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Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
I've learned anxiety lessons this year, and you probably have too because, for so many people worldwide, 2020 has been a year marked by anxiety. Some people found their existing anxiety skyrocketed, while others experienced it significantly for the first time. External stressors have been extreme this year as we've collectively wrestled with fears and worries about our health, the health of loved ones, safety, economic security, access to things and services we need, political and social uncertainties, and more. While this year definitely involved struggle, it also brought opportunities to build strength and growth. Here, I share with you seven anxiety lessons I learned from 2020.
Annabelle Clawson
You might feel hesitant to talk about your mental health with others. Mental health problems are often accompanied by crippling shame that prevents you from wanting to reach out for help. Shame also lies to you, saying that you are a burden to others and that no one is as messed up as you are. But if you feel that way, it is time to start talking about your mental health.
TJ DeSalvo
The holidays had me thinking about food and anxiety more than usual. My family, like (I’m sure) most others, tends to make the same foods year after year, and honestly, it’s one of the things about the holidays I look the most forward to, and I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. I’m going to use that as a jumping-off point for this blog post because I think there’s something to be said about how food can help someone with their anxiety.
Heidi Green, Psy.D.
I've spent over two blissful years writing to you each month on this blog. My time with HealthyPlace has been a special time. Like all good things, this one is finally coming to an end. I want to use my final blog post to share what I have learned about myself over the past two years and how writing this blog has helped me grow as a person.
Jessica Kaley
Life eventually taught me that changing my view could help my self-esteem and let me feel better about myself. My self-esteem suffered for many years because my view was focused firmly on the things I didn't accomplish. There was no way to deny that I didn't finish this thing, and never started that thing, and failed to reach my goal at the other. With my mind's telescope pointed only at my disappointments, I could come to no other conclusion than I was not worthy of respect from myself or others.
Nori Rose Hubert
I think it's a safe bet to say that we are all ready for 2020 to be over, but perhaps not ready to start planning the new year with bipolar disorder. This year threw us a global pandemic, severe economic downturn, mass civil unrest, growing urgency around climate change, and perhaps the most volatile presidential election in US history. Then there were the thousands of personal losses so many of us faced (and are still facing): jobs, income, stability, housing, treasured time spent with family and friends, relationships strained to the breaking point due to political division, and loved ones whose lives were cut short by COVID-19. While the New Year is usually a time of hope and optimism, many folks -- especially those of us with mental health challenges like bipolar disorder -- are finding it hard to look ahead in the face of so much heartache and discouragement. Fortunately, planning for the new year with bipolar disorder doesn't have to take a tremendous amount of effort.
Krystle Vermes
One of the most important components of any healing journey is finding the right therapist, and this is especially true when you have dissociative identity disorder (DID). That being said, it is critical to find a therapist who can work with you and your specific needs to set you on the right path toward recovery.
Alixzandria Paige
I get exhausted from interacting with my friends and family due to my social anxiety, even though I love them. I find it very difficult to interact with people for a long time. This extends as far as to be exhausted by texting. However, my family has learned how to handle my social anxiety in a way that benefits all of us.
Hollay Ghadery
As far as years go, 2020 has been difficult in a great many ways, but it's also taught me a lot about my eating disorder recovery. I expected a year like this one to break me; I was almost waiting for it. I'm not going to lie: there were some close calls.
Megan Griffith
For most of my childhood, I used reading to cope with trauma. This might not sound like a bad thing, and it wasn't entirely, but it came with a couple of big problems. Coping mechanisms develop as a way for us to protect ourselves, to survive despite threats to our wellbeing or identity. However, these coping mechanisms can get in the way of real connection.

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Mahevash Shaikh
Annie
No sense of direction, following directions, remembering directions, knowing I will get lost and the embarrassment of getting lost are as much a part of me as my ADD, chronic depression and anxiety disorder. I have sent my parents, siblings, friends, my husband and my adult children into fits of frustration over my inability to "find and remember". "Pay attention to your surroundings!" I've heard that so many times, I know it's going to come from someone's mouth 5 seconds before they utter the admonition. On more occasions than I can count, I've wanted to scream, "I'm not stupid! I hate this more than you could ever know!" I swallow those words and instead, apologize for my shortcoming and promise to remember the next time. Each time this happens, I tell myself that maybe I am stupid, maybe I don't pay attention, maybe I'm simply not trying hard enough and I hate myself a little bit more. Recently, my husband had to spend a couple of days in the hospital for minor surgery. We had parked in the parking garage at the hospital and made our way to his room on the sixth floor. We'd been there a short while when he realized he had forgotten to bring the book he was reading; he asked if I would mind bringing it back with me when I returned that evening. At that moment, fear and panic went through me like a hot knife, I couldn't remember which elevator we'd used to get up to his floor, the way to lobby or the parking garage if I was lucky enough to get to the lower floor. I smiled and told him I'd be happy to bring his book back with me. I prepared to leave, I looked at him and casually asked if the elevator we came up in was to the left of the nurses station, "yup", he said, and off I went. As I'd feared, when I stepped out of his room, nothing looked familiar to me whatsoever, I was lost before I was really lost. I was asking people for directions at every turn, with panic and anxiety waiting to boil over. When I finally made it to our car, I exploded into tears of anxiety, relief, shame; I hated myself. Upon my return, I went through the same agonizing journey getting back to his room. I shared my experiences with him and asked if he would give me directions for my way back down, not north, east, south or west...I wanted to write them down in list form, using words like "turn left, go right" and I wanted some "landmarks" along the way. For the first time ever, I could see he sensed my fear. I took a notebook and pen from my purse, wrote the number 1. on the paper and finished with number 7. Forgive my prattling, it's part and parcel of my ADD.
Anonymous Andy
I have the same kind of thing going on. I'm working on trying to distinguish myself and my suspected alters. A lot of my memories feel like dreams or I remember them wrong, and some of them I can just remember well. I've definitely noticed that I forget plenty of things, though? Pretty confused. I'm glad I'm not alone though haha.
Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez
Hi Lizanne,

I love the idea of creating new memories by going back to laugh where you may have once experienced pain. This is such a great suggestion. Laughter can truly be very powerful.
Thank you for your comments!

Rizza
Natasha Tracy
Hi Kyan,

Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry you're in a negative place with your spouse but I would like to mention that your spouse is only one person. Many people with bipolar disorder are not like you describe. We are individuals and should be treated as such.

- Natasha Tracy