Anger

When Parenting Gets the Best of You

You are the parent of adorable little kids whom you dearly love. Though most of the time you enjoy being with them, there are those other moments when you don’t. Indeed, the truth of your darkest moments may be hard for you to accept.

An example:

Joanna had just put her infant son down for a nap. Her 3-year-old son was in his room, quietly playing with his toys. Whew, a chance for me to relax, she thought.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Dark Days: An Alaska Vacation

And you thought your kids were the only ones scared of the dark.

Think again.

Venturing to the Last Frontier last week, I braced for Palinesque politics, rampaging moose, and  brutal weather shrouded in Alaska darkness. While I was confident the scenery would dazzle, would the omnipresent snow and chill prove too much? Bundling up in my warmest fleeces, I could prepare for the foreboding weather. But mentally, well, we would see.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Am I Normal or Nuts?

Oh, it’s so easy for people to attach pejorative labels onto individual quirks. So, if you’ve been wondering (or been told), you’re nuts, weird or wacko, listen up! None of us is as “normal” as we seem. We all have mannerisms that are a bit quirky; traits that are a bit peculiar; idiosyncrasies that make us -- us. So, are you normal or nuts?

Oh wait a minute, I’ve goofed; “nuts” is not politically correct! Forgive me! Before I get a slew of hate e-mails, I’ll correct myself. Are you normal? Or, do you “suffer” from a “disorder” for which you need treatment, often with prescribed drugs?
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

‘Tis the Season

The joys of the holiday season: the picture-perfect weather, the dazzling holiday displays, and the ugly Christmas sweater parties. Even SantaCon is worth a couple chuckles.

But amidst the holiday cheer, there is a percolating stew of resentment and anger. Past slights, buried deep in our mental recesses, foment in our minds. Family volatility: the gift that keeps on giving.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

7 Practical Tips for Relieving Holiday Depression

For highly-sensitive folks and people predisposed to sadness, the holidays create a perfect storm for depression. There's the added stress of holiday shopping, decorating, and parties -- not to mention dealing with strained family relations; snowball and gingerbread cookies seem to stalk you; and a sense of forced merriment has a way of making you feel like a total loser if you change the radio station when "Jingle Bells" comes on.

According to research posted by the
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

When Worrying Takes Over

There are many worriers out there: The man who constantly worries about whether he has or will get cancer or another terrible disease. The woman who lies awake at night, fearing that she will never meet the right one. The grandmother who can’t let go of the idea that the plane with her grandchildren on board might crash. The employee who can’t concentrate because he fears he may have made a mistake that will cost him his job.

They are all different, but worriers also have a lot in common: Unconsciously, they see worrying as a useful strategy to get prepared and gain control.
Continue Reading

Anger

Coping in the Post-Election World

The results are in. Like it or not, Donald J. Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States. And you’re likely to have feelings -- or very strong feelings -- regarding the outcome of the 2016 election. For millions of Americans, Trump’s victory has been reason for celebration; for others, great disappointment. Even if you are neutral about politics, this can...
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Productive Fidgets: 8 Ways to Deal with Anxiety and Depression

As a person with active and severe mental illness, for six months I worked with a service animal. When I weaned off of his care, I transitioned to things that would keep my hands busy, things that would keep me from absentmindedly scratching myself or picking at my skin. I tried things like Play0Doh, modeling wax, and rubbing stones, but none could engage my brain enough to keep me on track. I eventually found the missing link: they were not productive.

Once I had isolated this critical thread, I was able to pack myself a small bag of “productive fidgets” that I could carry around in a manner that is *relatively* socially innocuous while mitigating the symptoms of my anxiety and depression.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

4 Ways to Face Your Fears and Overcome Phobias

We all have them -- fears, phobias, anxieties that shorten our breath, quicken our heartbeats, and sometimes can outright disable us. Some of us shut our eyes and hold our breath as we ride the elevator to the tenth floor of an office building, while others pray the Rosary inside that coffin-like enclosure when getting an MRI.

I am afraid of heights -- in particularly driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

How to Keep Fear from Stealing Your Life

“Fear is a sneaky thief, stealing away precious moments of your life.” - Elizabeth Lesser
Everyone is afraid at some point. If we’re in touch with our inner selves, we know right away when that negative emotion starts clutching at our hearts. It’s a feeling of coldness, one that sneaks up and grabs hold.

You can try to shrug it off, but that’s not always easy, and it rarely works....
Continue Reading