#1 Tool Towards Recovering From Panic, Anxiety and Depression

Dennis Delivers
Tool for overcoming Panic, Anxiety and Depression.

When new people come to our group they are quite hesitate, anxious, and down right scared of what they are going to be participating in. Is the room going to be full of a bunch of kooky people, will they know what I am going through? Do any of them have the same horrible feelings as I do? Am I going to have to talk? What if?…. What if?…..What if?…..

Most of us can relate to these feelings of “What have I got myself into”. I know for a fact the first time Debra came to group over 15 years ago (with a safe person) she thought it was the end of the road for her. Her next step would be an institute where they would throw away the key. She had reached rock bottom and was no longer able to cope. Well, we know she is thriving now!

It takes a lot of courage to come to your first meeting. We always say the most courageous people we have ever met were the people in the group and lots of them have become very dear friends of ours. As Nelson Mandela said “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

One of our first defense tools we teach for recovery from anxiety disorders is relaxation through the use of breathing in a certain way. We use what is known as “Square Breathing”. Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of 4, getting the air to move your tummy outward, hold for a slow count of 4, and then release through slightly pursed lips for a count of 4. Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Wait for a count of 4 and repeat this at least 10 times. Try to do this 3 or 4 times a day and more if you are in a stressful situation. This can be done anywhere, driving in your car, waiting in a line up, or just relaxing on the couch.

Practicing this kind of breathing can serve two purposes.
#1. When we get anxious, remember your breathing, default to the breathing, and do the breathing, it will physically help our body to relax, loosening muscles, dropping the shoulders (when we are anxious our shoulders automatically rise in anticipation of fight or flight) and calming the mind.
#2. The second benefit of even thinking of deep breathing is that it will bring us back to the present moment. Most of us at different times let our minds think of the past problems or of the “What If”…about the future. Constantly being reminded to bring ourselves back to the present by breathing is a powerful tool. We are never without our breath. In the most stressful circumstances, we cannot neglect breathing, so in the midst of any activity, we can always pop back to paying attention to breath. The habit we create in remembering to breathe this way will allow for thoughtful approaches to live, learning to be proactive rather than reactive in situations. This helps us to enjoy the moment and enjoy the place we are at this moment in time. We will learn to be where we are….both in body and in mind.

We would love to get more groups going, I know we get a lot of hits on our website, our facebook page, and our ads in castanet, and statistically, there is a lot of us out there struggling every day with overwhelming panic and depression. Take that big step today and reach out to a group. We are so thankful we did.
www.PanicAndAnxietyRecoveryGroup.com

Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,

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How Partners, Friends, Family or Spouses Can Help


 How Partners, Friends, Family or Spouses Can Help

(The following excerpt has been taken from Lesson 2 of the Panic and Anxiety Recovery Course and from our group meeting welcome package but we feel it is very important in our recovery to recognize the impact our behavior has on the people closest to us and how they can assist us in our recovery.)
  

This is actually written for our significant others in our lives.  Read it through and, hopefully, you will be comfortable in sharing this with the people close to you.
Panic, anxiety disorders, agoraphobia, etc. affect not only the individual with the problem but also has a strong influence on those people closest to us, namely partners, spouses, relatives, children and so on. 

Dear Friend, Spouse, Partner…….
 Obviously, you want to help and as a person close to or in regular contact with the anxious individual, you are in a position to help a great deal.  Your help is important for many reasons.
You are likely to know more about the specific problems, fears, and difficulties that your partner may be experiencing.  Practice activities such as relaxation training and exposure activities are best completed from, or in, the home, on a regular basis.  Your influence counts a great deal in the long run because you are with the anxious person more and are in a position to offer considerable support and encouragement in all of the activities that we do in the groups and in the homework. 
The most important characteristics and attributes of a support person include:
 a caring and supportive attitude,
the ability to be nonjudgmental,
a willingness to encourage your partner to face fears with patience and persistence.
Also, it is important to know your own limitations.  Be forgiving when you are a less-than-perfect partner.  We know it can be frustrating living with a person with an anxiety disorder.  If your capacity to be supportive has been stretched to the limit, take a break
It may be necessary to adjust your own schedule to facilitate our practice.  Be sure you’re willing to make a commitment to work with us regularly over a sustained period of time.  Be familiar with the concepts and information that is provided in the lessons.  Read as much as you can about anxiety disorders.
Communication between couples is important at all times.  However, when couples are facing added stressors it is even more important to work at maintaining open, honest, and respectful communication.  We often let feelings of embarrassment and the fear of appearing foolish stop us from asking for help.  Yet, at the same time, we can expect others who are close to us to be “sensitive enough” to realize we are experiencing difficulties.
As we begin to make changes, differences in behavior will sometimes be seen and this too can be stressful, but again it is important to deal with these differences in an open, respectful and honest fashion.  Change is often a sign of growth and can be very positive, even though stressful. 
For example, if we were a passive or “people pleaser” person it may be different to see us as practicing a new “assertive” behavior.  Do not take this personally, but try to be patient, supportive and understanding. 
Much of the anxiety we experience has to do with our fear of loss of control or being trapped.  While it is important that you be supportive and encouraging at all times, it is also important to be respectful and aware of our rights and independence.  Sometimes, to be able to enter into the fearful or anxiety provoking situation, which will form a major part of any treatment program, we need to feel in control of ourselves and of our environment.  The more control we feel that we have over the situation, the less we feel trapped and therefore the less anxious we will feel.  Your support in providing encouragement and yet respecting our right to control our lives may sometimes be a balancing act, but a very important one. 
Don’t be afraid to ask how you might help us best or how we are doing!  Encourage us to accept responsibility for the treatment plan and any progress we have made. 
Often you may want to help by allowing us to become dependent on you.  Dependency deepens the problem and in the long run, is not helpful.  By the same token it is not helpful to suddenly withdraw all support in the belief that this will make us independent and cure our anxiety.  We will keep you fully involved in all aspects of our treatment and in establishing goals and ways to achieve them.  However, we know we must be responsible for our own treatment.
Some general strategies that would be very helpful to us:

  1. If a goal is achieved say how pleased you are.  If the goal is only partially achieved still give lots of praise and credit for the effort.
  2. Frequently ask what practice has been done and praise and reinforce any attempts.  Provide lots of encouragement and rewards.
  3. Do not focus on our panicky feelings or thoughts.  Encourage us to remember our positive coping skills.
  4. Encourage us to keep trying.
  5. Never push us or try to force us to do something that we do not want to do.  It will not help in the long run and lead to a loss of trust. 
  6. If we feel frightened or panicky in a situation, encourage us to rest, relax and then continue to practice a little more.  Try not to let us leave a situation until the fear or anxiety is going down.
  7. Make suggestions, but let us make the final decision regarding our practice or goals, Remember, the overall responsibility lies with us.
  8. Prior to entering a stressful situation, it can be helpful to give us an out; eg. Before going into the concert say that we can leave at anytime…and mean it!  If you arrange to meet us at a certain time, be there!  This makes us feel less trapped and more trusting and in control so there is less likelihood of actually leaving. 
  9. Try to provide support irrespective of whether the task is completed and at least during the time limited situation.

 
We know that some of the above appear to contradict each other and at times you may be feeling like you are walking a tightrope, afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing. 
We also know it is not easy living with us in this condition but please realize as we take more responsibility for our behavior, positive changes do take place.  We will become more self reliant, confident, independent and ….. a very grateful and more complete partner.  
 
www.PanicAndAnxietyRecovery Group.com 

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Mental or Physical?

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In our group we often talk about our thinking habits and how they influence our behavior. Our thinking is directly related to our belief system and our belief system determines how we interpret happiness and success in all aspects of our life.  Simply put, our belief system determines whether we see the cup as half empty or half full! 

In our last meeting in our group we took a slight detour into discussing what we can physically do to help us mentally.  We should not neglect what we can do physically to help us mentally. “Remember what we do for our body, we also do for our mind.”

 Debra’s opinion is that there is no such thing as a “mental illness”, but that it is all physical….we are a bunch of neurotransmitters, chemicals and DNA and what can appear as “mental” is chemical in origin.  We have the ability to change how we feel through meditation, positive affirmations and even humor.  These common actions actually change the chemistry in our brains.

Okay, back to my point!  Most of us are aware of, and have made changes to what we eat and drink in as far as good food vs. bad food in our journey to recovery.  We have cut back on caffeinated drinks like coffee, some teas and cola drinks.  We have learned, sometimes the hard way that lots of sugar and big meals will make us feel physically ill and that,in turn, raises our anxiety and depression.  So, is there things we can ingest that can help us get better?

I have always been interested in the benefits of a healthy body/healthy mind concept and it has been proven that one can influence the other.  I have done extensive reading, research and trial and error on this subject as I am very aware that what I ingest has a definite impact on how I feel emotionally.

Through the years I have taken many different natural supplements, hoping to improve my energy levels, alertness, and strength, but mainly trying to find a supplement that would help me rid myself of panic and anxiety…….The Magic Pill!

There are many different supplements that do help decrease anxiety and depression and in my opinion they are not a cure. (BEWARE of THOSE ADS!). I firmly believe cure lies in cognitive behavior therapy. 

 Remember, just like pharmaceutical medication, when taking supplements the strength  that works best for me, might not work for you.  We are all individuals.  That being said, if you are interested in some of the natural supplements I have used with some success, and when asked, do recommend them. They are usually available at any health food store.  These supplements are not intended to replace medications prescibed by your doctor.

There are many supplements and natural remedies that have been used successfully, but if I only had 2 to choose from the following would be my picks.

#1.  Wild Salmon Oil – Pharmaceutical Grade  Great for the mind and the body.  Best taken with meals 1000mg – 2000 mg per meal or as tolerated.

#2.  SAMe – Start with approx 400 mg per day and slowly  boost it up as necessary.  SAMe is not recommended for people with bi-polar disorder.  This supplement has been used in Europe and in North America for many years with documented good results.

Give them a try if you are interested.  I would really like to hear some feedback on whether they were helpful or not…..

Off topic, but I had to add this, the picture at the top of this article is of me looking out a porthole on our first cruise to Alaska.  YEAH!!

Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,

Dennis Signature

 

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I Am Perfect Just Like You!

 

Dennis Delivers
I Am Perfect Just Like You!

Happy New Year!  Our recovery group was fortunate enough to continue to meet through the holidays and we got to see some faces we have not seen in awhile.  We have had lots of phone calls from people inquiring about our group and we encourage them to give us a try.  It is not easy reaching out for help and everyone is nervous the first couple of times.  We do not expect anyone to talk or even to introduce themselves if they don’t want to, but you owe it to yourself to start or continue on your road to recovery! 
This topic came up at goup last week and got me thinking….

I have noticed on many occasions, when meeting another person, be they a friend or someone new, we will often use the greeting, “How are you?”  We do this out of respect, habit, or just to acknowledge the other person.  We expect the usual reply, “fine, and how are you?.  We respond with, “fine, thank-you.”  We really do not expect the response to deviate from what we have come to expect or, perish the thought, actually engage in meaningful conversation.  This is how custom dictates we respond. 
But, about a year ago I shook a man’s hand and at the same time asked, “How are you?”  His reply made me sit up and take notice.  He said, “Thanks for asking, I am perfect, just like you!”  I was not expecting that reply and really didn’t know how to respond.  Different thoughts were going through my mind like, what does he mean by that? Is he being a smart ass?
An ordinary statement that I have used most of my life now took on a different feeling.
I now, on occasion, use this same response on other people that greet me with the “how are you?.  It is interesting to hear their reaction.  It seems the reaction we have to this form of response has much to do with our own belief system about ourselves, which, in turn, has lots to do with our upbringing. 
If we were raised to believe we are born in the image of God and that God is perfect then “perfect just like you” is a very acceptable salutation.  But, on the other hand, if we were brought up to believe we are “sinners”, stupid, less than, or a loser, the statement “perfect, just like you” would not make any sense and we may go as far to think that the person that pulled that on us was being sarcastic, causing us to feel defensive and suspicious. 
I bring this up to help us to understand that our belief system is what makes us happy, anxious, sad or panicky.  It is what we believe to be happening at any given moment and sometimes it is very important to question that belief system. 
An example, some people believe that public speaking is FUN.  They can really look forward to it, relish it and do good at it.  Some people (ahem!)  feel panicky and anxious at the thought of public speaking.  What is the difference between these people.  You guessed it….. their belief system around themselves and their ability to public speak.  It is why I am such a big believer in cognitive behavior therapy.  It has a proven track record of teaching us how to change our belief systems around the parts of our lives that we feel we need to improve on…the parts that are causing us anxiety, panic, depression and all the other things that go along with feeling “less than”.
Our happiness and our success in life depends on how we look at any situation and that depends on our belief system.  If we get up in the morning expecting another day of struggle, how can we expect to be happy.  If we treat each day as an opportunity to move forward and to accomplish great things, life gets exciting! 
In my life, I like to start the day with 5 things I am grateful for, and try to mindfully continue this through the day.  It is easy to say, harder to do (I am human!) but just like going to the gym to get the body you want, we sometimes  don’t notice a change every day, just trust that somewhere that muscle is getting stronger. 
Because, every day I am learning more and more that  I am
“Perfect Just Like YOU!”

Dennis Signature

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Dennis talks about his Path

DennisDennis talks about his path….

I am sharing a small part of my  personal story to possibly help people without an anxiety disorder to understand this condition better.  Perhaps you live with someone suffering from this or have a friend or co-worker with this disorder or even have it yourself and are looking for answers. 

My first panic attack happened when I was 18 years old and lasted about 2 1/2 hours.  I didn’t know what was happening to me.  The feelings and sensations were terrifying.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe and that my heart was going to explode.  I was sure I was going crazy and I had never felt anything so overwhelmingly horrific.  I ended up at the hospital, the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me or what to do to help me.  Finally the panic exhausted itself, but the thought of experiencing another attack like that was the start of my panic and anxiety disorder.  I was consumed with fear that this would happen to me again and I would be powerless to stop it.  I continued to add second fear;  the fear of fear, itself.  My journey of fear had started, what a horrible life I was living back then.  Every decision I made was based on the avoidance of fear and it was very difficult to explain to family and friends what I was going through. 

Other people in my life, trying to be helpful would say things like: “we all have fear at times, so get over it.  Suck it up!  Be a man”.  I heard it all!  They just didn’t understand and I was at a loss for words to explain how overwhelmed I was.  Yes, we have all experienced fear of some sort and some more than others.  But how do we know the severity of this disorder unless we have experienced it ourselves.

The following is a true story of a psychiatrist who lived in my city a number of years ago.  He was trying to help people with anxiety disorders.  He did admit he did not have all the answers but that there were times when he felt like telling his patients that anxiety and panic are normal feelings and not to make more of it.  This doctor also had his pilot license and one day almost crashed his plane.  Thinking he was going to die he experienced a degree of panic and anxiety that, he felt, made him understand the punch panic and fear can deliver.

Then, one summer while on holidays he had the opportunity to do some cave exploring.  When walking deeper and deeper into the cave, out of nowhere, a horrible feeling over came him.  In seconds he went from panic to pure terror.  He quickly turned around and unceremoniously pushed through the people behind him to rapidly exit the cave.  Outside he was finally able to breathe normally and regain his calm.  He said that being a doctor saved him from developing an anxiety disorder from this experience.  He knew not to add second fear to a fear that to him, came out of nowhere when there was in that moment really nothing to fear.  He no longer judges the severity of the feelings we can experience or the complexity of trying to figure out what causes them, and feels that the fear he felt in the cave was way beyond what he felt when confronted with a potential plane crash. 

I have basically recovered from this disorder, but remember it well.  So, when a new person walks through the door and says “You do not understand how bad my panic attacks and anxiety are”, I can say with all honesty, “Oh, yes I do!”

 It took me a long time to find the answers to recovery.  Now, with the Internet there is a lot more information out there more readily available. 
 
 I did much reading and still do, looking for faster and better ways to help other people overcome this disorder.  The best, by far, for me was Cognitive Behavior Therapy in a group setting.
  
I am still in a group now helping other people on their journey to recovery.  I have co-authored an 8 week lesson on recovery based on what helped me and Debra the most and it is  available on our website or at our group.  We get referrals from doctors and mental health but you do not need to be referred to come join.
There is more information about ourselves and our group on the website.    www.PanicAndAnxietyRecoveryGroup.com

Now let’s get busy and overcome this disorder and start living the life of our dreams! 
Dennis Signature

P.S.  We will not be having a meeting this coming week, December 16, 2010 as the room at the Martin Ave. Community Centre is not available.  We will resume regular meeting times December 23rd at 6:30.  Hope to see you then.  Happy Holidays!
 

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Medication: Friend or Foe

Dennis
We have been privileged to work with many wonderful people in and outside the group.
  It seems lots of our goals lately, with a little encouragement from us, have centered on gratitude and JOY.  We have read many books on personal development and studied statistics on the same and what comes up very frequently is how  positive thinking and an attitude of gratitude can help to change the neuro-pathways in our brain.  We can get rewired into feeling better.  With this in mind some members have started gratitude journals and some have become more mindful in finding ways to express gratitude and joy all through their day.  It sounds like such a simplistic thing to do yet the benefits clearly out weigh any part of “simplistic”.  Finding joy is as important as practicing relaxation and breathing exercises.  Joy, to us, is usually the small things we savor in life….music, fresh snow on a tree, a smile from a stranger, children laughing, or reading a good book.  Joy is quiet, yet strong and adds to our self-efficacy. 
Another subject that comes up often is taking medication for anxiety disorders. Some people dealing with anxiety disorders take a medication and some don’t.  We support whatever path chosen but can not over emphasis the power of cognitive behavior therapy.   Most of us share our experiences with different medications. I, (Deb) take an anti-depressant that helps lesson the severity of panic attacks.  Through the years, I have decreased the amount I take, especially as I have become more adept at cognitive behavior modifications and techniques.   Medication helped, but cognitive behavior therapy gave me my life back!
And I, (Dennis) have chosen a holistic path, researching and experimenting with natural supplements and amino acids along with cognitive behavior therapy. CBT rules!  
But, we both recognize the struggle our members and other people we have come across in our journey have, when it comes to taking medication…The big question…..Is our medication a…
 Friend or Foe?
We have never met a person who wanted to go on medication for an anxiety disorder.
In our experience we have found most people that take medication for their anxiety disorder view it as some sort of weakness or “cop-out”.  Yet, 1 out of 3 people are taking some type of medication on a regular basis. 
We are assuming the medication in question is actually helping and not causing side effects that are worse than the reason for taking them.  If that is the case, and the medication is helping, it is time we changed our negative thinking about it.
For example, while speaking with a member who was dealing with depression and anxiety, she stated that she had a positive attitude and was thankful for the many blessings she had in her life, but….she was still depressed.  What we did notice through the conversation was the mention of her taking medication and how she wished she didn’t need to.  She was beating herself up with her perceiving herself as somehow being weak.  We have heard this countless times from many people with anxiety disorders.  This thinking is not helpful towards recovery. 
It is important to think of medication as your friend.  Yes, a FRIEND!  This may seem strange, at first, and contrary to recovery. 
But, for a minute just think of the friends you had in elementary school or high school.  We may still hang out with some, but, due to circumstances in life, many of us have moved on.  Friends come into our lives, stay for awhile, and sometimes leave.  It was great to have them as a friend at the time.  It certainly added to our lives. 
The same is true for medications.  Think of it as your friend for now.  It may stay and add to your life for now and it may move on when it no longer has a place.  Either way, accepting how it is for now makes it much easier to move forward with intention.
Learning to challenge our negative thoughts and practicing  thinking outside of the box we put our self in is the key to recovery.
Speaking of “thinking outside of the box”, we have made some changes to our website.  We are excited to be offering an opportunity to download the 8 lessons all in one go for only $36.00 one time cost. Check it out!  
www.PanicAndAnxietyRecoveryGroup.com

Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,

Dennis Signature

Debra Signature

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Looking Forward

In This Issue
Dennis & Deb Delivers

Think not of yourself as the architect of your life, but as the sculptor.  Expect to have to do a lot of hammering, chiseling, scraping and polishing!  
B.C. Forbes

“Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help.”
                    Calvin & Hobbes
 

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Dennis & Deb Delivers

Looking Forward

Today we would like to share with all of you, two great tips that worked awesome for us in helping us recover from anxiety, panic attacks and depression and consequently,  greatly assisted us in our pursuit of positive personal development.

As we look forward to living our life of our dreams which is expressed in our written goals (hopefully we all have written goals!) there are different happenings or thoughts in our lives that can stop or slow our progress.  Anxiety Disorders is certainly one way of having life as we knew it stop!

One issue that slows down our progress is to look back into our past — pre-anxiety.  We have met a number of people with anxiety disorders and can certainly identify with them when they get caught up in obsessing about the good life they had  before anxiety/panic/depression/ ocds started to rear it’s ugly head.  A lot of time can be wasted on looking backwards and wishing our lives were the same now as they were when we felt better.  The act of looking back will slow our progress going forward now!

What we have to do now, in the present, is accept our condition, acceptance is a MUST.  Also we must take full responsibility for our problem.  After all, we do have a disorder so accept it and take responsibility for it.  Acceptance will take us from fear to power. 

TIP #1:  Two words to think on and use:  “Loosen and Accept”
Loosen – Relax and accept the feelings.  Dr. Claire Weekes, an author of many books on Anxiety Disorders used these two words to help countless people including ourselves to recover. 
Simple but very effective.

TIP #2:  “You can’t drive a car forward while looking in the rear view mirror.”   Very true! When driving your car notice the windshield is large so you can see expansive views of where you are going.  The rear view mirror is small and used only to glance back every once and awhile.  We must definitely, while driving, spend more time concentrating on where we are going rather than where we have been.  Such is life!

Look Forward…..Think Forward….Move Forward

Now, the few times we do look back to our earlier lives it is to remember what our anxieties used to be like and how far we have progressed and the wonderful life we are blessed to live now! 

Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,

Dennis Signature      
P.S. Thanks to some feedback from our members we have made some changes to our website making it, we sincerely hope, more user friendly and easier to access the 8 lessons on everything we needed to overcome our anxiety disorders.   www.PanicAndAnxietyRecoveryGroup.com
  

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Social Anxiety

 

DennisDennis Delivers Again:)
Do My Best and Give It My All “Today”

In the years I have been co-facilitator in our Recovery Group, social anxiety is a subject that comes up often.

People with anxiety disorders have lost their confidence in many areas of their lifes.  It has been interesting to note the differences in people’s anxiety and how it manifests itself.  I personally know some people that have no problem in flying in airplanes, others have no problem in hang gliding, some can travel the world in cars, buses and trains and enjoy it. 

But when asked to do a speech or presentation–or just attend a party to meet some new people, it seems to be nearly impossible.  Anxiety levels go sky high and we look for excuses and reasons to avoid the situation.  We are afraid of the feelings of fear that the thought of “performing” in front of an audience causes us.  The thought of making “small talk” in some cases becomes terrifying. 

An article I came across years ago stated, “Polls have shown people fear public speaking more than death.”  That means we would rather be the guy in the coffin than the guy giving the eulogy!

I also know an elementary school teacher that can get up, comfortably, in front of many people and give a great speech but will not drive to the next town that is only 10 minutes away.  Different circumstances but the same “fear of the feelings of fear”. 

If you can relate to social anxiety or know someone who suffers with this (and we all do), I want to give you a tip that worked for me and for lots of other people I have shared this with.

The reason we experience social anxiety is because of how we think and what thoughts we deem important.  Usually the negative ones!  The “What ifs?”, and “I will make a fool out of myself”, or, a”I am going to embarrass myself”, and many other illogical (REALLY!) thoughts that flash through our brains faster than we even realize that cause our anxiety to go up and our self-efficacy to plummet. 

Here’s the TIP!  Remember it sounds trivial but sometimes the simpliest things have the greatest impact because they are so easy to implement in a short time!

The next time you are asked to a party or to attend an event that causes you anxiety “ACT AS IF!”

What I mean by “ACT AS IF” is; think of someone you know who you admire and think is strong, confident, a good talker, etc.  My person of choice is John Wayne–the tough western actor of old–he reminds me of a person that can do anything he sets his mind to and not be afraid.  He was the one that worked for me.  Other strong capable people that come to my mind is Hilary Clinton (whether you follow her politics or not), Cher, Ghandi, to name a few.  Then, when we are attending the aforementioned event and our anxiety and panic are starting to loom and we are looking for excuses and reasons to exit…..take a deep calming breath and ACT AS IF….I am John Wayne…..I am Princess Di.  We are the strong people we choose to emulate.  We won’t lose our own identity, but we will experience a calming effect and the strength of the person we choose.  Our thoughts of doom and gloom are momentarily interrupted and that gives us a chance to change the outcome into a postive experience. 

Again, this worked for me.  There was a time when I didn’t want to leave the house for fear of having to talk to someone.  After doing this a number of times I was able to start going to events as myself, a strong capable person in my own right.  What a great feeling!

I have seen this simple, effective  exercise work for many people….a great tool to use!

This is one of the tools we teach in the group.  Until next time….

ACT AS IF!

 To A Speedy Recovery,

 Dennis Signature

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From Deb’s Desk:)

 

I am so excited to be aquiring new skills in the techno age we are in.   Our website, our blogs, and an ebook are all new and inspiring to me and give us a chance to connect with more people.  (I am not the quickest little bunny in the forest and the technology keeps changing so fast from when we first started down  this road to now.)
As stated in our website our mission statement is: Together Educating, Inspiring and Encouraging Ourselves in Our Quest to Overcome Panic, Anxiety, Phobias and Depression. GET BACK OUR POWER!

Educating: to give knowledge to or develop the abilities of somebody by teaching.

Inspiring: making somebody feel more enthusiastic, confident, or stimulated.

Encouraging: to motivate somebody to take a course of action or continue doing something.

In my opinion there is  still no better place than a recovery group to find the education, inspiration and encouragement needed to not only survive but to thrive. Our group started over 10 years ago. A psychologist we knew called and asked if we would be interested in starting up a new group and facilitating. We knew how much groups can help so we jumped at it and for 10 years we met at the local hospital. Due to the new construction in the hospital we were forced to move this year. Our new home is in the Martin Avenue Boys and Girls Club. We meet every Thursday at 6:30 and it is still the highlight of my week!

As I am writing this, I am thinking back to the first time I entered a recovery group, over 13 years ago. I was so scared and so ill with my panic disorder. I honestly thought I was dying.  And the mere thought of meeting a bunch of other sick people drove my anxiety even higher.  I was convinced I would “catch” their phobias and get even worse. (Like that was possible!) But I had reached my limit of non-functioning and I had no where else to turn. 

Thankfully, there was a group going that I finally attended and WOW! I noticed a difference in me right away and so did my family.  At the same time I finally went to my family doctor who put me on an anti-depressant for panic attacks.  That helped my panic attacks to diminish but the group helped me finally address the agoraphobia that was ruling my life.  Now I am living my dream life. I learned new skills and how to apply them.  I learned how to “get into the swimming pool and swim” rather than just reading books about it. 

 I recently went on a road trip for 4 days to a spa on Vancouver Island with 3 other girls. Dennis  looked forward to some alone time and I looked forward to some girl time. The exciting thing is this is something that 8 years ago I would not have been able to do and would have no concept of ever being able to.  Functioning to that degree was beyond my comprehension when even going to the store down the road was out of my comfort zone.  I have been to Cuba, various destinations in the United States, Carribean, and Mexico. A whole new world has opened for me and I do so much want to share my knowledge, inspiration and encouragement with other people who have or had experienced debilitating anxiety, panic, ocds, and depression.

I am so grateful for my life today and feel so blessed.  In the words of Tom Krause, “There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.”

To Your Speedy Recovery,

Debra Signature

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Advantages of Group Settings

DennisDennis Delivers
The Great Advantage Of Group Settings

“Have you ever watched a sporting event with the sound turned off? If you haven’t I encourage you to try it sometime. I am constantly surprised how boring the game is without the excitement of the commentator’s voice. It is not the sport; it is the commentators that make the game exciting. They are worth their weight in gold. Listen to the expression in their voices during a play by play report. Their excitement is contagious. Every move, whether it’s a pass, a dribble, a kick, a hit, a shot (you get the picture) becomes life and death and, before I know it, I get caught up in the drama.

While channel surfing the other day, I caught a part of a poker championship on T.V. The commentator was able to make the turning of the cards exciting! Next on T.V. was a game of darts. Every throw was ‘edge of the seat’ exciting according to the commentator.

And, when I am lucky enough to attend the game live, in person, with all my buds, the cheering of the crowd makes the game even more fun and exciting for me.

Where am I going with this, you might ask? The same thing happens when I am in any focused group. I have my very own cheering section to motivate and inspire me. Learning and achieving becomes fun and exciting. I bet you have experienced what I am talking about.

As the sport players are encouraged to stretch themselves to try harder and to perform better by the cheering of the crowd, people like us, all over the world are receiving the same encouragement from the ‘cheering section’ in their recovery group. No one can doubt the success of groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Toastmasters and Weight Watchers or the benefits of belonging to a gym.

And, like in all sporting events, there is the benefit of a coach or mentor; knowledgeable people who are dedicated to helping their players or members become the best that they can be. When I was taking Kung Fu at a local academy, I found my coaches pushed me beyond what I would have done myself, with much success I might add! I know I went farther and achieved more conditioning than I ever would have thought possible or done on my own.

The same thing happened when I first went into a group setting for my anxiety disorder. There were coaches and assistant coaches to help me succeed by educating and motivating me. My coaches had walked the walk of anxiety and now were living the life of their dreams and were teaching others how to do the same. I realized through education and commitment to recovery we can all live our dreams.

Reading a book on anxiety disorders helped me but it was still hard to change my thinking with the same mind that got me into the problem in the first place. The book had no emotion and no interest in whether I recovered or not. I found I learnt much faster participating, interacting and sharing information with the knowledgeable and positive people in my group; my very own cheering section, and I became a part of bigger whole.

We learn from each other and we make learning fun and exciting. We hear the voice of someone else urging us to go for our goals. I met people who were managing or had overcome their anxiety disorders and I realized I could, too. The group opened my eyes to possibilities I couldn’t see myself.

I continue to read many books and attend seminars on my passions, overcoming anxiety disorders and anti-aging and am grateful to be given the opportunity to share my knowledge and my journey with so many wonderful people.

In the weeks to follow I will continue to update you on the most helpful hints and information I have come across pertaining to overcoming anxiety disorders, address any questions or clarifications I receive and cheer you on to fulfilling your dreams, too.

Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,

Dennis Signature


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