Saturday, September 29, 2007

Warning: Anxiety Can Cause Insomnia

Lately at my house we have been going to bed earlier because getting up earlier in the cold, dark mornings of fall seems so impossible. Tonight we turned the lights off at 10:00 which is pretty early, especially for a Friday night! However my mind was tired and I LOVE sleeping so I don't mind.

The last little while I have been having problems falling asleep. This has never been the case before. I used to be able to fall asleep anywhere at any time of day. Lately, when I lay down to fall asleep, I feel like I have restless leg syndrome, only its in my legs and my neck and my arms, etc. I can't get comfortable and after 30 seconds in one position I desperately have to rotate because my body is just itching to move. Previously this behavior would continue for a couple hours until sleep finally came over me, but its a horrible battle. Tonight, I got so tired of it I just got out of bed and decided to do something more productive until I got really tired.

I was doing research on insomnia and found this on,
"Insomnia may result from either psychological or physical causes. The most common psychological problems include anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, insomnia may be an indicator of depression. Many people will have insomnia during the acute phases of a mental illness."
I also came across this at

"The undisputed number one cause of insomnia is excessive stress, anxiety, and depression. Almost everyone has experienced transient insomnia the night before a job interview, big presentation, wedding, or other significant personal event.

Transient insomnia usually passes after the stress-inducing event has been overcome. Chronic insomnia is more serious because it can affect an individual for an extended period of time.

Persistent stress at work or home can lead to chronic insomnia. Anxiety and depressive disorders are another major source for chronic insomnia."

Its so ironic that I love sleeping so much, but I have so much difficulty with it. I struggle to fall asleep and have awful nightmares all night long and wake up feeling like I didn't sleep a wink. Maybe thats why I think I love to sleep, cause when I truly get a good night's sleep, its so rare and wonderful that I want to have more.

Here is another interesting piece of information I found at,
"Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, or waking too early in the morning. These result in the feeling that sleep is not restorative and often are associated with impaired function during the day."
I always thought insomnia was just people that stayed up all night long and never slept. I didn't realize that I suffer so much from it. So right now I am frustrated. Since I am all about self diagnosing myself on the internet (which I don't recommend doing if you suffer from Hypochondria) I wonder if maybe I do have RLS. Here is what I found on the same site mentioned above,
"Restless leg syndrome (RLS) – RLS is an unpleasant tickling, burning, pricking or aching sensations in the legs that are generally only relieved with movement and tend to occur while relaxing in the evening hours. A similar and often overlapping disorder is periodic limb movement of sleep, which are the recurrent movements of the legs during sleep that may cause arousals from sleep."
Is it possible to have those same sensations in areas in addition to your legs? Anyone else have RLS?

Now I don't like labeling myself with these "conditions" for a few reasons. It makes me feel like there is something wrong with me if I have chronic anxiety, chronic insomnia, and what the heck lets throw in RLS while we're at it. Its like I am ordering off of a menu. I also don't like listing everything that I think I may have because it feels like it comes across as a cry for attention when its not. I just like sharing what I am going through in case it can help someone else.

So its now after midnight (I know thats still early for lots of people but its late for me) and I don't know if I should try to go back to bed, if I should just try to fall asleep on the couch, maybe get something to drink I dunno. I don't think anything I do is really going to be a great solution at this point.

But please don't worry about me, its nothing to lose sleep over...

Has anyone else had this or a similar problem? If so any tips? Maybe I can try using them next time.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blog against Abuse Day

Today is the official Blog against Abuse Day as you may have noticed on my little poster on my sidebar. It’s where bloggers all around the world are, you guessed it, blogging on any form of abuse in any field. There are blogs today on stopping animal abuse, elderly abuse, abuse against children, sports games, anything and everything you can think of. So when thinking about what topic I would choose that was relevant to my blog, I decided to take a stance today that is controversial in the world of anxiety. And that is whether or not to take medication. In my opinion, by depriving yourself of medication that can help you live a more ordinary life, you are abusing your self worth and your right to happiness.

That’s a pretty bold statement to make and I am sure many of you are reeling right now ready to rip me a new one. So I will list all of the reasons I know of as to why people don’t take medication and my thoughts on them. If I forgot one or don’t have your reason on there, please educate me.

Reasons people do not take medication to treat anxiety or other mental health disorders:

  • Many people think that taking medication is not natural. They think that our bodies should be able to handle things on their own or look for strict organic alternatives.
  • They think that they should be able to handle their “mental shortcomings” on their own, that using medication is somehow degrading or embarrassing.
  • Or maybe they have simply had a bad experience that has turned them off of the idea. The side effects were so horrible that they would rather live with the original problem.
  • Or maybe you are like me and have insurance problems and can’t afford it!

Let me address these issues.

  1. Medication is not natural- I have a hard time understanding this one. Maybe my spiritual beliefs are giving me a blind spot. The way I see it, everything we have been given on this Earth is a gift from God. A man having the knowledge to take certain elements and put them together to make a medicine that will help us doesn’t qualify something as “man made” to me. This is in reply to people who consider medicine to be man made vs. organic alternatives which are not man made and are therefore better somehow. Everything is created from God. He just gives us the knowledge and enlightenment on how to use everything to our advantage. Just because it doesn’t come directly from the ground or a plant doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad for your body. To me you might as well go back to the Stone Age and live without electricity because the light in your house isn’t natural and who knows what kind of long term damage that could have on you. Granted there are medicines that have proven to be bad for you, but I am not arguing that ALL medicines are good either. I am purely stating that there are SOME medicines that can really help you and shouldn’t be pushed aside simply because it’s a pill. I am talking about people who won’t even take a Tylenol because of what it might do to their body. (If you actually do have unpleasant side effects and that’s why you don’t take medicine than that’s a different situation that I am not referring to here, and will address that later.)
  2. Embarrassed or too proud- that’s exactly what it is. Pride. LOTS of people struggle with this one including myself for a long time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you have diabetes, and you need to take insulin every day for it, than that’s what your body needs to survive. No one thinks twice about that. But somehow people think that if your mind doesn’t have the right chemical balance and that causes them to have unrealistic fears or high levels of anxiety, that they should be able to handle it on their own and learn to deal with it, otherwise they are incompetent. Why on earth has that stigma been placed in our society? If your brain needs medication to function normally, adjust the chemical imbalance, than by all means give your body or your mind what it means. No one should look down on you for that and if they do than why would you want to hang around them anyway? I struggled with that because I want everyone to like me and worried what people would think if they knew I took medication. It turns out that not very many people even know that I am on it, and the ones that do have been extremely nice to me and have continued to be my friend.
  3. Bad Side Effects when attempting to take medicine- This one I feel for the most. I have been extremely lucky to not have really horrible side effects for the medication I have been given. I still think that even if you have had a bad experience, it doesn’t mean you should swear them all off. I think you just haven’t found the right one. There are doctors that are willing to work with you to find what works best for you, but it’s a longer process that can get tiresome. Its easier for me to say don’t give up when I haven’t had the same experiences. But if I did, I would like to think I would continue to look for options to help me and not just accept my fate. Sure you can do other things that help immensely such as breathing techniques, positive affirmations, writing out your thoughts and then analyzing them, etc. All of these are great tools that have served me well. However the frequency of having to rely on these dropped dramatically when I finally got my act together and started taking medication regularly. Every time I stop taking it for whatever reason, (I forget or get out of the habit, I don’t have insurance so I don’t get the refill, etc.) I always pay for it with a setback. It makes my life so much easier to be consistent. For people still trying to find what works, you can take Vitamins B and C to help in the meantime.
  4. Can’t afford it- This I have to admit is a hard one. I bet you there are programs out there to help you. I know your local LDS church has a welfare program that might be able to help you pay for needed medication. I am not sure on the policies for non members but it might be worth looking into that or a government operated welfare program. For me it was just a weird situation where there was an unexpected job change and we had to switch insurances and the timing was bad so I have been a couple weeks without meds and I wish I had thought it through with more importance instead of just having a “whatever” attitude about it.

What I am trying to get at is that we are all worth the time and trials to find a medication that makes our body and mind feel like your normal self. You are worth not having to wake up everyday and feel defeated, wondering how you will ever make it through this all over again. You are worth a trip to a doctor who can help you make the right decision for you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking its not worth it, because “its” = you. Its one thing to let yourself be abused as a child by someone else, let your self esteem be abused by mean kids or even adults, but today I am begging you to not abuse your self worth by thinking you don’t need medication, its not good for you, by giving up the search because its too hard, or by leaving you at the bottom of your priority list.

You deserve better.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Anxiety is Full of Ups and Downs

photo from my yesterday's adventure

Yesterday was an interesting day. I had to start the day driving around downtown Salt Lake City to find the Utah Board of Education building. I was going to install our software on one of their computers. Well, the address that was given me was wrong. Driving somewhere that I’ve never been to before I hate, but even worse is getting lost and being late to something important. I started to panic. I quickly called Tyler and explained the situation to him. Luckily his new job had him right around the corner and he was able to come and help me. I was able to get there only a little bit late. It was a stressful experience but I made it through just fine.

On my way back to the office I picked up some fast food. I tried to eat it at my desk but kept getting interrupted and soon it got cold. But I was full anyway so no big deal. Than a couple co workers and I decided to go take some photos of the fall colors in a nearby canyon. On the drive down there they decided to stop and get some food. This instantly made my heart start pounding and I felt the back of my neck get hot. They both knew I had already eaten so they weren’t expecting me to get anything. So why was I panicking? We stopped and I decided to wait outside and try to control my breathing. I was doing my deep breathing techniques but I didn’t have my Clonozapam with me which is a rarity and that too had me worried. I was trying to think about positive affirmations but it wasn’t helping. Everything that usually works, didn’t. So I made a very quick decision. I decided to go in to the restroom and just get it over with so that I could go on with my day. It all happened so quickly and so matter of fact that it was a little weird. But sure enough, I felt better afterwards.

Also this morning I woke up with morning anxiety again. Haven’t had that in awhile.

Here is why I think it happened:

With Tyler’s new job we haven’t had insurance for about a month. My Zoloft ran out and I have stopped taking it. Stupid, I know, but for some reason the consequences never seem to register to me, no matter how many times I have to learn the same lesson over and over again. So I think it is out of my system and things that wouldn’t bother me normally are now more sensitive.

I am learning that anxiety just like anything else is full of ups and downs and I can never get too comfy with the ups to not be prepared for a sudden down.

Tomorrow is Blog Against Abuse day for bloggers everywhere. I think I am going to talk about my stance on medication because I know it is a controversial subject.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

I Can Only Imagine

Its not a new year, but it feels like today is a fresh start, a clean slate. Its a very hopeful feeling. I think its because I am finally starting to feel better, and work is finally calmed down a bit. Instead of working like a dog I am planning for the next time I will have to work like a dog. Also my birthday is coming up and that is in the back of my thoughts, so I guess it is almost a new year in some way.

Today I got a magazine subscription offer that I would normally turn down, but it was sent from my little nephew in Ohio in his little kid handwriting to help him raise money for his school. How can you turn down that? So I am going to order Women's Health and I am excited about it.

Ok so to go along with this great feeling that I have today, I want to share with you one of the most inspirational videos I have ever seen. Every time I see this video it makes me cry, but it has an amazing message.

This is a video of a father and son team that runs triathlons. To learn more about Team Hoyt, you can visit their website here.

The message that I take from this video besides the amazing father this boy has and how special we are all as individuals, is that no matter what you are going through, having a support person be family or friend can help take you to the places where you may not be able to go alone. I am blessed to have my spouse that is always helping me to feel loved and appreciated just the way I am. I have one or two good friends that will listen to me no mater how silly my thoughts may sound out loud. And I also have all of my online friends that share lessons learned and valuable insight to life. As cheesy at it may sound, all these supporters bring me higher and closer to reaching my goals than I could ever do alone. If you feel all alone in your anxiety or panic attacks, you can stop here anytime for some support.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Pharmacists Might Care After All

photo by TheConsumerist
You always see those commercials about the pharmacist going to your kids baseball game, showing how much they care about their patients, but you know its all bull. I usually get my prescriptions filled at the nearby Smiths grocery store, and it seems every time I go the people working there had no idea what they were doing. I have never been impressed.

However yesterday I had the first good experience at a Pharmacy. Due to the last week and a half of feeling completely miserable, I decided it was time to go see the doctor and make sure I didn't have strep throat or something that antibiotics could help with. After my doctors visit I went to Smiths to pick up my prescriptions. Ty got a new job but there is a trial period before his insurance kicks in, so I signed up with my company. But I didn't have the card to prove it since I signed up the day before. So the pharmacist told me until I could get them the information they needed, I would have to pay full price. This means I would have to pay almost 30 bucks for the medicine my doctor prescribed. Note that the medicine wasn't any antibiotics- I have a virus and the meds were to help me with my symptoms. The pharmacist told me how the medication worked and said "If I were you I would drink a lot of water and take some sudafed and that will do the same thing." I was taken aback that she would give me this tip. Its the difference of paying 30 dollars or 6. So I took her advice and didn't buy the full priced meds. She got me the sudafed I needed and sent me on my way. I have also been out of Zoloft for the last week but since we didn't have insurance I just never refilled my prescription- very naughty I know. I asked her if she could refill it and how much it would be full price and she gave me 3 pills and told me to figure out my insurance and to come back for the rest. I thought that was really nice of her to not leave me high and dry.

I hope she stays there for awhile. How about anyone else? Any horror stories or surprising stories about going to the pharmacist?

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How Dreaming About Positivity Actually Boosts My Confidence

photo by benrybobenry

I had a very unusual dream last night. I dreamt that I was getting ready to go to college and I was organizing my new “dorm” like living space. I was ok with the idea of everything and I felt confident in my ability to handle the situation of going to school and taking college courses.

Here’s why that is so interesting. I don’t really tell people this, but I am scared to death of going to college, and therefore have never set foot in a college classroom.

Why? I have no idea. I know this is an excuse, but deep down inside I grew up with the attitude that I would never go to college because it was too expensive and I would have to pay for it myself. Now I think it seems too overwhelming for some reason.

So it was interesting to me to feel so okay about taking this on. Like it was no big deal. When I woke up it made me start to wonder about if it really would be something I could do if I treated just like that, no big deal. I want to get my husband through college first, but I do know I want a degree in case I have to support my family someday.

Don’t get me wrong- I think I have done extremely well for myself for not going to college. The career that I am in has really been good to me and I have accomplished so much more than I ever thought I would.

I wonder if the dream was spurred by what I saw in one of the schools I went to in California. It was a school of mostly Hispanic children. Above the door in one of the classrooms was a poster that said “I will go to college!” The teacher had every child reach up and hit the sign and say the words out loud before they could leave for the day. I thought that was really cool. Like I said I grew up thinking, “If I wanna go to college I better start saving my pennies now!” I wonder how my attitude would have been if I had some encouragement like that in my life growing up. But I know it is ultimately my responsibility to do it so I hope you don’t misread what I am saying as a way to blame someone else for my issues- merely just thinking out loud.

Whatever the case may be, it was really cool to dream about something so positive instead of running around afraid all night long. It makes me think that maybe its something I shouldn't be so afraid of, that I really can handle it, and that is a turn for the better.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

9 Ways to Motivate Yourself

Lately I have been a bit of a slacker when it comes to behaviors I know in the long run will help me feel better but I am not in the mood to do them. It can feel like a lot of work sometimes to start a new behavior, especially if you feel under the weather like I do right now. So I thought I would do a little research on motivating myself to get off the couch (which will be even tougher now that new fall series are starting!) and do my yoga, prepare for a healthy meal, or even simply taking my medication. I have simply gotten lazy. Here is a really cool article I found by Skye Thomas over at

"Achieving the really big goals and dreams always involves breaking it down into do-able little steps. Assuming that you've picked a goal or dream that you really love working at, then most of the steps are a delight to take. No matter how much you love your dream and no matter how much you love your work, there are going to be tasks along the way that you really don't want to do. Those pieces of work that we hate doing can be the very ones that sabotage our success. How do you stay motivated during those parts of the journey?

1) Reward yourself. Let's say that I want to lose twenty pounds. That's not too much, but it's still going to involve more days of self discipline that I feel like doing. So, I reward myself with a little treat every time I drop five pounds. I get to have one of my favorite fattening meals at the end of each five pound loss. Then I go back to my diet. At the end, I get to go on a shopping spree to buy new clothes. Come up with a reward that you can use to motivate yourself.

2) Do it for love of someone else. My teenage son proposed a deal that works for both of us. I don't smoke cigarettes and he doesn't experiment with drugs. Every time one of us is about to give in to temptation, our love for each other stops us. I can't light up knowing that he might start doing drugs because I broke our deal. He hates the idea of me dying of cancer, so he never touches any kinds of drugs offered to him by his peers. The love of someone else can motivate you to do what you otherwise might not be able to do for yourself.

3) Trade work with someone else. I've watched my kids perfect this style of motivation. My son will offer to scrub out the showers if my daughter will do the dishes for him. Hiring someone to do the work you don't want to do is actually a form of trade. Barter or pay someone else to do it for you, so that you can continue moving forward with your dreams.

4) Truly consider quitting. I'm not telling you to quit, but to really think about it. If you've got a goal or dream that means a lot to you and you've already invested a large part of yourself into making it happen, then what would quitting feel like? Is avoiding the difficult or distasteful task worth giving up on your goals and dreams? The love of your long-term goal can motivate you not to quit.

5) Share the misery. This reminds me of friends in college getting together to study for an upcoming test. Having friends along can make the experience more festive then it would have been if you were doing it alone. Is there a way to team up with a friend so that the work is easier or at least more enjoyable?

6) Just get it over with. One of my all time favorite quotes about getting past your inner blocks was written by Stuart Wilde in his book The Quickening, "Cut the shit and do the thing." Yeah it's a bit rough, but we all know those stoic tough people who simply roll up their sleeves and dive in know matter how much they may hate the task before them. Take on a soldier's mindset and just get to work doing the ugly parts so you can move on to the more rewarding parts of making your dreams a reality.

7) Get training or education. Quite often, we don't like doing something because deep down we don't think we know how or that we are talented enough. So, get the education, do the research, learn the necessary skills, or whatever else it is that you need to do to get ready for taking that next step. Once you've properly trained yourself, then you might even be enthusiastic about taking that next step.

8) Take a running start at it. Think of riding your bike uphill. It doesn't take kids very long to figure out that the best way to get that bicycle to the top of the steep hill is to build up a lot of speed before you even get to the base of the hill. You then let that momentum help to propel you most of the way up. Heck, with enough of a running start you can sometimes make it all the way up without any major struggles. If there is a way to pace yourself and reschedule the not so fun parts of accomplishing your goals until after you've completed a bunch of the cool parts, then do so. The highs of your mini successes will help inspire you to push past the parts that you are avoiding.

9) Figure out a different way to do it. This is the supreme way to avoid doing the task all together. Be creative, be smart, think outside the box. Is there any way to make your dream come true without having to actually do the specific duty that you're wanting to avoid? Sometimes you can find another way. Other times, just knowing that there is definitely no other path to your dreams other than the one before you is enough to motivate you to just buck up and get through it.

What's most important is not how you keep yourself motivated but that you keep the long-term benefits of your goals in mind. If you focus too much on avoiding the uncomfortable parts of accomplishing your goals, then you won't accomplish much. Find a way to keep going and remember that all things come with a price. Pay the price so you can get on with enjoying the dream."

I want to setup a reward program for myself because I think that will motivate me the most. I am a material girl I'll admit it!

Any other good ideas to help you stay motivated to make the necessary life changes to reduce stress and anxiety in our lives?

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Question Box

I want to base as many posts as possible on real questions from readers. So - the ‘question box’ is open.

This posting is going straight to my sidebar as an ongoing conversation. It is my question box, where anyone at anytime can ask me a question about anxiety or stress or anything related to Mental Health. Although I am not a physician, I will do my best to help you with whatever questions you have on the subject, or otherwise find someone who is better qualified to answer it for me. Maybe its medication related, or ways to reduce stress, you name it. Ask away. I will respond here in the comments section but will also do posts on the topic if appropriate. Any topic is fine - but I’ll of course give priority to those that are on topic to this blog. So fire away, I am looking forward to seeing what the Reality of Anxiety community comes up with.

Note: If you don’t want your name/blog to be linked to your question feel free to ask it anonymously. Please submit the questions in comments below.


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Lonely Like a Fish Out of Water

Sorry for the delay in posts but I have been out sick for two days without a computer. I have been going through Reality of Anxiety withdrawals. So a very interesting thing has happened to me lately. With my business trip and my husband now gone on a business trip and with all the overtime I have been working before the business trips, it feels like a long time since my husband and I have spent any time together. And at first I was fine, in fact I love spending time alone to do whatever I want, or better yet, nothing at all. However the last few days I have started feeling lonely. This is not common for me at all. I am finding myself calling friends and family just to talk. I actually went over to a friend’s house last night to hang out for no reason at all, just because I wanted to get out of my house and interact with someone. It’s been overwhelming. I haven’t broken down into tears but have felt close to it at times. I just feel so alone and useless. Luckily Ty is coming home tonight and hopefully we can put some normality back in our lives.

It’s been years since I have felt like this. I can remember wanting friends and feeling like I was lacking that in my life, but not knowing how to make them. Loneliness is a horrible feeling, and maybe I have somehow tried to protect myself from it with my social anxiety. If I am too scared to interact with others than maybe I am too consumed with fear to feel the loneliness? Maybe I have gotten so used to my support person being there that the loss of that support is hitting me hard?

So I wanna know- is there anyone else out there with Social Anxiety that feels lonely, and why? It seems like such a contradiction but I am proof it can happen.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Quick Thought For the Day

While in a classroom installing our software I saw this quote hanging above the chalkboard, "Be yourself. An original is always worth more than a copy."

I like that because so often we are trying to conform to what we think is acceptable, what's appropriate, what others will like us for, instead of just being what or who we are.

In this picture my niece is being just that- crazy, spunky, I'll do anything to get you to laugh, Rylee Jane.

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Do's and Don'ts of Traveling with Anxiety: Part 3

For me this is the best thing I did for myself on my business trip to California. If renting a car, DO rent a GPS unit to help you navigate.

I have a lot of anxiety with driving. It took me 3 tries to get my license and it was only due to my parent's pushing me. I was 18 when I finally got it. I had no desire to drive. Sitting in the driver seat nearly gave me panic attacks. I eventually got used to it, but had a hard time on the freeways. So I would drive if I had to but I would avoid freeways as much as I could.

Now I have to drive an hour to work everyday on the freeway. I don't like driving with people in the car with me, and I don't like driving when I don't know how to get there. So anytime I have to drive with others, I actually ask someone else to drive my car so I don't have to deal with the anxiety.

So for me to go to a busy city like San Jose and San Fransisco all by myself and drive everywhere, this caused a lot of panic for me. It was probably what I was the most worried about. When renting the car I added a GPS unit for an addition $8 a day. Doesn't matter how much it would have cost, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Not only did it take away 98% of my anxiety, it gave me a sense of empowerment and confidence. I would be hungry and type in the kind of food I was in the mood for and it would tell me exactly how to get to the closest location. The best part is if you miss a turn, no need to panic! It will recalculate your destination and help you get to where you need to go. I was able to travel to my hotel, 4 different schools, several fast food places, etc. with complete ease even though I had never been there before.

By far the most exhilarating day on my trip was when I had some time to go to San Fransisco to do some sight seeing. Never before would I have dared to drive an hour away to some unknown place all by myself but with my handy Garmin GPS unit, I located the Golden Gate Bridge and set off on my adventure. I drove around downtown San Fransisco on the unbelievable hilly roads with the beautiful scenery. I drove over the Golden Gate bridge twice, ate clam chowder while photographing the bridge, had a wild coyote follow me around, walked along Pier 39 and saw Alcatraz, ship yards, and so many other great things that I will forever remember as a liberating experience. I never would had that experience without the GPS unit. It was so windy and cold that it made taking pictures difficult. Plus there was a fire burning in northern California so the sky was covered in smoke, but it was still very cool.

Now back at home I want to buy one for my personal car to help me get around town better. Maybe I will be more daring to drive around Salt Lake and see some of the great things my home town has to offer.

P.S. For those interested in photography, I still need to edit these photos a bit but I wanted to get the post out.

This post is part of a series. You can read some of my other do's and don'ts here: Part 1, Part 2

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Do's and Don'ts when Traveling with Anxiety: Part 2

DO know a bit about the culture you are going to.

I will never forget when my 6th grade Spanish teacher told me the most important thing you can remember in the Spanish language is "?Donde esta el bano?" Translation= Where is the bathroom? I used to laugh about that. Today I was driving around and I had to pee really bad! I stopped at a 7 eleven but they didn't have any restrooms. She told me to go to the restaurant next door. In there I asked the woman where the bathrooms were and she looked at me in confusion and said "No speak English." In San Jose, it appears most adults only speak Spanish. All of the children are becoming bilingual in school, but the parents are more behind. I am definately a minority in these parts. So back to the story, I smiled and I was able to ask her in Spanish my question. Its one of the only things I can remember to say and today it was very relieving!

DO put yourself first.

There have been many times on this trip where I was worried about being late, wondering if I could just call the whole thing off, etc. I learned that I needed to put myself first if I wanted to be able to do my job properly. If that means sleeping a little bit longer so I am more energetic to get things done quicker than so be it. If it means taking some breaks instead of working more because you don't feel good and you need the down time, than do it. Everyday that I have been gone has gotten better because I am allowing myself to be myself and put my needs first.

Many of the good tips I want to share require my PC so I can add some pictures and hopefully recordings. I only have a mac laptop with me out here so when I get home tomorrow night I will add some more posts on the topic.

This post is a part of a series. You can read more on the Do's an Don'ts of traveling with anxiety here: Part 1

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Do's and Don'ts when Traveling with Anxiety: Part 1

Today was my first day of travel on my business trip and I have sooo much to say from what worked and what didn't that I thought it might be best if I broke it up into Parts. So here is Part 1.

DON'T Assume you are in a good enough place to not properly prepare your mind beforehand.

You would think I would have learned my lesson from my last trip to Hawaii. But when my business trip that was scheduled in few weeks suddenly turned into a few days, all I could think about was packing, scheduling, finances, etc. I figured I would bring my medication and my mp3 player with my recordings of positive affirmations and that would be enough. WRONG! Unfortunately on the way to the airport I had my first full blown panic attack in 4 months. I am not sad about it because I know that every setback has a valuable lesson to be learned, even if it has to be shoved down your throat in my case. I think the second time is a charm, and I won't forget it for the next time. I should have properly prepared myself mentally no matter how good I thought I would be. I should have made time to plan things out in my head, tackle all of my fears and what if statements no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. I ended up throwing up on the side of the road on the way to the airport. Then I couldn't stop shaking for about an hour. I felt nauseas and tired all through my first flight and didn't start feeling normal until I was almost to San Jose. All I ate before now was a couple peanuts, a juice box, a bite of a granola bar and some gum. Then as soon as I got in I had to go to work and didn't get back until 9:00 pm. I am emotionally and physically exhausted, and I am lonely in my hotel room. Today overall sucked. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and on...

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