Posts Tagged With: anxiety

Day 1884: Inspired

Because I am participating in an inspired group therapy conference with other inspired group therapists, I am inspired to make this blog post short today.

So, I will ask two inspired questions.

  1. What has inspired you this past week?
  2. Who has inspired you the most in your life?

I will post one inspired photo.

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And I will share one inspired video.

I am inspired by so many places and people, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 1766: Trapped

Yesterday morning, somebody in therapy talked about feeling trapped and how that affects anxiety.

Later in the day, we heard how people in New York City were trapped, injured, and killed in a  pedestrian pathway .

This morning, I’m reading how New Yorkers are refusing to be trapped by terror.

Here’s how we worked on feeling trapped yesterday:

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What do you do when you’re feeling trapped?

Do any of my other images relate to being trapped?

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Here‘s  the New York Halloween Parade from last night, after the terrible attack.

 

My deepest sympathy to all who suffered losses. Thanks to all who do their best to heal  every day (including you).

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 1488: Showing Up

Lately, a lot of people have been showing up for my therapy groups.  Last night, “Showing Up” showed up as a topic.

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Some people showing up last night thought that “Life is just showing up” was a variant of a quote by Woody Allen. Here’s how that quote is showing up in my Google search:

“Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.” — Woody Allen

“Eighty percent of life is showing up.” — Woody Allen

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”  — Woody Allen

As usual, different versions of the truth are showing up.

I’ve been showing up more frequently on Twitter:

“Get over it” has never helped anyone get over anything.

There needs to be a new diagnostic code for Trump-related anxiety.

That last tweet showed up because so many people are showing up in my office with Trump-related anxiety.

New photos have been showing up on my iPhone, which means they’ll be showing up in this blog post.

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That’s Harley, showing up in the kitchen on some of my clothes. Harley’s fear of the camera is showing up less these days.

A song called “Showing Up” is showing up on YouTube:

Alex G is showing up near the ocean in that video. I wonder if I’ll be showing up near the ocean any time soon?

While I’m not sure exactly how, when, or where I’ll be showing up today, I do know I’ll be showing up at cardiac rehab at 9 AM.

What’s been showing up for you?  How have you been showing up?

I wonder if asking those questions will result in comments showing up, below.

Thanks to all who helped me create this “Showing Up” post and to you — of course! — for showing up, here and now.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 939: Time Machines 

If I were to use a time machine and travel back to yesterday, I would see these on the board in my office:



If I used Time Machine #1 to actually travel into the past, perhaps I could take some art lessons and draw better time machines.

If you had  time-traveled to that therapy session in  my office yesterday, you would have heard this:

We all time travel, through our thoughts, into the future and into the past. Those of us who over-use the time machine that goes into the future tend to experience worry and anxiety. People experiencing depression have a time machine that travels a lot into the past with regret, guilt, and self-judgment.

I’m now getting into time machine #2 to travel a short distance into the future, wondering what people  will think about my theory of time machines.

Traveling into the past — by just one day, again — I am hearing my boyfriend Michael say:

When I was quitting smoking and I felt like having a cigarette, I would  time travel ten minutes into the future and pretend  I had just had one.  I realized I would be in the same place with or without a cigarette, so why not skip the step of smoking it?

I plan to apply Michael’s technique to quitting cookies.

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While I often recommend that people set their personal time machines to “The Present,” let’s set Time Machine #1  to Monday, July 27, 2015, for a brief visit:


  
  
  

  

As I’m looking at that bunny from the recent past, here and now, I’m thinking:

  • I wonder if bunnies and other animals  time-travel in their minds, like humans do?
  • What number of life-span years would I have given to a bunny, if I had managed to draw one (instead of just a giant tortoise and a human being) in that  pictorial representation  of animal life-spans I retrieved yesterday,  time-traveling into my memory of a children’s encyclopedia from the early 1960s?

  • If you time travel into the Internet (like I just did, 5 minutes ago) you’ll find that my memory of the life span of a giant tortoise was off, by a factor of two.

I believe I’m time traveling a lot, lately, because I’m helping to plan my 45th high school reunion. I won’t time travel two months into the future to imagine that reunion; it will get here, soon enough.

Have any of my readers time traveled into the future to predict what time travel music I might retrieve from time-traveling YouTube?

Instead, I found “The Time Traveler’s Guide, a movie montage by Clara Darko.

Traveling 10 minutes into the future, I think there will be music, and a smile.

Timely thanks to Michael, Clara Darko, bunnies, giant tortoises, human beings who time travel, all the movies and characters appearing in “The Time Traveler’s Guide” and you — of course! — for traveling here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , | 56 Comments

Day 345: Things That Won’t Kill Me

This post was inspired by (1) expat eye‘s excellent comment on my post yesterday and (2) waking up with a painful leg cramp (among other things).

So, here’s a list of Things That Won’t Kill Me (despite messages from primitive parts of my brain to the contrary):

  1. Pain.
  2. The cold.
  3. The dark.
  4. Water.
  5. Heights.
  6. Mistakes (mine)
  7. Mistakes (other people‘s).
  8. People getting angry at me.
  9. My getting angry at other people.
  10. Jealousy or envy.
  11. Not getting enough sleep.
  12. Not doing what I’m told to do (challenging authority).
  13. Being late.
  14. Losing things.
  15. Hurting somebody else’s feelings.
  16. Disappointment.
  17. Change.
  18. My feelings, in general.
  19. Other people’s feelings, in general.
  20. My heart, despite its unusual qualities.

(Note: I’ve linked everything on that list to a past post. Because I had so many choices and so little time,  I may have made some mistakes. However, see #6, above.)

Obviously, that’s a partial list. However, I need to stop the list. (Setting limits won’t kill me either, apparently.)

Now, you might argue that some of the things on that list MIGHT kill me.  Just to quell those disagreements (although disagreements are another thing that won’t kill me), let me change the title of the list to this:

Things That Won’t Kill Me, Today

Does anybody still want to argue?

Before I end this post, I would like to add one more thing to that list:

Compliments.

Why am I adding that to the list, now? Because I have new and exciting proof of the non-deadly-ness of compliments; namely, all the positive feedback I’ve been getting here.

Also, by adding “compliments,” I can introduce some photos I took yesterday, on my walk after work, past a construction site I pass all the time.

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As I took those photos, I thought, “These words apply to a lot of people I know.”

Anybody want to own those for themselves, now?

After all, it won’t kill you.

Thanks to everybody who is still surviving (despite all the things that could kill us), including all of my wonderful readers today.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 301: Bearing up

Yesterday, I met my old friend Lawry in Harvard Square, Cambridge, for brunch, with some members of his family.

It was great to see everybody.  I loved talking to Lawry, his wife, his daughter, his sister, his brother, and his brother’s wife.

It was particularly special for me to spend time with them, because I had been feeling some anxiety, over the weekend, about my health (and some about the Boston Red Sox, too).

And it was wonderful to be back in Harvard Square. (See “What’s the problem?” and “Random Images (paired)“, two earlier posts, for more adventures in Harvard Square.)

Here’s a little photo essay, about my time in Harvard Square yesterday.

A Little Photo Essay

by Ann

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On my way to meet Lawry and his family for brunch, I saw this amazing tree.  I had to stop and take a picture. Thank you, tree.

It was another beautiful autumn day. Those of us who live in the Greater Boston area have been remarking, this year, about how friggin’ great the fall weather has been.  Those of us who dread the onset of winter in the Greater Boston area have been wondering whether this is a good or bad omen about how painful it’s going to be, too soon. (Actually, I can only speak for my own thoughts about this.)

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Moments after  I took that first shot of the tree,  I had to stop and take the above photo. Why?  It’s a sign about a group, people!

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Here’s a closer shot of the sign (and some of the flags) that you can see in the background of the previous photo.

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As I said, it was a beautiful day. Look at those trees and that sky.

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Another sign in front of the church. I snapped this, as a is Note To Self:  “Ann, make sure you sing more (especially as the cold and dark descend)!”

After I took that photo, I stopped dilly-dallying, and focused on getting to brunch with Lawry and his family.

I didn’t have any photos of Lawry or his family members to show you today, because I was too focused on interacting with each of them, in the moment. Right now, I wish I had some visual proof of how great they all are, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

After brunch, I went to Urban Outfitters because I needed a scarf and gloves — that is, gear for winter,  coming too soon to a location near me.

And …  I DID find a great scarf and some colorful gloves there, which definitely cheered me up. (My philosophy: If I’m going to be cold, I might as well look cool.)

While I was shopping  in the store, I couldn’t help but notice this:

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I had never seen anything quite like THAT.  I’ve noticed lots of children — and adults — wearing animal hats in these parts, but a full-bear winter coat?  I was very intrigued, but assumed it was most likely just for display. (I mean, it’s almost Halloween, for heaven’s sake.)

However, when I was in line to pay for my merchandise, I noticed that the people in front of me — a woman and her son —  had just bought one of those bear coats, which was being stuffed into a bag. I blurted out, “Wow!  You got one of those!  Can I see it?”

The woman paused, but then kindly took it out of the bag, to show me. She told me it was for her son, Asa, who was a student at Boston College. “Will you try it on for me?” I asked Asa, as I told them both about this blog.

This was Asa’s reply:

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How cool is THAT?

Now it’s a day later, and I’m still feeling better.

Many thanks to Asa and his mother, Lawry and his family, Christ Church Cambridge, Urban Outfitters, all things that make life bearable, and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 299: Why haven’t I published anything (outside of here)?

This morning, I am posing questions about where I am in my life, right now.

I have enough expertise and skill to be a published author. Why haven’t I made that happen, so far in my life?

What’s gotten in the way of that?

Here are some things I can think of:

  1. Doubts about my (previously mentioned) expertise and skill.
  2. My ability to think of a kashmillion things I would rather be doing other than writing something for publication.
  3. Concern (and perhaps some other feelings) that other people would  have the control to accept or reject something that was important to me (and what makes THEM such friggin’ experts, anyway?!??)
  4. My short attention span. (Look!  It’s a baby wolf!)

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Where was I?

Oh, yes. I was asking the question:

Why haven’t I published anything, so far in my life?

Oh, I wanted to state the obvious, at this point.  I’m not counting what I’ve published here, at WordPress. Because if I did, I’ve published almost 300 times.

I’m discounting that.

Hmmmm. I’m wondering if I’m discounting anything else?

Because, recent data suggests that I can forget things that I’ve done.  By “recent data,” I am referring to my blog post, two days ago, where I forgot that I had actually taken a photo of Carl Yastrzemski, when I was at the 1st game of the World Series, at Boston’s Friendly Fenway Park.

So, let’s see. have I published anything, outside of  these blog posts?

Hmmm. I guess you could say I have.

About 20 years ago, when I was in Social Work school, I wrote a paper about how people with disabilities were portrayed in the media. I interviewed people from a local chapter of (I believe) the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and they asked if they could publish a version of my paper in their national publication. Which they did.

And in years past, if you Googled my name, that article appeared. But I can’t find it now, to check my facts (and support my bragging).

So maybe I’ll see if I can find that article, later.

But in the meantime, it’s a beautiful day!

Which means, I would like to wrap this post up.

Before I do, here’s what feels left undone.

I want to ask  myself another question:

Do I WANT to publish (or do I just think I SHOULD publish)?  (Psssst!  The word “should” can indicate a cognitive distortion.)

Hold on, I’m thinking ….

Here’s the answer.

I do want to publish, if it’s something:

  1. I feel passionately about, and
  2. I think would be helpful to share with others.

So what might that topic be?

I’m interested in communication of all kinds, verbal and nonverbal. Maybe I should write a paper on something like this:

The people in the following image (from a national TV broadcast) are having an experience that most would consider joyful:

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That is, they are attending a World Series Game, where their home team is leading by a score of 8-1, one strike away from victory.  What emotions are they communicating, non-verbally? What are the factors influencing those non-verbal communications, from the stand-point of those sending AND receiving the communications?

That’s definitely an interesting topic.

However, I can think of another topic, that’s probably a better fit for the two criteria I listed above: The therapy groups that I have created and facilitate, where I work.

So I would like to take steps to publish, about those.

One last thing, before I end this post: I believe it helps, once you have identified a goal, to make a commitment for action, ideally witnessed by others.

Therefore, I hereby commit, to my group of WordPress readers, that I will take a measurable step, by the end of this year, to publish about those therapy groups.

Okay!

Thanks to  Dan Shaughnessy (the author of “One Strike Away: The Story of the 1986 Red Sox”), thatcutesite.com,  baby wolves (and other distractions), the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, verbal and non-verbal communicators everywhere, and to you — of course! — for witnessing today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 287: Opening a can of worms

“Opening a can of worms” is an idiom.

“Idiom” is a word I avoid, sometimes, because it sounds like the word “idiot.”

When people use this idiom, it’s a warning about a possible negative result of change.

If you […insert change here….], you’ll be opening a can of worms!

I hear this a lot, from within and without.

If you try something new, and it doesn’t work, you’ll feel like an idiot!

If you ….

  1. change a process, at work or elsewhere,
  2. talk to somebody about something upsetting,
  3. introduce somebody new into your life,
  4. move, one way or another,
  5. take a risk, of any kind

… you might be opening up a can of worms.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeek!   Worms!!!

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Last week, at work, we were discussing a possible change, and a manager used that expression.

Yesterday, at home, I was discussing a possible change with my boyfriend, and he used that expression.

I’m not kidding, people, I hear that expression a lot.

This is what I said to my boyfriend, though:

Wait a minute!  We might be opening up a can of worms, it’s true.  But, Michael!  It’s just a can!

Because I was picturing a can of this size:

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and so was he.

So I asked,

Why are people so scared of opening a can of worms, then?

Here’s a quote, from Mental Floss, about the idiom:

Metaphorically speaking, to open a can of worms is to examine or attempt to solve some problem, only to inadvertently complicate it and create even more trouble. Literally speaking, opening a can of worms, as most fishermen can attest, can also mean more trouble than you bargained for.

Here’s another one, from Yahoo Answers:

Opening a can of worms means to start to reveal something that will be messy and hard to conceal. A literal can of worms would be filled with hundreds of squirmy worms that would fall all over the place. Attempting to catch all of them and get them back in the can would be very difficult. The same goes for so many things in our lives. Sometimes there are things that we say that can’t be reversed or put back in the can, as it were. And like the worms that spread out everywhere the thing in question will spread out and impact other people.

Hmmm.  So I guess the fear makes sense, doesn’t it?

But, as I said to Michael,

What if the worms DO all escape?  How can they hurt us, really?

I mean, it’s not like we’re opening up a Tanker of Tarantulas.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m not so scared about opening up a can of worms, right now.

Thanks to Michael, grasshopper_ramblin, spaghetti in cans, worms everywhere, people considering a change, and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 260: DOA (Dread of Anger)

This is a question I’ve been asking myself lately:

Why do I have so much dread about the possibility of other people getting angry at me?

It really doesn’t make sense.

How can I figure this out?

Let’s start with a definition of the word “dread”:

dread (drd)
v. dread·ed, dread·ing, dreads
v.tr.
1. To be in terror of.
2. To anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance: dreaded the long drive home.
3. Archaic To hold in awe or reverence.
v.intr.
To be very afraid.
n.
1. Profound fear; terror.
2. Fearful or distasteful anticipation. See Synonyms at fear.
3. An object of fear, awe, or reverence.
4. Archaic Awe; reverence.
adj.
1. Causing terror or fear: a dread disease.
2. Inspiring awe: the dread presence of the headmaster.
[Middle English dreden, short for adreden, from Old English adrdan, from ondrdan, to advise against, fear : ond-, and-, against; see un-2 + rdan, to advise; see ar- in Indo-European roots.]

When I use the word “dread,” I’m usually thinking of definition #2 (“to anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance”) rather than definition #1 (“to be in terror of”).

But maybe all definitions apply, because sometimes I CAN feel terror about other people’s anger.

And that doesn’t really make sense, because — unlike a lot of other people I know — I’ve never (in person) witnessed the traumatic results of violent anger against another human being.

I’m very lucky, that way.

So why so much dread about other people’s anger?

Here’s a piece of data: I don’t feel that Dread Of Anger all the time.

As a matter of fact, I like telling people in therapy that all of their feelings — including anger — are welcome. And, when people have gotten angry in therapy, I have authentically experienced those times as helpful for all involved.

Hmmmmm.

I don’t know if I’m going to figure this out today. And I’m going to have to leave for work, very soon.

I’m still baffled by my Dread of Anger.

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(If you’re baffled by that photo, see here.)

However, at least I took a first step, this morning, by posing the puzzle in public.

Thanks to Andy Rooney, to other people who have posed (or are otherwise dealing with) puzzles, and to you, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 241: No worries

I like that phrase, “no worries.”

I’ve heard and read that several times, recently. I’ve started saying it, too.

I believe that worry does not help us.

It does not spur us to action.

It does not solve problems.

It’s the mental equivalent of this:

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Last night, at dinner, I said to my boyfriend Michael, “I have a lot of things coming up SOON that tend to make me anxious: a presentation at work, the beginning of a new school year, blah blah blah.*

“I would like to make this commitment  to you.  And to all these other witnesses.” (I gestured to the soy sauce and the other inhabitants of the dinner table.)

“I want to Not Feel Anxious for the next 10 days.”

Michael asked me how I was going to do that.  I said, “I don’t know.  Just NOT do it.  Notice it and put it aside.  Say to myself, ‘Sorry!  That’s not allowed!'”

Michael and I talked about I’ve used this assignment at work: “Scheduling worry.” That is,  I tell people to schedule a time, each week, for worrying (Thursday at 6 PM, say). Then, when worry comes up during other times, they say to themselves, “Nope!  This isn’t the time for that. I’ve got that scheduled for Thursday, at 6 PM.” (Then, when Thursday at 6 comes along, the assignment is to “worry as hard as you possibly can.”)

However, I don’t want to schedule worry.

I just want a break for 10 days.

Michael said he would like to join me in this.  (The soy sauce was noncommittal.)

Would you like to join me, too?

Thanks to small animals who are doing their best to get somewhere, condiments everywhere,  worriers, warriors, and to you, too, for reading today.

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*I actually said, “blah blah blah.”  I like that phrase, too.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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