Archives for Motivation


How To Start Loving Your Unmotivated Self

This Valentine's Day, I wanted to take a different approach to discussing love on this blog.

A Redditor named Ryan from Canada made a post in /r/getmotivated several months back that has really, really stuck with me. I'm going to share (most of) it with you today, but first, I want to ask you a big question.

Do you love yourself?

(Cue the cheesy new-age music and self-help vibe here, right?)

But seriously, that's not what I mean at all. Let's think about the word "self" for a minute.

Right now, you You are reading this blog post and existing in the present moment, right? (Obviously.)

But there are other versions of yourself, too -- versions of you who aren't reading this blog post right now -- who also deserve your love and caring. (And no, I'm not trying to get metaphysical here with any parallel-worlds stuff. Read on; you'll see what I mean.)
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Does A Cluttered Workspace Paralyze You?

Here I sit at a very messy dining room table. I've been trying to get down to writing for about an hour now, but the distractions just keep piling up -- and this time, most of those distractions are objects.

Yes, physical objects. Objects within an arm's reach. Objects that I know should be put (or thrown) away.

A small sampling of the goodies scattered about my dining room table at this very moment:

two dead AA batteries
an open sleeve of crackers
seven pens
a pill splitter
two Bed Bath & Beyond mailers
a Calvin & Hobbes book
a cup of pistachio shells
coupon circulars
two empty cups

The rest of my house doesn't look much different, sadly. There's an explosion of unfolded laundry in my living room. A few hangers are scattered on the floor. Same goes for dryer sheets.

And the kitchen? Ugh, the kitchen. Dishes. Some rotting vegetables in the fridge that I swore I'd eat. A cup of colored water on the windowsill from my painting project that I wrapped up six days ago now.


Clutter is a siren call that tries, often effectively, to lure me away from my work. Is it the same for you?

"Organize me!" it sings.

(They're the only lyrics, repeated ad infinitum.)

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Win Wednesday: Share Your Anxiety-Related “Wins”!

We all know how difficult anxiety disorders are. We all know how easy it is to focus on the negatives: the endless setbacks, the embarrassment, and the ever-present triggers.

It's exhausting, isn't it?

Well, let's counter all of that exhaustion. It's time to focus on the wins.

Enter "Win Wednesday".

Admittedly, I'm sort of borrowing this concept from an ADHD forum on the social bookmarking and forum website There's a "subreddit" (or sub-forum) specifically for folks with ADHD -- and each Wednesday, users post their "wins" -- no matter how small.

Every success, after all, demonstrates progress -- right?

Users reflect upon the past 7 days and share those brief-but-stunning periods of clarity, productivity, and organization that many ADHD'ers are constantly seeking. Here's just a few examples from a recent Win Wednesday post:

"I cleaned my desk off, and the area around it!"
"Since the start of the year, I've gotten away without doing the reading in a lecture/seminar based course, because I'm bright and wily [sic] enough to get good grades while bullshitting my way through conversation. But tonight, I actually sat down and did the whole reading. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless."
"I actually studied last week and got 84% on a math test."


I think Win Wednesday would be perfect for us anxiety and panic sufferers. It's so easy to remember the bad times while discounting the good times, isn't it? Why do we do such a thing?
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Tales From The Anxiety Med-Go-Round: Why I Hated Paxil

I haven't talked about meds on this blog for some time. And it's been an intentional choice.

It's been a whopping 6 years since I took my last shard of Paxil. (Yes, shard -- in my final weeks of tapering off that horrific SSRI, I relied on miniscule shards of Paxil to jury-rig an appropriate dose. Often, those shards would simply pulverize under the pressure of my plastic pill-splitting device. White Paxil powder? You bet. Everywhere. On my desk, on my jeans, and on my hands. I'm sure I looked like a coke addict.)

Paxil was a difficult drug for me for many reasons. First, it was expensive. My doctor had prescribed me the controlled-release version, which was still under patent protection at the time, so of course it was pricey (think $120/month without insurance). Kinda tough for a college gal making $6/hour working 15 hours a week fixing printer jams in the college computer labs.

Second, it did its job so well that I didn't even consider any type of psychotherapy. It stopped the panic attacks, so I mistakenly thought that my job as a patient was done. Not so.
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My TEDx Talk: Anxiety — Hibernate, Adapt, or Migrate?

Awhile back, I wrote about how nervous I was to speak at my local TEDx event in Williamsport, PA.

I was pretty scared. Would I get lightheaded? Would I pass out? What if I couldn't remember anything I wanted to talk about?

I wanted to talk about panic attacks. I wanted to talk about how hard it was to work in a call center while dealing with panic disorder. I wanted to talk about those dreadful "inspirational" posters on workplace walls and I wanted to...
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I Hope I Don’t Panic…While Delivering a Talk About Panic

Perhaps you've noticed my lack of posts during this past week.

And even if you didn't, now you're aware of it. Because I mentioned it.

Here's why I've been so quiet: I've been busy preparing to speak at TEDx Williamsport, an independently-organized TED event in my town. (If you haven't heard of TED, go here and watch a few talks.)

Yes, that's right -- this panicky lady is going to stand on a stage and talk to people.

About her anxiety.

Believe it or not, this is a sort of a first for me. Does that sound strange? I mean, I've recorded anxiety-related videos for my blog, and I've lead online and telephone support group discussions in which I shared my panic-littered personal history. And I share my stumblings and my successes with you, weekly, via my blog. real life? Not so much. I can't remember a time when I got up and spoke to a group of Real Live People about what it's like to have a panic attack.

It's happening tomorrow.


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Where Did My Anxiety Go? I Can’t Find It Anywhere!

On Sunday, I took a 17-mile drive through the mountains into unknown territory.

Why? Because. Because I had a car, a full tank of gas...and no anxiety.

That's right: virtually no anxiety.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you might be saying "Whaaaaaaa?" (Don't worry; I'm saying the same thing.)

You know me as the gal who can't make it through an entire grocery store trip without feeling faint and shaky. You know me as someone who's frozen up at the entrance of Target. You know me as the blogger who, once, had to run out of a wedding because dancing to Come on Eileen was too much for my panicky little bunny-rabbit heart.

So...why in the hell am I feeling fantastic? Why do I suddenly feel like a new person?

Well, I don't really have an answer to that question, but I've been giving it a lot of thought lately. After all, I certainly want to maintain this level of functionality. I want to hold on to it. I want to bottle it up and save it for my worst days.

For my own reference -- and for yours, in case you'd like to try something similar -- here's my list of Potential Reasons For Feeling So Good:
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Video From ‘Blog of the Week’ Broadcast: Enjoying the Moment

Earlier this week, I wrote about how Panic About Anxiety was chosen as 'Blog of the Week' on PA Live!, a lifestyle program local to northeastern Pennsylvania and broadcast on WBRE-TV.

And now, you don't just have to take my word for it -- I've got video proof! Check it out here.

I sincerely hope that it brings a few folks within the viewing area to my blog -- especially my posts about my own struggle with anxiety might help someone to feel a little bit less alone.

This is probably the right time to tell you a story about one of my last grad school classes: Intercultural Communication. After a semester of learning about various cultural traditions and value orientations, my professor took a few minutes at the end of our very last class to discuss something personal: living in the moment.

It was May, and graduation was right around the corner. The class was filled with undergraduate seniors and second-year grad students -- most of whom were about to be finished with school forever.

His speech went a little something like this:

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Failure IS an Option: On Why I Quit #NaBloPoMo

Back in February, I resolved to write a blog post every single day for the entire month. I got the idea from and I was excited about the idea for the first week. Thrilled, in fact. I wrote about how writing every day would help to quash my perfectionistic tendencies.

And, for that first week, it did.

But then, I got sick. (I can't even remember what I had -- stomach virus? A nasty cold? Thank goodness bad memories tend to fade. I'm grateful that I can't recall the specifics!)

Whatever the illness was, it killed my enthusiasm to write daily.

And, technically, I failed. My goal was to write a blog post every single day, and I didn't meet that goal.

But life happens.

We get sick.

Our priorities change.


The other day, I was taking a walk outside by myself -- something that agoraphobia wouldn't allow me to do only a few short months ago -- and I saw a woman standing on the porch of a house in my suburban neighborhood. She was clutching a purse and knocking on the door with her first. She seemed angry.

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Inspirational Weekend Video: Girl’s First Ski Jump

This blog is about anxiety.

This blog is about panic.

This blog is about fear.

But sometimes, we manage to overcome the anxiety, panic, and fear. Sometimes, we surprise ourselves.

Personal case in point: recently, I took a two-mile walk with my fiance that would have been nearly impossible a few short months ago. (Not because of the weather, but because of agoraphobia.)

I'll be clear: I loved that two-mile walk. It was warm. The sun was shining. About a million people were out walking their dogs or cleaning up their yards. We saw a bunch of teenagers playing soccer in the street. I saw flocks of robins. I saw a blooming crocus.

Although I'd been feeling apprehensive when we left our apartment, everything went better than expected.

It happens. Even when we think it won't.
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