The “Bell Let’s Talk” Backlash

I guess if anything gets big enough or successful enough, it starts to spark a backlash. The “Bell Let’s Talk” campaign is no exception. In fact, it looks to me like it’s become kind of cool to bash the campaign on social media. And that’s not cool with me.
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Happy Birthday to My Blog!

I just realized that it was exactly one year ago today that I made my very first blog post! Since then, I’ve written 23 more posts containing many, many thousands of words (too many at times, probably!). When I started, I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing (well, even less than I do now!), but things came into some degree of focus as I went along. I discovered that focusing my blog on my experiences with anxiety disorders wouldn’t be as confining as I’d feared, that there really was enough material there for me to find some new aspect to talk about on an ongoing basis. And, incredibly, there were people who actually wanted to read what I wrote, even people who didn’t know me!  Continue reading “Happy Birthday to My Blog!”

New Year, Old Me

A couple of years ago, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. Which is not to say there’s nothing about my lifestyle that needs improvement – eat better, exercise more, get more sleep, read more books, really I could come up with a very long list! But I’ve come to understand that taking on a major change in habits isn’t going to work for me unless I feel truly ready and motivated, and that’s not necessarily going to happen in coordination with a date on the calendar. I believe that the desire for self-improvement comes to me when I’m ready, and that’s when I tend to act.  Continue reading “New Year, Old Me”

The Joys of “Schlafentrinken:” Christmas Without the Anxiety

Four years ago, at about this time of year, I sat in a Starbucks with my husband, stressing out about Christmas. I was in the midst of battling through the toughest period of anxiety I’ve ever experienced, and the thought of preparing for Christmas overwhelmed me. “Can we just skip Christmas this year?” I asked, only half-joking.  Continue reading “The Joys of “Schlafentrinken:” Christmas Without the Anxiety”

Breaking Free of the “List of Can’ts”

As I travel along my journey of recovery from anxiety disorders, I’ve been finding that a lot of my battle is about questioning the limits that I feel surrounded by, limits that feel fixed and impossible to overcome. For example, when my anxiety disorders kicked into high gear a few years ago, I found myself making a “list of can’ts” in my mind. This list was made up of the things that made me so anxious I couldn’t even contemplate attempting them. Things like “I can’t drive over that long, narrow bridge.” “I can’t drive on a busy highway.” “I can’t eat this food or that food” (that was an eating phobia thing). To me, these things didn’t feel like stuff I was choosing not to do – they were things I was truly incapable of doing. The possibility of doing them seemed as likely to me as slam dunking a basketball or performing an opera – it just wasn’t gonna happen.  Continue reading “Breaking Free of the “List of Can’ts””

How Making a Bracelet Helped My Anxiety

I do not, in any way, think of myself as a “crafty” person. Aside from elementary school art classes (from which I do not have particularly fond memories), I’ve never painted a picture, knitted anything, or made a piece of pottery – and never felt particularly inclined to, either. My thing is brain stuff – if it can be turned into an Excel spreadsheet, I’m your gal. But I’m all thumbs when it comes to handy stuff. So no one was more surprised than me when I suddenly decided I was going to make myself a bracelet.  Continue reading “How Making a Bracelet Helped My Anxiety”

Let’s All Get this Straight: It’s Called Generalized Anxiety Disorder and It’s Real

As I was listening to a podcast the other day, I heard the mom of a troubled young man mention that when her son was 10, a therapist had diagnosed him with what the mom called “the very vague ‘general anxiety disorder.'” She said it with a dismissive, frustrated tone that conveyed her belief that the diagnosis had been meaningless and useless. She went on to talk about her son’s various behavioural issues in the years that followed, without mentioning his original diagnosis again. I was saddened and somewhat alarmed that this child’s own mother didn’t seem to understand what Generalized Anxiety Disorder is (or even what it’s actually called). Whether that was a result of her own misunderstanding or an inept therapist, I don’t know. I wondered if her and her son’s story would have gone any differently if it could have been accurately conveyed to her at the time of that diagnosis what Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is, and that it’s a real psychiatric disorder with real impacts (but also that it can be treated).
Continue reading “Let’s All Get this Straight: It’s Called Generalized Anxiety Disorder and It’s Real”

Me and My Meds

I’ve been a bit reluctant to talk about my anxiety medications on my blog. One reason for that reluctance is that medications are a very individual thing, and something that works for one person may not work for another (or may make their symptoms actually worse), so I didn’t see much value in sharing my medication experience, as it is just my experience, and doesn’t necessarily provide valuable information to anyone else. And I really didn’t want to imply that I was in any position to provide advice on something as serious as prescription medication.

The other reason I haven’t really talked about my meds is that the subject of psychiatric medication is a bit of a controversial one. Some people believe psych meds are an evil tool of big pharmaceutical companies who want to get us all addicted to meds we don’t need. On the other side, we have people who say that psychiatric medications have saved their lives and are essential to their ability to function. I’ve been in anxiety support groups where the subject of medication is virtually banned (sort of like the way you might ban topics like politics and religion) because it tends to cause such heated disagreement.  Continue reading “Me and My Meds”

Thoughts on Talking to People with Anxiety (Minus the List of “Shouldn’ts”)

I just googled the phrase “Things you shouldn’t say to someone with anxiety” and I was amazed at how many articles came up. There were seriously something like 50 stories! Mostly numbered lists, with various numbers: 11 things you shouldn’t say, 4 things you shouldn’t say, 20 things you shouldn’t say?! Who can remember 20 things you’re not supposed to say? I’m pretty sure I’d accidentally blurt one of them out when talking to an anxious person, because that list would be all I’d be thinking about!  Continue reading “Thoughts on Talking to People with Anxiety (Minus the List of “Shouldn’ts”)”

Continuing on my Bereavement Journey (and Avoiding a Procrastination Detour)

I find myself suddenly immersed in the world of pet urns. As I discussed a few weeks ago, my beloved dog Tucker died in mid-April. A week after the vet came to our house to euthanize Tucker at the end of his struggle with a brain tumour, my husband and I went to the veterinary clinic to pick up Tucker’s ashes. They were given to us in a small, plain, cardboard box (a “scatter box,” they call it), exactly as our first dog Duffy’s ashes had been given to us four years ago, following his passing at the ripe old age of 15 years (that’s Duffy on the left in the photo up there, Tucker’s on the right).  Continue reading “Continuing on my Bereavement Journey (and Avoiding a Procrastination Detour)”