Sunday, December 27, 2009


I've been having a fair amount of anxiety this weekend & trying so hard not to struggle, but accept - invite - provoke the discomfort & symptoms. I find myself wishing this path was not one where you have to show up & jump first before you realize you can fly. My wings don't always seem like they can do the job and, really, the nest - while small and limiting - is pretty comfortable some times.

I did find my way to the other side of anxiety once again - as always. I'm just feeling a bit exhausted by the feelings & wishing a magic wand would sweep over me, fairy dust aglow and speak the magic word - cured!

Is that too much to ask? :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

30 Day Exposure Challenge Coming Soon!

So, we all know that the best way to knock down the anxiety bully is through exposure to the things you most fear. In January, I'll be starting a 30 day Exposure Challenge & I hope you'll join me for the ride. What will this look like? How do you fit exposure into a busy lifestyle? We'll be talking about that & more in the weeks to come.

While my husband, thankfully, does not deal with anxiety, he's joining me with a challenge of his own. His challenge - 30 days of exercise! So, consider getting your spouse, partner or a friend to challenge themselves in whatever areas of their lives need attention; bring the idea to your therapist; & jump in whenever you're ready.

If you're interested in ways to structure your exposure practice, I highly recommend these three books:

Facing Panic - Self Help for People with Panic Attacks

Don't Panic (revised edition)

Panic Attacks Workbook - a Guided Program for Beating the Panic Trick

If you open the link to Facing Panic, you'll notice 7 charts below that are available to open & print out. These are great tools to accompany your practice. Check it out!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Turning the volume down on anxiety radio

Happy Wednesday! Yesterday morning I woke up with my head tuned into anxiety radio (a term coined here). No high anxiety, panic or anything, just the constant hum of relentless thoughts. "I wonder how I'll feel today - oh my God, I'm already thinking about my thinking - it's a habit - I wonder what my neural pathways look like - well, if I could only get off my butt and do more exposure - maybe I need to go back to counseling - this is ridiculous, I'm just tired & interpreting it as anxiety - shut up brain!"

Do you ever have days like that?

Well, I went along with my morning, the din of anxiety radio in the back ground. I brought my kids to school, had lovely conversations with friends in the hallways, hung out with my favorite teacher, ran some errands & then drove over to the botanical gardens with my two year old. After all this rain, we both needed some outdoor time to just be.

I decided to let my sweet girl lead the way. Holding hands, skipping at times and singing, we made our way down to the children's garden & up into the tree house. The gardens were practically empty, except for us. From the tree house atrium, you can look out over the lake and see most of the grounds. We looked out the windows, searching for any signs of turtles, fish or ducks in and around the water. I pointed out a tree with moss covering one side, woodpecker marks peppering the side of one of its branches.

There's been a lot of singing at our house lately with our oldest trying out for the school play. So, it didn't surprise me when my two year old starting belting out "Singing in the Rain" and knew most of the words. I joined her in song and we began dancing in the tree house atrium. After we would finish singing the words we both knew, she would smile up at me and say "Again, again!"

So, over and over again, we sang in unison. I began scooping her up at the end and twirling her little body around like a ballroom dancer. We moved around the wooden floor singing and dancing. If you could have seen us, we seemed to be performing in our own musical - with the smoothest of vocals, of course. It was so easy to be present with this child and I felt my spirits rise and the sound of anxiety radio being drowned out by the pure joy of being totally present in the moment.

After walking up the path, hand in hand, we got back into the car and went on with our grocery shopping and daily to do's. Did the barrage of thoughts completely go away? No. But, it didn't matter because all I was really noticing was the bright blue of my daughters laughing eyes, the feel of her soft, tiny hand in mine, and the beauty of our magical surroundings.

The wonder Wednesday song, then, has to be "Singing in the Rain". I hope you can find a space to turn down whatever mental radio station is playing for you and take a moment to try on your best Gene Kelly, even if it's just spinning around in the kitchen in your socks.