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“Holidays not a good season for everyone”

Article Link

This December 14, 2014 Bucks County Courier Times article is a good reminder that there are people who struggle immensely not just during the holiday seasons, but other times of the year as well.  The article includes a video of an interview with someone who answers a hotline number and shares her perspective on what happens that causes the spikes in calls to hotlines across the country.

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bucks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bucks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder”

Resource Link

This resource found on the HelpGuide.org website talks about panic attacks and panic Disorder in a very approachable easy to understand manner.  It offers some tips for dealing with Panic Attacks and also explains that there are medical conditions that could mimic a panic attack, and suggests what to do if you aren’t sure if you are having a panic attack or something else is wrong.

Panic attack

Panic attack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“‘Inexplicably Happy’ Column: Mental health”

English: A Psychiatric Service Dog In Training

English: A Psychiatric Service Dog In Training (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article Link

This February 18, 2013 article on the LehighValley.com website talks about the issues faced by folks who have Anxiety Disorders.  I face an anxiety disorder every day and felt that this article really summed up what it was like trying to meet new people while contending with anxiety.  I use a Psychiatric Service Dog to help with my anxiety, she alerts me to panic attacks before they get out of control so I can work to head them off before I have a total meltdown.  She also does medication reminders that help me control my anxiety and other mental health issues, since I have a hard time remembering to take my meds having an external cue from my service dog has been a huge help in getting them on time.

Even with the amazing help my Service Dog offers me, I’m always floored when people ask me what she does for me and I simply say “I have an Anxiety disorder and some other mental health issues that she helps me with”  and the person responds with “Everyone gets anxious”  as though telling me the obvious is going to be of help o me.  I know all to well that everyone has anxiety, but what people who don’t have an anxiety disorder don’t seem to realize is that those with an anxiety disorder have extreme anxiety that often impair many facets of life that those without the anxiety disorder often take for granted.  I have a really hard time in checkout lines in stores, because the confined space sends my anxiety through the roof, especially if there is a glitch with the way the register scans (or doesn’t scan) an item correctly and a supervisor has to be called in to correct the problem.  Most people seem to get annoyed at best with this, but for me, I start sweating profusely, my heart rate sky rockets, and it takes everything in me to keep from bolting out of the store because of the overwhelming fear I feel.  I know that the glitch isn’t anything I did, but for me, it’s like my brain hi-jacks me and I literally panic and begin to fear that the store will think I tampered with the item or something to cause it to not scan right.  Not something I’ve ever seen anyone get accused of in a checkout line, but with an anxiety disorder, this is the direction my mind heads and there isn’t a lot I can do about it other than to work with my service dog, take deep breaths, and pray that the situation is cleared up quickly so I can get out of there.

“Stressed Out: Manage modern-life stress before health problems set in”

Young GI models a 'stress ball' at Guantanamo....

Young GI models a ‘stress ball’ at Guantanamo. :Original caption: :”Pfc. Leslee Fong holds a stress ball given to her by members of the Joint Stress Mitigation and Restoration Team (JSMART), Dec. 21, 2010. JSMART’s mission is to provide outreach and stress prevention for all Troopers during their deployment. -photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Elisha Dawkins” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Article Link


This January 21, 2013 article on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website talks about stress and the impact it has on us.  The article also talks about some of the dynamics of our society as they pertain to the response  to how others handle stress and what some of the consequences are for those who are unable to manage stress.





“Anxiety may need tweaked treatment for boomers”

Article Link

This June 29, 2012 Philly.com article talks a little about anxiety and the baby boomers

“Anxiety Linked to Smarts in Brain Study”

An anxious person

An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article Link

This article from Philly.com dated April 18, 2012 talks about the possible link between generalized anxiety and intelligence

Life’s StReSsOrS And How I Put Personal Medicine To Work

The past few days have been tough for me, last Friday evening I had to take Tippy, my Service Dog, to the vet for emergency treatment.  in the couple of weeks before that I’ve dealt with anxiety surrounding a hearing I have received a subpoena to testify in that I truly don’t want to do for reasons I’d rather not discuss here.  So in light of what has happened, it’s been like a roller coaster for me.  One day I feel ok with life in general, and the next I feel like the only thing that would help would be to dig a hole, crawl into it, and then cover it up with a boulder.  Obviously digging a hole isn’t all that practical, so I’ve opted to use what is called personal medicine to help me through the rough times.

Let me start by explaining that personal medicine is different from taking medications (pills) , in that personal medicine is something you do and not something you take.  Personal medicine is something that is positive, non-destructive, and basically puts a smile on your face or helps you relax.  While it is different from taking pills, it is not meant to replace pills, but rather to compliment them and work hand in hand with them.

Some examples of personal medicine that I’ve used over the past couple weeks when things get rough or I’m trying to head off a panic attack, include the following.

  • Knitting on my knifty knitter looms
    • Knitting has a rhythm to it that I find relaxing, I also get a sense of pride when I finish something, even if it is something as small as a dish cloth or a little bigger like a scarf.
  • Playing video games
    • Games I commonly play
    • Video games are something that I find people either get or don’t get, but for me, they offer a temporary escape where I can recharge myself and take out my frustrations, or simply help me to refocus or relax.  Gaming is for me, what some may call a “Brain dump” Gaming on some level is for me what a lightning rod is for a house.  Stress/anxiety is like lightning striking me (so to speak) and like a lightning rod on a house, gaming helps redirect the effects of the “lightning” into something less destructive, giving me a release and allowing me to take a little break from my anxiety so I can regroup.
  • Writing whether it be a list of pros and cons, a short story, sometimes even a blog entry or anything that allows me to express what’s inside me somehow.  I also get a sense of pride when I finish writing something, and often feel like I was able to sort out something that was bogging me down mentally.  Sometimes I write for fun though and it’s just something I do because it is a safe place for me to be creative.
  • Research  This is an odd one, but for me, working on my research project can help me redirect my thinking into something more positive, which has a calming effect on me.  Not to mention asking questions and digging for answers is something I’ve always found to be fun and enjoyable so it’s pretty natural for me to research stuff which is a lot easier to do now then it was when I was a kid since I now have the internet to help me on my quest for answers.
  • Cuddling or playing with Tippy is a great diversion and when it comes to cuddling, there is a strong sense of comfort I get in having her snuggled up against me.

Those are some of the things I use as personal medicine each offers its own spin on relief, enjoyment, or diversion, and in some cases they overlap a little, but it’s what works for me.  Personal medicine is unique to each individual and what works for me may not work for you, and vise versa.  I’m guessing that like me, there are probably things that my readers do that would fall under the heading of personal medicine that they did but didn’t necessarily realize there was a name for doing these things.  Here is a link to a blog entry on Pat Deegan’s site that talks about personal medicine more in-depth.  http://www.patdeegan.com/blog/posts/importance-personal-medicine

On a closing note, Tippy came home with me Friday night, and is on antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection that was caused by bladder stones.  she’s not at 100%, but I am relieved to know that  this is treatable and I caught it before it became life threatening.  I have to watch her closely to make sure she urinates, and if she goes 12 hours without urinating I have to call the vet again, but so far Tippy has been doing great at urinating.  I never thought I would get excited over the sight of yellow snow before, but now I get excited when Tippy makes yellow snow.  Also the hearing is tomorrow and at least in theory that mess will be done with.

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