Overcoming Obstacles

To Those With Invisible Illnesses

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about invisibility. I’m not talking about the super power, I’m talking about things that can’t be seen. Like invisible illnesses. If you have followed me for some time or know me you are aware of my invisible illnesses: eating disorders, anxiety, un-diagnosed GI issues. But there are also more invisible illnesses: depression, other mental disorders, addiction, autoimmune diseases (fibro, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc…)With 1 in 5 adults experiencing or diagnosed with mental illness, and approx 50 million people living with an autoimmune disorder , chances are you have known someone who is suffering without you being aware of it it.

 

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Those of us who live with these various illnesses become masters of masking our pain with smile and concealing it better than the best make up concealer in the world. Sometimes we are too good at covering it up that people don’t believe us.  Invisible illnesses are also hard to explain when on the outside you look happy and healthy but internally your body is waging war. It seems that unless we bear our souls, post a billion IG videos documenting our lives, send up prayer requests in small groups, act sick all the time, become hermits; then do people only sorta begin to understand or have a bit of sympathy.

I can’t tell you how many times people don’t believe me when I say I have an illness. When I first began to seek help for my eating disorder I constantly heard, “you don’t look like you have one”, “you aren’t emaciated, just thin, only emaciated people have eating disorders”, “but you eat. how can you have anorexia when you I see you eat all the time?”,  “you can’t be addicted to exercise, exercise is healthy!”. Now with my mysterious GI issues I hear, “you are too young to have this problem”, “are you sure you have a problem?”, “it’s just IBS”. Do this sound familiar? “You’re just tired, “all you need is a nap”, “you’re being over dramatic”, “do more yoga”, “try this essential oil”…the list goes on and on.

 

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I have blogged about this before and keep discussing it in therapy, how difficult it is for me to work on cultivating a positive body image when my body hates me. Who else has been there? Between people not believing us, the doctors appointments, the episodes, bland diets, and tears we forget that we aren’t our illness.  It is so easy to get caught up in the physical that we wear ourselves down even more. The disconnect continues to grow and fester till it’s unbearable. But is it truly unbearable?

How can it be bearable? By coming together and lifting each other up. Reminding one another that we are beautiful beings who are capable of so much more; that there is more to life and even on our worst day it’s a miracle that we are even here. We can also see each other–and I don’t mean physically look. I mean really see. Recognize others who are like us and show support. Educate others on these invisible illnesses and teaching them how to show support for people like us. For my yogis out there, really practice Namaste.   Lastly, take time to remind yourself that you aren’t your body by reading this meditation. Then reach out to someone who needs to be seen, fully loved, and fully heard.

 

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So next time you are all alone in our bedroom wrapped up in our favorite blanket cuddling with our doggy waiting for our episode to be over, that we aren’t alone. There is someone else out there wrapped up in their favorite blanket, cuddling with their animal, waiting for their episode to be over.

 

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6 Months and I’m Still Here

I was making an after dinner snack on Tuesday and while I was chopping bananas and making my protein yogurt sundae all pretty, I realized something. I looked at the hubs and said, “Guess what!? We’ve been in Oklahoma six months!”. “O, yeah. We have” the hubs replied. We couldn’t believe how time has passed. Time has moved slow and fast at the same time. Some days and weeks seem to drag, while others move as quick as The Doctor’s TARDIS through space.

Life in OKC has been a learning experience to say the least. Each day has presented a unique challenge and struggles that I thought wouldn’t end. There have been situations where things fell through and people turned out to be not what I expected. Opportunities have arose that were better than I could imagine. I have battled anxiety, fear, and my eating disorder. I have lost touch with who I am, my essence, to slowly start to find it again. Oklahoma life isn’t like Tennessee life.

 

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Wildflowers Outside My House Before a Storm

 

While I grew up moving around frequently, it was the main reason why I developed an eating disorder, this move was unlike the others (for more on that check out an older blog post). At sometimes I didn’t think I’d make it. People had said I’d be back home within a month or two but I wanted to prove them wrong– even though I was sad, depressed, and missed my old life. There were a few times I almost booked a flight home when I saw the fun that was happening back home, life was batshit crazy, or just because I wanted to escape the infamous Oklahoma winds.

I never booked a flight though because I wanted to show to myself and others that I could stay here. I truly loved it here even though sometimes my actions and words said otherwise. I began to make friends and meet people. I began to teach more yoga. I even got a job in a dance studio (something I had sorely missed). I received my HFS books and study guides. Therapy was going well and I had decided to recommit to the 12 Steps. Life was looking up so I saw no reason to go back home till my bestie’s wedding. Guess what, I am so glad I did.

 

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Oklahoma Skyline at Dusk on the Bricktown Water Taxi

 

So besides learning how to deal with a new landscape, people, jobs, loneliness, etc…here are a few other things I have learned:

  • In OKC the Northwest Expressway is the biggest lie I have ever encountered. You are not an “expressway”. The speed limit on an “expressway” shouldn’t be 55 mph and have a red light every block.
  • Keeping with the traffic (pun intended), in OKC people love to go five to ten miles under the speed limit unless they are in a parking lot or school zone.
  • Every  mile here is equivalent to two/three minutes approx.
  • When you let go of attachment to certain outcomes and titles, the things you want to happen actually happen.
  • Keeping an open heart when you feel like closing off can lead to some great experiences.
  • A “short trip” to the liquor store turns into an hour experience because you stock up on everything alcohol related due to some wonderful antiquated liquor laws.
  • If you ever decide to get a mani/pedi but don’t know where to go, just find a salon on the road closest to you, as there are as many salons as gas stations.
  • Trader Joe’s is amazing and I love being less than fifteen minutes from one. #worhtthedrive
  • Oklahoma has the best sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen.
  • In Oklahoma roads don’t twist and wind, they veer. So you can be going straight for sometime then you have to veer slightly right or left. If you don’t pay attention you will end up in the wrong lane.
  • Metro-life is awesome.

 

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Portion of the Boomer Sooner Sculpture at Dusk on the Bricktown Water Taxi Ride

 

 

*photos by me*

Happy One Month

I have been in Oklahoma City a little over a month. It is crazy how quickly time flies. It feels just like yesterday that we were living in hotel rooms and waiting for our furniture to arrive. It feels just like yesterday that I experienced my first hail storm. I am halfway through tornado season and I might just make it…maybe, that is if I don’t get bulldozed and blown away by OKC’s sixty mph winds.

Being here the past month I have learned so much. It is just like the quote we see on all those reclaimed wood pieces, you never know how strong you are until you have to be. While I have moved a lot during my life, it is one reason why I developed my eating disorder, I never did it as an adult. I was always with my family. With this move I only had my husband and my dog. Even the feel of the move is different when you are an adult. As an adult you actually comprehend what is happening and it is harder to say goodbye, especially when you have roots. While I enjoy being nomadic (growing up I wanted nothing more than to travel the world, not staying in one place for to long, experiencing new things–which I still do) it is different when you have roots. People you care about it. Emotional ties. Family. Being uprooted is almost death, but like vegetables that you can replant from roots-avocados, celery-you can be brought back to life, sometimes even stronger than before.

 

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One of My Favorite Bronze Sculptures in Downtown Edmond

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, this move has been triggering. With each passing day I am getting acclimated to this region (even though all this wind is aggravating my dosha! #vataproblems) and I’m working on managing my eating disorder/anxiety. I am becoming more grounded and setting up a routine that I desperately need to keep my ED and anxiety at bay ( I’m even starting therapy again-beginning today). While I am making a daily schedule I am learning to block time for fun and exploration. This move is teaching me to find balance and resiliency, a quality I don’t have that I hope I can learn.

On a spiritual note, this move helped me get back to praying. From the moment Jere told me the good news fear and anxiety set in. I knew this was a big shift and needed support. So I began to pray. I prayed that we would be safe, find a place where we would fit in/community. I also began to pray that He would open doors for me that weren’t available where I was. I began to grow weary of the freelance life and longed for something more stable. I prayed that He would help bring the right yoga studio and opportunities my way. He moved a lot sooner than I expected and within two weeks I was working in a studio that reminded me of my home studio. I began to volunteer with Yoga in the Park and meet people. I’m still praying and jumping on opportunities that present themselves. some workout, some don’t, and that’s OK. At the end of the day I’m thankful for His guidance and the discernment He has given me.

 

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This Fun Mural is in Downtown Edmond Outside the Shoppe, Summit, a Wilderness Store.

 

Each day I wake up in OKC, look at the beautiful sunrise as I take Winston out for a walk and I can’t believe I am here. Each Wednesday when I drive into the city (Midtown) with the skyline and skyscrapers in my eyesight, I get excited. I can’t believe that I’m finally living the Metro life. Everything I have ever wanted is ten to twenty minutes away. Any experience I have missed out on is here. The people that I meet daily and/or work with are unlike anyone I’ve met. Opportunities abound and I can’t help but dance in my heart.

If this first month in OKC has been this eventful I can’t imagine what will happen next month, the third month, or the month after that. Where will I be by Christmas? How about this time next year? I can’t wait.

 

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An Oklahoma Sunrise

 

 

Congratulations! You’re a Feminist

Do any of these sound familiar?

  •  You didn’t vote for Hillary and you didn’t vote for Trump. You believe that everyone has equal rights and deserves to be treated with respect, lovingkindness-just like how you want to be treated. You didn’t march in any of the Women’s Marches because you feel it doesn’t represent who you are and/or it was too political, and that there are other ways to show solidarity than marching in the rain wearing a pussyhat. You didn’t IG, FB, or use any of the following hastags: #nastywoman, #powertothepussy, #IStandWithHer, #lovetrumpshate, etc..You hate seeing other women and populations being torn down by nasty words. You believe in people choosing how they want to live and conduct their life. Seeing all these “pro-pussy” posts on social media has you down because you they make you feel inferior for not being fired up, angry, a #nastywoman, and less than because you don’t see things like them.
  • You voted for Hillary and despise Trump. You use every outlet you can to forcefully push your beliefs on others and refuse to see other peoples perspectives OR you share your beliefs but  don’t use forceful language and berate people who don’t believe like you. Like the person above you believe that everyone has equal rights, deserves respect, and can choose to live their life the way they want. You marched on Saturday carrying a sign with a vagina sticking a middle finger to the man and wore a pussy-hat.
  • You are a woman who voted for Trump. You feel ostracized by other women because they look down on you for voting for him. They call you names and do not respect your choice though they preach tolerance. While you voted for Trump, like the other women above you too believe in equal rights for all, the right for people live according to their beliefs, and in treating others with respect. You understand that Trump and his position on women do not represent you but you saw something in his policy that resonated with you that Hillary, Bernie, Jill Stein, or Gary Johnson policy didn’t.
  • You are not like any of the women outlined above, or you are a variation of the three presented.

 

If you are any of those women outlined then Congratulations!  You are a feminist! Don’t believe me? Then look at the definition of feminism. According to Merriam-Webster feminism is defined as,

  • the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

  • organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

Feminist.com defines feminism like this, “feminism wants you to be whoever you are-but with a political consciousness. And, vice versa: You want to be a feminist because you want to be exactly who you are. That may be a person patriarchal society doesn’t value or allow-from a female cadet at the Citadel to a lesbian mother. Maybe you feel aligned with the self-determination and human rights implicit in feminism, but you also organize your life around race, religion, or class, rather than solely around gender“. See how anyone can be and is a feminist?

 

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Now that we have realized that each and everyone of us is a feminist, let’s take it a step further. How about we put feminism into action? Action is always better then words-we all know people who talk a good game but when we look at their actions and fruit we see otherwise. It is this call to action that will bring about the change people are so desperate for. Action doesn’t always mean marching or walking in protest. Action is anything carried out. As a friend on Facebook mentioned it doesn’t matter how you “protest” or what action you take as long as you do something. So here are some things you can do that are not just feminist in nature but are little gestures that go a long way in treating people like a human being that was, just like you, created by The Divine/God.

  • Words of Encouragement and Affirmation. Who doesn’t love a good word or two of encouragement after a rough day. We all love hearing that we are doing a good job at being a mom, wife, an employee, a friend, teacher, lover, etc…Words are the most powerful tool we have in our arsenal. Words can be used for good and to build each other up, but they are also the most destructive. As James 3:5-6 says, “In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to burn anyone’s life down or burn myself. So what are words of encouragement or affirmation? Some examples are: “I believe in you”, “Thank you for being you”, ” You are a great friend”, “You are such a strong person”, “You can do great things”,  “I’m praying for you”, or “You did a great job doing *insert activity/action* “. These words are so simple, but yet extremely powerful. Think back to a time when you were utterly distraught, forlorn, or depressed. How did it feel when someone noticed this and said something nice to you? Didn’t that pick you up and give you a little extra oomph to get through? For my yogis out there, this is a verbal way to practice Ahimsa (non-violence).

 

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  • Practice Lovingkindness. If you are friends with me on social media or have come to any of my yoga classes, you have heard me talk about Lovingkindness or Metta. Honestly, if you have been to any yoga class or are friends with a devout yogi/yogini you have heard about Metta. Metta is a simple meditation that helps us see others in a positive light and helps us to cultivate compassion. The Lovingkindness Meditation is simple and can be done anywhere. To have the greatest effect recite the meditation a few times daily. You can also recite it when someone is getting on your everlasting nerves to help you calm down and treat that person nicely. I take my version of Metta Meditation after Jack Kornfield. My version is, “May I/you be filled with lovingkindness. May I/you be peaceful and at ease. May I/you be happy. May I/you be free”.  Find your version and begin practicing today! I know lots of people who could use some good vibes and Metta thrown their way.

 

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  • Support Woman Owned/Operated Businesses.  Not only does this support local economy it shows that you believe women are capable of being movers and shakers in the business industry, which is largely dominated by men. I am blessed to know many female entrepreneurs and run successful businesses. They give me inspiration to pursue my dreams and show the value of what hard work, determination, and not taking the word No for an answer can do. They show me and other young women that in order to make a statement, sometimes we have to go out on our own and pave the way to success. Whether a female in your life owns a company, is a freelance artist or teacher, sells essential oils, Plexus, artisan goods on Etsy,buy from her! Show her that you appreciate what she creates. And honestly, who doesn’t like to make money off what they love?

 

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  • Support Causes that Resonate with You. This is where we can generate support and show solidarity for others on a grander scale. I don’t care who you are there is something out there that moves you. There is a disease/sickness, social injustice, or mission, that resonates deep within your soul. Take a moment and think to yourself, what are you passionate about? Are you a female artist who wants to support other female artists to get work shown or become a director of a ballet company (which is a mans world though there are more females in ballet then men)? Have you been touched by the effects of cancer? Maybe it’s bringing awareness to the horrible practice of female genital mutilation, sex trafficking, homelessness, LGBTQ support, overseas missionaries, children’s hunger, making care packages for those undergoing chemo…ANYTHING!  For me, I am passionate about Eating Disorder & Addiction Recovery, Mental Illness, and  Domestic Violence because those have been me. I have lived many years in a self-harm state of anorexia, exercise addiction, and been emotionally abused. I share my story, educate young girls, write this blog, participate in the Red Flag Campaign and Take Back the Night, I do what I can-sometimes even if it’s just a prayer or sending of good vibes out. It’s something.

 

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  • Mentor Young Girls and Teach Young Men. This is probably the biggest thing we can do. It is up to us to reach out the younger generation and teach them about the power they have within them. It is up to us to teach young girls how to be strong women. We are to teach them that they can not only be whatever they want to be, but how to reclaim their bodies. Their bodies aren’t just for making babies and to be objectified. It is up to us to teach young men how to respect these young girls and what is/isn’t appropriate. We are to teach both sexes tthat they have worth and value that isn’t related to how many likes/followers/shares on social media, the clothes they wear, where they come from, or what other hindrances are in their lives. They have value and worth because they are divine, they were made in God’s image. Each and everyone of them are unique, beautiful snowflakes,with special talents that make the world a better place. When we raise this next generation, they can be the change that we hope to see in the world.

 

So, are you ready to take one or more of these actions and make a difference? Are you ready to claim your title as a feminist? Are you ready to start a revolution-whether it is just within your soul or in your community? If so, then good for you. If you aren’t, then guess what, that’s ok too! Just know that no matter your choice, I’m here for you. Just remember,  “You is kind. You is smart.You is important” (The Help).  for more female empowerment check out my article, When You Don’t Know What to Say Let Maya Angelou do the Speaking.

 

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A Year of Entrepreneurship

Time moves so quickly that you never really know what month it is, let alone what year it is. Is it still 2015? All my dates still say that…Luckily Facebook has this thing called Timehop that keeps track of all your memories, important dates, and crazy poolside shenanigans from your glory days. On days that you’ve posted something in the past on the same day you get a little notification and you can stroll down memory lane. Timehop is actually my favorite thing about Facebook. Timehop helps me to remember those poolside shenanigans, when my husband proposed, and “celebrated” my one year of being a entrepreneur.

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It was last July when I set out to open my own yoga studio because I wanted to be a small business owner, was unhappy working for other people, and felt like it was my path. Well, that was short lived. I decided to close my studio because I soon found out that I wasn’t mature enough to handle running a business, that it didn’t bring me happiness, but more anxiety and stress. In January I decided to do something probably even harder, become a freelancer. What was I thinking?!  I made things more chaotic. I had to find new spots to teach, plan months ahead of time, network harder, find opportunities to capitalize on all while not loosing my ever loving mind-not that I had one to begin with. However, becoming a freelancer and doing what I truly wanted has helped me to discover my path to what I’m suppose to do…for the time being.

Here is what my past year as a entrepreneur has taught me:

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  • There is no such thing as failure, but opportunities to grow. Yes, this may sound EXTREMELY cliche but it’s the truth. I didn’t really understand this till one of my yoga mentors showed me that what we perceive as failure is a judgement, judgement gets us nowhere. What “failure” really is an opportunity that was mis-timed and nothing is a failure if you can learn something. So what did a I learn from this “failure” of a yoga studio? That I need to have more years of business experience, more stability, and being able to commit wholeheartedly to one thing. It also wasn’t a failure because I did have people come to class and show interest, I just couldn’t run a studio yet.
  • The people who need your service (whatever skill you provide) will find you. Not working at a yoga studio makes filling classes harder. I’ve only had 2 sold out classes/workshops in my six months of freelancing. Sometimes I have three people, sometimes ten, sometimes one, sometimes I cancel. I could go back to thinking I failed, or I should just go to a yoga studio, or I should start selling MLM “superfood” to make money. But no, I spin this. I recall what I was told in teacher training, “those who need yoga at that very moment will be there, those who like your teaching will find you”. It’s all about perception isn’t it? Once I make the shift I’m instantly happier and can go on with my day.
  • Dedication takes on a new meaning. In yoga we talk about  being dedicated to your home practice, being dedicated to yoga, but you also need dedication to the self-employed lifestyle. You have to be dedicated to the hard work, networking, social media, and creativity that comes with being your own boss. How can you continue on when a month’s worth of classes and workshops weren’t packed and you were counting on that money? How can you be dedicated to bringing quality classes to your students and building relationships with them? How can you be dedicated to positivity and not get carried away by the storm of negativity?
  • You will find what you are made of. No, I’m not talking about sugar and spice or snails and puppy dog tails. But, what your soul is made out of. Owning your own business or seeking employment that fits your terms will highlight parts of you that need work or bring light to parts of you that you didn’t know existed. I always knew I was strong because I overcame an ED but I never knew what resiliency was till I had a few kicks in my face. I never knew I had a strong business mind, that I could figure out how a website works, that I really am a good instructor/educator, I found confidence, and that I my arms are strong enough to transition from bakasana (crow pose) to chaturanga
  • Surround yourself with other creatives and entrepreneurs for they will be your encouragement, competition, and inspiration. Over the past year I have met and befriended more creatives and entrepreneurs than I can count. It has served me in more ways than one. Not only are these people who can impart wisdom, advice, or act as a sounding board, they are also competition. They spark competition which deep down increases my drive to do better or serve a better product. My creative friends also feed my creativity which help me offer unique programming. I use my love of small business, what my friends offer, and see how yoga can fit in with their business. That is how I started Third Thursday Yoga & Art, Breakfast Yoga, and my blog AUM in the Arts.

What have you learned this past year, or past seven months? For my entrepreneurs out there, what has being an entrepreneur taught you?

Cowardly Lions

“Courage cannot exist in isolation. Just as a flower needs sun, air, soil, and water to bloom, your courage depends on your interdependence with people and things. You must contemplate deeply to understand that when you do what is possible, you are not in free fall, but are cradled by your interdependence with the world around you. For example, you may decide to marry or to have a child, quit a job, risk an investment, explore your emotional past, or sign up to go back to college after many years’ absence. Your work is to distinguish what is important enough to require your commitment and what is not worthy of your courage. You can rest assure that when you act from true courage, the people, the tools, and your own inner knowing needed for the heroine’s journey will be available to you.” Living Your Yoga, by Judith Lasater, page43-44

Courage. I cannot help but think of the Cowardly Lion when I hear the word courage. Courage is all the Lion wanted, but he was so “cowardly” that he wanted someone else to give it to him, to help him find it, almost gift it in a way. It wasn’t till he was protecting Dorothy from the Wicked Witch that he realized that he had courage all along. As Oz pointed out, all he had to do was look within. How many times do we think we lack courage? How many times do we feel so small or meek that we can’t see our own power or potential? How many times do we shy away from opportunities because we tell ourselves that “we cannot do this”, “it is too risky”, “I will fail”, “insert other self-deprecating comment”? Probably more than we would like to admit. I know I do…

Recently I made a HUGE leap of faith, stepped out on a risk, went out of my comfort zone…I opened a yoga studio. Having my own studio was a dream that I didn’t think was possible at this point in my life. Certain things begin to open up and the idea of having my own space was starting to become real. At first I kept backing out, being scared. I am not a risk taker in shape or fashion and I do not like failing (huge fear of failure complex here). You can say I was lacking the courage to step out on my own. Lacking the courage to take this risk, the courage to follow my dream with abandon.

I have an amazing husband who helps me to take risks and step out on courage. With his help and support I walked out on my bridge of courage. It may have been a little rickety, like those rickety old bridges in fairy tales that cross a swamp, but nonetheless I started my journey across that bridge. I signed a rental agreement. I choose colors for the walls. I wrote a mission statement. I even opened up multiple social media accounts and put my phone number out in the public (I like to think of myself as very Ron Swanson when it comes to public information). My husband was the Oz to my Cowardly Lion. Showing me that I have the courage and strength within me. He constantly illuminates my courage. Each day I have to walk that bridge of courage as I operate my studio. There are days I am shaky, I think I don’t have any courage left, but I just have to illuminate myself like my husband does. Lift my head up high, straightforward gaze on the other end of the bridge and walk. Walk to the other side…

Do you see yourself as a Cowardly Lion? Do you run away when opportunity presents it self? Do you believe you are not worthy and keep living in fear? Do you think you have no courage? You do! All you have to do is look deep within and you will find it. When you find your courage you will see that life changes. Your point of view changes. The obstacle in your way suddenly becomes less scary. It even seems feasible! And you didn’t even need a Glenda or a Toto, though dogs do make better…

So how can you be courageous today? What is the one thing that you need to be strong to face? Just remember you are strong. You are courageous. You are not a cowardly lion.

Your Hitchiking Guide to the Anxiety Galaxy

You  never know when you will be picked up on a journey to the anxiety galaxy. About 18% of adults starting at age eighteen have some form of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This is not including the individuals who have other mental disorders where stress is a component or where GAD is a co-disorder. These individuals are always on edge and the slightest thing can set them off (think of them as a firecracker, a beautiful, colorful explosion that is not as mesmerizing as a 4th of July firecracker).  You never know when a crowd will get too big, when a glass drops, a wrong word or even nice word, or just what will exactly be their match and set them off. This is what is called an anxiety attack or panic attack. These are extremely stressful and for those who do not have these need to know how to properly handle them. It is important to handle them in a safe manner because these attacks can be made worse. And that is not good….maybe we will discuss that in a later entry…

The following is a brief guide to navigating the Anxiety Galaxy. What to say, how to act, what to do and what not to do. All of this is very important, so remember it. Keep this with you because you never know when you will need this guide. So grab your towel and let us go on a journey through the Anxiety Galaxy.

*Do NOT Say it is Ok

One would believe that this word, “ok” would be calming. IT IS NOT. “Ok” is a foreign concept to those with anxiety. They do not understand “ok”. Since they do not understand “ok” saying “ok” makes it worse. Those who have an attack are upset, and then getting them to calm down with a word they don’t get makes them even more upset. The end result=the concept of herding cats…useless and not happening.

*Ask Them if They Have a Medication or When Was the Last Time They Took Their Medication

Now this is a helpful question/statement. Just like you do when someone is having an allergic reaction, or asthma attack, giving them medication can help the situation tremendously. Sometimes the individual has forgotten to take their medication, which is what caused the attack. The individual may have medicine to help calm them down. So administer it and let the medicine work. Ask if they have any other medications (maybe an inhaler if they have asthma) and administer that as well. Do all you can this way to help calm down. Maybe ask if they use essential oils like peppermint, bergamot, lavender, or citrus.

*Ask Them What Caused This

This is the first question that should be asked. By asking them what caused it you can act appropriately by either removing them from the situation,  using appropriate language, or know how to handle the situation. This question also shows said person that you are trying to understand them which builds trust. When said person is trusting it is easier for them to calm down. Also, it can make the person say out loud what is bothering them. Which most of the time it is an accumulation of instances and little nuances that is made bigger by one incident. Think of it as “tip of the iceberg”.

*Remind Them to Breathe

This is a reminder that said person won’t like but desperately needs. Breathing helps calm down the nervous system, grounds them, and keeps blood going to the brain. All things said person DESPERATELY needs. Now, don’t be harping on this, but soft gentle reminders will do. Just ask if they are breathing. If they say they are, then let it go. If they aren’t, then say take slow, deep, breaths, and let it go. Occasionally ask them every so often if they are breathing. Also, if you know they have asthma or other respiratory disorders this is a major must.

*Remove Said Person from the Situation

As stated earlier, if the situation is causing the attack remove at once. For example, if you are in the middle of a large crowd, get out. If someone is upsetting said person remove them. Get the person to a quiet area where no one or very few people are around.

*Do NOT Give Advice or Try to Understand

This is a BIG deal. Don’t probe or prod too much to get what is wrong or for them to fully open up. That will make things worse. Also, don’t give advice. Chances are you have no clue what is going on. So if you haven’t experienced an attack don’t say “you get it” or “I understand” or anything else. If you haven’t just do some of the earlier stuff and go on. If you have some understanding then feel free to say “I understand” or “I get these too, it will pass. I am here for you if you need me.” Then if they want to open up they will. But please, please, please, I beg, don’t say you relate if you have never experienced this. I cannot say that enough. The said person will take offense and feel as if you are trivializing their experience.

*Ask Them if They Have A Special Person That will Help Calm Them

If they won’t open up to you, which is fine, ask them if they have someone who can help them. Maybe it is a best friend, a significant other, parent, or even husband/wife. If they are there then get them. If they aren’t telephone them and have them talk to the anxious person.

*Not All of Them Have a “Happy” Place

Now, here is one where there may be some differences. I personally do not have a happy place, and cannot stand this phrase. There is no place I can go that makes me happy (unless my hubby and Winston are there). So please do not tell me to go to a happy place. It sorta is like an earlier point, like the word ok, if person does not have a happy place that will upset them more because you don’t understand them/they don’t understand you. I totally get that some people will have a happy place. So they may respond to that. But for the most part, just let it go.

*Give Them Water and Lots of Space

Keep them hydrated and let them be. Anxiety takes a huge toll on the body and water will help the body stay cool since body temp will rise. See previous example and points for why space matters.

*Be Gentle in Spirit

Just like when you give an adjustment in yoga, you come and go gently. That means be soft with words and touch, and don’t fight them if they want you to leave. Also, don’t take offense if they refuse help or touch, let it go. Walk gently away. Be gentle in tone of voice. Use a very soft, quiet, calming voice. Like what you would hear on a guided meditation.

*Give Them a Towel

Because you never know when you need a towel. If they don’t have a towel then let them borrow yours. I like my towels super soft with prints on them…

*42

If the anxious person is not having any of this, then just say 42 and walk away. 42 is the answer to everything.

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for more info on GAD click here