Saturday, August 30, 2014

Healing Waters

I'm finally feeling better. My husband, daughter, and I ventured out to a local lake yesterday afternoon. The weather was gorgeous and my husband thought this was just what the doctor ordered. He was right.

As you know, I've been anxious all week. A half hour in to our trip out on the lake, however, and I began to calm down. The quiet sound of water rippling as we gently glided along was pacifying. The only other sounds were the screeching of a heron in flight, an occasional boat passing by, and the sound of water lapping up on the shore.

My anxiety melted into the water below me as a gentle breeze caressed my hair and the sun warmed my skin.

All was well with the world.

This morning I woke feeling fantastic - for the first time in weeks! I finally feel that things are manageable. I was so worried this past week about school starting and my club getting off the ground this semester. (In case I didn't mention it before, I'm the president of my college's student chapter of the professional association for addiction professionals.) We're sponsoring an event each week in the month of September in celebration of SAMHSA's National Recovery Month. (SAMHSA is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.) I'll be doing a lot of public speaking and there are a lot of loose ends still to be tied for each event. As a leader, all eyes will be looking to me and last week, it unnerved me. I was feeling overwhelmed and doubted my abilities. 

Somehow, the feeling has passed. Maybe it was the lake and getting out into nature that calmed and strengthened me. I don't know. But I do know this; I'm feeling great today - confident and excited about the month ahead.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Today I Feel...

As you may know, if you've read my posts this week, I have been unusually anxious lately. So as part of my therapy, I decided to blog about the disorder itself.

Anxiety happens to everyone. Fear is a survival mechanism that readies us for potential danger. It becomes a problem, however, when it interferes with everyday living and the ability to live one's best life.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year". In addition, "Women are 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime."

Anxiety comes in many forms: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I will only address the first three here.

Symptoms vary for each disorder. They include:

  • Feelings of uneasiness with no obvious cause
  • Feelings of fear/panic with no obvious cause
  • Unwanted or obsessive negative thoughts
  • Cold, sweaty hands/feet
  • Numbness/tingling in hands/feet
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations/racing heart
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
To be diagnosed with a disorder, symptoms must last for 6 or more months, and without treatment, will get worse.

Effective treatment typically includes at least two of the following: 


For more information about anxiety disorders, check out the following:

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

National Institute of Mental Health

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Electric Cloud

I have been suffering from serious anxiety in the past two weeks, and my husband reminded me of something. It was about two years ago, after returning by train from another vacation that I had the episode of major depression that landed me in the hospital. Perhaps my mind is reliving it.

The anxiety has been non-specific - no real source. Just a constant electric cloud hovering around me all day - threatening to zap me at any moment. I feel like running away, but there's no place to go to escape!

What did I learn in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) at the hospital? I should probably pull out my WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) and apply some of the symptom management techniques, such as:

Shade and Bella

  • Sleeping 8 hours (and only 8 hours) tonight
  • Limiting caffeine (uh-oh...)
  • Eating lean protein / complex carbohydrate balanced meals
  • Drinking half my body weight in ounces of water
  • Taking a walk in this gorgeous weather
  • Talking to one of my support partners (e.g., my husband)
  • Blogging my thoughts out (Done!)
  • Praying / meditating
  • Spending time with my pets
Okay, that sounds like a plan. Let's see if it works!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Big Day

I have a job interview today, and I'm feeling nervous. My daughter suggested I wear my Pink Hi-Tops with my suit! Maybe I will!

This is my first interview for a paid position directly related to my mission. I'm interviewing for a peer support specialist position at a local organization which provides assistance to the mentally ill - helping them in recovery to become self-sufficient, integrate back into the community, and maintain mental wellness. It is an ideal position for me, as they are looking for someone who has lived experience with mental illness and/or addiction, who is also comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. That's me.

In fact, after writing now, I don't feel nervous at all. I'm excited!

I'll keep you posted on the results!

Hope you have a wonderful day!



Well, I had my interview and I have to say, I really want the job! I think I'm a perfect fit and would love the opportunity to help those who are not only mentally ill, but  economically disadvantaged. 

Now the hard part - waiting to hear the results!