Don’t Wait Anymore

I have some good news and I have some bad news. Let me tell you what happened.

Yesterday I burst through my front door, put away all the random things I carry during the day, washed up and served myself a little plate of pasta.

I grabbed my plate and walked over to my computer to check some emails, check a few websites I frequent, the usual.

I just finished slurping up the last of my pasta when the phone rang.

It turned out to be my wife, who I chatted with for a few minutes when I noticed that one of my sisters was calling on the other line.

I couldn’t click over because my wife was still talking and as she continued to talk my other sister also called only seconds later.

My wife soon hung up and so I was able to pick up the other line and almost immediately I knew something was up. In fact, when I got those back to back calls from both my sisters I thought, “Oh no.”

My sister spoke in a low, weak voice and she said, “grandpa died today.” I was shocked. I mumbled a few things and hung up. I thought, “damn it, not again.”

I lost my paternal grandfather in 1994, my father in 2002, and my maternal grandfather yesterday.

I am, at this moment, filled with grief. And I’m not writing this to receive any sympathy or anything for that matter. I just want to say this:

Life is short. There isn’t any time to waste. Anxiety is stopping you from seeing and experiencing the full beauty of life and yourself.

You won’t fulfill whatever thing or things you hope for, and enjoy them, until you deal with this problem squarely.

No one, young or old, is promised another day, but I think that most of us act as if life will continue without a hitch because we don’t want to imagine the end.

We also get consumed by work, school, petty problems, hatreds, self-pity and all the rest of it. But I urge you to not fall victim to this kind of complacency.

Thing is, we all know we die, but few of us act like we know that.

It could be that you’ve tried to correct your anxiety problem and failed, and I’ll be honest, it took me nearly 10 years, a decade, to get this right, but it’s one of the best things you’ll ever do.

I’m not saying that it will take you as long as I took to get better, but you bet that this isn’t getting solved over night. That’s why it’s important to not wait anymore. Don’t wait for a better time, a different season, a new situation. The time is now.

Today is the day that you should decide to get better, so you can enjoy your life. Enjoy your family. Be who you want to be.

The good news is that you have what it takes to get the job done. We all do.

Don’t wait anymore.

Anti-Anxiety Competition Giveaway

Woman with lottery ticket

Are you ready to win a prize?

Hope so, because between December 20th and December 28th I’ll be hosting what I’m calling the Anti-Anxiety Competition Giveaway.

I came up with this idea about a month ago in hopes of helping anxiety sufferers learn the best way(s) to deal with their anxiety problem.

I also wanted to do something in honor of the increased participation by my awesome readers at Anxiety Guru Dot Net.

Your comments and emails have been tremendous. Not only that, Anxiety Guru now has over 600 subscribers!

That’s a big  accomplishment and it’s all thanks to your continued support.

Now, let’s talk prizes. Here’s  a quick list of what the top three competitors will win.

Third place:

The third place winner will win a copy of my Special Report How to Stop Anxious Thinking. This report is my anti-anxiety manifesto and will help any anxiety sufferer get a good idea about what’s behind abnormal anxiety, and how to get rid of it for good.

Second place:

The runner up will receive a new copy of Dr. Claire Weeke’s book called Hope and Help for Your Nerves. This classic anti-anxiety book is jammed packed with great advice about how to win your war with abnormal anxiety.

First place:

The winner of the Anti-Anxiety Competition Giveaway will receive a new copy of Dr. Claire Weeke’s Audio book Pass Through Panic. This CD got me through countless episodes of anxiety and panic during the early days of my anxiety sickness. I hope that the winner can also gain something from Dr. Weekes’ message of hope.

How to Enter

Entering the competition is easy. All you have to do is answer two questions in the comments section below AND be subscribed to Anxiety Guru Dot Net.

If you’re not already subscribed, then just go to the upper right corner of this website, enter your name and email, and hit the submit button. After that just follow the instructions on the screen and you’re all set.

The Questions

1. What’s the best and worst things you’ve done to lower your anxiety?

2. What’s the best advice you can give to someone who just found out that they have an anxiety disorder?

Wrap up

I think this competition is a great way to help all anxiety sufferers. Those that read the entries in the days ahead will gain some great insight into things they’ve never heard of that could help them make a positive change in their lives. It’s a win-win for everyone that participates.

So what are you waiting for? Take a few minutes and send in your entry right now.

Good luck!

P.S.

I’ve also included a podcast to explain the Anti-Anxiety Competition Giveaway a bit more.

Update:

Thank you all for participating in the Anti-Anxiety Competition Giveaway.

The competition is officially over, and I have selected the winners.

Before I announce the winners though, let me just say how impressed I was with all the entries. It seems to me that all of the participants “get it.”

And, it goes to show how hard it can still be to cope with anxiety, even after you understand what’s happening to you.

There were also some gems of advice in here that I hope will help others at least in some small measure.

So, without further ado, the winners are…

In third place: Megan

One of Megan’s best points was the importance of not symptom hunting on Google. That is a sure-fire way of increasing your anxiety and keeping yourself in a state of fear. So heed the warning!

In second place: Irena

Irena’s response was loaded with good tips. Chief among them was that you should live your life, despite having chronic anxiety. Sounds simple, but really how many times have you stopped doing what you love because of anxiety? Probably lots, I know I used to. Keep living. Keep doing.

In first place: Sunny

What can I say about Sunny’s entry except read it. In fact, read it twice. Among all the awesome tips Sunny sent our way the most importance was that you should try and educate yourself about your condition – anxiety disorder. I can’t begin to tell you how vital that is.

So Sunny gets the Claire Weekes CD, Irena Dr. Weeke’s book, and Megan gets a free copy of my Special Report.

But that’s not all, everyone that participated will also get a free copy of my special report!

I think all the entries have something to offer. Each one had something in it that I’m sure will help someone new to this anxiety business.

Thank you all for participating. Not sure when the next competition will be, but I can guarantee that the prizes will be something you wouldn’t re-gift.

P.S.

If you want to know the secret sauce to ultimate recovery, please read Bryan’s entry.

Instant Peace of Mind

Woman with sunhat running on beach

She jumped out of bed in a panic at  4 am.

Unable to focus, she staggered out of the front door and started running down the street.

She stopped about ten houses down and stood motionless in the dark; chilled by the cold.

That happened about 3 years ago, and the terrified woman it happened to is my aunt.

That’s the story she told me at my mom’s house on Thanksgiving day. She’d never talked about her panic before, but on that day she opened up about her 20 year struggle with anxiety.

She told me about how she’d always felt like she was going to die when anxiety struck her. And about how no one understood, or even accepted her anxiety as real.

I sat across from her feeling empathy for my small, fragile aunt. My gaze bounced back and forth between her clinched hands, which were buried between her knees, and her uncertain eyes.

I’d known that she suffered from anxiety, but not like this.

She told me that on the morning she sprang out of bed, she was sure that she wasn’t going to make it. But, she did make it. Instead of dying, she walked back home, climbed into bed, and cried herself back to sleep.

On Thanksgiving day she sought me out. She’d heard about my work at Anxiety Guru and wanted to see if I could help her. It was an overwhelming request.

My aunt is a nice person, friendly and funny. Always quick to help people in need. So, I gave it a shot.

In my head, I knew I couldn’t fix her anxiety problem on the spot. So, I tried to give her a little peace of mind instead. As she told me about her panic attacks and anxiety symptoms, I was devising a plan. I was thinking of what to say.

This is what I told her:

“Let me ask you a question,” I said. “Of all the times that you’ve experienced anxiety and panic, how many times did you die?”

She half closed her eyes as she thought about the answer, then she whispered–“never.” I said, “Exactly. Never, and you never will.”

I went on to explain the mechanics of anxiety and a few other things, but the point I was trying to make was that anxiety doesn’t kill. After my little ramble she paused for a second, then she nodded slowly in agreement.

She confessed that her biggest fear was that panic would kill her. I told her that wasn’t true. She said, “OK, but how do I get rid of that thought?” I said, “Well. You gotta fake it for awhile.”

It’s helpful to create the feeling of acceptance by first acting the way you want to feel. By acting out your desired feelings you will learn to adopt them not in theory, but in fact.” I leaned forward and said, “do that, and you’ll heal yourself.” Then, I waited.

She got up and said she needed to grab something to drink. A few minutes later she found me again, this time smiling from ear to ear. She said, “you know what, you’re right. Anxiety hasn’t killed me in all these years, I guess it won’t start now.” I smiled back at her and agreed.

And, at least for a day, she achieved instant peace of mind. In fact, that feeling lasted longer. A week later I spoke to my mom after she’d gotten off the phone with my aunt.

It turns out that my aunt wasn’t feeling too good that day. But she was OK with that. She told my mom, “I’ll be fine, Paul was right.” I nearly exploded with happiness when my mom told me that.

I’m sure my aunt already knew on a logical level that anxiety wouldn’t kill her, but I think she never really accepted that fact. My role was just to remind her, in a simple way, that after all she’d gone through, she was still alive, still sane, and anxiety wasn’t going to change that, ever.

I don’t know what the future has in store for my aunt. All I do know is that she now has a reason to not fear anxiety. I hope you do too.

You are Bigger than Your Anxiety

Triumphant businessman in front of globe sculpture outdoors

Today’s article is brought to you by AG contributor Bryan3000. Bryan and I have been exchanging ideas for weeks and I’ve enjoyed those conversations. I think that you’ll enjoy his perspective as well.

– Paul Dooley

So, it’s another Sunday afternoon and I’m lucky enough to be spending some time at home, playing with my little four year old girl and watching football. Life doesn’t get much better. That said, as I sat there… I had some of the usual slow-boiling anxiety that seems to just hang around some days for no particular reason. Attempting to use the things I’ve learned, I did my best to simply accept the symptoms and go about my day.

My little girl also was dealing with her own health issues that day. She had another cold, which seem to come on an almost weekly basis at this age. Her forehead felt a little hot, her nose was runny and she occasionally looked up from her toys to cough a few hacking coughs. As I sat dealing with my own discomfort, it dawned on me that she must have been dealing with a good deal of her own. Her outward symptoms surely weren’t the only ones.

These colds almost always come with a host of uncomfortable effects on our heads, bodies, moods, etc. Sure, she seemed a little crabby at times, but she kept right on focusing on the little play-set and animal figures she had set up… mouthing words for them to talk to each other, and creating her own little fictional world. She was completely immersed in what she was doing.

All of those symptoms, and yet no complaining from her. It appeared to be the furthest thing from her mind. Now, a cynical mind might look at this situation and assume that she’s just a child. She doesn’t know the real dangers of health issues. She’s too young to have developed an actual sense of self-awareness with regards to her health.

But, there’s another way to look at this. This child of four years has certainly dealt with sickness before. She’s been to the doctor. She’s gotten shots. (She just loves those!) She’s aware of medication and sometimes even claims to need it. (Likely because it’s cherry-flavored and sugary.) She’s not oblivious to the concept of illness. Instead, she’s just simply not that impressed with it. Of course, at some point… she’ll have a rough flu or illness that does slow her down. It’s part of growing up. But right now, she’s got a view of her illness that just might be one we can all learn from.

Now, I’m certainly not the first to suggest that we’re larger than our afflictions. This is a well-covered topic. However, it may be a concept that we need to remind ourselves of, and on a regular basis. The reality of my daughter and I sitting in that living room that day was that her illness was likely a much bigger threat to her than my simmering anxiety was
to me.

In fact, by this point if you’ve read or listened to enough material from this very website, you know anxiety symptoms aren’t dangerous at all. Yet, there I was doing my best to accept and flow with my symptoms,struggling at times as she sat care-free playing with her toys and urging me to do the same.

The problem with panic and anxiety is that by its very nature, it feels so much larger in scope than it really is. The symptoms come on in such a way that it affects that very brain mechanisms that estimate a perceived threat. It’s function is to convince us that we are in trouble. As we all know, that is its biological purpose and is part of all of our make-up. Yet, if you’re reading this, you also probably know that anxiety itself is not a real threat. As Dr. Claire Weeks put it, “don’t be bluffed by a thought.”

You are bigger than anxiety. The reality on a short-term basis is that anxiety is probably far-less dangerous than the common cold and certainly less dangerous than the flu. (No, you shouldn’t be afraid of the flu, either!) We all need to remind ourselves every day just how big we are and just how small anxiety really is.

Think of your body, mind, spirit, and all of the things that comprise your being. Think of what you’ve accomplished and want to accomplish. Think of the mind you’ve been blessed with and the positive attributes you’ve been given, physically. We all have them, regardless of our conditions. Think of the complex tasks your body completes every day without any effort on your part. Think of all the illnesses your body has defeated over your lifetime. We’re all giants in so many regards. Anxiety pales in comparison.

No one else sees your anxiety. It doesn’t even make your nose run! People see you, the giant entity that you are. We all need to give ourselves this daily reminder so the picture becomes (and remains) crystal clear. If we can all view ourselves as bigger than the problem, perhaps we can eventually deal with anxiety as easily as a child deals with a cold.

As for me, I did manage to work through the symptoms and enjoy much of the day. I’ll now remember that Sunday as a special time spent with my child, not for the bothersome physical symptoms. I have my struggles like we all do, but life only offers so many of those moments. I don’t intend to let anxiety take them away from me. I hope you won’t, either.

Disclaimer: Bryan3000 is a guest contributor to Anxiety Guru, not a medical doctor. Please consult your physician with any specific questions regarding anxiety and related medical issues.