Anxiety Woes

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Over the past few weeks my anxiety has skyrocketed.  Thank God depression has been kept at bay, but still, is it unrealistic to aim to have neither condition, for the most part?  I think it is possible.

I know I’d rather be anxious than depressed any day of the week, but I don’t want either of this yucky maladies within one inch of me!  A “no brainer” that I should confess right now is that I need to cut down my coffee consumption.  I’ve already started doing that, but the heavy-duty anxiety is still prevalent.

My usual modus operandi with a challenge such as this is to turn to my counselor and to self-help books for guidance. (Medical cannabis hasn’t helped me with anxiety;  it made me too tired during daytime.  So far the Indica strain I tried only helped insomnia, not anxiety.  I know I could try different strains, but I want to work on other options first.)

When I met with my counselor last Tuesday, I asked her to lead a brief meditation to ground myself for our session.  She is a highly experienced meditator and she led an awesome five-minute-long guided meditation.  I wish I brought a tape recorder to capture her narration – it was that good.  She loves to meditate and at one point she was meditating a whopping twenty minutes twice a day.  (That was before children came into her life!)  I suggested we do a brief meditation at the start of every session since it helped reduce my anxiety.  I also suggested that I kidnap her so I have have her by my side as my very own “Linus blanket”.

My psychiatrist also meditates.  He’s the first psychiatrist I’ve seen who has shared this with me, and I’ve seen quite a few.  He’s an enormous proponent of meditation as well. Dr. D. advises taking baby steps in beginning a practice, i.e. start with one minute a day.  But even that paltry amount felt overwhelming to me.  He believes it could be my “missing link” in order to get a grip on the anxiety.  I know that I need to give meditation a proper try, but I feel incredibly resistant to it all the same.

I thought that the “right” way to meditate was to close my eyes, and I thought that if I did that, I’d want to go to sleep.  Dr. D. said that I don’t have to close my eyes – I can have them open and focus on a object.  In the morning I am super-groggy, and again, I didn’t want to have to meditate at such a tough time.  Once again, my doctor was able to give me an option: I can meditate at night and it still counts!

Last spring a book was published that caught my attention: The Tao of Bipolar: Using Meditation & Mindfulness to Find Balance & Peace by Alexander and Annellen Simpkins. I bought it and I started reading with a totally lackluster attitude, and it was no surprise that I gave up after a few chapters.  I definitely wasn’t giving the book a fair chance.  Now I’m feeling that I must read the entire book since my anxiety sucks so much.  How can I not read it when the Simpkins explain the benefits of meditation specifically in regard to bipolar disorder?  Three of its six Amazon customer reviews are written by people who don’t have bipolar, which raised my eyebrows a bit, but five of those reviews are positive. The editorial reviews are excellent.  The book description is pretty darn tootin’ convincing too:

“If you have bipolar disorder, you struggle with psychological balance, swinging between highly depressed and highly manic states. For you, finding the middle path can be a challenge, which is why the Tao understanding of energy can be so helpful. “Tao,” is a Chinese word meaning “the way” and a metaphysical concept for understanding the universe as a circular flow of energy. The Tao understanding of bipolar disorder is that symptoms are the result of a disrupted or imbalanced energy flow that can be brought back to harmony with dedication and practice.

In The Tao of Bipolar, you will reconnect with your essential, stable, balanced nature, which, according to the Tao, is the inherent state of all matter. In the book, you will learn to manage your energy with meditation and other techniques so that you can always return to their stable center…this book encourages you to use mindfulness and meditation to consciously shift your energy back to this center before a bipolar episode gets too extreme.

When it comes to bipolar disorder, managing emotions, preventing manic episodes, and dealing effectively with periods of depression is key to your mental health and well-being. This book will give you the tools you need to get your bipolar disorder under control, and get back to living life.”

Being the bibliophile that I am, I sampled another book about anxiety: Paul David’s At Last A Life – Anxiety and Panic Free.  To read his first chapter it sounds like David has discovered The Secret.  After a ten-year-long battle with anxiety, he achieved full recovery and claims his self-help book has helped countless people.  I don’t think he’s part of a cult, but it sounds too good to be true.  The book has almost seventy reviews on Amazon , and most of them have five stars; that piqued my curiosity.  So I am going to buy the book and I’ll let you know if it helps me down the line.  Here is David’s book description:

“The complete and natural cure for anxiety and panic issues.

At Last a Life is my own experience and recovery through anxiety, panic and depersonalisation. One of my main aims in writing this book was to make it as easy as possible to read and understand; to get my message across from a sufferer’s point of view and dilute all the jargon that you may have found hard to understand in the past. 

I also felt strongly that I had something else to say than had been churned out before, mainly by people who had never actually been through it. Every common symptom is explained in the book, not just the anxiety, but also the feelings of unreality, the racing thoughts, feelings of dread, lack of confidence, depression, the constant worry cycle and many more symptoms that I have come across over the years. 

The book has had huge success around the world and is often referred to patients by doctors and therapists alike.”

Finally, aside from meditation and bibliotherapy, I have one more modality I’m going to pursue.  It’s flower essence spray, so it definitely falls in the alternative health realm.  My first concern was to ensure that this stuff is compatible with the meds I’m taking.  The company Siddatech claims that it’s safe, but I’ll check with my psychiatrist.

Normally I wouldn’t turn to flower essences to handle anxiety.  In the past I’ve tried similar sounding substances (essential oils, Bach flower remedies and more) and while they helped in a subtle way, I know my current anxiety is a cat of a different color.

The only reason I am trying this specific potion and brand is because a dear friend of mine bought two of their sprays last week.  She told me the “Female Balance” spray was helping her mood, honest-to-God (she’s SUPER-discriminating!) and the “Male Virility” spray she bought her husband helped him dramatically.   I made a beeline to the Siddatech website to see if there was an anxiety spray.  The spray that seemed most fitting  for me is called “Relief”,  and its description reads:

“Relief addresses stress in a more generalized and yet fundamental way.

  • Take the edge off
  • Ease overall long-term stress
  • More balance and deeper peace
  • Elegant, Refined, Gentle and Profound

It takes the edge off, smooths out the rough patches and is always gently suggesting deeper balance.  • Perfect for people who are “frazzled” and want to try something but have no specific complaint.  • Like all of our products, Relief can be used long term with no ill effects. In fact, it works progressively and cumulatively to clear stress from every nook and cranny. Because of its general nature, Relief can truly be used for all kinds of stress. However, other remedies yield quicker results in more specific ways.”

All of this for $20.00!  I have to try it!

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I know that meditation alone, or a few popular books, or a flower essence spray, or all of those things won’t solve my problem, but I’d be happy for a mere reduction in the anxiety’s intensity.  I will definitely write about this topic again.  I’ll let you know how I fare with these three approaches and if I try anything else that is useful.

Thanks for reading!!!  Dyane 🙂

P.S. And oh my goodness, I can’t believe I almost left this awesome resource out – there’s a wonderful Facebook page and a separate forum created by my inspirational friend/women’s mental health advocate/health coach Meagan Barnes.  The page is called “Anxiety Angel – Women Conquering Anxiety” and when you join it you will receive steady support, helpful tips and great resources.  Here are the links:

https://www.facebook.com/AnxietyAngel

https://www.facebook.com/groups/146477875499212/

To check out The Tao of Bipolar: Using Meditation & Mindfulness to Find Balance & Peace on Amazon, and read the reviews, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/Tao-Bipolar-Meditation-Mindfulness-Balance-ebook/dp/B00BPHI5V8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394898296&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Tao+of+Bipolar

For information about Siddatech’s Flower Essence “Relief” & to watch a brief testimonial video about the “Relief” product visit:

http://www.siddatech.com/?ac=details&nm=S1600

For Paul David’s book At Last, A Life – Anxiety and Panic Free go to this link:

http://www.amazon.com/At-Last-Life-Paul-David-ebook/dp/B007MEMDOS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394899624&sr=1-1&keywords=at+last+a+life

 

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16 thoughts on “Anxiety Woes

  1. Thanks for this really helpful post! I found it via Annie at Gentlekindness. I didn’t know there was a difference between Bach Flower Remedies (which have never helped me, even Rock Rose) and Flower Sprays. I will have to look into them. The Tao book sounds really interesting as well, bipolar does seem to be a lot to do with energy (on my mood chart, my energy levels don’t always correspond with elevation of happy/sad etc, and it’s the lack of energy that’s the worst).

    1. Thanks very much for the follow & for your kind reply!

      Annie is a wonderful person, and I was honored she reblogged the post.
      Yes, Flower Sprays are a whole different modality, and I would love to investigate them further as well as afford to buy some more. I’ll splurge at some point!
      They are in all the health food stores where I live, so they are always a temptation, although I try to stay out of these stores as great as they are because I want to buy everything I see.

      In the meantime I’ve been using Rescue Remedy gum and “pearl drops” (new product which I’m thrilled to see available @ our drug store chain CVS; they even have a great sales from time-to-time) lately and they do help me. The gum is under $10 and the pearl drops are $11 and they each contain 4 drops of Rescue Remedy tincture & melt very quickly on the tongue. Too bad it’s not chocolate flavor! 😉

      Take care, and I wish you the absolute best! 🙂
      Dyane

  2. Such a great post. Thanks for sharing, Annie. I grew up with a bipolar mom, have dealt with it all my life, and now, sadly, seem to have passed it along to my daughter. Meditation, yoga, and writing have all been of tremendous benefit. Be well. Van

    1. I have to tell you that I LOVE your name “vanbytheriver” because I adore the SNL skit with Chris Farley!!!! (“Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker” who lives in a van down by the river! 😉

      I’m glad you liked my post. I’m also happy to learn that you’re doing the “powerful 3” tools of meditation, yoga & writing.

      take care & have a wonderful weekend.
      Thanks again for your lovely comment.
      Dyane

      p.s. here’s a link to the SNL bit! It’s so funny & it never fails to make me laugh!

      https://screen.yahoo.com/matt-foley-motivational-speaker-snl-skits/down-river-000000356.html

  3. Reblogged this on Gentle Kindness and commented:
    This post has a lot of great information. Take a look. I am currently studying about meditation. This post mentions the difficulty that people with bipolar disorder have in being in a “middle way”

    Some Buddhists teach the middle way and I have been listening to Ajahn Brahm talks about this.

    I find it difficult to just be calm and peaceful. I am either really hyper and full of energy that gets in the way of my better judgement…unties my usual filter of my mouth and I do not filter my thoughts properly at work.

    Or I feel sucked into gloom and doom and cannot see any way out of my current situation.
    The anxiety is always there for me..depression or hypomania there is still the anxiety, sometimes making my chest feel tight and other physical symptoms.

    I like the idea of meditation and also I know I should get back into my yoga practice.

    I am working on overcoming mental blocks that keep me from doing things that I really want to do. Sometimes there are associations that I am not really even aware of that keep me from doing certain things that would be really good for me.

    I end up self sabotaging.

    Let’s find ways to deal with this bipolar monster. I want to be able to be successful in life and not be stuck in this friggin attic, tormented and manipulated by my ex inlaws forever.

    Blessings,
    Annie

    1. Thank YOU sweet Annie!!! I tweeted the link to your blog but couldn’t find your Twitter handle; then again I’m half-awake. Sending you love and a big hug and strength to get through all of life’s anxiety-producing challenges! Xo

      1. I have tried many times get the wordpress twitter thing to work. I have not been able to get it to connect.
        What can I give you so you can follow me?
        At the top of my twitter home page it says Annie Mimi Hall @anniemimihall@gmail.com
        Annie

  4. Hey Wendy, it’s a total honor to have the author of “I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar” & upcoming “66 Tips From Two Bipolar Chicks” read this post! Thank you for taking time to check this out as I know (from following your awesome blog) that you are a super-duper busy bee. Make that chick! 😉

    Anyway, you must be psychic as well because I expect the highly anticipated spray to arrive in the mail today. I am hoping with all my heart that it helps and I’ll definitely let you know. I would LOVE the meditation links you mentioned. When my therapist and pdoc both did their guided meditations with me they grounded me and having an outside guide “forced” me to do it…in a good way. I am stoked that the Deepak/Oprah series helped you so profoundly…you got my attention.

    Thanks again and I’ll keep you posted on anything I encounter that helps. Good luck with the house, the book launch, and everything!!!

    Dyane

    1. Hi Dyane, Click here if you want to sign up for that free series: https://chopracentermeditation.com/ The only way it works for me is if I do it right away, right after I wake up. Pre-coffee, pre feeding my cats. I let them out and sit down. Oh, also putting your earphones on is essential. As soon as you hear outside noises, it distracts you and ruins your meditation. Hope this helps. Good luck! wendy

    2. https://chopracentermeditation.com/
      Check this out. It’s the free meditation series.
      A couple tips, otherwise I find I don’t get good results. You’ll find what works for you, but these have worked well for me…
      1.I do it right when I wake up.
      2. I listen/do the meditation with headphones from my phone. (try it for the 22 day program. click on the email link and plug in your headphones in to your phone.)
      3. I do it pre-coffee/tea in the morning.
      4. I also make sure I don’t do too much (ie: feed the cats, make the bed, etc.) I’ve noticed, for me, it doesn’t work as well.
      5. If the cats are bouncing around or Nora is awake, I’ll go back in to the bedroom. Finding a quiet place is key. The minute I hear tv or the cat jumps on my lap, concentration is broken and I’m no longer in meditation mode.
      6. Also, I write about what came to me during the meditation right afterwards so I don’t forget. Sometimes I’ll go back a few days later and re-read it. It’s so cool.

      As for another anxiety buster, I often write in the morning (and/or meditate) and it gets out my anxieties. All the crap that’s in my head and I find my day runs smoother when I spend 10 or 15 minutes in the beginning of the day getting out what I have woken up with in my head. It’s all fears and could help with your anxieties?
      Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you…
      🙂

  5. Great post, Dyane! I rarely have time to read blogs, but loved this. Did you try the spray? I find Lavender spray calming. Nora and I love different oils (found in any health store, etc.) that we splash on in the shower. Anything that smells good to you can be calming. We like Lavender and Verbeena the best.
    Experiment!
    Oh, and I’m going to send you a meditation link. I don’t read books about meditation. The only thing that has worked for me is guided meditation. (ie: hearing someone’s voice that is talking me through it.) One was from a Buddhist Monk my friend’s mom forwarded me. The other I stumbled on with the 21 day free Deepak Chopra/Oprah series. AMAZING!!!!!!! It helped me complete our last book and I seriously don’t think I could have under that tight deadline without it. Check it out. there’s a new, free series beginning in mid April. I’ll send you some links so you can see if you like it. I send them to anyone who is interested b/c it has changed my life and reduced my anxiety!
    Good luck!
    Take care,
    Wendy K. Williamson

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