Thursday, April 30, 2009

Support groups

I've decided to try an in-person support group. Finding one has not been easy, and I live in a large city. I haven't found one specifically for generalized anxiety disorder, so I am going to try a Recovery, Inc., group, which helps people with all sorts of mental problems. They have a lot of active groups in my area, such as this one. If you've had any experience with this organization, I'd love to hear about it. I did look into Emotions Anonymous, but it is too spiritually based for me. Finally, I did apply for Compeer, a mentoring program, but my local chapter is very slow at responding to inquiries (and completely ignored one of my relatives). So finding "offline" support has not been easy, but I hope it's worth it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mistaken thinking

One of my biggest fears is making mistakes. I become really upset about this. I've taken perfectionism to an extreme, and in my life the "perfect is the enemy of the good." But when I am feeling anxious, I try to remember (flashcards help) that I can give myself permission to not be perfect, that it's OK to make mistakes, that to err is normal—and is part of being human.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sharing our stories

There's such a stigma attached to mental illness that it's difficult to share our stories. I find myself withholding details even in my blog. But anytime you share your story with someone you are taking a courageous step, and one that helps people realize that we are normal, even if we have a health problem. It's even tough for people who work in the mental healthcare field to share their stories. Check out this article for some inspiring tales.

A series of unfortunate events

Several unfortunate events have happened to me lately. My car has been acting up, costing me $200 in unexpected repairs. My favorite pants ripped. I have an ugly strain of grass growing in my newly seeded lawn. Surprisingly, these problems are not stressing me out. What is making me anxious are all the "silly" things I worry could happen. I clearly can handle the present, so why should I worry about the future?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

In the first Lord of the Rings movie, Galadriel shows Frodo a mirror that displays "things that were, things that are, and some things that have not yet come to pass." Thankfully, there's no such mirror outside Middle Earth. In fact, perhaps mirrors can be a visible reminder that only the present really matters. A mirror shows only what is happening now, and that's how we need to live: free from the past, and not worried about the future.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Embracing the present

I am reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I found these words particularly powerful:

Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry--all forms of fear--are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.(1)

I'm only half way through this book, but I'm finding it very powerful. It isn't specifically written for people with anxiety problems, but every word rings true for people like us.

1. Tolle E. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Novato, Calif.: Namaste Publishing; 2004: 61.