Mindfullness: A Tool to Overcome Insomnia & Anxiety

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Aloha,

I apologize it’s been a while since I posted, but life just flew by…and I realized I wanted to share another exercise that has helped me through a recent struggle – insomnia.

Lately I’ve been working a lot more overtime and have also been having a hard time sleeping through the night. I normally did not have this problem, but over the last couple weeks I’ve been waking up around 2:30 a.m. and am not able to go back to sleep right away.

I will just toss and turn thinking about work, coworkers, bosses, my husband, my future, everything and anything. And I will keep doing this, sometimes for hours until I catch myself and then practice this technique that stops the thoughts spinning in my head.

How you ask? Simply by being “Mindful,” or by being “present” and “in the moment.” When that happens I’m not able to worry about all the other things that I didn’t get done, or what I did do that was not up to par, I am able to just be me.

To be Mindful all you have to do is use your five senses: taste, smell, touch, see, and hear.

Of course, if you’re lying in bed trying to sleep you will most likely only use a few of the senses, but I go through them all when I am trying to be Mindful. However, the most important thing to remember when you are being “present,” is that there are no critical thoughts or statements when you are describing your senses.  You must state your senses as a “matter of fact” and can not have any connected opinions to the statement.

For example, when being Mindful, you would only say, “there’s a yellow curtain in front of me,” you would not elaborate further and say “it’s filthy, and it should be washed soon.” That’s making an opinion of the Mindful statement which could make you stray from being present and create further thoughts that will keep your mind going in every direction.

My relief from anxiety related insomnia usually goes something like this:

I’m lying in bed and I lay in my favorite position and tell myself to start reviewing my “senses.”

First, I will do “taste” and think, “I taste minty toothpaste in my mouth.”

Second, I move on to smell, and think “I smell the rain outside my window.”

Third, is the sense of “touch,” and I start listing things I feel, such as, “I am touching my pillows and blankets,” or “My tongue is touching the back of my teeth,” and I keep listing Mindful statements until I can’t think of any more.

So I move onto the fourth sense, which is “see,” and I start by looking around my room and list all the things I see, “The alarm light is on, it is red,” “The door is not fully closed,” “I see the street light on outside my window,” and so on and so forth until I can’t list any more.

I then move onto the last sense “hear,” and I start listing in my mind, all the things I “hear,” “the neighbors car just turned on,” “the cat is meowing outside,” “the fans are making a buzzing noise,” and I will keep listing Mindful/present statements, until before I know it I feel the sun hitting my face from my window, and I hear the birds chirpping outside, right before my alarm goes off signalling me to get ready for work.

It works every single time. It’s because when you’re being present and mindful, other anxiety thoughts do not have the opportunity to manifest. The trick is to keep the statements, simple and clear of any opinions and you will be able to sleep within minutes. I have even found that using Mindfulness during an anxiety attack has helped to calm me much faster than forcing it on my own.

Do you have insomnia as well, and do you have any suggestions that work for you? Or if you’ve found Mindfullness to be helpful please let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to hear how it helped you have a better nights rest.

Until the next time… ūüôā

Aloha,
LWGAD

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To Tell, or Not To Tell People About My GAD

Aloha,

I started working at a new firm a few months ago and started making friends with a couple of my coworkers. We’ve became close and shared a lot of personal things with each other. However, I have not shared with them the fact that I have GAD.

Although sometimes I wonder if they suspect something because I do share with them some of my worries, and things that bother me obviously don’t bother them.  I sometimes think if they knew it would make it a little easier because they will be empathetic to what I go through.

However, I sometimes also think I shouldn’t because then I will just be labeled, and my thoughts or worries may just be brushed off due to my anxiety, and not be taken seriously.

What are your thoughts? Have you told people at work and it worked out? Or was it a bad idea?

I’m still on the fence about it…Would love any input on your experiences.

Mahalo,

LWGAD

Anxiety Reminded Me How Seatbelts Are Important

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Aloha,

This Monday morning I woke up feeling kind of “off.” I woke up, got ready, and started running around buying a birthday card, a gift, and flower lei for my coworkers’ birthday today.

I find whenever I’m rushing, I forget pretty much a lot of stuff, then my anxiety kicks in and then, I forget more stuff…

On my way to get the lei, I realized I forgot my jacket and my keys. Thankfully my husband drops me off, so we headed back to our house. Since its pretty close I didn’t bother putting my seat belt on (I know bad idea) and I kept rethinking about what I forgot.

Then all of a sudden a baby blue Saturn runs a red light to the right of me and literally almost collides with my car!!! My husband hits the breaks and honks his horn as the guy just gives a peace sign and drives off! WTH! He was going like 40 miles an hour in a residential area!!!

I thankfully didn’t hit the front dashboard that hard, but it was a definitely a reminder of how important seat belts are! And that even though I’m in a frazzled anxiety moment I should always stop to put my seat belt on!!! I can only imagine what it could’ve been like…

I thought I’d share this because it kind of happens to me a lot. I get so caught up in my thoughts I miss important aspects of my life, no matter how simple or complicated they are. From conversations, to pieces of clothing, or even my ticket to wherever I’m going. This was definitely a reminder to stop and take a deep breath especially when you’re having an episode, because an anxiety thought versus safety is just not worth it…

Thanks for stopping by and Be safe!

Mahalo,

LWGAD

Not My Best Social Outing – But It’s “OK”

Aloha,

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but I work at a large firm, and for some odd reason since I started a few months ago 10 people have left the firm. Recently someone was leaving and we had a farewell party¬†at a bar downtown. This outing kind of freaked me out, but I thought I’d take a chance.¬†I have a form of GAD where I also am not very keen on social gatherings, but I thought “oh what the hell it’ll be fine, my friend will be there,” so I went.

It did not go that well. It was hot as hell and it didn’t help that I sweat much more than the average person. I ended up having an eye allergy which created a yucky eye booger on each side of my right eye every 5 minutes. (Not particularly good when u sit inches away from someone in a conversation). And for the life of me I could not really think of any thing to talk about…to make matters worse I ended up having to sit next to two of our bosses that came, and I became an “awkward mess.” Also, it was so hot I had “ass sweat” on the seat, and each time new people joined us, I had to scoot over to make room, but had to do the “wipe-scoot” maneuver while shimmy-ing down the booth. My boss was nice and did not mention the seat was wet when he put his hand down to sit next to me¬†… ugh…

I don’t think I was much conversation either. I’m not witty like my coworkers and I am not at all that social…I found myself constantly wiping my sweat from my face. Thank goodness for my bangs that helped to cover it.

I ended up leaving because I could not concentrate, I felt claustrophobic being stuck in the middle of the booth and surrounded by all the people. I tried, it didn’t turn out that great, and I kept replaying how ridiculous I must look to all that went.

However, when I went home and told my husband about my failed attempt at being “okay” in a new social outing, and how sometimes I wished I had a flexible job at home like him, he reminded me about the advantages of working with other people, I’ve called it my “PYT” practice:

  1. Practice Makes Perfect” –¬†Since I work with lots of people it’s a better opportunity for me to practice my social skills with people of many different personalities. It’s not like I have a choice either, I’m forced to practice, which is sometimes a good thing.
  2. You win some and lose some” – He reminded me that even though I did not do well this time around, the previous work outing went so well I hung out with them for five hours after work! It’s not always like that so it’s not the end of the world that this time was not the best experience.
  3. The More the Merrier” – Working from home can sometimes be lonely,¬†and when you’re free everyone else is at work. Since I’ve started I have created friendships that¬†have given me some of my best work memories!

I have to always give myself a motivating PYT speech before any outing. Especially whenever I go somewhere without my husband, who is also my “safety net.” Although It was not my best outing, it’s okay because the people who really matter, like my husband and friend, are the opinions that are really important. And of course my own! Please feel free to borrow my PYT method if you have any social anxieties. For the most part it works, but it at least gets me out the door, which is half the battle! ūüôā

Mahalo,

LWGAD

Perfectionism is Not Worth It

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Aloha,

I’m not sure if you’re like me, but through my sessions with my doctor, I learned that one of my traits of GAD is perfectionism (“refusal to accept any standard short of perfection”). If I don’t do an excellent job, I start a vicious cycle of criticizing myself over and over. I get so worried about completing a task at “a 110%,” that sometimes I sacrifice my health, time with family and friends, and my overall quality of life. 

This even applies to my blogging. I want to always share “my very best” every week. However, today I’m going to practice self acceptance and will keep this short (well shorter) and sweet. (And I know it may not seem like a big deal, but I feel the anxiety welling up and find myself trying to plan how I can finish a better blog by staying up later *sigh)…

Today we celebrated my best friends’ sons 3rd birthday! We spent all day at his favorite beach, ate lots of cake and pizza, had water gun fights, and took naps on the beach. It reminded me that spending hours focusing on writing and typing the “perfect” blog, does not even compare to the moments of watching my nephew blow his boogers all over his birthday cake, or how when I ask him how old he is he shows “3” then “4” fingers, or how when he sees my husband who’s a big goofball, he’ll just start cracking up laughing with excitement cuz he knows he’ll have a blast with his fave uncle, or how when ever I see him he will always stop and give a “honi” or a kiss, to say hello or goodbye to me.

Today was a wonderful day with family and friends and I’m thankful that I made the right decision, (and I feel good about it too.)

Have a wonderful week, and remember give yourself a break, you deserve it :).

Mahalo,
LWGAD

“Alternative Reasons” Are Rebuttals for Anxiety Thoughts

North Shore SunsetAaalllloooohhaaa!!! I’m extra excited to share my little triumph over my GAD this week! If you’re like me, and you have an anxiety disorder, normal activities, that are sometimes as simple as breathing, are not always easy to do. Us GADers have to make a conscious effort to get tasks done, make affirmative reminders, do self-talk, or ask loved ones to mentally or even physically give us a light push to get us out the door. So I know fellow GADers will¬†totally understand why attending my friend’s wedding is my victory over GAD this week!

I know some of you might be thinking, “what’s the big deal?!” Well it was a big deal to me, because when ever there is a new event or something out of the ordinary, my brain starts to just process repetitive thoughts, or what I like to call “GAD worries” such as:

  1. I have not seen my friend for over a year, what if she noticed that I got fatter!?
  2. She was popular in high school, so I’m sure there will be the “cool people” there that will judge me!
  3. We will probably not be sitting next to anyone I know and I will have to do small talk with strangers!
  4. When I’m talking to new people, or I shake their hands they’ll notice my sweaty palms, and how I’m sweating profusely!
  5. Friends I normally hang out with won’t be there, for sure it’s going to be uncomfortable!

Let me tell you, I could go on and on and on for this list…

But instead, with the encouragement of my husband, and reassurance that he and I would be there together, I started my self-talk and tried to give my GAD thoughts “alternative reasons.” “Alternative reasons” are rebuttal thoughts or arguments you can give yourself to counter the initial anxiety thought. For my attendance at the wedding, the following are the “alternative reasons” I came up¬†with:

  1. My friend loves me for me. We’ve been friends since we were freshmen and she’s seen me yo-yo in size from big to small, to big again, and she still invited me. Size is a non-issue in our friendship so don’t make it a reason for not attending the wedding.¬†
  2. High school was years ago, and there’s no time to worry about the “popular” crowd and what they think of you, because chances are they don’t give a shit!
  3. Even though you have to talk to strangers, you both already have a common interest, the bride and groom. You can start from there and practice “small talk.” They don’t know you so they won’t know you are nervous.
  4. It’s hot in Hawaii, everyone is sweaty. If you’re worried about the sweaty palms, grab an iced drink first and carry it around before you meet people. When shaking hands, they’ll just think you’re hands are wet from the drink, not the GAD. (I used this in my interview earlier this year, my bosses never knew and I got the job!)¬†
  5. Even if it’s uncomfortable, it will only be for a few hours of your life, and are your¬†friends worth it? Yes? Then¬†just take a deep breath and remember what’s important.¬†

When I self-talk and use¬†“alternative reasons” I find sometimes talking to my self in front of a mirror actually helps motivating me out of my GAD funk. It assists in¬†changing my perspective and how the anxiety thoughts¬†affect me. The “alternative reasons” above made my¬†GAD thoughts subside, and I got the courage to get ready, get in the car, and make the trip to my¬†friends’ wedding.

It turned out to be one of the best activities I did for myself this week! My husband and I had such a wonderful time and this is what “really happened”:

  1. No one even noticed, or mentioned how I ‘increased’ in size, they were just happy to see me!
  2. I was only apart of a few high school friends she invited to her wedding, which made me feel special, that¬†we were each others’ “cool” people! And some of the “popular” people from school went out of their way to say hello and catch up with me!
  3. I ended up sitting next to another old high school friend that I had lost touch with over the years. Attending the wedding actually gave us an opportunity to catch up and realize how the four of us (her hubby and her and my hubby and me) had so many things in common, it restarted our friendship!
  4. The drink trick worked like a charm and thankfully in Hawaii everyone’s hot, so we were all sweating together!¬†
  5. It was actually very relaxing, and far from uncomfortable, I remember laughing a lot that night!

“Alternative Reasons” have¬†taught me to pause and look at any situation in a different perspective. Especially because most times my predictions don’t even happen and I just end up winding myself (and my hubby) up for these false worries. It’s a reminder that just because I think one way, doesn’t mean everyone else thinks the same. So I try to recognize the anxiety thought, counter it, and then just go for it!

I was so¬†proud of myself I wanted to share this experience with you! I don’t always have these little triumphs, but when I do, I always try to write them down, for myself, or even to discuss them with my doctor at my next session. It reminds me of my progress and how even if I take a few steps back, my mistakes just remind me of how far I’ve come and that I can always try again the next time around.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my little victory and hope you remember to appreciate your little triumphs too!

Mahalo,

LWGAD

Acupuncture and Massage: Tools to Overcome Anxiety

Aloha, no it is not a typo, yes you are correct, it does say “acupuncture and massage are tools to overcome anxiety.” I will admit it is unconventional, but from my experience there are other avenues one can take to be anxiety-free, and it has helped not me just physically, but mentally and spiritually. In the beginning I was really skeptical about trying these out, I have had years of therapy treatments with several different doctors, but I was barely making¬†any improvements. I really only learned how to share my feelings and thoughts aloud to people, versus just holding it in.

My “Western” Treatments

On one occasion while I was telling my old psychiatrist I was going to try a different psychologist, as a last resort to keep me, he suggested that I try a new prescription that was making a miraculous difference in his patients. As you know I am trying to do this on my own, (no disrespect intended to others that do take prescriptions), but my new doctor believed cognitive behavioral therapy, among other treatments, would improve the quality of my life with GAD, without medication.

Thankfully, treatments with my current psychologist have been very beneficial, by helping me to view my anxiety thoughts in different perspectives. He gives me tools and worksheets, examples, and goals I can use until my next appointment and to track when I reach an accomplishment. Being a forever student, I often find myself taking notes on my cellphone and then e-mailing them to my husband and myself for future use. After starting with him, my confidence increased and¬†I am able to push through¬†my anxiety when I could not¬†previously.¬†For a few years, treatments were going wonderfully, until it got closer to my wedding day…

My Underlying Sadness

I began to feel anxious and sad even after my appointments with my doctor, and it wasn’t really anything in particular that I could pinpoint. My relationship with my fiance was great, I mean we had the typical wedding arguments about the amount of guests, the budget, but I knew it was not him, nor my crazy family and friends, or any other typical wedding drama. It was something different, I woke up with the sadness and went to bed with the sadness, and I would constantly feel like crying throughout the day, always at the brink of tears. It was extremely weird, I¬†wasn’t particularly sad or depressed about anything in general, no suicidal thoughts, nothing I could give as the reason,¬†just constant sadness. Appointments with my doctor wasn’t helping the sadness subside, and I knew I needed to find another way to heal myself, but I was uneasy about some suggestions as they were not the type of treatments I was accustomed to as cures for anxiety.

My Hawaii Roots Gave Me an Open Mind

Through a family referral it was suggested that I try a spiritual healer. Now I’m not one that immediately believes in that kind of stuff, but I feel growing up in Hawaii may have made me open to things outside the “typical.” My great-grandfather was the first in my family to come to Hawaii, and being the fourth-generation, my parents and grandparents have taught me to¬†respect the island, the different cultures, as well as¬†their practices and¬†beliefs.¬†For example, everyone takes their shoes off when they enter someones home, or whenever someone throws a party, you know it’s not going to just be chips and dip or cheese and crackers, there’s going to be pupus (appetizers), snacks, entrees, desserts, and all with a side of rice, which is a staple in Hawaii.

The people of Hawaii are also taught to respect the Hawaiian culture, especially its spiritual beliefs and Gods.¬†The most powerful and well known is¬†Madame Pele, the Goddess of Fire, who created the islands of Hawaii through her volcanos. Everyone in Hawaii knows that you must respect her land, and must never take a lava rock or sand from the Big Island of Hawaii as it belongs to her, or you will face years of bad luck until it is rightfully returned. Failed marriages, medical conditions, unemployment, loss of finances, are just some of the misfortunes that have happened. I know you’re having doubts this is true but, there is even a website dedicated to help tourists who are unaware of Madame Pele’s curse, and request assistance in the respectful return of her lava rocks and sand to the Big Island of Hawaii. If you are interested in Madame Pele, I’ll post links to a video and the website at the end of this post for more information. I digressed, but hopefully you have a better idea of why I was open to the alternative treatments, as we are taught from young to be open to others beliefs in general.

My First Massage Experience

Even before my sadness prior to my wedding, a few years before, a family friend who was a masseuse offered to massage me at an awesome price. I was at first trepidatious¬†about someone touching my back as I have eczema (due in part to my GAD), but she was a family friend and I felt comfortable enough with her. The first massage was terrific and I became hooked! She was able to get knots out of places I didn’t even know I had, and I began to feel more relaxed after each session. I started to schedule a massage at least once a month, but it wasn’t until maybe the 5th treatment or so that I realized how powerful a massage could be not just physically, but¬†spiritually.

It was a typical day and I had my normal massage like all the previous other massages. However, when the massage was done and my husband came to pick me up, I felt terrific, but started to feel a lump forming in my throat. For some reason she told me that this session was on her, and I didn’t have to pay. Now I’m known to be a sensitive and emotional person naturally, and at first I thought I was just touched by her kind gesture, but tears just began to roll down my cheeks for no reason at all and I knew it couldn’t be just because I had gotten a free session.

She kindly told me that urge to cry happens sometimes¬†and¬†that crying after the massage was “normal.” She explained¬†that people will store sadness or stress in parts of their¬†bodies that can’t be released because it is somehow stuck, but after a massage people are able to let go of all the¬†tensions known and unknown that they were holding in. I hugged her and went home with my husband and continued to cry “like a baby” for a good half an hour after the session. It was an incredibly weird, but awesome experience. It was the first time ever that I cried for no reason at all, I wasn’t extremely happy or sad, or stressed, but the tears just kept coming.

And I don’t know how to describe how I felt afterwards, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders that I didn’t even know I had been carrying. I felt calm and at peace, and GAD was the last thing on my mind.

My First Acupuncture Experience

As I mentioned earlier,¬†right before my wedding I was feeling a¬†constant sadness and it was recommended that I see a spiritual healer. Through a referral I was given an acupuncturist’s number, and although skeptical I¬†scheduled an appointment anyway. I found out later, that there are acupuncturists that will just stick the needles in you and leave you for a few minutes, and there are others¬†that will stay with you and help you move your energies to assist in¬†healing¬†yourself. Both work, but for me I’ve found the latter to be tremendous in my self healing. It is not advertised for obvious reasons, but after my massage experience, I was ready to get rid of the sadness that was plaguing me for months in any way shape or form.

I met with her and explained my history and my current plague of sadness. Everything was going fine and at some points the needle hurt at first and then began to subside. But once she put the needles in my arms¬†which are called my “heart protector” points, I felt my eyes begin to water, then a tear, another tear, and then a flood of tears began to pour out of me! To the point were I began to sob so much I was starting to hyperventilate from all the crying! And again, I was not sad about anything in general, but as I began to cry a thought popped into my head: “my dad will not be at my wedding.”

I told my acupuncturist about the thought of my father during the treatment, and she mentioned that, that must of been the reason among others, for my sadness as it occurred as the tears where flowing. I mentioned in a previous post my history and how I have not spoken to my dad in years, so even with the wedding, I thought I was fine, that I had accepted it, but apparently my body, spirit, or heart did not agree with my mind.

Like the massage experience, my first acupuncture experience left me feeling exhausted, but refreshed and peaceful. It made the wedding planning with all its stressors a happy affair,¬†and I had the most awesome¬†wedding in the world to my best friend. I just felt a strong feeling of gratitude to my family and friends, and some came up to us after the wedding and said it was the best wedding they ever went to! I don’t think it would have been possible if I didn’t take a chance and to try the acupuncture and massages in addition to my therapy sessions.

Give It A Try

I know that everyones experiences are different, and that acupunture and massage may not work for you the way it has worked for me, but¬†you never know until you try. I’m not able to continue the massages as frequently as I would like, but I continue to get acupuncture treatments once a week and I have found that I am able to speak up more during office meetings, am less anxious meeting new people, and am more willing to take chances and make changes than I have had in the past. I continue to see my psychologist when needed, but I’ve found having many tools, is always better than just having one.

If you ever do decide to try these suggestions, I’d love to hear how they worked for you and your journey with GAD. Please leave me a comment, because it’s always nice to know that I’m not the only one. ūüôā

Mahalo,

LWGAD

P.S. Like I promised, if you’re interested in learning more about Madame Pele, here are a few links from the Travel Channel and the Return Lava Rock to Hawaii¬†website:

http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/legends-of/video/pele-the-fire-goddess

Phartophobia or Flatuphobia

Happy (Belated) Independence Day!!! Being that it is a holiday weekend, I thought it best to keep this entry light as air, er well, more like gas…I’m actually quite nervous about sharing this topic because it is very embarrassing, but for the sake of personal growth and acceptance, here it goes:

Phartophobia or Flatuphobia

Phartophobia or Flatuphobia is the “fear of farting in public” (per my google search on the phrase), and I actually did not have this phobia until maybe 3 or 4 years ago when I caught a stomach virus which gave me explosive diarrhea for 3 weeks straight. It made me extremely bloated and gassy and I found my typical farts to be super “deadly” whether they were silent or obnoxious. I was worried¬†that I was starting to get IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), as I had to go to the bathroom several times a day. Thankfully it somehow subsided and after I made a solid poo for the first time in 3 weeks, I literally did a happy dance in the bathroom. However,¬†since then, I now have a phobia of farting in public, especially at work,¬†and it has now changed the dynamic of how I view farting or pooping in public.

How It Affects Me

I work in a very busy office environment, which sometimes does not lend quick opportunities to “let one rip.”¬†To release the tension I usually try to go into the file room when no one is there, the stairwell, or of course the bathroom, to set off my “gas bombs.”

Unfortunately, there have been occasions while I am clenching my checks on my way to my secret rendezvous, where I pass by a coworker or a client or anyone and a silent one has squeezed through the cracks. I quickly rush to the bathroom to do the deed, but it’s too late, the damage has been done, I will now for the rest of the day, possibly rest of the next two days, worry about this one incident and whether or not that person smelled my passing unwanted “present.”

When I am in my anxiety moments I literally, am incapable of doing or thinking of anything else. I replay the situation of me farting in public¬†repeatedly and¬†ponder if I could have done anything differently. If the fart stunk, I go deeper into my worry-hole (no pun intended), and start freaking out even more wondering about what that person or persons will be thinking of me. Or if it was not stink, I tell myself, “normally people are used to their own body odors, so you don’t know for sure it was stink!” And the inner debate continues…

7 Tips¬†To Counter the “Stink”

Then I’ve gone home and searched on the internet for things that could help to prevent the smell of a fart and prevent the (imaginary)¬†teasing or ridiculing from others I think is happening behind my back. The following 7¬†Tips¬†may help fellow phartophobians/flatuphobians live with their stanky farts:

  1. There is a deodorizer tiny enough to carry¬†in your pocket. The one I have is called “One-Drop” which can be used¬†before farting (or pooping) in the bathroom by dropping “one drop” into the toilet first.
  2. I keep an oil or a hand sanitizer at my desk and use it right before I’m about to fart¬†to hide the smell.
  3. Lists or suggestions of particular foods to eat or avoid to keep your farts at bay are available on several websites.
  4. There’s even a chair pad¬†that has charcoal in it that will hide your farts while sitting on it.
  5. The¬†most interesting¬†one I found, but have not had the courage to actually purchase, is the charcoal underwear called “Shreddies,” which supposedly hides the smell of your fart so you can “fart with confidence.”

(Btw, I am not affiliated with any of these products. I just found them on my internet search and linked them for quick reference just in case anyone may be interested. I have never purchased any of the charcoal products myself and I cannot say for sure if they actually work.)

6.  Or you can blame it on your friend/family dog!

I have the best story where this worked! I was over at someone’s house while they were having a BBQ. Since they live in a small place I was sitting on the floor with their friends and their dog was sitting right next to me. As I stood up to reach over for a cracker on the coffee table, I let out a silent but deadly one. One of their guy friends immediately turned to his friend and said, “Hey dude did you just fart?!” We all started laughing and to play it off I said, “It wasn’t me! Maybe it was their dog!” And like perfect timing their dog turned around and sniffed his butt! He goes, “Damn that was stink!” as the dog just laid his head back down on the ground near me. I was so thankful for that dog that day and was reassured once more why they are man’s best friend! I later told my the hosts what happened and we had a good laugh about it. To this day I don’t think their friends really knew (or cared) that it was me!

7. ¬†The best and ideal suggestion¬†would be to just Accept the Fart in ALL it’s Glory!¬†I know, I¬†know, that’s easier said than done, which is why I try to remember the following…

I Am One of Many Farters

The most awesome thing happened when I finished¬†searching for the 7¬†tips above¬†– I realized the numerous websites that focused on pharto/flatuphobia, meant that the¬†several people who ran the websites, and¬†theirs¬†customers, were also worried about their stinky farts too! Little ‘ole me on a tiny island in the Pacific ocean, was¬†just one of I’m sure thousands, who fear farting in public!

Instead of looking at my tips list as a¬†“reference sheet,” I began to look at my list as a “reassurance sheet.”¬†It calmed and reminded me that I did not have to take it¬†so seriously,¬†that everybody does it, and there is really nothing we can do about when or how they come, but you can control how you react to the farts.

Now reaching the place of “self acceptance” doesn’t happen immediately for me, but¬†the more it happens, the more I practice it, and the easier it is starting to become. And I find myself shrugging it off sooner,¬†than I would have before (for the most part).

When I have an “off” day,¬†I have always found that laughter is the best way to stop the “anxiety train” from chugging along. I usually try to remember a funny and embarrassing story, like above. I have also found that the¬†following video,”How to HIDE A FART IN PUBLIC,”¬†has also made my recent¬†“crop dusting” and “deja vus” way less mortifying! ūüôā

I hope this post put a smile on your face as I had doubts on whether I should post it for obvious reasons. If it inspires one person to just laugh at themselves, sharing my shame, will be well worth it.

Thanks again for stopping by and Happy Farting! ūüôā

Aloha,

LWGAD

Introduction

Thank you for stopping by, and for supporting a fellow awesome individual who just happens to be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I thought before I share my experiences with you that I tell you¬†a little more about “who I am.”

As stated in the “About,” I am a woman in her early 30s, newly married to a wonderfully supportive husband, who loves me for who I am (the cray-cray and all), and who encouraged me to start this blog. Only recently, maybe 2011, I was diagnosed with GAD. But thinking about it, I’m sure I had it for years and thought my excessive sweating and constant worrying was because I was overweight or related to hormones. Actually in the beginning I thought I just had social anxiety, but nope, I have the more encompassing GAD which happens in every aspect of life, not just social.

I’m sure I even had it from when I was a child, and maybe it even may be partially hereditary because relatives on my dad’s side have anxiety attacks, and take medication for it sometimes. I thankfully, according to my doctor, am able to “function” without medications, but if I choose to he could prescribe them for me. I’m choosing to tackle my GAD head on and this blog will hopefully help me reach that sense of “peace” we all seek.

My Background

I was born and raised in Hawaii and have never had the opportunity to live anywhere else (although I would love to, it is kind of related to GAD, but more on that later). My parents were divorced when I was 6 and I lived with my abusive father until I was 13 and my mom won custody of my little sister and me. Acclimating was kind of hard as I came from the “country” to “town” at a time where I was still trying to find myself. Skip to the end of the awkward teenage years, it didn’t help that I later entered into a very abusive relationship with my ex-boyfriend for 6 years. The abuse and insecurity from my father’s mental/physical abuse and the 6 years of mental/physical abuse from my ex-boyfriend intensified my anxiety and I actually became bulimic for a few years. I am now thankfully fully recovered from my bulimia,¬†but GAD is something I still live with everyday.

My GAD

I understand GAD is different for lots of people, but mine is centered around the fear of “what people think of me.” I know it sounds a little narcissistic, but in my culture, there is a great deal of showing a particular “image” to the world, and although I’d like to think I am Americanized, there is always a constant push and pull I must overcome. I should clarify, it’s not just what “people think of me,” there’s also generalized worry, like if my husband will always be safe, or if we will be safe if another tsunami hits (*knock on wood), but the “what other people think” is the majority of my GAD.

I constantly worry if people like me and a lot of my choices or decisions I make are centered around that. For example l normally stay at the same job for years because I am too scared of new situations and new people. If I need to speak up in front of people even in a small meeting, I sometimes break into a sweat even in air conditioned rooms. I also sometimes fear¬†even shaking someones hands because my palms are sweaty. I’m so worried about the amount of sweat that comes out of me that the clothes I wear are normally black or sweat proof so no one can tell that my body is actually exudes the pacific ocean through all my pores…*sigh

If something happens and maybe I feel it didn’t go that well, I replay the situation over and over and over and over and over in my head to see if it really was as bad as it seems. I even ask my husband, family or friends to check on my story or the situation to see if it was “okay.” But it’s not just once, I’ll ask them, especially my husband, millions of times until he has to put his foot down and tell me that the 1,000,001 answer is not going to be different than the million before.

Most times I’ll even replay embarrassing or anxiety memories in my head from years ago. So I won’t think of it anymore I yell for my husband’s attention or I ask him if he loves me, or I do kind of like a spasm to reset the thought. (Kind of like a Buzzfeed video I saw regarding anxiety. I’ll link it at the end of this post).

The Reason(s) for My GAD

After several therapy sessions and multiple doctors, I was finally diagnosed with GAD only a few years ago. However, what I found helpful after my diagnosis was how my doctor was able to give me exercises and even an understanding of why my GAD is centered around the fear of “what people think of me.”

My Father:¬†He said that from a young age my livelihood and safety was based off of what type of mood my father was in, in order to survive I taught myself to do “extra” things to help my sister and me keep in his good graces to avoid the abuse. For example, even though I had¬†a 4.0 I would still ask for extra credit so he would be proud and brag that I was an excellent student. It was a leverage I could keep to have him see me as a “good” child. But of course that was not even enough, I was still choked, thrown, slapped and ridiculed to the point where if my sister and I heard his car coming down the road to our house and we had not finished our chores we would run around the house like it was on fire trying to clean up, dust, and tidy up to his liking before he came home. The anxiety was created from “walking on egg shells” not knowing if what we did was enough to keep him happy, or if his wrath would pay us a visit. That constant fear and worry of what “he thought of me” created my GAD.

The Ex-Boyfriend: It’s sad, but true, sometimes kids either go for a guy exactly opposite of their father, or exactly like their father, I unfortunately took the latter. He was the first boy that actually gave me real attention, and with my low self esteem, I ate it up. But I also lost who I was when I was with him, because as soon as I was hooked his controlling and abusive side came out: I wasn’t able to wear certain clothes, talk to boys, go out with girlfriends to clubs (or anywhere w/o his approval), he basically controlled every aspect of my life. Guy friends I made in college he’d call them out and threaten to kick their asses, even though we were just friends.

Later when we were trying to lose weight together and he lost it faster, he got on my case about my eating so much that I became bulimic to speed up my weight loss and to make him happy. The anxiety worsened because like my father, he did not care where he was when he was upset with me, in GAP he’d yell at a guy “he thought” was checking me out, he’d make a scene on the freeway and have horrible road rage because someone didn’t use his blinker, and he even called out a girlfriend of mine because she was advancing faster in a video game we all played together.

Again, I was “walking on egg shells” and began to try to keep him happy, so I would worry about “what he thought about me,” to avoid situations of abuse. It took me 6 years to get the courage to leave, thinking back on it, it was probably the GAD, which made it hard for me to leave and do something new.

My doctor reassured me that these are not excuses for the GAD, they are the “whys,” but now that I know this I can hopefully learn to accept them and practice a worry-free life.

New Beginnings and Goals

Hope that gives you a better idea of my “Life With GAD.” For me sometimes knowing who someone one is or where they came from makes the foundation of any relationship strong and resilient.

I plan to post a new blog every Sunday (which may turn out to be Monday due to the time difference), with random blog posts throughout the week if time allows, but every Sunday will be my goal. I hope to share a GAD moment and what helped me at that time to accept it and let it go. My hope is that by sharing a piece of me, it will help others with GAD to realize all those thoughts that may seem silly or stupid, are the same type of thoughts that go through my brain everyday. I hope that my journey to “peace of mind” will inspire you to take a leap of faith and make the changes you’ve always wanted for yourself. We can do this together! ūüôā

Aloha,

LWGAD

P.S. It also helps to laugh at yourself now and again. This Buzzfeed Violet video “7 Problems Only Anxious People Understand” nails it right on the head! lol.

Life With GAD – About Me

Aloha,

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Welcome to my electronic diary which will encompass random moments¬†of my life with GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Where I worry about generally anything and everything in the universe, to the point where I begin to sweat like I’ve ran a marathon, even though I was sitting in an air conditioned room all day.

I plan to post a new blog every Sunday (which may turn out to be Monday due to the time difference), with random blog posts throughout the week if time allows, but every Sunday will be my goal. I hope to share a GAD moment and what helped me at that time to accept it and let it go.

My hope is that by sharing a piece of me, it will help others with GAD to realize all those thoughts that may seem silly or stupid, are the same type of thoughts that go through my brain everyday. I hope that my journey to “peace of mind” will inspire you to take a leap of faith and make the changes you’ve always wanted for yourself.

We can do this together! ūüôā

Mahalo,

Life With GAD