Sunday, October 30, 2011

Assignment #2

How did you do with the first assignment? Did you learn anything? I found that chapter eye opening because I never realized how I was sabotaging myself. I saw myself in quite a few of those twisted forms of thinking. Did you?

These next 2 weeks we will finish the first part of the book on Understanding Your Moods. I am sure you can see that you have to be able to understand that you have a problem before you can get help for it. Don't despair, we will be on the chapter about changing the way you feel soon enough.

For now I would like you to read chapter 3 and 4 (pages 49 - 69) and do the exercise on page 51. You will probably see yourself in 1 or 2 of these types of mood disorders. Please remember that this does not take the place of a doctors diagnosis, but will help you understand which mood disorder you have once diagnosed. For instance there are 7 different types of Anxiety and Panic disorders and 4 different types of depression. I found it very interesting not only to see what I did have but mostly to see what I didn't have. I am the glass half full type of person so any bit in that glass was great!

I'll check in with you next week and until then remember to...

"Make Today a Great Day No Matter What!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How Do You Handle a Panic Attack?

Tomorrow I leave for Houston. I am attending Fall Market and I am so stinkin excited! But I am also very nervous. My anxiety level has been higher than normal, I went thru about 18 months with out any panic attacks so this is concerning. I did go to my doctor and she is changing my meds a bit, slowly this time. I refuse to have to go in-house again for a medicine adjustment.

Knowing that I have been having panic attacks lately and knowing that I am going away with out my husband who is my anchor, I am very worried about having a panic attack at Market. I will be there with friends, so I know I will be safe (safety is one of my 'issues') so that's not whats bothering me. I just don't want to cause a commotion by having a panic attack. My attacks can be anywhere from getting dizzy and lightheaded to looking like a heart attack. What I want to be able to do is handle these attacks one my own, although I will grab a friend if I need to. However I am not planning on having an attack, I know my triggers and too much stimulation is one of them so there is a distinct possibility that I will have one.

So what should I do? I am a planner, which can drive people crazy, but I have come to understand that planning is one way to feel safe. Last week in Therapy we talked about this very subject and came up with a plan of action if this does happen.

1. I will find a 'quiet' place to sit. These big places have great hiding places sometimes, but there's always the ladies room. I will find my place when we get there so that will be planned too.
2. I will have my Ipod with me, music calms me down so listening to some music will be helpful. My Ipod is just a 2G one (its very old, but I love it) so my playlists are limited. I have Taylor Swift, Keith Urban and a ton of Glee songs...yes that's right I am a total Gleek!
3. If that doesn't do the job I have an 'emergency' medicine I can take, but that is a last resort for me. Part of recovering is learning to handle these attacks on my own with tools I have learned and not pop a pill. But I will if I have to.

That's my plan. Do you have one? Do you know your signs of a panic attack? Everyone is different. I suggest that you think about this and make a plan that will work for you. Especially if you are attending a big event like what I am going to tomorrow. Write it down if you need to.

I hope you do this, even if you don't ever plan on going anywhere like this. If you suffer from anxiety then you never know when an attack might hit. This will help.

If you are working in the Feeling Good Handbook, how are you doing? Have you finished the homework yet? Sunday I will post the next assignment.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mistakes, Forgiveness & Anger

Have you ever made a mistake?
Have you ever apologized to someone for something you did to hurt their feelings?
Have you ever been on the receiving end of an apology?
I know the answers to these questions are yes for all of us.

When I first began this blog I talked about Giving Ourselves Permission to Make Mistakes

"I make mistakes, a lot. Do you make mistakes? The answer is yes. We all make mistakes, that's how we learn. I choose to think of mistakes as opportunities to grow. Think about it, when you are piecing a quilt and make a mistake the chance of making that mistake again is pretty slim. The same goes for recipes; if you put too much salt in a dish or cook it for too long you learn from that. I remind myself of those mistakes by making a note on the pattern or recipe page. You might be thinking that doesn't apply to everything but it most likely does, even for the big things. And the great thing about mistakes is that almost all the time they can be fixed or humbly apologized for, even if that apology is to ourselves. "

Click here to read the entire post.

But what do we do when some one apologizes to us? I bet quite a few of us don't know how to handle that and even though an apology was made, the bad feelings are still there. This is especially true for those of us that suffer from depression and anxiety. These bad feelings can feel like Anger. On page 12 - 16 you will find a self-awareness exercise dealing with anger. If you haven't done that part of the chapter now is a great time to set aside some time to do it. I find that writing the answers in the book helps me a lot.

I want to leave you with this thought...

To forgive is to give up the right to punish

What does that mean to you? I used to be the type that held onto those bad feelings and let myself wallow in the anger and pain. Once I truly understood this saying I began to understand that if I really forgave someone then I would have to stop punishing them either inwardly or outwardly. Outwardly meant that we could move on from there with no hard feelings. I would not show any anger towards them. But more importantly I would forgive inwardly and let go of those angry and hurt feelings. Remember that you are in control of your thought and feelings so you can decide to stop those feelings.

How are you doing with this chapter? Do you have any thoughts on it? I'd love to hear.
We will work on the Anxiety and Fear portion of the chapter in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Setting Boundaries

Many people have trouble setting boundaries. How often does someone we know say something that hurts our feelings? How often do we know that they will say that exact thing that hurts our feelings? This is considered ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ and ‘Mind Reading’ (pg 9 of The Feeling Good Handbook). Once we understand that we are twisting our thinking by jumping to conclusions about what someone will say we can work to reverse it.

Today my Husband called a few people to come out and give us estimates on new garage doors, some electrical work we need done and new windows and doors. This was very exciting and definitely needed. I want to tell my Mom about this, but deep down I ‘knew’ what she would say…I could already hear it…”it’s about time”. While I love my Mom she can be slightly negative at times, but them whose Mom isn’t? I know I am at times with my kids and am working on that.  I almost didn’t call because I knew I would be upset or annoyed by the time I got off the phone. So I decided to set a boundary with her. When I called her I said “I have some news, but you are not allowed to say ‘It’s about time’ when I tell you the news”. Then I blurted it out and she didn’t say what I thought she would say, or anything for that matterJ. Then I said “isn’t that great?” and she chimed right in that it was. I know it just about killed her to not say what her first thought was, as a matter of fact she said something like that, but she survived. And I came away from the phone call feeling proud of myself for setting the boundary, excited that Mom was happy for me and hopeful that I might have taught her a little lesson too. Consider the other way this call could have went. She could have said what I thought she would say and I could have either let it slide or said something back to her. Neither would have made me feel good. By pre-planning this I was able to make this phone call a positive one. And it really only took a moment or 2 to plan.

Next time you jump to a conclusion about something that you ‘just’ know someone is going to say I challenge you to set a boundary for that person. How do you know if you are jumping to conclusions? Do you say “It won’t do any good” or “That’s just the way he/she is” or “It won’t change anything”? Those are all Mind Reading twisted thinking and setting boundaries will help reverse those feelings.  It can be done very nicely and respectfully. We need to teach those around us how to treat us. The more we let someone talk negatively to us, the more we are teaching them that it’s OK. It will take time and work to change this, but it can be done…one step at a time.

What do you think? Can you do this?

Sha :)

Monday, October 17, 2011


Have you started reading The Feeling Good Handbook yet?

I want to talk about a passage on page 4. On the top of the page it says

"If you want to feel better, you must realize that your thoughts and attitudes-not external events-create your feelings. You can learn to change the way you think, feel, and behave in the here-and-now. That simple but revolutionary principal can help change your life."

You know how I love to take a word and break it down to mean something else? When I was in IOP I learned this little bit of word play.

Do you ever feel like your are going NOWHERE? If you are NOWHERE then you are not in the here and now, and according to the passage above if you can change your thought process you can live in the here and now, instead of the past or even the future.

This is what I do with the word NOWHERE...I say it really means Now Here. Do you see how adding a space changes the meaning? Turn it around and it means in the here and now. Think about this the next time you are feeling like you are going nowhere in your life. Really challenge yourself and ask what is making you feel like you are nowhere? As we go thru the book we will learn more ways to help ourselves. But for now just try to figure out which of the 10 forms of twisted thinking is making you feel like you are nowhere.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Sha :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lesson #1

Welcome to the Anxiety and Depression group. In this group we will be going thru 'The Feeling Good Handbook' by Dr David D Burns. If you don't have the book yet there's a link on the sidebar to the right.

I would like to preface the start of this group with some information. I am not a doctor or therapist, I am someone who has been thru a lot and am passionate about helping others thru support and education. I believe in cognitive behavioral therapy, which is what the book is about. It's all about teaching ourselves to think differently to reduce our anxiety and learn to deal with our depression symptoms. I will be sharing my experiences with you. There are also a few resources on the sidebar for more information. If you feel like those don't help please let me know and I will try to point you in the right direction.

Today we will begin our journey together. Every 2 weeks I will post another lesson. Feel free to go thru the book at your own pace. You can post your feelings and thoughts here or email me directly with anything you want to chat about. If you want the whole group to get the email just let me know and I will forward it anonymously. I see this group as a support group where we can all support each other. If you don't want to comment that's OK too...this is your group and you do what feels right to you.

I would like you to start by reading the preface and introduction. Then take the Burns Anxiety Inventory and the Burns Depression Checklist on pages 43 - 48. I suggest writing the answers in a note book instead of the book. It's best not to know what your last answer was. Then add the numbers up to see your score. The score won't mean anything until there are several to compare them too.

Then you can begin the book. Part one 'Understanding Your Moods' is where we will be starting. In this chapter you will read about different emotions that cause depression and anxiety. I am sure you will see yourself in some of these emotions either currently or in the past. I find it helpful to jot notes and things I am feeling in the margin of the book. It's like a snapshot of what the specific passage means to me. Following that the Ten Forms of Twisted Thinking are shown. This book is based on these ways that we think and we will learn how to change them using different techniques. I suggest you read thru page 31. There will be quite a bit of questions to answer. Just be honest with your answers. The book doesn't give an answer key because its your therapy and its your way of thinking, in other words there's no right or wrong answers. If you don't want to do that much its fine, go at your own pace. You can do a few pages at a time, whatever works for you.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book. I hope it helps you as much as me.

Sha :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What friends are for

I have been in a little funk lately. The doc changed some of my meds and I am still getting used to it. I am tired more than normal and for the past 3 days I hardly did any quilting.

I have also been trying to help my friends thru their hard times. One thing I did was start the Friendly Quilt Along. It was just 3 of us who made the first quilt. The reason for the quilt along was to get my 2 friends sewing again. They had both lost their sewing mojo and I knew that they would feel a little better once they started hearing that hum of their machine. And I was right! They are both back on the quilting bandwagon!

I have also tweeted with several people from the quilting world on twitter and told them that they should 'make' themselves sew and that after a few seams they would get their mojo back.

Then today I was chatting with one of my gals and was boohooing that I didn't feel like quilting and guess what...she turned my words on me! "Whats that that you say? After a few seams..." I didn't even let her finish the sentence. I was so excited that she said that. First of all that meant she was listening when I talk, and second it was so nice to have someone show me that I don't always listen to what I preach! And I did just what she said...I sat down and got my squares done! What do you think of them? See my quilting blog (Craizee Corner) for more info on it.

So today was a good day after all. I feel like that with a little help from a friend or 2 I was able to turn my frown upside down! This was a lesson I will not soon forget.

Have you made a friends day or had a friend make you day lately?

Sha :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Do you journal? As part of this new group forming (see the past 2 posts) you will be going thru The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr. David Burns. This book has many questions to answer and worksheets to help you understand exactly what you are feeling and how it affects you. As you can tell writing your feelings and questions you have and the answers to questions in the book will be important.

So to get the ball rolling I think you should try journaling. A journal is just somewhere that you write your feelings or things that happened to you or anything you want to write. There is no right or wrong in's your journal so you make the rules. You also decide if you will re-read what you journal. As a rule I don't usually re-read my journal until much later (months later if ever). Some people do and some don't, again there are no right and wrong answers to this. Plus you might change your mind from day to day, that's ok too.

Are you stumped how to start? First find a quiet place. This is your time. Even if you have little ones in the house please try to find 5 minutes to do this. Maybe it could be before bed or maybe when the kids are watching a video or napping. Then simply start with
Hi...Today I did... or Today I felt...

Don't over think about what to write, just write. It might feel wierd at first but I think you will learn to love it. And it doesn't have to take a long time. If all you have is 5 minutes then that's all you need to write for. Some days you might not have much to write and other days you might write a book. I do suggest that you commit to writing everyday for a week. It's like first it is difficult to get into it, but after a few days its easier to go to the gym. A week will give you time to get used to it.

So as your first assignment I would like you to try journaling. Really try. Even if you have tried before this time might be different.

And remember to email me when you get the book so I can add you to the list.


Monday, October 3, 2011

More on the support group

Hi everyone!

Here's a little more on the anxiety/depression group forming.

Since anxiety and depression go hand in hand this book covers both. You will find all the lessons beneficial for both.

Once you have the book please email me to this email address
anxietytherapy at yahoo dot com or click the word email above
In the email please put your name (first only), and if you want to be anonymous. If you do want to be anonymous I will put your email in the BCC part of the email.

If you want to talk about the current pages we are going thru or anything else there's several options. You can email the group with a reply all, email certain people who you are comfortable with or post here. But remember if you post here your post will be public.

My hope with this group is that we will all learn how to talk back to the feeling that make us depressed or anxious and will learn to cope and maybe even avoid putting our selves in  situations that are not good for us.

I do require that what is said in this group is kept within the group and not spoken about with outsiders. I also ask that we be supportive and not judgemental. We all have problems with different things, what bothers me may not bother others. This will be a safe place to work on those things.

Once I have that your I will put you on the list. I will only be using that email address for this group.

I plan on starting the group officially on Oct 16th, but I will be doing some stuff this week and next week to get us started.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A new group starting

Over the past few weeks I have started to have more panic attacks and realized that I need help. I went back to therapy and went to see my doctor. She changed my meds a tiny bit, which has helped.

Last time I was in therapy I went thru The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr. David Burns.  This book uses the cognitive behavioral therapy model which in my mind is the best way to fight back again these feelings.  

This is what I propose:
Every 2 weeks or so I will post some 'homework', saying which pages we are doing. The book has lots of worksheets to fill out and questions to answer. I may add some other PDF worksheets to help you also. There will be an email list and we can email each other what we think or are struggling with pertaining to that section. If you don't want your name or email known you can email me and I will send it out anonymously for you. I do ask that anything spoken about in this group stays in this group. I would like this group to act as a support group, while we are getting stronger everyday.

If you are interested in joining this group email me and I will get you started.
You will need the book, I will give you 2 weeks to get it and we will start on October 16th.

Note - I am not a therapist, but can lead us thru this book and facilitate this group.

Sha :)