienation from family, and a general sense of loneliness. The stigma of mental illness is very real and people tend to avoid us, rather than date us. Many people with mental illness, though, do reach recovery and lead relatively normal lives – including dating and marriage. What is the secret to finding love and disclosing mental illness to a love interest?

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One of the many annoying things about anxiety and anxiety disorders is that they are almost always there. Whatever we do, wherever we go, there it is. Another irksome thing is that sometimes it feels even bigger than we are, dominating our entire being. Fortunately, no matter where we are, what we’re doing or how big anxiety feels, we can shrink it. Keep reading

There are a lot of catch-22s when it comes to managing anxiety. For example, many people with anxiety would feel a lot better if they could avoid anxiety triggers altogether. It is simple to say, but harder to do. Avoiding anxiety triggers isn’t always possible. Another common suggestion is to join a support group. But what if a person has too much anxiety to join a support group?

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“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