Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Reading

After a little spring hiatus, I'm back with a book to add to your summer reading list. I'll be working through this fantastic little workbook throughout the summer and hope you'll join me! You can grab this book at your local library or from most book sellers. Let's aim to read the intro (very important) and first two chapters by July 1st, ok?

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobia's and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Forsyth and Eifert)


Meredith said...

Hi! It is great that your back! I will definitely be checking out that book!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I just wanted to say that I was so happy to stumble across your blog. My name is Ashley. I'm 32, have 3 kids and have been suffering with panic disorder with agoriphobia for 1 year. I really relate to your blog. I gave birth naturally and did great but I can't go into a grocery store or drive on the interstae without feeling like I might pass out. It has been a true nightmare. I want to be a better mother and wife than this!!!
I have never used medication but I do go to therepy and I've started some intense exposure therepy (scary stuff). I have read Hope and Help for your Nerves (The most helpful book ever) and The Panic Attack Workbook. Oh, and Stevie Wonder gets rid of a funk better than anything! :-) Thank you for sharing your journey. It has encouraged and inspired me.

Sarah♥ said...

I've used this book and i found it complicated. Got completely lost around chapter 5.


Ashley said...

How do you practice "floating" through the panic in public with 3 kids? I'm so afraid I'll do somthing that scares them. Do your kids know anything about your anxiety?

Anxiety Girl said...

Hi Meredith - let me know what you think about the workbook. I'm enjoying it so far & it really addresses the idea of waiting for a cure or wanting to get rid of that last little bit of anxiety that we've written about. How are you doing?

Welcome Ashley! I'm glad you found your way here & that it's helpful. I think just knowing your not alone can be so powerful. I'd love to hear how your therapy & exposure work is going.

You asked about how to float through anxiety when you're out with 3 kids. For me, so much is about not listening to the urge to run/flee - staying in the situation and allowing the anxiety to wash over you without engaging in the struggle to make it go away, you know?

I remember being in Target with 3 kids a little while back. The thoughts came on first (what if I freak out here & I can't make it back home & I frighten my children) - then the waves of adrenaline & the urge to quickly leave & go home. But, what happens if you stay is that it eventually goes away. And, even if you still feel tense and panicky, you can make your way through the store. It feels terrible, though, doesn't it? Sometimes I might do something opposite of the anxiety like sing to my kids or dance in the aisle just to loosen up while I'm waiting for the anxiety to subside. It always subsides - I promise.
Take care & hope to hear from you.

Hi Sarah - I know, the beginning of the workbook can be confusing at times, but I like how they admit that and ask the reader to be patient as they unpack the philosophy. Hope you try it again & read along with us!

Ashley said...

Hi. Thank you for your response. It really is so comforting to know that I'm not utterly alone. I have such a wonderful support group here with my hubby and friends but they have never really even struggled with stress, much less a full blown panic attack.

It's funny to me that you refrenced Target. That is exactly where I had my first panic attack one year ago. I have not been back. I really want to be able to go back one day.

The exposure therapy is HARD! I am finding that I still fight every symptom. I still experience a lot of second fear. I don't really know how to just accept the feelings for what they are (JUST FEELINGS!) I keep thinking, if only I just had palpitations or shaking hands that would be easy to overcome. I feel like the, "I'm going to faint" feeling is the worst. I have NEVER fainted so I really don't even know what that would feel like and I have been checked out by several doctors. All who agree that I do not have a medical condition. ARGGG!! I just want this gone. Sorry for the rant. It's been a high anxiety week.

Thanks again for sharing your story. I especially liked your post about king kong sitting on your house :-)

What book did you find the most helpful in helping you accept your anxiety??

amy said...


I have several self-help books and I loveee them. My favorite is "Peace from Nervous Suffering" by Claire Weekes. I love reading your blog and love new posts ;)

Ashley-I'm 32 as well and have experienced anxiety and panic for about 2 years now due to some birth control issues...never experienced much anxiety ever until then.

Anyways, please know that it takes time to get "better"...it will happen. You're avoiding stuff and that is growing your fears, but it's understandable right now why you're doing that. My first panic attack happened on my one year wedding anniversary in a restaurant and I still panic in every restaurant I go in! However, I am now in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and learning great coping techniques, and now it's starting to "click" with me. It's like "what's the worst that can happen?" We take it to the nth degree and magnify it, but it really can't harm us. AND, let me tell you what my therapist told me during my first session...it is a FACT that you will not faint during a panic attack. Fainting occurs when your blood pressure drops drastically, during a panic attack your blood pressure goes UP...it won't happen. I don't have a fear of fainting really, but he just wanted to make sure I knew that. I get super dizzy and can't focus when I panic, but it eventually goes away!

Ashley, a co-worker whom I work with used to be agoraphobic (for about a year she was homebound)...she is now one of the most outgoing and sweetest girls I know. She said to me the other day when I was feeling down "There's always a light at the end of the tunnel, I've seen the light a hundred times, and if I hadn't I wouldn't be where I am today". It ALWAYS gets better! Let your down days be down and don't stress over them, and embrace the good ones :)

Many blessings,

Anxiety Girl said...

Hi Ashley, No worries on the rant - this is a place where you can do that! And, I love Amy's response and good energy sent your way. Exposure work is super hard & it's natural to fight/struggle/resist the symptoms because down deep we all believe that something catastrophic will occur if we allow the symptoms to be there. But, the struggle and avoiding really is what makes it worse. What you'll find as exposure work goes on is that if you wait out the storm without running or struggling, it will pass and you'll be left feeling exhausted, but you will not have passed out or gone crazy.

There's a story in "Don't Panic" about a woman who starts panicking in the library when a big project was due. She finally got so fed up that she sat down on the floor by the stacks and waited it out, thinking, "Come on panic, give me your best shot". To her huge surprise, when she welcomed it, it went away.

Believe me, after all this time, I have not gotten this down yet! I still struggle to make it go away & get caught up in big anticipatory anxiety over silly stuff. Because when the thoughts/sensations start coming on, I'm always sure it's going to be a big panic attack and that "this time" I'll go crazy for sure & never make it back to "normal". In 14 years, it's never happened - never had to pull the car over, never embarrassed myself while speaking in public, never put my kids in danger because I got panicky, never had a panic attack that didn't go away, etc. It's so frustrating, isn't it?

I really have many, but top 3 favorite books right now: "Panic Attacks Workbook"; "Don't Panic" (make sure it's the latest edition with up to date research); "The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety" (really addresses our desire for a cure & how to live a full life even w/anxiety); and I do have to throw in "Peace from Nervous Suffering" that Amy reminded me of -- an oldy, but really a goody & Claire Weekes know about anxiety first hand.

If you were around the block, I'd go hang out in Target with you! You can do this and we're all cheering you on!

Amy - what a great comment and support. Your co-worker sounds like a great inspiration, too. How's your CBT going?

amy said...

My CBT is going good, thank you! I've only been to two sessions so far (he said I will probably do about 10 or 12 total), but I'm already starting to "get" it. He puts a realistic spin on panic/anxiety...basically giving me tons of examples of how my brain tricks me and how to understand when that is happening.

Also, as you may know, your confidence takes a HUGE hit when it comes to this. My therapist has really tried to put that into perspective for me too, b/c I felt as if everyone was judging me based on my anxiety and that's ALL I was to anyone. We aren't defined by it, and truly it's a small part of us in the scheme of things to other people. He drew a big circle for me, put a bunch of "+" signs inside the circle, put a couple "-" signs inside the circle...he then circled one of the negative symbols and said "This is your anxiety". Meaning all the positive symbols were all of my other positive traits, everyone has a couple negative traits...but seeing that ONE negative symbol circled in that big circle of positives made me realize I'm so much more! I used to be a manager at a bank where I would hold large meetings/conference calls and such, I definitely feel that I couldn't do that again, but I feel more confident than I did a year ago!!

Another great example that he gave me. (Don't mean to ramble, I'm just trying to share some expensive advice with you guys, LOL). He said imagine yourself watching a beautiful sunset, relaxed and happy. All of the sudden a big black barge comes through and blocks your sunset...you can't move the barge, getting angry with it won't make it disappear, you just have to wait for it to pass on by so you can continue to enjoy the sunset! That makes a lot of sense :) When I get panicky, my keyword to myself is "the barge" and I usually calm right down!

Words and phrases of affirmation and comfort are wonderful during those times. I know our minds get very foggy and fast moving, but try to remember two or three words to calm down b/c it WILL pass!

Also, Ashley...you are a mom of THREE, give yourself a break :) I'm sure that's hard enough in and of itself! You're probably doing an amazing job raising them!!

Once again, thank you for YOUR inspiration and great posts on your blog!!! I check it very regularly for updates :) I was on here months ago asking about having children with anxiety...anyone with children with these challenges always inspires me!!

Have a wonderful day!


Meredith said...

It is so nice to read all your posts! I am 32 as well with 2 little ones. What is it with Target? I had a bad one there as well! We all need to take an exposure trip there together! I have gone back many times since then and the more you do it the easier it gets!

Ashley said...

I usually don't run from the panic but what I do is STRUGGLE! I know that's the key.

My therapist told me to try to pass out during the attack. Just sit down and try your best to pass out. It won't happen.

I wish I believed that. I did try to pass out once but I was at home. I think he was talking about in Target :-). Yikes!!!

All this talk bout Target has inspired me to go! I'll let you know how it goes.

Anxiety Girl said...

I hear you, Ashley - I don't usually run, but I struggle like crazy some times.

Let me know how your venture out to Target goes. I was there this morning with my littlest girl (3) and I thought about you! We always end with a little treat (one of those tiny Horizon milks from Starbucks & a coffee for me).

You can do this & I can't wait to check in later to hear how it went!

Ashley said...

Hey, another Ashley with anxiety here :).. I've been trying to get through this workbook for weeks and I really need to sit down and do it. I have anxiety almost every day so I'm not sure what's stopping me from trying. There's always something else to do. I second everyone elses ideas about just working through your anxiety. I do find it to be tough though because I tend to feel as though I'm walking through a hazy fog when I'm anxious. It's nice to hear that others have had success with their anxiety. I've been dealing with it for at least three years now.

Ashley said...

Also, Amy- I'm so jealous of the CBT that you are getting. I've been trying for years to find a true CBT therapist but everyone that I've gone to wants me to stay for years and wants to talk about my childhood and how I got there. I'd like someone that could put a 10-12 week length on it and teach me how to cope.

The kicker in all of this.... I'm a psychologist myself (for kids though, which makes a diference- I do a lot of testing and assessments). I know what I should do to help myself, but it's so hard to "counsel" yourself.

Anxiety Girl said...

Hi Ashley #2! Welcome to the site & thanks for sharing about your anxiety. I'm at home with kids now, but have my LCSW and know what you mean about it being hard to counsel yourself. Through my reading, though, I've found that lots of counselors, teachers, people in helping professions struggle with anxiety, as well. So, you're in good company.

Sometimes when I find myself not doing the reading/work, it's about feeling like - what happens if I go through this book and it doesn't help - what will I do then? I'd love for you to join us as we work through this one. Remember that your insight helps everyone else, too.

Happy holiday weekend & I'll check back in a few days!