Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wonder Wednesdays

"I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind . . ."

Hope you're up dancing with Gnarls Barkley! Moving your body - really dancing, jumping, moving - helps loosen up that stored adrenaline and shift our attitude a little.

Are you moving yet? Now, doesn't that feel better?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Face it Fridays!

Good morning! So, I have to admit that I did my face it friday challenge yesterday. We're heading out of town for a few days & I knew there would be no time today. Although, I should count (mostly) keeping my cool while we try to pack up the mini-van; negotiate. . .you know, who's way to pack is the "right way"; and three gorgeous, but wild and excited, children scream & run through the house.

"Mommy - she hit me! Mama - look at my slip knot - woohoo, I'm a cowgirl! Mom - did you pick up the 3rd Percy Jackson book yet? I can't clean that up - I'm too tiiired!" Thank God for a little PBS Kids in times like these!

Alright, so yesterday I chipped away at that bridge/roller coaster exit some more. I crossed the downtown bridge, took the first exit, came back across & then jumped onto the downtown expressway exit. I should videotape that for you - it really is a silly design - all loopy & rollercoastery right over our downtown area. Who thought up that design?

With exposure like this, I like to repeat it over & over & over again until I'm not getting rushes of adrenaline. Yesterday, I went in reminding myself of the attitude "I want this anxiety" & tried to increase symptoms. Turning around on the exit, I noticed that I, um, really didn't want to be anxious after all, and had to talk to myself again when the rushes came back, "I do want this anxiety. This is how I get over it. I can handle it."

I hope you have a wonderful weekend & take some time to get out there & stir up some trouble for yourself!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

(Stevie) Wonder Wednesday

Sometimes, nothing works better to shake up all those stuck emotions than getting up and dancing to your favorite music. Dr. James Gordon uses dancing as one of his techniques to help people with depression become Unstuck. Why not give it a try? Now, you may remember that I have a special place in my heart for Stevie Wonder . . . seeing how he was really there for me during postpartum. So, we've gotta start with some Stevie on this first Wonder Wednesday. If you're self conscious, wait until you're alone; close that office door; or better yet, invite people to come dance with you! At our house, dance parties can happen just about anywhere. Come on now, turn it up and start moving!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Face it Fridays!

We're off to our second Face it Friday!

Even though it wasn't Friday, I've been up to some exposure this week - driving some fun interchanges & working on telling people that I've been feeling worse lately. You know, being open about what I'm really feeling. For you non-anxious people out there, this might not seem like such a big deal. But, for the anxious person who really doesn't want to talk about what's bothering her & would rather sweep it under the carpet . . . it's big. Personally, I count that as interpersonal exposure. And, you know what? When I talk about how I'm feeling, it makes me feel better. Novel, right?

Alright, enough resting on my laurels. Today's challenge & moving into the weekend:

*Driving: Crossing the downtown bridge, taking an exit, turning around & coming back on over.
*Interpersonal: Whenever appropriate, sharing what's going on in regards to my anxiety. Not making a big deal of it, just disclosing.
*Professional: I'm teaching this weekend - working with whatever comes up during this time.

Something that's really important about exposure is that success does not mean entering a feared situation (or working with fearful thoughts) and not feeling anxious. Success means showing up and accepting how you feel, maybe even inviting more symptoms. Whatever happens, you can handle it.

So, I had a nice drive across this bridge this morning. This is the second time in a week that I've done this route & it felt much better this time. I did use one crutch by calling my husband beforehand. We had a nor'easter here the night before, and I (rationalized) thought it only appropriate to call & make sure nothing was flooded out downtown. And, just in case you were wondering, the bridge was bone dry & the flood wall seemed to hold up just fine.

I'd love to hear if you've been inspired to do any exposure work! Have a great weekend stirring up trouble for yourselves!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Face it Fridays!

I'd love to say that I've been conquering my every fear these days, super hero cape flying in the wind . . . but truth be told, I've taken to struggling with my anxiety lately & even feeding that sly little gorilla when no one is looking these past few weeks.

I know, struggling and resisting and avoiding (oh my!), make anxiety SO much worse.

So, when I start feeling like I've slid down that slippery slope & am looking at an uphill battle I do one of two things. Sometimes, I jump right into lots of exposure & it makes me feel worse at first & then so much better as I realize that I've been tricked by fear again. What we fear might happen - our worst what if's - never truly come to light. And, even the uncomfortable stuff, is still manageable.

My second route is to hide it, don't tell anyone & quietly freak out a little while going on with my life. Sure, I'm still showing up, but all the while hoping that anxiety stands me up. People with anxiety frequently have the super power of an amazing imagination & this can get us into trouble as we see and feel the terrible things we are SURE will come true.

After I've felt bad for a while, I start opening up and talking to people, and, slowly, it doesn't seem so terrible. Then it's time to do some more exposure work.

So, what a perfect opportunity to begin "Face it Fridays!" Every Friday I'm going to set an exposure goal for myself, write about it & hope that others will join me for the adventure!

Today I chose a driving exposure goal -- to drive downtown through harrowing interchanges, take a bridge-like exit onto the expressway & come out alive on the other side! This is not part of my daily driving life & I really don't like how this particular exit feels like a roller coaster. So, first thing after dropping my older children off at school, my toddler & I set off for adventure. I wore my cowgirl boots for added spunk & confidence. As I approached the exit, I did feel my heart beating faster & a rush of adrenaline. I remembered Dr. Wilson's advice of asking your anxiety to make your symptoms worse. "Come on anxiety, give me your best shot!"

The excitement was short lived - the exit was no big deal & I wasn't able to physically make myself more anxious. I called my husband to tell him the news.

Me: "Babe, so I just drove over the roller coaster exit & I lived to tell the story."

Him: "Seriously? You made it out alive?"

Me: "Yeah, and I know this may come as a surprise, but it was really no big deal at all."

Him: "Wow, that's shocking."

So, maybe my superhero cape was flying a little bit today and maybe, just maybe I'm really an adrenaline junkie at heart.

I'd love to hear about how you've been inviting your fears this week!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What would you do if you had no fear?

I've been skimming through this book & wondering, dear reader,
"What would you do if you had no fear?"

Knowing that most of what we fear is really not dangerous. . .

If you could free yourself from the constraints of fear & what if's, what would you do differently today? Next month? With your life?

I'd love to hear from you!