Generalized Anxiety Disorder | A personal story

What do you worry about?

I used to make every thought that came into my mind something to worry about (or maybe I still do – laugh out loud – I just react less).

Worried about being late; worried about getting into an accident; worried to death if a cop is riding behind me; worried about getting lost; worried about having to parallel park; worried about relationships; worried about death or the potential of death; worried about health; worried about work; worried about my future; worried about family; worried about my parents being late by 30 minutes; worried about social events; worried about something awful happening; worried about what I am going to wear; worried about my weight; worried about my complexion; worried about work related stress; worried about love; worried about running out of gas; worried about driving at night, in the snow or rain; worried about not being about to fall asleep; worried about worrying.

These worrying thoughts would ruminate in my mind in a cyclic fashion.

Sometimes my constant worrying would be about a make-believe situations or hypothetical conclusion. I’d worry so much about something that hadn’t even happened (yet) that it would end up causing the very thing I feared to happen or create unnecessary conflict over it. It would basically create an issue out of nothing, for absolutely no reason; an issue that had no reason to even exist.

It was exhausting to say the least.

It was an ex of mine that pointed out my compulsive worrying, and kindly suggested I talk to my doctor about it. I hesitantly took his advice after many months. I had nothing to lose.

It was the best decision.

I was also diagnosed with Depression at the same time I was diagnosed with GAD. Being diagnosed with depression came as a shock to me. I knew I had suffered with Major Depression in the past, but at this particular moment I didn’t feel sad, so thought nothing of it. However, I did lose interest in things, I didn’t want to spend time with my friends or go out anywhere, I felt hopeless about my future (at times), I was irritable, had difficulties sleeping and concentrating, and felt tired a lot of time. I assumed all this feelings were related to anxiety.

It isn’t uncommon for the both to be diagnosed together. Which one came first is still up for debate.

A few months later my depression slipped into a Major Depressive Episode and required me to take some time off work. My treatment plan changed a bit, but I will leave this story for another day when I talk about Major Depression.

My treatment plan consisted of medication, exercise, diet, self-help books (CBT), a sleep routine, mindfulness practice, meditation, CBT and talk therapy by a psychologist, and referral to a psychiatrist for evaluation.

To get into details about specific approaches I took would require another publication, or maybe two or three. If you have specific questions, please never hesitate to email me.

-Rachel Page

Social Anxiety Disorder | A personal story

Social Anxiety, another disorder I am familiar with.

It began in my earlier years, right around the time when the bullying began.

It instilled such fear that I refused to present in front of the class. My assignments would be presented in front of only the teacher at the end of the day. I become isolated, and alone. I was probably thought of as a ‘loner’ at one point. Eating lunch alone, even then I would sit there and worry about what the other kids were thinking about me. If they didn’t speak ignorant words, I knew they were thinking it; rolling their eyes as they walked by.

This fear has followed me throughout my life, and had affected multiple areas of my life.

My greatest challenge was in nursing school, and having to work in groups and present in front of the class, later it was working with ‘actual’ patients. Come to think about it, this is probably when the panic attacks started. Having to face my fears was terrifying, but I knew if I ever wanted to have a career in nursing, and practice safely, then I would just have to ‘suck it up’ and do it. I remember the first time I had to call a doctor. I wrote out everything, according to SBAR, quickly rehearsed it in my mind, then called the doctor. I maybe got 4 or 5 stuttered words out, panicked and hung up.
I made my preceptor call back.

With practice, it has got easier. I still get anxious when having to discuss a patients care with a doctor, but I manage (what choice do I really have?). I usually get anxious with anyone with higher ‘authority’. Probably because I am afraid of saying something incorrect, or not making sense, or afraid of what I ‘look like’. When I get anxious in social situations, I become flushed, I blush, and my body temperature rises. At work, I know I can’t avoid those situations, or else I could compromise the patient, and could lose my job.

The repeated exposure has helped drastically at work, but I still have avoidant behaviours in my personal life with family and friends. I have been known to avoid gatherings with large groups, including family functions. A “large” for me is any gathering consisting of more than 3 people. Usually when I gone out with friends, at most, it has only been with 2 other people. I have missed weddings, parties, birthdays, and random gatherings out of fear. It has affected my relationships with friends and boyfriend’s along the way, and made it difficult to make new friends.

A million thoughts will occupied my mind, and repeat over and over again.

“What if I say something silly? What if I look uncomfortable and awkward? Will they notice how nervous I am? What if my face goes red? What if my voice trembles? What if I don’t make sense or ramble? Will people ask me questions I don’t know the answer to? Will people think I am stupid? Will I have to initiate the conversations? What if I can’t relate to the conversation? What if people wonder why I am being so quiet? What if people think I’m wierd? What if?” Literally the thoughts never end, it’s exhausting.

And simply telling me, “I’ll be fine, suck it up, who cares what they think, or have a drink” or get angry or upset at me, only makes me more anxious. And it’s totally screwed up to think anyone could get upset at you over something you have no control over.

Imagine you are standing at the edge of a 100 foot cliff, and the only way back down is going over the edge, and climbing down a rope latter with some of the steps broken or missing. That is the same intensity of fear I get in some social situations. Sometimes it is easier to just sit down where you are (where you feel comfortable), and not move.

I definitely feel the most comfortable at home; I call it my safe haven. I do go out, maybe once every 2 weeks. Each time is always a struggle, my initial reaction is to cancel plans as the anxiety starts to build due to negative anticipations. It’s frustrating because I love my friends and family, and I should feel the most comfortable around them but my anxiety usually hinders over my trust.

I once had an ex friend get so angry at me because “I could go out with complete strangers (on dates), but I couldn’t hang out with my girl”. Anxiety is a weird thing, it is totally F’ed up. Meeting with strangers felt so much easier because they knew nothing about me, I had an opportunity to only allow what I wanted them to know, when I wanted them to know it. I could put an abrupt end to things if the relationship lacked a connection. I cared less about what they thought. I was in control of those situations.

With my friends, I am an open book. They knew every raw detail. I cared so much about what they thought. I valued their opinions, perhaps too much. I’m not sure why, but I felt like I always had something to prove. My mindset was very damaging to my relationships. Only the strongest relationships were able to survive.

I knew I wanted to change. I needed to changed. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy has really helped me gain back control, and is helping to change my way of thinking. I’m still a ‘work in progress’ but things are changing for the better. I also had to make some difficult decisions with ending some friendships. The purpose was to eliminate the people in my life that held me back, or no longer supported me or served me, grew with me, shared the same values or interests, able to understand me (or took the time to understand) or ride the highs and lows with me. Hardest, but best decision I ever made. Took a very heavy weight off my shoulder.

My journey to self-improvement began with the formulation of specific goals.

1) Decrease social anxiety and gain control
2) Build and sustain meaningful relationships

Then I came up specific tasks to complete each goal.

An example could be, decrease social anxiety by challenging catastrophic or distored thoughts, or slowly integrating different levels of exposure. You really have to be your own cheerleader when it comes to purposely exposing yourself to anxious situations. I’ve had to force myself, but each time always got easier, and I always ended up having a great time. I use reflection to remind myself of the positive experiences I had.

Before you jump into CBT or Exposure Therapy, I would advise that you talk with your doctor to develop a plan together that would work best for you. If it is decided that you would benefit from this type of therapy, you can either purchase a self-help workbook, or you can complete a plan under the care and supervision of a psychologist or trained therapist. I would advise the latter for more severe types of social anxieties or phobias, especially if they are causing significant distress.

-Rachel Page

Panic Disorder | A personal story

Panic Attacks; unfortunetly, something I am way too familiar with. Worst moments of my life. I seriously thought I was dying every time, then the thought of dying would just increase the intensity of the attack. Out of nowhere, minding my own business and BAM. My body would start to feel really warm – hot, and I’d feel really lightheaded, like pre-syncope (pre-fainting). My heart would start to race (I could feel it pounding in my chest; I could hear the rhythm echoing in my ears). I would find it difficult to swallow, and sometimes it was like I would forget, for a moment, how to breathe. My chest would start to tighten. The world around me wouldn’t feel as “real” (very wierd sensation to explain; it’s like I’m stick inside my body, looking through these windows – my eyes). I really thought I was going nuts. I was certainly losing control, to the point where it felt like my life was being sucked out of me. Then… the impending doom. The ultimate panic. That moment of “I’m about to die, my life is now over”. Tears would start to roll down my face. What seemed like forever was probably only a few minutes, maybe 10 mins at most. They would happen at random, never triggered by anything in particular. They would keep me awake at night. For some reason, they were always so much worse at night. I would have to get up out of bed and start pacing my room. If I laid down, I’d hear my hear pounding, my body would shake with each pound. I’d often check my pulse, just to see how crazy it was going, or to see if I was dead. Worst mistake ever. Feeling my pulse, or envisioning my heart stop pumping in my chest, would freak me the (beep) out of me. Impending doom would hit me again. What is worse then dying, if you think you are always dying?

To be honest, me typing out that last part made me feel a bit uneasy, a bit on edge. My pulse started to quicken. I closed my eyes, and I took a deep breath in…

Now I am back!

This happened for almost 6 or more months, my entire last year of nursing school. I was living in hell, so too speak. They started off gradually, one every 2 weeks, but increased to almost daily. I was living in complete fear – fearing when the next one might rip through me. Eventually it started to affect all aspects of my life. The only places I felt comfortable was at home with my head in my books, or at my boyfriend’s (now ex’s) home. I never really wanted to do anything or go anywhere, because I was deathly afraid of making an ASS of myself out in public (even around my own friends). I am surprised I made it through that last year of nursing school without having to pause my studies or repeat any course(s). (I’m very proud of myself).

I reached out to my doctor, and did a series of blood work and diagnostic tests (chest xray, ECG, cardiac holter monitor). To no surprise, all came back normal.

I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder.

My doctor advised against treatment in the form of medication. I know what you are thinking (WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD SHE NOT WANT TO TREAT YOU), but I agree with her reasoning based on the information I provided to her.

She felt the medication that is used to treat panic disorders, could really attack my ability to study. Plus panic attacks come and go so quickly, the attack would be over by the time the medication would kick in, and they aren’t the type of medications you want to take around the clock. They are sedating, and make you ‘too mellow’, and very addictive. Benzodiazepines are used on an “as need” basis (unless directed otherwise by your doctor). I was also against taking anti-depressants (at the time). So really my only option was to just ‘deal with it’, and I did.

Reflecting on that entire situation, I also don’t think I ever really told her exactly how bad it got, or all the dreadful details. Probably because I was scatter brained, and too quiet and timid – I didn’t know how to ‘speak up’. This is probably when the Social Anxiety, and Generalized Anxiety started.

I isolated myself so much that social situations made me feel incredibly uneasy. I didn’t want to hang out with my friends, and I even stopped showing up to family holiday gatherings.

The sad truth, I lost some of the ‘greatest’ friends due to my illness. Well childhood friends. BUT if they were truly meant to be in my life, they wouldn’t have gave up, they would still be here.

Hundreds of people will enter your life, lots more will exit. It will sometimes be a blessing, other times it will hurt. But everything happens for a reason, a life lesson. I have learned that as you get older you meet new people and start to build relationships based on similar interests, values, beliefs, and even mental illnesses (or mental wellness). The people in my life now have a very unique understanding of mental health, and can relate either on a personal (either they suffer from a disorder, or know someone close to them that does), or professional level. I find these ‘new’ friends can truly and deeply relate, and don’t take offense to my flare ups (moments where I isolate myself, and become MIA (missing in action) or non-existent; whatever you want to call it). I am truly blessed to have such amazing friends in my life, and I am so grateful for the friends I have yet to meet.

The great news is, I rarely get Panic Attacks anymore. Maybe one or two a year if I am unlucky. They pretty much vanished once I graduated from nursing school. I was able to spend all my energy on learning how to overcome those awful attacks on my own through relaxation, diet, and excerise.

I’ll be speaking more about treatment, and specific, yet simple, things you can do to help in another blog

Disclaimer: None of my information, education or personal stories are for diagnoses or treatment purposes. Mental Health Disorders are serious, and most of the time require help from a trained medical professional. If you think you suffer from one, and find you are having a really hard time coping…. please go speak to your doctor. Do not be afraid. Truly, they are only there to help you. It is very helpful to make a mood and thought diary, and write down everything you experience. When it is time to see your doctor, make some bullet points and some questions to ask to discuss with him or her. This will shed some of the anxiety. You can do it.

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Sharing Stories

It wasn’t until I relapsed with Major Depression, and experienced the troubles and triumphs, that I wanted to reach out to the world and share my story.

I hoped by doing so, I would be able to help others and provide some level of hope.

My story began. . .

Some people thought it was a wonderful idea, while others were a bit hesitant as they thought it would have negativity consequences on my career. Although, I was never really worried about that as depression is as common (if not more) as hypertension these days, it is just less talked about. I was more worried about what people would think, and the assumptions that would transpire. My personal stories that I blog about are open, honest, raw, and vulnerable.

I think my deepest anxiety came from my negative assumptions my coworkers would have, but that anxiety was quickly neutralized with their abundance of support. Many of my coworkers were quick to open up to me about their own personal stories regarding their struggles with mental illnesses. It only validated how common mental illnesses are, and how uneasy people still feel to talk about it.

I am showing people it is OKAY to talk about it. It is okay to be taking medication. It is okay to see a therapist.

I am still the same person I was before anyone knew I was diagnosed with Major Depression. By the way, I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and ADHD. . And Joe Blow over there has hypertensive, high cholesterol, and diabetes (and no body thinks any different about him).

I honestly didn’t know the type of response I would, I was nervous and at times psyched myself out preparing for the worst. . .

My negative thoughts were quckily prooved wrong with an out-pouring of support from friends, family, coworkers, and from people all over the world. People started sharing their stories with me, some people turned to be for guidance and support. The next thing I knew I started creating social media platforms to provide my growing amount of followers a space where people could turn to for support.

This is still the beginning.

I only began this journey 2 months ago.
I am so excited for everyone to continue on this journey with me. ♡

Relationships | Depression

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My depressive mind was my own worst enemy. It became a master manipulator and distorted my perception of life, including my relationships, in a more negative way.
My low days made every aspect of my life look bleak.
It caused me to pay less attention to my then partner, I become disconnect and uninterested. I was less involved, more irritable, and some days it seemed impossible to enjoy our, what was supposed to be quality, time together.
Unfortunately that relationship didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean future relationships cannot.
People come into your life for a reason. It could be for a day, a season, or a lifetime. Whatever the reason, their purpose is to teach or guide you on your journey through life. There was a lot I learned from that relationship. I learned that I am ‘enough’. I (or you) shouldn’t have to feel the need to change in order to live up to someone else’s expectation. Either they love you for who you are, or they are not deserving of your love. Simple. Trying to live up to unrealistic expectation created a storm of uncertainty and conflict in my mind. Who I was trying to be was not my true self. It was conflicting with my self-identity, and my mind started to work against me.
I would like to note that my previous relationship did not cause my depression or anxiety, it just complicated it. It has been a long term illness that I mistakenly never reach out for professional help at the most appropriate time. I relied independently on helping myself through self-help books, and journaling, but it took me until recently to discover that those methods never truly helped. Over the years, instead, I learned maladaptive coping techniques.
When it comes to a partnership, you need to be upfront about your depression, and your partner will have to be willing to ride those highs and lows with you. Relationships take patience, commitment, mutual effort, honesty and a whole lot of love.
Be Kind. Be Humble.

On to the educational part now….

NEGATIVE AFFECTS OF DEPRESSION
ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP

IS YOUR SEX LIFE DIMINISHED OR IS NON-EXISTENT?

A long term lack of sexual connection in your relationship may signal that depression is present. Lack of sex drive can manifest from a variety of causes related to depression: hidden resentment, shame about sex, poor body image, feeling exhausted, taking medications, performance anxiety, and so on.

By addressing these problems, couples can use their sexual connection to reignite their passion and strengthen their relationship.

DO YOU FEEL HOPELESS ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

A sense of hopelessness is one of the central predictors of depression and suicidal thoughts. A cognitive distortion that so often comes with depression may be manipulating your thoughts into believing the future looks hopeless and that things will never get better.

Instead be mindful. When you feel your mind drifting to predetermined thoughts of the future, bring yourself back to the present moment. Acknowledge the negative thoughts and feelings for what they are (just thoughts and feelings), and fill your mind with positive past or future memories.

ARE YOUR EMOTIONS BECOMING YOUR WORSE ENEMY?

Most of us have a hard time dealing with negative emotions, but people who are depressed have particular trouble in this area. They tend to become overwhelmed by the intensity of their emotions and therefore shut them down when strong emotions arise. With depression, you may react to strong emotions by becoming ruminative (thinking about the same problems over and over), denying or ignoring your emotions, or by becoming overly self-critical.

This means that in a relationship when conflict arises–as it always does in a relationship– you’re less equipped to deal with problems that elicit strong emotions. You may withdraw from you partner altogether, or you may push the issue and explode.

ARE YOU TEMPTED TO ACT OUT?


Men, in particular, who are depressed, are more likely to express their depression outwardly. If you’re a depressed man, you’re more likely to act out your depression through drinking alcohol, becoming aggressive, having affairs, or shutting out your loved ones and withdrawing. In addition, men have more somatic symptoms–backaches, headaches, and low sex drive. Men also have a more difficult time identifying their own depression, and are less likely to get help for it because they may not even recognize their behaviors indicate an underlying depression.

DO YOU FEEL ANXIOUS?

The problems that come with mixed anxiety and depression–sleep trouble, concentration difficulties, low energy, high irritability and worry, expecting the worst, and being constantly on guard, can also present a challenge to your relationship.

When you encounter the everyday relationship problems that arise, you often perceive that there’s grave threat to your relationship. It feels like the relationship is doomed to failure. This perceived threat can trigger heightened anxiety and excessive reassurance seeking–which can place your relationship under even more stress. This false alarm of danger to your relationship can be stressful for both of you, and leaves you with constant feelings of uncertainty.

Credit: Scientific America

DO YOU DOUBT YOURSELF?

Depression breeds self-doubt, which can color how you view your partner and how you think they view you. Someone with lower-self-esteem and depression may have a bad time with their partner and think. Self-doubt says you’re defective, worthless and filled with flaws.

Because self-doubt can be paralyzing, looking for evidence of moments you felt empowered or overcame adversity. Look for small ways to affirm that you are capable of affecting your path in life. Pick one small thing you can do right now to feel better, and do it.

DO YOU CRITICIZE YOURSELF?

Depression minimizes the positives in your life and magnifies the negative. So when your partner leaves their clothes out or doesn’t wash the dishes, you automatically think they’re inconsiderate and clearly don’t care about you.

When depression manifests as criticism, your partner might feel like they’re walking on eggshells and worry about being condemned.

What helps to counter criticism is noticing your partner’s positive traits and realizing that their less-than-stellar qualities don’t cancel out their positive attributes. Appreciation begets appreciation. When you show your appreciation to your partner, and they feel appreciated, they’re more likely to do the same in return, creating a stronger bond.

DO YOU HAVE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS?

You may have an internal script that dictates the right things your partner should say and how they should support you. The problem with that is your partner hasn’t read your script. When the other person inevitably deviates from your script, the depressed part of you may react with dissatisfaction, disenchantment, or feelings of failure.

Remember that your partner isn’t a mind reader. Communicate clearly and directly with them about how you’d like to be supported.

Credit: Psych Central

Making it Work|Supporting Each Other

BE HONEST

Honesty is so important in a relationship. If we suffer from depression, it’s important to be open about this with our partner – even though this can feel daunting. Being honest helps our loved one understand us, and enables them to support us when times get tough.

HAVE EMPATHY

Although we can’t live in our partner’s head, we can put yourself in their shoes. If we are in a relationship with someone with depression, we need to remain mindful that although we cannot see it, they are ill, and their difficult behaviour often comes from their illness, and not them

COMMUNICATE

Good communication is incredibly important in a relationship. We need to feel able to express our thoughts and feelings, explain our behaviours, and advise on how we’d like our needs to be met. Encourage each other to talk – and LISTEN objectively.

If our partner struggles with depression, be patient. Remember mental illness isn’t logical, and our loved one may be just as confused by it as we are.

We might feel the need to offer advice, but this isn’t necessary: most likely they just want a safe place to voice how they’re feeling, and comfort in return.

SUPPORT EACH OTHER

There are many different ways we can support a loved one with depression. Here are some suggestions from the Blurt Community:

Kind gestures, reassurance, spend time together, listen actively, be there physically and emotionally, have patience, and practice the art of touch,

Remember support from outside of our relationship can be incredibly helpful too – we don’t just have to manage this between ourselves. Connecting with people in a similar situation can be very enlightening.

SHOW A UNITED FRONT

Healthy relationships are partnerships – in the truest sense of the word. When one person in the partnership is struggling, the other is there to unquestionably offer support. When you’re in a relationship, your depression is not just your problem, it’s both of yours.

Credit: Blurt It Out

Please Comment, Like and Share – It is always greatly appreciated ♥

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Lets Talk – Therapy

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My Personal Experience with a Therapist.

Therapy. The idea was quite daunting to me; confiding in a complete stranger made my social anxiety meter rage with fear. When things started to spiral out of control (or so I thought), I was desperate to try anything.

It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made.

She has helped me in an abundance of extraordinary ways. She has helped me make connections between my thoughts and reality. She always knows exactly the right questions to ask. She really seeks to understand, and challenges my thought processes. She opens my eyes to new perspectives, and provides me with valuable insights. She has made a significant impact on my life, and I am internally grateful for her guidance and support.

Keep in mind – sometimes finding a therapist, that is right or you, can be a bit of trial and error. You have to find someone you can trust wholeheartedly, and feel comfortable enough to fully open up to and allow yourself to be vulnerable with.

I understand that there may be financial constraints that may hinder your ability to access this type of resource or service (which is a big part of why I created this blog – a project that will hopefully come to light in the next couple of months, so stay tuned), but there is are many organizations that help connect you with “non-profit support services”. Just do a quick google search of the Mental Health Association or Organizations in your location! Hospital websites also provide information about available services that are located in their district. I will also list a few websites at the end of this Post.

Here are a list of common questions I had when I was debating
seeking help from a therapist.


WHY should I seek help from a Therapist?

  • You’re experiencing unexpected mood swings
  • You’re undergoing a big change.
  • You’re having harmful thoughts.
  • You’re withdrawing from things that used to bring you joy.
  • You’re feeling isolated or alone.
  • You’re using a substance to cope with issues in your life.
  • You suspect you might have a serious mental health condition.
  • You feel like you’ve lost control.
  • Your relationships feel strained
  • Your sleeping patterns are off.
  • You just feel like you need to talk to someone

Credit: Huffington Post

WHAT can therapy help me with?

Therapy helps individuals, couples, and families address personal difficulties by allowing you to talk openly and confidentially about concerns and feelings with a trained professional.

Therapy may be useful if:

  • You’re facing situations causing you stress, anxiety and upset.
  • You are experiencing intense or uncomfortable feelings such as anger, sadness, fear, frustration and depression.
  • You are behaving in ways that don’t fit your normal pattern, don’t serve your needs, or are problematic to you or others.
  • You are thinking thoughts that are peculiar, hard to understand, out-of-control or disturbing.
  • You’ve experienced a traumatic event, such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, a serious accident or a criminal injury.
  • You are dealing with a relationship issue or family conflict.
  • You’re going through a difficult life transition, such as the death of a loved one, a life-threatening illness, divorce, separation, or a mid-life crisis.
  • You are challenged by family issues, such as parenting, child-rearing, adolescence, and aging parents.
  • You need help with an addiction such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex or gambling.
  • You have an eating disorder.
  • You are facing difficulties with matters of gender identity, sexual orientation, racism and oppression.
  • You wish to explore spiritual issues, questions of meaning or matters of faithCredit: Psychotherapy Ontario

HOW can therapy help me?

  • Understand your mental health condition
  • Define and reach wellness goals
  • Overcome fears or insecurities
  • Cope with stress
  • Make sense of past traumatic experiences
  • Separate your true personality from the moods caused by your condition
  • Identify triggers that may worsen your symptoms
  • Improve relationships with family and friends
  • Establish a stable, dependable routine
  • Develop a plan for coping with crises
  • Understand why things bother you and what you can do about them
  • End destructive habits such as drinking, using drugs, overspending or unhealthy sex

Credit: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

WHO provides Therapy or Counselling?

Many kinds of mental health specialists may provide talk therapy. Some common professionals include:

  • Psychiatrists (MD)
  • Psychologists (PhD, PsyD, EdD, MS)
  • Social workers (DSW, MSW, LCSW, LICSW, CCSW)
  • Counselors (MA, MS, LMFT, LCPC)
  • Psychiatric nurses (APRN, PMHN).

Your ability to talk honestly and openly with your therapist, set
clear goals and make real progress are the most important things. Think
of your relationship with your therapist as a partnership. The two
of you will work together to help you feel better. You do not need
to feel ashamed or embarrassed about talking openly
and honestly about your feelings and concerns.

Credit: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

HOW do I get the most of my Therapy?

When you first begin therapy, make a list of the things that are bothering you and the issues you would like help with. Bring it with you to your first appointment. You might include:

  • Issues in your family or other relationships
  • Symptoms like changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Anger, anxiety, irritability or troubling feelings
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself

Credit: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance


Additional Resources:

Ontario Society of Psychotherapist : Why choose psychotherapy?

American Psychiatric Association: Psychotherapy

Canadian Mental Health Association: Getting Help

American Psychology Association: Understanding Psychotherapy

Credit: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Institute of Mental Health: Help for Mental Health

Mental Health America : Find Help

Please Comment and Share Mental Health
Resources available in your Country.

Compulsive Worrying – Coping

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I have a confession, I am a compulsive worrier.
Ever since I can remember, I have always lived my days worrying about pretty much anything and everything.
I would imagine the absolute worst case scenario, conjure up a detailed motion picture movie in my head, and then I’d believe it as if it were currently happening. Negative assumptions would be preceded by a slew of negative feelings, which would be based off this unrealistic reality.
Eventually this thought process became very destructive and started to affect many different aspects of my life, and well-being.


Signs of Symptoms of Panic Attack Disorder:

Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
Sweating
Trembling or shaking
Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
Feelings of choking
Chest pain or discomfort
Nausea or abdominal distress
Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint –
Chills or heat sensations
Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization –
(being detached from oneself)
Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
Fear of dying

Signs of Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
Being easily fatigued
Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
Irritability
Muscle tension
Difficulty controlling the worry
Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or –
restless, unsatisfying sleep)

Signs of Symptoms of Social Anxiety:

Feeling highly anxious about being with other people –
and having a hard time talking to them
Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about -feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or –
fearful of offending others
Being very afraid that other people will judge them
Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
Staying away from places where there are other people
Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around


I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Unless you are a close friend, or family member, many people have (and will) find this shocking to believe. I became very good at keeping my feelings locked away in the closet. What people observed was a total inaccurate interpretation of how I actually felt. Inside, I felt like my brain was caught up in a storm of constant, repetitive, and racing thoughts, but that didn’t stop me from smiling. It was on fire. Eventually the anxiety led to Major Depression (and the smiling ceased to exist – for a while), which I will discuss another time.

The greatest accomplishment for me was being able to recognize that there was an issue, and that I needed help beyond peer social support, journal writing and self-help books.
There is so much stigma circling around mental illness, when it’s merely no different than any medically diagnosed condition. It should be treated with the same level of priority and importance. Medication, psychotherapy, and support groups are okay. No one should feel judged or embarrassed to seek support. The only way to break the stigma is to talk about it, spread awareness.


Here are some things that have helped me manage my cyclic worry:

Create a list – Identifying the things you are worried about allows you to acknowledge them for what they are (just thoughts), and it allows you to do something about them (or perhaps nothing at all).
Analyze (but don’t over analyze) – Determine whether your thoughts are productive or non-productive. Productive in the sense, can you do something about it now? Non-productive thoughts are typically worse case assumptions, “what if”, that cannot be changed.
Embrace Uncertainty – Accept your limitations, and let go, focusing on the things you do have control over and enjoy.
Bore Yourself Calm – Repeat the negative thoughts in your mind until they lose their importance, resulting in boredom.
Stop the Clock – Worry creates a sense of urgency. Become mindful, and focus on what you observe in the present moment. Practice mediation, deep breathing, music therapy, and/or journal writing.

Ask, “What can I do in this present moment to make my
life more meaningful and pleasant?”

Check out : Rejuvenate your Mind and Body with These Simple Practices
Lastly, Talk About It – I have to say, I am very thankful of the support I have in my life. I have the most amazing family and friends. BUT, sometimes we need professional support, in the form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy through certified therapists, psychologists and/or psychiatrists. Recognizing the need for professional help is key. If you notice your excessive worrying, or anxiety is starting to affect multiple areas of your life (ie. work, personal, relationships) then it’s highly suggested you reach out for additional support.


Helpful Resources

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Canadian Mental Health Association

Anxiety.Org


Rachel Page ♥

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