As one of the resident anxiety bloggers here at HealthyPlace, I spend a fair bit of time thinking about anxiety disorders. Between living with anxiety, talking to others who live with anxiety, writing about anxiety, and reading about anxiety, I have amassed quite a bit of knowledge. This is good, because I get a lot of questions.

Among them: What is an anxiety trigger? What causes triggers? How can anxiety triggers be avoided? Unfortunately, there is no real, concrete “answer” to any of those questions, save for the first one. We can define what an anxiety trigger is. But, not surprisingly, the definition isn’t really very helpful:

An anxiety trigger is an object or situation that can cause your anxiety symptoms to appear.

Clear as mud, right?

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Mental illnesses and the symptoms they cause can sometimes put us in a great deal of pain. We have a need to share our pain with others. There’s just a desire in us for people we care about to know that we’re hurting. We want them to know so they can comfort us, reassure us, and take care of us.

Mental illness is often referred to as an “invisible illness.” That’s a good description for it because the pain caused by the symptoms of mental illness is not visible or readily noticeable. To be sure, there are other physical ailments that are also unseen, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

However, for some reason, with mental illness there is even more scrutiny by others. Some people, it seems, think it’s their call in life to disparage people who suffer from mental disorders. Unfortunately, the attacks often come from the ones who are supposed to care for us the most. It’s sometimes our own family members that can hurt us the most because they refuse to validate our mental illnesses. This can result in a constant tension with the sick person and the rest of the family.

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I’ll be honest–normally I hate celebrity “news.” But one story recently provoked a lot of strong feelings–Amanda Bynes was tricked into going into a mental health facility. It raises a question: Should parents ever deceive their child to get them psychiatric help? Keep reading »

You never stop struggling when trying to overcome the death of a loved one. In truth, I don’t think there is a way to overcome death at all. It is something that cannot be understood and something that will always remain a mystery. You don’t know how a person felt or what they thought when death arrived and you’ll never be able to find that out. The constant un-knowingness of death keeps our anxieties growing and our minds wondering.

Over the last six years, I have not stopped wondering how my brother felt when cancer conquered him. I continuously ask, “Why him?” and I know that question is the scariest thing you can ask because, sooner or later, you wonder, “Why him, not me?” Keep reading »

The prior post discussed the relationship between the abuser and victim, then explored what each partner thinks during the routine. This post digs into the victim’s and abuser’s feelings and behaviors during a long-term abusive relationship. Keep reading »

Getting sick raises questions and concerns for people in substance abuse recovery. As the leaves fall and the heaters turn on, colds, flus and other illnesses make the rounds. Personally, I am prone to developing sinus infections. Every time I come down with something, I have to consider what kinds of remedies are safe for me as a person in recovery.  Keep reading »

Last week, my son Bob announced he is no longer playing basketball. Bob’s been playing competitively since age five and is pretty good. This year he is a junior in high school, which means varsity — his dream.

Bob made the decision to quit because basketball is “no fun” anymore. It brings about severe stress and crippling anxiety. In the past, Bob’s anxiety has led to depression and suicidal ideation.

I told my son I support him. I’m proud he made his mental health and well-being a priority. Then I went upstairs to the privacy of my bedroom and sobbed. Keep reading »

Here’s what I tell anybody and this is what I believe. The greatest gift we have is the gift of life. We understand that. That comes from our Creator. We’re given a body. Now you may not like it, but you can maximize that body the best it can be maximized. ~ Mike Ditka

Visualize the Body You Want

Is exercise part of your daily life? What are your eating habits? Have you seen someone who has the body or fitness level you want?

My sister Tiffany has been a fitness enthusiast for years. She is in excellent shape and looks fantastic. I have been in the gym with her when she is training and I can’t count the number times someone has come over to her and said: “I want a body like that” (motioning towards her). The wonderful thing about observing this over the years is that these people have been motivated by looking at her and have created a vision for what they want. What my sister has taught me and her clients is physicality is more than just an exercise regimen; physical fitness is manifested through healthy eating, an active lifestyle and fostering mental, spiritual and social well-being. Keep reading »

Have you ever experienced the joy of being offered an employment opportunity? We may make the statement, “I got the job!” with a happy tone and then say it again with an anxious tone. Why? Because we landed the job, but will we be able to keep it? We know that depression can prevent individuals from being able to function enough to meet work demands. But take a look at these 10 tips to maintain a job with depression to see how you can keep that employment. Keep reading »

Other mental illnesses often cling to the lives of those who self-harm. This may not be the case for all, but for many, it is a struggle that stands alongside the urge to self-injure. This tends to make it even more difficult to stop the unsafe behaviors that self-harmers come face-to-face with on a daily basis. When being attacked by depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, self-harm may seem like the only coping skill that would make the negative factors around them disappear.

We know, as well as anyone else, that is not the case. Keep reading »