An Excerpt from Healing My Anxiety – A Memoir

An excerpt from Healing My Anxiety:

Healing My AnxietyI read that many people have their first panic attack come on suddenly, out of the blue. 

 It starts while they are watching TV, having a meal, or simply relaxing. In March 2002 I experienced some chest pain. Back then I lived in a small but prosperous country town in New South Wales with my de facto husband and my daughter from a previous marriage. I was 33 years old.

A moment in time: I am lying on a bed in the emergency department, staring at the ceiling and promising myself to change my lifestyle, to lose weight. I am scared, but hopeful. I have never had any serious health problems.

I tried, but I didn’t persist with my efforts. It was not only extra weight that I was carrying. I found that often before a significant medical issue comes up we get a warning of some sort. There is still time to do something, but often it is ignored or dismissed…

My life became a nightmare. I was getting sick as often as every 10 minutes…

Make sure you don’t miss out click here to download the full ebook on Amazon Kindle.

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Excerpt from Trail Swap by Michele M. Reynolds

This is one of many of  my favorite parts of the book.

 If you have been around kids as much as I have, you will appreciate this.

-Excerpt from Trail Swap by Michele M. Reynolds

This scene takes place after Swap and Levalot take refuge from the rain by sleeping on a playscape.

Trail Swap

Trail Swap

“She’s not DEAD,” a whispered, little voice projected over Swap. “If she were dead her eyes would be open.  “That is how my grandfather looked when we found him in the living room.”

“No, she would be in a black bag or have a sheet over her face like this,” a loud girl screeched. Swap woke to three little kids hovering over her and to a fourth one rummaging through her pack.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” a little red headed girl hugged Swap tightly. The morning air smelt wet.

“We thought you were DEAD!” the boy exclaimed.

“No, I didn’t,” the screechy voice with blonde braids made clear.

“Oh, um,” Swap was very aware that she was pantless. “Good morning.” She smiled. She was usually good with children, but in this situation it was a bit awkward.

“Excuse me,” a boy stepped over her and started to steer the playscape helm. Swap hoped he was voyaging for the trail and could drop her off.

“Are you a bum?”  the boy who thought she was dead asked.

“No, not a bum that is not nice,” the red haired girl scolded.  “She is HOOOME less.”

“Are you?” screechy blonde asked.

“Well,” Swap grabbed her soaked shorts off the floor and pulled them into her sleeping bag.  “Actually I am homeless at the moment.”

“She’s homeless,” the fourth boy at Swap’s bag yelled down to the playground floor.  Swap became aware of the giggles, running, vast squeaks of swings and realized that her visitors were not limited to these few kids. It only made sense knowing that she was on school property.  Swap slipped her legs into the shorts and pulled them up.  She buttoned them and started stuffing her sleeping bag into its sack.

“Honey,” Swap motioned to the fourth scavenger. “Can you please put that stuff back in my pack.” She needed to recruit some help for a smooth escape. He nodded and complied.  She rang her socks and then slipped her aching still pruned feet into them and then into her boots.

“You leaving?” the red head asked. “If you stick around you can have my snack.”

“Yeah, there is a homeless person sleeping up there,” a group of children could be heard whining. It was in a tone that Swap knew well.  They must be tattle-tailing to an adult. Swap peeked over the edge and saw two adult women with dropped jaws staring back.

“Oh great,” Swap said as she sat back down and tied her boots tightly.  She wondered if Levalot was having a similar experience down on the next landing.  She wondered how the kids had gotten passed his enormous body and made it up here.

A little boy ran up the stairs, “They’re calling the police,” With that, Swap’s sleeping bag went into her pack.  Within a minute a siren was heard in the distance.  She saw the woods close by to disappear into.  She exited the cathedral and sat down at the top of a brown, spiral slide with her pack on her lap.  As she sat there her four-alarm-clock children gave her a shove.

“Bye,” they yelled. As her feet hit the ground she saw that the teachers had quietly taken to rounding up the children.  They looked like mother hens trying to protect them from Swap the hawk.  She ran toward the road and her little leeches followed.

“Janie, Zack, Ben, Sandy, Maria,” a frantic voice called and was followed by a stern, “Stay here!” They stopped at the road.

“Leave her alone she is just a nice bum,” a boy yelled back to the frantic voice.

“Hope you find a home!” the red-headed girl called.

The sirens and “hope you find a home” rang in her ears as she tripped over dead, fallen branches, and exposed rocks.  The woods grew thick and served as her coverage as she forged in a diagonally straight line into trees, rocks, and nothingness.  She jogged with her lopsided pack and came to a small clearing. There she stopped and peered back to the woods she had just exited.  No blue bobbing uniforms and no sound of sirens.  She looked down the clearing and saw it was a path.  She naturally walked north using the newly risen sun on her right as a guide. She came to tree bearing the tattoo of a white rectangle.  She was home, on the trail.  With each step she shook off the paranoia of policemen jumping out of the forest, restraining her to the ground and cuffing her.  She could hear the court case, “Young lady did you sleep half-naked in a playground in the presence of children?”  She would plead guilty and spend the winter in jail.  It was a gamble each town she visited to see how they treated hikers. Most were welcoming as long as you did not stay for long.  She was trespassing on school property and she was sure that would not go unnoticed.

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My Life as a Nutcase – By Vivienne Mathews

Vivienne MathewsIt’s like living in a glass dome, one that maintains a permanent perimeter just inside your front door. Others can pass through this invisible barrier at will, but not you. For you, it’s a constant reminder of your limitations and you have a primal aversion to bumping into it, lest the whole thing shatter and come down on your head. It’s walking through a grocery store and pretending you don’t feel as if every passerby is holding a gun at eye level. It’s loneliness and it’s craving time to yourself. It’s wanting desperately to connect with people and at the same time feeling paralyzed by a chronic sense of doom whenever they’re around. It’s repeated situations in which an old friend will show up on your radar and you’ll scramble over yourself to invite them out, only to have that last word fall like a guillotine when you finally realize what you’ve said…. Out.

What were you thinking?

“Maybe I’ll call them back,” you say to yourself. Explain to them that “See, well, the thing is… I can’t so much leave my house. And oh, by the way, I’ll have a panic attack if you walk through my door, so can you just drive by and sit on the other side of my window so I can howl at you like a housecat with nothing better to do? Catch up that way?”

This is the illogical mess of suckage that is agoraphobia – and I’m soaking in it.

At least these days I can talk about my little problem without fear of being labeled a nutcase. More and more, society’s understanding and acceptance of mental illness expands to where things like this don’t need to be kept in the shadows. They are recognized for the hitches in biology that they are, rather than flaws in character. That helps, more than people may know.

If I could say anything to those in my position it would be this.

  1. Have compassion for yourself.
  2. You will have good days, and you will have bad. Live your good days to their fullest and remember that the bad days don’t make you any less of a person.
  3. Know that you have worth beyond your aversions. What you have to offer that won’t be hindered by fear, not for long.
  4. You won’t always be in control and that’s okay.
  5. You won’t always understand yourself and that’s even better, because if there’s anything worth learning more about, it’s the human condition.
  6. Most importantly… open the blinds when you least want to. Let the sun remind you that it’s still shining, whether or not you care to look.

As we speak, I am treating my agoraphobia with a cocktail of medication, hard-bitten pep talks, and the most supportive husband red hair can buy. I take comfort in my backyard beehives — they give me a reason to step outside and breathe the wind and I often feel safer in my protective white suit than I do in these four walls. And I write. By putting a bit of myself in my palm and reaching beyond the barrier, I’ve found a way to say, “This is me. I am here. And I haven’t forgotten that you are there, either.”

Vivienne Mathews
Author of The Sons of Masguard
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RIP Beautiful Angel

On a surface little Keisha had a normal life. But only on a surface. Little girl was viciously beaten on a regular basis. One day she was knocked unconscious and passed away on the next day after not receiving any medical help. Her “carers” pretended she disappeared and disposed of her body. Everybody was looking for Keisha: police, neighbours and volunteers. Eventually police received a tip off and “carers” were arrested. Keisha’s step-father was sentenced for 16 years for not taking unconscious Keisha to the doctors and letting her die. A second person is awaiting trial for murder.

Someone must have known that Keisha was abused. Post-mortem revealed multiply unhealed fractures.

Angels are taking care of Keisha now and she is free of pain. Do not let abusers get away with abusing innocent little girls and boys. See something! Say something!

RIP KEISHA, WE COUDN’T SAVE YOU. PLEASE FORGIVE US AND ACCEPT OUR LOVE.

THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL GOOD

You cannot  impose happiness on yourself. You cannot become happy just by following all the rules prescribed in self-development books, however there are things one can do to improve their qualify of life and therefore their levels of satisfaction.

Recently Martin Seligman visited Australia and I was lucky to attend his lecture at Sydney Opera House. Did you read his books? You can check out his website where he lists things you can do to improve your levels of happiness/life satisfaction.

I have decided to write down a list of things that make me feel good ( no huge discoveries here, perhaps, but hopefully  you will find something useful).

WAKING UP ON SATURDAY TO A SUNNY, BUT NOT HOT DAY

SMELL OF FRESHLY MADE COFFEE

LOOKING AT THE FLOWERS, ESPECIALLY ROSES

PROLONG HUGS AND KISSES

MEAL SERVED ON A TRAY IN BED WHEN I AM TOO TIRED

LOOKING AT THE PICTURES OF PEOPLE I LOVE

LISTENING TO “SIMPLY BEING” APP ON MY PHONE

MY NEW HTC ONE M7 PHONE WITH BATTERY THAT LASTS

PINK THINGS

HELLO KITTY MERCHANDISE (NO, I AM NOT A COLLECTOR)

PHOTOS OF CUTE PUPPIES

LUXURY TRAVEL MAGAZINES

FRESH SUNDAY PAPER

GOOD QUALITY ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA FOR BREAKFAST

WARM SOURDOUGH BREAD WITH BUTTER

WATERMELON

GOAT FETTA

ORGANIC RICOTTA

KALE SALAD

RED CAVIAR

BELLINI COCKTAIL

CHAMPAGNE

BROWN BROTHERS (AUSTRALIA) WINES

BEING NEAR THE WATER ON A WARM SUNNY DAY

BEING IN A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN

LOOKING AT THE PICTURES WITH VIEWS OF ITALY, SOUTH OF FRANCE AND ALPS

DISNEYLAND

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

STAR TREK

WARM HEAVY BLANKET ON A COLD NIGHT

PEACE AND QUIET.

What about you?

Words for Susan Jeffers

Years ago I read “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers. This is a ground-breaking book by well known American author. In my book “Healing my anxiety” I describe how this book and Susan’s relaxation tracks helped me when my anxiety was at it’s worst. I am a subscriber to Susan’s newsletter. A short while ago I was shocked to learn that Susan passed away from rare form of cancer. On YouTube I watched an interview with her recorded in July 2012  – no one would have guessed she was ill. I guess she was a private person and didn’t want to publicize it. RIP Susan, you are missed greatly!!