Maybe now people will stop saying "oh, stop worrying" because it's
not that easy. Thank you Jason.
Anxiety hits any time in life. My wife once drove across country
without a second thought. After pregnancy, however, my wife started having
anxiety driving. It got so bad she could not drive further than the local
supermarket. At first I was less than sympathetic. It was confusing: something
she used to do easily she could not do. Nowadays she drives all
over, especially on side streets and she still hates driving on highways, though
she will do it when she has to. I'm very proud of her facing
her fears in those instances, but am willing to drive if she needs me. Much of
the "Just get over it" idea is actually true--and you'll find that
it is a legitimate form of therapy, but it must be voluntary and come internally
from the one experiencing the anxiety. You cannot fix anxiety by telling them
that, but they may. I've found my wife is most willing to face her fears
when I love her unconditionally. In a way one learns to rewire their mind by
leaning on your support and slowing down enough to think logically about the
A Doctor's Perspective Part 2Step 1: Get a physical, blood
test and share your symptoms with a trusted Family doctor or internist.
Don't let your fear of medicine stop you from taking a mild SSRI/Benzo for
up to a year or beyond. It's okay...you won't become addicted.
That's your anxiety talking.Step 2. Midwest Center's program
"Attacking Anxiety and Depression".Step 3. Exercise, yoga,
meditationStep 4. Study Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), the
third and newest wave of therapy for anxiety. Related materials are "The
Mindful Way Through Anxiety" by Orsillo/Roemer and Tara Brach's website
and podcasts.Step 5. THE MOST IMPORTANT: Learn to practice patience and
self compassion. Allowing yourself to feel anxiety, without judging, condemning
or catastrophizing. Just be...Step 6. Open your heart to spirituality in
whatever form that resonates with you.Anxiety can be overcome. Once
bedridden and afraid to leave your house, you will want to fly to Hawaii and
learn to surf. Two years ago, I was crippled and defeated. This summer I am my
old self except a little more wise, more grateful and a better person. Anxiety
can be your best teacher.
A Doctor's Perspective Part 1Anxiety takes many shapes but the
main cause is not diet, environmental toxins, past experiences or places/people.
Anxiety is a sneaky self-inflicted habit of worry. After suffering three MAJOR
bouts of clinical anxiety over the last 25 years I have come to heal and learn
from each event. I'm a practicing physician, father, husband, and church
leader. Anxiety sufferers are some of the most successful high achievers in our
society: Presidents, CEOs, Doctors, Professional Athletes, Movie Stars,
Politicians, Scientists, and Stake Presidents/Bishops. I believe Anxiety does
NOT need to be a chronic illness for ANYONE who is capable of practicing
awareness and using a couple programs that I felt were critical in my healing.
Clearly, genetics play a significant role, as some people are more likely to
suffer Anxiety. But even genetics do not doom you to a life of dread, panic,
obsession and fear. BUT HEALING TAKES TIME. How long? My favorite line is
"it takes the time it takes". For me, my three bouts lasted in
diminishing power for over a year each time. Improvement is gradual almost
imperceptible, but you find yourself living freer.
I saw an interesting cartoon the other day that focused on if we treated
physical ailments the same way we treat mental ailments. How many of us would
dare tell someone with cancer to just get over it? Or tell the guy with the
broken leg it is all in his head? Would we tell someone on dialysis that they
need to buck up and stop missing work?Why is it more honorable to
lose an arm or a leg in combat than it is to lose one's mind?Mental health problems are real and should be treated as such.
As one who is a lifetime sufferer from anxiety I appreciate the growing
understanding of this malady. I think mine stems from my childhood when my
mother nearly died from a lung infection. I also think environmental stress is
a factor. Let's hear more of this.
Not to be an alarmist here, but diet and nutrition do play a role in mental
(better put: brain and neurological) illness as much as in physical illnesses.
Many people have allergies to substances others can tolerate. (Peanuts, for
example.) While people continue to weigh in on the use of genetically modified
(GMO) products, I'm paying closer attention. Rapeseed oil (called Canola
Oil, and touted as being better for us than just about any other variety due to
lower saturated fats) but many, particularly children, have had adverse
reactions to the oil. Anxiety disorders were reported. Even after discontinuing
use of every product containing it (very difficult to do now) can take several
years to remove from our systems. Evidence is mostly anecdotal, but until
studies are consistant, I'm going back to olive oil for my family.
Cholesterol levels that should be going down due to Canola oil use have actually
gone up, and that's not a good thing. Oil is only one example. I'd
look at her diet and perhaps start a fasting test to see what helps or hurts.
Just googled "Anxiety Diet" and lots of things popped up. Good Luck!
Thank you Jason for this article... we have a long way to go before people
accept the fact that some of us have an anxiety disorder. I pushed my way
through even when I wanted to quit. I had to work as I held the Health Insurance
for out entire family. The money I made was but a tiny bit of what we needed....
so I worked basically so we'd have health insurance.I have learned to
recognize the Panic attacks for what they are... close my eyes and let them pass
through me, but it took lots of work. I hope for the best for your sweet
daughter and hopefully she can get to the point where she can do the same. Hugs
and love to your entire family.
Ditto all the supportive comments on this thread. And I'd like
to add my view that this young lady's Mom deserves a Mother of the Decade
award! And quite a few Bravo's to the Dad, too. All
the best ...
Tyler D--Perhaps Anonyme felt your response about diet as a
cause/cure for anxiety and other mental issues was the same as suggesting a
change of diet to treat a hemorrhage or a fractured pelvis.Anyone
with anxiety or any mental illness will tell you problems with any part of the
body are looked upon with much more empathy, willingness to treat and acceptance
than those of the mental/emotional variety of illness....
@AnonymeWhy the confrontational tone?And a 200 word
comment is hardly space to provide an adequate overview of the research, but
isn’t that what Google is for? There are well established links between a
whole range of medical/psychological issues and everything from food additives
(e.g., red coloring) to food allergies to lack of proper nutrition to chemical
exposure… the list is quite long.And yes, based on years of
personal & family experience I do in fact know what the average MD
recommends – and 9 times out of 10 it is drugs. Sadly, the financial
incentives here tend to drive the medicine. That said, there are good MD’s
out there, but they are hard to find within a healthcare industry model built
around churning out as many 10 minute appointments as possible.And
sure, if the drugs work, fine. But if the answer is a simple diet change why
would anyone want to spend the rest of their lives (not to mention money) taking
a drug?Sorry if my comment touched a nerve…
It is a sad fact that so many people suffer from some form of mental disorder
and an even sadder fact that so few of us all are able to understand and/or
sympathize.I know that most of my understanding and sympathy came
far too late in my life and, regretfully, only after some tragic experience with
friends and relatives who took their own lives in what they believed to be their
only relief from the pain.It is a very difficult issue and I am
still at a loss to know what I (and the entire mental health industry) can do to
substantially help someone actually overcome most of the many forms of mental
disorder. But, I have arrived at a place where I recognize the condition as
something very often beyond their control and do all I can to help them cope
while assuring them of my love and concern. If nothing else, perhaps my sense
of helplessness gives me some measure of empathy with theirs.
Part 3-End-That was about six years ago, and the anxiety is gone
like it was never there. At first I had to work the steps to make things go
away, but now it's just gone. Not wanting anyone to suffer as I had, I
started a support group myself, and used the CD's to help others. I've
decided to donate the whole program to the Provo Public Library as soon as the
people who have checked out CD's have returned them. You may also ask your
local public libraries to order the series. Like anything, I'm sure it
won't work for everyone, but for those it does help, we feel blessed and
want to share. Since it didn't really do much to stop my
depression, I continued seeking help through natural sources. (I'd given
the drug companies a chance, and they failed.) Essential oils and various roots,
leaves, twigs and tonics. Finally started taking a nutritional supplement called
SAM-e that has completely changed my life. The depression is now gone, too! I've learned that every "body" is different, but something
will work for you. Never give up.
Tyler D: "I would strongly recommend investigating diet and environmental
causes to this condition. There is more and more research coming out every year
supporting the connections."Can you share some of that research
with us?Can you provide any proof for your claim that "your
average MD . . . mostly looks to drug therapy to alleviate symptoms"? Do you
know what treatments the average MD recommends? And if a particular drug does
alleviate symptoms and its benefits outweigh the risks, what would be the
problem with that?
Part 2As strong members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, I was taught my faith could overcome anything, and each time I prepared
for and received a priesthood blessing by a worthy priesthood holder, I knew I
would be healed. I was not. I don't think I uttered a prayer my entire
childhood that didn't plead, "Please, my Heavenly Father, please make
me not be afraid of x, y or z ," as my fears waxed and waned over different
perceived threats over the years. By my late 50's I'd
learned to live with it, keeping everything to myself because nobody wanted to
hear about it. I was an empty shell, going through the motions of life. I heard a radio show about The Midwest Center and Attacking Anxiety
& Depression. The program, on CD's, could be purchased for some $300+
but it wasn't on our insurance plan, and we couldn't afford it. After
begging my husband to try it, figuring we'd pay that in co-pays for the
year anyway, I ordered it, and faithfully did the work. It took care of the
anxiety almost from the first or second CD.
Part 1I would have written this comment under my real name, but my
husband suggested if I do, I may never get another job. He's right, there
is a HUGE stigma against mental illness, and in my freelance work, I need no
more strikes against myself in a very competitive field. From
puberty I suffered from anxiety and suicidal depression. My phobias started even
younger-probably with a black widow spider bite when I was four or five. No
superpowers as a result, sadly-just a scar I carry to this day. I tried to count
all the psychiatrists and doctors I've seen over the years, and lost count
at 43. I know there were more. Mountains of medication took care of the
depression for a year or two, but it always came back, and they'd either
have to boost the dosage or switch to another antidepressant. None of my
siblings had issues, and the depressed parent kept it well-hidden until they
drove off a cliff and nearly died when I was in high school. There does seem to
be a genetic factor.
Jason,I am so happy to hear that your daughter is both coping and
improving. To build on what cornhusker posted, the unfortunate thing about many
health disorders is that they are very difficult to diagnose and sometimes have
no effective treatment. This is true of health issues that we put under the
label of "mental" as well as the ones we put under the less stigmatized
label of physical (as if the brain was less an organ than the liver).Just as we have no cure for polo, we likewise have no cure for a plethora of
maladies of all the various parts of the body. If effective treatment is
available, then a person should pursue it. It effective treatment is not
available, then all we can do is love and support. Oftentimes, it is a
full-time job.I hope that your daughter's problem completely
resolves itself. If not, it sounds like she will have the love and support she
I would strongly recommend investigating diet and environmental causes to this
condition. There is more and more research coming out every year supporting the
connections, but sadly your average MD (who mostly looks to drug therapy to
alleviate symptoms) is unaware of most of these causal relations.The
fact is modern society is undertaking an unprecedented experiment over the last
century with our use of chemicals and ubiquitous food additives (and lately
foods never before found in nature), and this trend has grown exponentially over
the past few decades.And science is far behind in being able to fully
understand all the causal links especially since many people seem to be able to
(physiologically) handle all the modern changes while many others (perhaps for
genetic reasons) cannot. Someday if we ever invent a Star
Trek-type Tricorder we might be shocked at what many of these modern inventions
are subtly doing to us at a cellular and molecular level, but until then it is
up to those experiencing the worst effects to try and make sense of their
I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks off and on since 3rd grade. I
used to joke that in heaven when trials were being handed out I got their late.
The only thing left was the strange and nonsensical so I was stuck with
something humiliating and difficult to believe or explain. I try to
explain panic attacks this way, it's like hiking in the mountains and as
you round a corner suddenly you come face to face with a mountain lion. The rush
of fear and adrenalin would be how a panic attack feels, except in a panic
attack there is no monutain lion. There's no rational danger which leaves
intelligent people feeling very, very stupid. Your daughter is so
brave to face her fears and then share her story. She will be a strength to
many people she crosses paths with in her life. She knows what it's like
to have fear as a constant companion and be courageous anyway. What a good, good
mom and a compassionate dad. Thanks for sharing your story.
Ive suffered with anxiety attacks for many years and unfotunately, there are not
alot of medicines that treat anxiety. My heart goes out to your daughter and
glad that She is blessed to have supportive people around her. Good
article,jason, and god bless you and your family.
I second all that Ranch has said.Also, that the author admits to a
problem we can all be subject to. We find it easy to dismiss other's
problems until those issues strike us close to home. Suddenly, our
understanding of the world changes.
This is a touching story, Jason, and I hope your daughter is doing well. Many Americans simply don't have the means to afford treatment and
we're letting these poor people fall through the cracks, in large part due
to our own ignorance and our arrogance that it is a "figment of their
imagination". Lets work together to address these issues.