About Tanya J. Peterson, Author of the Anxiety Schmanxiety Blog

Monday, October 21 2013 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

I Understand Anxiety. I Live With It

As an emotional human being (aren’t we all?), I’m excited to be writing the Anxiety Schmanxiety blog. Typical of me, I’m also fretful about it. Will what I write be good enough? Will it be helpful? Will readers want to leave comments and interact? What if everyone judges me harshly? Of course I’m imaging an array of negative consequences including certain demise for me and, quite possibly, for you. But don’t worry! I’ve been dealing with this for a long time so I’m used to it. It’s under control – for the most part (I mean, the anxiety is still there, but I’ve learned ways to keep it from ruling me).

Tanya J. Peterson is a mental health counselor, novelist and author of the Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog

So if I’m anxious, why am I excited about writing the Anxiety Schmanxiety blog? Because reaching out to inform and empower is what I’ve devoted my life to. I have a Master of Science degree in counseling and am a Nationally Certified Counselor. I’m not actively working as a counselor right now, though. I’m really bothered by the stigma surrounding mental illness, so I write and speak to help increase understanding of mental illness. I write novels, like Leave of Absence, because fiction is a powerful vehicle for illustrating fact. Plus, people connect with characters in novels and often transfer their empathy to real-life people.

Overcoming Anxiety to Live the Life You Want

My desire to help others understand themselves and each other and to overcome things that are getting in the way of living lives they envision has a personal component, too. After a car accident in which I sustained a head injury, two subsequent concussions, and a lot of extra life stressors, I ended up in a behavioral health hospital. I was in and out five times over the course of a couple years. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder and anxiety-related things, specifically generalized anxiety and social anxiety. For a while I blamed the head injury, but that was just denial. Looking back to pre-accident times, I know without a doubt that I had bipolar disorder and anxiety. It’s just that the injury and the extra stress made it impossible to manage by myself anymore.

That’s why I’m glad to be here. This is what I hope to do for you in this blog: to provide useful information, anecdotes, and the like so you can connect and know you’re neither alone nor misunderstood. You’ll also find useful tools and tricks for taming anxiety in a variety of situations.

Welcome to the Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog

You can also connect with Tanya J. Peterson on her website, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest.

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and four critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

View all posts by Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC.

About Tanya J. Peterson, Author of the Anxiety Schmanxiety Blog

dolores Fow
says:
February, 25 2014 at 3:33 pm

Thank you, your story helped me feel more hopeful! Dee

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 27 2014 at 3:55 pm

I'm so glad to hear that! Sometimes sharing personal stories is hard (stigma, you know!), but I share mine to try to let people know that they're not alone and that there is indeed hope.

nidhi
says:
April, 3 2014 at 4:16 pm

I keep getting
Bad feelings
What if I lose my father today tom
I cried so much today
I am gettin very scared
I dont have anyone
Other than him
I dont know what will happen to me
I cant live without my dad

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 6 2014 at 11:38 am

Hello nidhi,
I am glad you commented. I gave a reply to you in the other thread as well, so I don't want to simply repeat myself because that would probably not be helpful! I noticed something different here than what you said in your other comment. Here, you mention not having anyone other than your dad. Sometimes the thought of loss of a loved one can be intensified when someone feels alone in the world. I am not suggesting that you replace your dad, because that would be impossible and not something you even want to do. Many times, though, people find that their anxiety over the fear of loss diminishes when they form other friendships and relationships. Your dad could be included in the relationships you build. You can still love him greatly while forming additional relationships. As you bring enjoyment into your life, you might find that you are happier, less fearful, and have an even better relationship with your dad. Doing this can be daunting, so start small. Work on forming just one friendship. In finding increased happiness, anxiety decreases, and you'll enjoy your dad even more.

Mandy Kloppers
says:
December, 6 2014 at 9:18 am

Fantastic article - thank you. It seems anxiety is just so common place now and learning how to manage it is essential.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 8 2014 at 12:46 pm

Hello Mandy!
Anxiety really is very common, affecting nearly 20% of the people in the US alone at some point in their lives. The good news is that with intention and persistence it can be managed. We just need to keep at it!

lourdes Ornelas
says:
May, 19 2015 at 10:47 pm

Hi Tanya,

I am a graduate student in the Master of School Counseling program at Texas A&M University, Laredo, Texas. I am looking for evidenced based research or any kind of studies that have been conducted with children & adolescents suffering from anxiety and the interventions, specifically how blowing bubbles helps them cope with anxiety.

Any reference that you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Hope to hear from you.

Best regards,

Lourdes Ornelas

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 20 2015 at 11:54 am

Hello Lourdes,
How exciting for you! Congratulations on your acceptance and on your work toward this degree. I know first-hand that it's a rigorous program. :) The best place to find empirical data/evidence-based studies is in professional journals. Your University library should have subscriptions to both hard copies and to a wealth of resources online. For research on the benefits of bubble-blowing (and there indeed are studies and evidence of the efficacy of this activity), look in particular at play therapy journals as well as articles in various journals on the benefits of deep breathing as one of the benefits of bubble blowing is deep breath regulation. Play therapy (which is valid for all ages) research will lead you in other directions as well: the benefits of watching the bubbles, visualizing them as problems and then popping them, inducing a sense of playfulness and laughter, a tool to interact with and build rapport with the counselor, and more. Bubbles are an extremely useful tool! I wish you the very best of luck and joy!

Jaden
says:
March, 24 2017 at 11:19 am

The feeling of anxiety is all to common in my life, since I am only 16 years old the fact that my mom which is the only parent I've had for most of my life is moving away from me. I feel so abandoned and I really don't know what to do, all of this and suffering from severe depression and Insomnia doesn't help. I have no ways to calm myself down. I'm basically lost in the dark abyss that is life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 20 2017 at 6:34 pm

Hi Jaden,
Anxiety, depression, and insomnia are difficult at any age -- and most definitely in the teen years. You aren't alone, even though it might feel that way. Anxiety and depression are more widespread than many people realize. That means that help is available. Do you have a teacher or a counselor that you feel comfortable with, even a little bit? He or she can help you find the right resources for help. Also, when you feel stuck in the abyss, there are places you can turn to right away. The national suicide prevention lifeline https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ has info, anonymous chat lines and phone services (1-800-273-8255). They can even point you in the right direction locally. Connecting with people for support can be a tremendous help.

Linda Saunders
says:
May, 6 2017 at 4:02 pm

Anxiety

Rob Forbes
says:
January, 18 2018 at 12:15 pm

Hey there, my name is Rob. I've experienced alot of anxiety and depression for the last 4 years. I'm almost 27 and this past summer I decided to go off my medications. Just last week I experienced a full blown panic attack and my symptoms after are depersonalization and derealization. It's very difficult to cope with, just saw my doctor a couple days ago and now I'm back on my medications. But now lately I can't stop thinking about the world and how scary it is and the universe, just really bad intrusive thoughts about death and its just terrifying. I have a family and I want to be fully centered with my mind, just wondering if you have ever heard of this before, thank you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 19 2018 at 10:33 am

Hi Rob,
Yes, I have definitely heard of this before. You aren't alone,. The fear, panic, dissociations, and intrusive thoughts go hand-in-hand and make each other worse. This article has information on intrusive thoughts and related experiences: https://www.healthyplace.com/ocd-related-disorders/ocd/obsessive-though…. This might provide you with some information you can use to go forward or even to communicate with a therapist. When your symptoms are intense like this and you have a very clear goal like you do, working with someone can help you move forward. In-person therapy is ideal, but online therapy is very good, too. Two sources are talkspace.com and betterhelp.com. Keep seeking information and help. These experiences can be overcome.

ravi paudel
says:
March, 2 2018 at 11:01 pm

i am currently suffering from anxiety and in medication but this overthinking is ruining my life right now. i am telling my self over and over again that we all have to die sometime sooner or latter ..i just want to know if when anxiety is over then will this kind of thought also be gone or what...please do reply

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 5 2018 at 11:12 am

Hello Ravi,
Overthinking and having anxious thoughts are both very stressful, and they make anxiety even worse. It's a terrible cycle. The good news is that you can break out of the cycle. Because they're connected, anxiety and the thoughts you describe grow and shrink together. So if we try to reduce just one (like getting rid of anxious thoughts), it usually doesn't work. The best way out of the cycle is to focus on the life you'd like to have. What will your life be like when anxiety and overthinking aren't a problem anymore? What little steps can you take every day to move forward toward that life? By doing this, you will, over time, decrease anxiety and this type of thinking.

Justin Morales
says:
March, 24 2018 at 3:10 pm

I’ve been searching all throughout google desperately trying to make sense of whats been going on and J simply can’t. I’ve always had a strong anxiety but now its making me socially anxious. I overthink overthinking now and It happens with my own family members and loved ones now. Theres no thoughts going through my mind now but this new social anxiety and my mind is focused on it 24/7. The more I try the more hopeless it seems, and Im at the point now where I’m isolating myself from the world because I don’t want anyone to see me like this. Does it make any sense that someone can think about one thing 24/7 at all seconds of the day and if so am i stuck like this forever ?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 26 2018 at 9:59 pm

Hi Justin,
What you're describing makes a lot of sense. This type of hyperfocused thinking can be a part of anxiety -- and a miserable one at that. This is an awful thing to experience, but it doesn't have to last. You most certainly are not stuck like this forever! Visiting with a therapist can be incredibly helpful. A therapist will help you sort things out and develop useful tools for dealing with the thoughts, reducing them, and living well in spite of the thoughts and eventually without the anxious thoughts there at all. You can take action to get unstuck.

Walter
says:
April, 4 2018 at 8:43 pm

Hi Tanya I need your help. I know I love my girlfriend I really do but for some reason I overthink and then I start thinking and worry that I’ll stop loving her. I talk talked to my close friends and after that I feel back to normal and happy like realized. But after when I go to sleep I’m overthinking and stressed when I wake up. I for sure know I love my girlfriend but me overthinking and having these thoughts make me unhappy and the fact that I know I really do love her and my mind is telling me that I don’t is just crazy. It’s like when I talk to my close friends I wake up and realize that’s all in my head but then when I overthink I don’t realize and it plays over and over again in my head that I fear I don’t love my girlfriend when In fact I do. Its like when I overthink it makes everything so much worse. Please reply back to me I’m stuck and I don’t want these false thoughts in my head that aren’t true to ruin my mood and relationship that I plan on keeping.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 10 2018 at 11:06 am

Hi Walter,
You've described very well how thoughts can interfere in our relationships and life in general. Many times with overthinking like this, talking to a therapist can be very helpful. You can learn ways to change your thoughts and also process your thoughts and explore where they might be coming from.

Acceptance and commitment therapy is an approach to anxiety, overthinking, and other challenges that can be very effective. I put a link at the bottom of this comment that will take you to an article with more information. One aspect of ACT is called defusion, where you separate yourself from your thoughts. Your thoughts are just there, but that doesn't mean that you believe them or even see them as part of who you are. You de-fuse, or unglue, yourself from your thoughts rather than struggling with them. One way to do this is to notice your thoughts, such as your worry that you'll stop loving your girlfriend, and then remind yourself, "I'm having the thought that I might stop loving her." It puts some distance between you and your worry. It's just a thought. It's not your real belief. Hopefully this will be a helpful start. Here's the article about ACT:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avo…

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