Interactive Anxiety: Reader's Thoughts Wanted

Tuesday, July 29 2014 Gabe Howard

As a speaker and blogger, I answer a lot of questions about recovering from mental illness. I am asked many different things, from the technical, to the personal, to the deeply personal. I sincerely enjoy the conversation, and leading group discussions is one of my favorite activities. Answering comments and emails is a close second.

It is because of my love of interaction that I decided to write an interactive blog. Every blog on HealthyPlace is technically interactive, in that they all have a comments section. This is a little different, however. The goal of those blog posts is to be read and the goal of this blog post is for you to participate. This won't be an interactive blog if you don't.

You, a Co-Author of This Anxiety Blog

There is a power in this type of arrangement because it isn't just my words and feelings being put out into the world, but a collaboration of ideas, feelings, and opinions all being shared. The hope is that everyone can find common ground, learn from each other's experiences, and come away a little more enlightened.

Welcome to interactive anxiety! You will be one of the co-authors of this anxiety blog. Using the comments section below please answer one or more questions!

Since the goal of this blog is to be interactive, you will essentially be one of this blog’s co-authors. Using the comments sections below, please answer one or more of the following questions.

  1. What does anxiety mean to you?
  2. Do you feel you can lead a good life in spite of an anxiety disorder?
  3. What is the one thing you wish others understood about your anxiety disorder?

Rules Curb My Anxiety

The irreverent part of me would love to make this is a free-for-all. But rules curb my anxiety, and will help us keep on track.

As always, comments are moderated. This is to cut down on spam and prevent people from clicking links to magic weight loss pills that will actually make your hair fall out.

Please keep your comments on topic, respectful, and appropriate. In my personal life, I swear more than people playing Cards Against Humanity, but we want to keep this conversation family friendly.

Finally, be yourself. HealthyPlace is a community and, more specifically, it is our community. We are all members and all accepted. I want to hear from you and am excited to see what everyone has to share.

The floor is yours!

You can find Gabe on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and his website.

Author: Gabe Howard

View all posts by Gabe Howard.

Interactive Anxiety: Reader's Thoughts Wanted

stephani
says:
July, 29 2014 at 10:04 pm

1. constantly worrying
2. sometimes :/
3.How severe it can be.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
July, 30 2014 at 9:35 am

Thank you Stephani for interacting! :) It is much appreciated! ~Gabe

jff93
says:
July, 29 2014 at 10:48 pm

My name is Jeffrey and I have been suffering with social anxiety disorder and, more recently, separation anxiety.

1. Anxiety is both a physical and emotional feeling. Physically, I feel discomfort in my head, throat, heart, and stomach. It leaves me fatigued. Emotionally, I feel fear—of inadequacy, exclusion, and negative judgment.
2. As I've become more versed in anxiety and how to manage mine, I've seen that I make better choices. A friend once told me that every action I take is a choice; I'm constantly choosing whether or not to take a step closer to my ideal self. I can lead a good life in spite of anxiety by striving to take each step in the right direction.
3. Self-doubt. Last month, Gabe wrote a great article on this topic. When doubt is racing around your mind, it's incredibly tough to sort through your thoughts and find the ones that can help you cope.

I think this blog is an incredible idea and I'm really looking forward to following and participating in it!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
July, 30 2014 at 9:39 am

Good Morning Jeffrey -- Thank you for the very kind words! I appreciate them a lot. I am very glad you enjoyed the blog I wrote about Self Doubt. I am happy that you like this idea. Please share the blog and encourage others to participate. I really enjoy reader interaction -- I have found through e-mails and comments I have learned a great many things. Not everyone has the time (or desire!) to be a blogger so this is a way to uncover other viewpoints, thoughts, and opinions. Thank you for participating! ~Gabe

Jennifer Todd
says:
August, 1 2014 at 3:52 pm

1. i feel near constant fear and fatigue and physical discomfort because of anxiety. i have trouble eating and sleeping and interacting with people.
2. i try to have a good life, try to be grateful for life and kindness and love
3.i wish people understood the pervasiveness of my symtoms and how debilitated i am. that said people in my life are for the most part very gentle and understanding.

jacqueline
says:
August, 1 2014 at 4:30 pm

For me anxiety is an inner stress, a turmoil leading to physical sympotoms and life altering reactions. Anxiety causes people to miss out on things in life that they would other wise enjoy, events, relationships, special occasions. Anxiety can be crippling.

Judy Cameron
says:
August, 1 2014 at 4:51 pm

Hi Gabe,

I have found many ancient techniques help with anxiety - anxiety I grew up with [and absorbed, is the best way to describe it] because both my parents were war survivors.

Anxiety was a normal part of my life until I started getting sick a lot and began researching what help was out there. Now I have tools I share [acupressure, Qigong, meditation and books like Tolle's 'Stillness Speaks'] to release the anxiety when it comes up.

So yes, life can be good knowing these techniques are available any time I need them.

Anxiety is transmutable - that is, given I believe it's just my fearful thought triggered by some past fearful memory, I can sit with it, tap on it or use Qigong, and it passes. The more I do this, the less it's a problem.

Thanks for the opportunity to give my 2 cents. What a gift you're providing - good for you, Judy

Alyssa Paolella
says:
August, 1 2014 at 4:56 pm

My name is Alyssa and I suffer from Bipolar II, Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and OCD...oh, and I like to read. I've recently began a Tumblr mental health blog that hasn't gotten me far yet, but if anyone is interested it's called keepbreathing.

1. Anxiety is a sense of discomfort for me. It is an uneasy feeling filled with stress, worry, fear and panic. It is worrying about the future and/or dwelling on past experiences and mistakes. I think as human beings, we want to have control and because we cannot predict our future, we often get anxious. Perfectionism, social expectations, etc. can only add to one's level of anxiety.
2. I am beginning to feel like I will eventually be able to live a good and full life despite my anxiety disorders. I will have to work harder than the "normal" person, take a few medications for the long term and it will always be a part of me that makes life a little more challenging. Right now, for the most part, my anxiety has a lot of control over my life but I am working on that and on the road to somewhat control and cope with my anxiety.
3. I have always wished that people would understand that anxiety disorders are not just worrying a lot. I think some people even believe they do not exist. People with OCD, for example, are not just the organized folks. People with Social Anxiety Disorder aren't just people that get nervous and awkward to go on a first date. I wish that people could understand that it is much more than that and how it impacts/impairs your thinking and physical well being.

Melinda Kennedy
says:
August, 1 2014 at 5:04 pm

1. Anxiety for me feels like I'm existing in another space separate from other people.
2. I can live a good life & the way for me is to express how I feel through art.
3. Anxiety makes me appear odd & act out of character, I wish people would take time to know me & not dismiss me.

Axel
says:
August, 1 2014 at 6:21 pm

What does anxiety mean to you?

It actually has less meaning with me because my entire life has been nothing but. I am an adult survivor (48 years old now) of extreme child abuse, both mental and physcial, along with mental and physical torture at the hands of my my mother and grandmother, along with other pretty messed up traumas throughout my life. As an example, this next Jsnuary I'll be "celebrating my 25th anniversary of finding out I was HIV+. I've never taken a single HIV med in my life. The last bloodwork done was 2 months ago, I was in a bad place, physically and emotionally. I had just moved back 1,900 miles back home with my therapy dog and had a "friend" who we were staying with, treat me like garbage and wanted me to do all her housework and barnyard work and take most of SSDI check. My numbers came back with a T Cell count of 957, and a viral load count under 10,000. And when they did the blood work, I was an emotional mess, and that always shows lower numbers in other people. My doctor, who was my original doctor 20 years ago, told me that with all the stress, my body had become almost immune to it,

Do you feel you can lead a good life in spite of an anxiety disorder?

I make my life now how I want it, so it's pretty awesome right now. Like I said, just moved bsck home after 15 years 1,900 miles away, got my little buddy and my Xbox. And I've actually caught up with elementary, jr. high and high school friends who have all been really kind and understanding and helpful. Which is way more than I'd get from my mother now. So yea, I think once I get back into school, my life is gonna be even better.

What is the one thing you wish others understood about your anxiety disorder?

That it's a part of me, and if you're a true friend, you'd educate yourself about whst I'm going through, you don't need to become an expert, but just try to understand and not judge. If there was something wrong with any of them, I'd do the same for them.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
August, 2 2014 at 7:42 pm

THANK YOU ALL for your comments. Keep them coming! There are no wrong answers. ((Hugs)) ~Gabe

Samantha
says:
August, 2 2014 at 3:37 am

1. Anxiety is something that takes over my mind leaving little room for coping methods thus making it a great inhibitor.

2. It is possible. By knowing the triggers that are my worst and learning how best to deal with the situations when I have no choice but to encounter them I can manage my anxiety decently though I am nearly always slightly on edge and social anxiety is a large problem for me that can make even going to conventions for things I love extremely stressful. All in all it is tough but doable.

3. I wish people could understand exactly how bad it gets even when I'm not exactly showing any huge signs physically and that in the grand scheme of things I can't really control it. Sometimes I can calm myself down enough to be okay with crowds and other times the sight of one will nearly send me into a panic.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
August, 4 2014 at 2:10 pm

Thank you for reading and commenting, Samantha! ~Gabe

Wendy Wells
says:
August, 2 2014 at 11:16 am

1.) Anxiety means limitations in my day to day along with constant worries, scheduling around bad days, missing important life events. Anxiety not only has a everyday effect on me but more importantly it has effects on everyone ...the ones I love the most. My children and My Grands
2.) At this time in my life I do not feel that I am living it's more like coping and dealing with fear, fustrations and regrets.
3.) This is not something I can control or just change in an instant. I wouldn't wish this on anyone ever.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
August, 2 2014 at 7:43 pm

These are wonderful, open, and honest answers. Thank you for sharing your answers. Hugs, Gabe

Charlie Knight
says:
August, 2 2014 at 10:31 pm

I thought very long before commenting to this...

What if my comment is stupid? What if no one likes what I write? Worse yet, what if someone DOES like it? What if someone NOTICES me?.. No, no, nobody will notice me... maybe I better not comment... I probably wouldn't be able to write anything good anyway... Maybe I'll just go for a walk instead... Wait... what if the neighbors are out? What if someone speaks to me? What if I have to talk to someone... that usually doesn't go all that well... Maybe I'll just comment on that blog...
Re-read that a couple times, really really fast, and throw in an occasional "hey that picture isn't straight" or "ooh a butterfly" (I have ocd too)... and, I guess that pretty much sums up what anxiety means to me.

I do believe we can live a good life in spite of having anxiety disorders. It requires (or certainly has for me) re-thinking a few things, a lot of hard work to overcome what we can, and learning to adjust and adapt to what we can not overcome. Personally, I have a very long way to go...

It would be nice if people understood, that a person whom suffers with anxiety or depression is, at times, incapable of something so simple as making a phone call, reaching out, staying in contact. People seem to fade away from our lives out of fear, not able to understand what we go (or are going) through.
In the end, I simply wish that people could understand that understanding is not a prerequisite. That listening, being patient, being there, BEING PRESENT is all that really matters.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
August, 4 2014 at 9:29 am

Charlie - I am glad you had the courage to share! Thank you for reading and commenting. ~Gabe

Don Kittleson
says:
August, 13 2014 at 7:25 am

In an Anxiety Place
I have lived in a place where a tempest lives,
a blizzard named anxiety that never forgives.
I have lived in a place tormented and foreboding,
witness of fear, beyond the beholding.
I have lived in a place near the bottom of a ditch,
the eye of the needle, a mistaken dropped stitch.
I have lived in a place near the shore of a sea,
awaiting the tsunami to surge over me.
I have lived in a place flat on my back,
distressfully awaiting the next anxiety attack.
I have lived in a place where the long vines climb,
trapping me in, suspended in time.
I have lived in a place I never want to return,
a mockery of sadness, a lesson I have learned.
I have lived in a place, populated by one,
the terror and fear weigh more than a ton.
I have lived in a place.
Don Kittleson

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
August, 13 2014 at 9:33 am

Thank you, Don, for reading and commenting. Your poem is beautiful. ~Gabe

Heather
says:
August, 7 2016 at 6:24 pm

Why do I have anxiety? You mean that's what makes me tired? I've tried everything, and anything to escape it, only left to face it. There is no getting better, there is no how, there is no what to contemplate. No one has the answers, until I realized that there was a way out. Somethings wrong with me. That's my constant thought. And my thinking wears me out, and that's it. I become stuck physically, wore out emotionally, and needy, but isolate. Cause it's safer that way.

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