Archives for Overachievement


My Fatal Attraction To The ‘At-A-Glance Two Days Per Page’ Planner

I used to be in love.

I used to be in love with my At-A-Glance brand planner, the one that lists two days on a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper.

Our affair began two years ago. I was captivated by its simplicity, its wide-open page spaces, and its daily "HOT" notations that sung out to me, siren-like: you, absent-minded gal that you are, can prioritize! You can!

But now, everything has gone sour. It was a fatal attraction from the start: what had once attracted me had ultimately ended up repelling me.

And now, I am letting you go, At-A-Glance. Perhaps there's someone else out there who will love you, but I'm moving on.


Yeah, I have an anxiety problem. We know this by now, right? My official diagnosis is panic disorder, but that doesn't stop me from feeling generally anxious, GAD style, about a lot of things. Especially organizing my time and my space. I'm not alone on this one, right?
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How Perfectionism Can Ruin Your Recovery

Once, when I was in elementary school, I got a 97% on a test.

Pretty good, right?

I took it home to show my mom. This was fridge material.

"Wow," she said, "not bad..."


"...but you probably could've gotten 100%."

Ugh. As an adult, now, looking back, I know she was kidding. She had to be kidding. Right?

I wish I could go back in time and watch this interaction with adult eyes, detecting the subtle nuances in her brow movement, to prove to myself that it was a harmless joke from a mother who knew her kiddo was on the straight and narrow.

But that pint-sized brain of mine, tucked inside my skinny little body that wore a hefty neon pink and yellow backpack, heard only one thing: you could have done better.
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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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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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Anxiety Society: Meet Angie Jackson, Her Atheism, and Her PTSD

(This is the third post in a new series called “Anxiety Society,” in which I interview everyday anxiety suffers from all walks of life about their struggles, their triumphs, their coping methods, and more. I believe that the more we openly talk about our mental health, the less of a “thing” it becomes. Conversation can reduce stigma, and my interviewees want to be a part of that.)

Meet Angie Jackson. She's a mother of a 6-year-old and a sufferer of both Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. After growing up medically neglected in a fundamentalist Christian cult, she stepped aside from religion and now proclaims herself as an atheist/anti-theist. Currently agoraphobic, she has a difficult time leaving her house unaccompanied.

If Angie's name sounds familiar to you, there's good reason. In early 2010, Angie made the news when she live-tweeted her abortion after an IUD implant failed to protect her from pregnancy. Unlike most women who elect to abort, Angie found herself in the national spotlight because of her decision to go public.

Summer: It's sort of hard to decide where to begin, so I'll start with a question about something we very clearly have in common: an anxiety problem. Are you diagnosed with an anxiety disorder? How does anxiety manifest itself for you?

Angie: I was diagnosed with GAD in 2008, but I think I've had anxiety for much longer than that. I was also diagnosed with PTSD in 2008, which gradually became enough of a problem the two sort of combined into the social anxiety/agoraphobia I have now. I get panic attacks when I feel anxious. My palms get tingly, my heart races, and I start sweating. I have a hard time thinking clearly or articulating myself, which in turn makes me feel more panic-stricken. I try to avoid getting to that point for the most part.

You were part of a fundamentalist Christian cult when you growing up. Is that where the anxiety began, or did it wait until you became an adult to make an appearance?

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Meet Today’s Twentysomethings: We’re Anxious, Unemployed and Unsatisfied

I woke up this morning to the sound of a text message alert. After getting up and checking my phone, I grabbed my iPod Touch at 7:40 a.m. to check my email, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. (It's habit.)

If it weren't for that text message chime, I probably wouldn't have gotten up so early. After all, I'm freshly unemployed. There's no good reason to get up early for work if work no longer exists. No longer is there a gray fabric-covered cubicle with my name on it, with my rolling office chair tucked into its tight confines, waiting for my body (if not my mind) to occupy it at some early hour.

I do not yet know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Sometimes, I sit back and compare my day-to-day life with the day-to-day life of my parents when they were my age in the 1970's.  They didn't wake up to the sound of text messages.  They didn't grab a digital device first thing in the morning -- well, maybe they smacked the snooze button on their split-flap display clock on the nightstand, but does that really count?  A basic electric clock doesn't deliver any email messages...let alone provide you with a nearly endless stream of social media updates or compelling news stories.  Social updates were received via land line telephone.  And perhaps from the "Lifestyle" section of the local newspaper.  Uncle Jerry is in the hospital.  Kathy bought a new pair of boots.  So-and-so is engaged.

When their electric clocks buzzed, my parents got up and went to work.  My father worked in a factory, but earned a good wage and made a fair living.  My mother worked as a clerk at a car dealership.

We might say that we're lucky to have all this newfangled technology. We have cell -- er, wireless -- phones. We have MP3 players. We have video game consoles that multitask and stream Netflix and play Blu-Ray discs.  We have cable boxes that display on-screen menus.  We have high-definition televisions.  If we define our society by technological advancement, us twentysomethings are winning the game.  Right?  Aren't we more awash in the luxury of electronics these days than we were in the 1970's?

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Dear Anxious College Students: Slow Down, Breathe

Today at my 9-to-5 office job, I started feeling a little queasy.
I was staring at one of the 7 or 8 gigantic Excel spreadsheets that I had open on my desktop.  The tiny little rows and columns started to shift, overlap, and blend together into a distorted lattice of alphanumerical dizziness.
Probably just eye fatigue, really.  But coupled with the uncomfortably ill-feeling belly, it felt like a red-alert warning.  Something is wrong with your body!, the warning cried.  You're going to puke and you can't see straight!  Danger!  Danger!
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