Posts Tagged With: “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook”

Day 2859: My anxiety

As we get closer to November 3, my anxiety is increasing. I know I’m not alone in my anxiety, which helps.

Can you see my anxiety in today’s photos?

Music is usually good for my anxiety. Here’s “My Anxiety” by Cal Scruby,

“Anxiety” by Anna Clendening,

“I Wrote a Song about Dealing with Depression and Anxiety” by Gremlin,

“Anxiety” by Black Eyed Peas featuring Papa Roach,

and, finally, “cute songs to help you deal with anxiety.”

My anxiety is grateful to everyone who is reading “My Anxiety” here and now, including YOU!

Categories: 2020 U.S. Election, 2020 U.S. Presidential election, group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 2668: The Light of Life

During dark times like these, we all need the light of life.   The light of life, for me, includes sharing thoughts, feelings, and images with you, every day.

Do you see the light of life in any of my photos from  yesterday?

























Last night, Michael and I were reminiscing about how our anxious, social-distancing cat Harley has also been described by veterinarians as “fretful” and “kind.”

And kindness is the light of life.

Then, we danced to a Townes Van Zandt song that has been a light of life for Michael:

Thanks to all who have been the light of life for me, including YOU.


Categories: gratitude, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1741: I have the right to ________

How would you complete the sentence in today’s title?

I have the right to tell you about The Personal Bill of Rights, from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne.


I have the right to encourage people to use their personal rights  in my therapy groups.

I have the right to take photos and to share them here.






I have the right to get out and go to musicals (like Evita at the North Shore Music Theater,  where I’ve seen dozens of musicals since I was a little kid).

I have the right to share YouTube videos of different productions of Evita (here,  here, and here).

I have the right to request comments for my blog.

You have the right to remain silent or to comment, below.

I have the right to express my gratitude for all who help me create these posts and — of course! — for you.




Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1464: Why I should be afraid

Whenever I look at the news, I encounter people telling me why I should be afraid.

Should I be afraid of that?

These days, I am more afraid than usual because of the political situation in the U.S. and because I can hear and feel my brand new mechanical heart valve working when I’m trying to sleep.

Should I be afraid of those things?

I don’t know if I should be afraid of anything. As I tell people in therapy, shoulds are unhelpful cognitive distortions and shoulds about emotions can be particularly toxic. When I’m having  any emotion, including fear, I try to let the emotion move through me, rather than judging it with shoulds. 

I guess I’m recommending that we feel fear without being afraid of it.

I should also say that most things I’ve been afraid of in the past have simply not come true. If they have come true, fear has neither helped me nor prevented me from facing them.

Should I be afraid that I have not adequately addressed today’s topic of Why I Should be Afraid?

Should we be afraid of any of my photos from yesterday?












Should I be afraid of being late for work if I don’t find a suitable song on YouTube very soon?


Should I worry or be afraid about getting comments today?

I should, without being afraid, thank all those who helped me create today’s post and also you — of course! — for being here, now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 921: Messages

Has everybody gotten the message that I love my work — doing group and individual therapy at a Boston hospital-based primary care practice ?

Part of that work involves helping people let go of  esteem-damaging messages they’ve heard from others (and internalized), including

You haven’t accomplished enough

You’re never good enough

Parts of you are unacceptable

You’re not worthy of love

I encourage people to challenge these toxic and habitual messages with health-promoting, affirmative messages, such as

I deserve to be seen, heard, and loved, exactly the way I am.

What kinds of messages do you give yourself?

At work, I receive lots of messages, every day, through email and voicemail.

Yesterday, I received one of the best voicemail messages, ever:

My doctor said you were good at talking to people who are not good at talking to people.

What messages do you get from these photos I took yesterday, before and after I heard that voicemail message?



Here’s some message music for you all:

The first public performance of “Message in a Bottle” by The Police is still sending out messages here, on YouTube.

Any messages — bottled or otherwise — you’d like to cast up on the shores of this post?

I hope you get the message that I’m grateful for people I work with, for my bf Michael (who cooked me something delicious when I got home last night at 9 PM), for Edmund Bourne (who wrote a great book about letting go of unhelpful messages), for Yankees, for ducks, for dogs, for cats, for bicyclists, for  flowers, for bright colors, for The Police, and — of course — for you!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Day 275: Getting better

I appreciate, so much, people’s comments, hopes, and wishes in response to yesterday’s blog post.

Here are some random thoughts about what’s been happening:

Over the “Breaking Bad” Marathon Weekend (see here, here, and here), I noticed I was getting short of breath.  There were LOTS of reasons for those feelings, so I noted them, but I didn’t worry about them.

However, after the weekend was over, I still noticed the shortness of breath. I no longer had good explanations for those feelings, so I started getting concerned.

Monday night, when I was taking a nice long walk with my bf, Michael, I talked to him about my worries.  I said to him, “I can’t figure out, these days, whether these feelings are in my head or in my heart.”

And I told him about a technique for people having panic attacks. This technique was inspired by this book (which I recommend highly):


The technique is this:  If you feel panicky and believe that might be heart-related, try this:

Exert yourself physically and see what happens.

So I said to Michael, “Wanna sprint?”  Because I also remembered, many years ago, challenging my old business partner, Jonathan, in a similar way, and discovering — much to my surprise — that I was a damn good sprinter (over very short distances).

So Michael and I sprinted, to the nearest tree.  And it was fun, again, to run like the wind.

After our sprint, I took my pulse.  And, much to my surprise, I found that my pulse ….

… was not speeding up.  At all.

It reminded me of my life, from ages 10 to 35, when I lived with a fixed-rate cardiac pacemaker.  During that time, even though I managed to dance a lot of disco, becoming a


(which was lots of fun), my heart rate never, ever speeded up, no matter how much I exercised.

In 1987, when I was 35 years old,  I got my first DDD cardiac pacemaker, which essentially repaired my heart to act like  yours — like a “normal” heart.  That is, every time I exercised, my heart speeded up.

I remember, after I got that pacemaker in 1987, going to an indoor track and jogging.

To me, that felt like one of my childhood dreams.


Flying like Peter Pan.

Monday night, my heart was not speeding up at all, after I had sprinted like the wind.

So I knew something was very wrong, but I didn’t know what.  When Michael and I got back home, I called the on-call cardiology resident at the hospital where I get my treatment. And together, we decided I should come into the Emergency Room.

So, at 9 o’clock on Monday night,  Michael and I went to the Emergency Room.

Now, as usual, I have some time limitations on writing this blog post, so I need to make a “long story, short.”  Here are some of the highlights of the next 24 hours:

  1. A very cool doctor, whom I had never met before, listening to my heart, and telling me that I had a “beautiful” heart murmur, which “sounded like the wind.”
  2. Two very cool doctors, whom I had met before, telling me that I was in atrial fibrillation, probably for the rest of my life, but not to worry, because this was extremely manageable, and with my very cool pacemaker, they would fix it so that I might actually feel better than I had been feeling lately.
  3. These same two very cool doctors,  seriously and respectfully discussing with me the pros and cons of various responses to my current situation, one of which would include being on medication for the rest of my life.
  4. My believing that the decision we came to, together, was a good one, and feeling hopeful about the future.
  5. Spending a couple of hours, having an echocardiogram performed on me, with one of the kindest, most beautiful people I have ever met in my life, which included the tears involved with any new, unexpected, and potentially scary development in one’s life.
  6. Having nothing but good results, in all ways.
  7. Going home.

Which is where I am writing this blog post, now.

Gotta end this blog post, so I can get some more sleep and go to work.

Thanks to doctors old and new, runners who fly like the wind, kind people everywhere, and to you — especially — for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 93: The Personal Bill of Rights

The original title for this post was “Things That Would Be Helpful to Me Remember Today.”  And I started to write a list.

And then I realized that a list already existed: “The Personal Bill of Rights.”  This is from a book,  “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund Bourne.  (Believe me, you don’t have to be anxious or phobic to get something out of this book.)

I’ve used this list in group and individual therapy. I’ve seen people react strongly to it,  stating, “I am going to post this somewhere, so I can see it every day.”

I assumed that if I googled “Personal Bill of Rights” (without naming the book or the author), that this list would show up, several times, in many different places for many different reasons.

And it did.

Here it is:

Personal Bill of Rights

1. I have the right to ask for what I want.

2. I have the right to say no to requests or demands I can’t meet.

3. I have the right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative.

4. I have the right to change my mind.

5. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.

6. I have the right to follow my own values and standards.

7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe or it violates my values.

8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.

9. I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings or prohlems

10. I have the right to expect honesty from others.

11. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.

12. I have the right to be uniquely myself.

13. I have the right to feel scared and say “I’m afraid.”

14. I have the right to say “I don’t know.”

15. I have the right not to give excuses or reasons for my behavior.

16. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.

17. I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.

18. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.

19. I have the right to be healthier than those around me.

20. I have the right to be in a nonabusive environment.

21. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.

22. I have the right to change and grow.

23. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.

24. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

25. I have the right to be happy.

Thanks to Edmund Bourne and thanks for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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