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Panic attack help
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How to successfully release worry, anxiety and other sucktastic emotions (includes 3 journaling prompts)

Your thoughts are happening non-stop. And if you think something long enough you’ll start to believe its true. This is how beliefs are formed.

Those of us prone to depression and anxiety tend to dwell and obsess about anything and everything – especially the negative. It’s not usually a conscious choice, but something that became default when we were small children.

Negative thoughts and beliefs are therefor louder and more burdensome because:

1. We are acutely aware of them
2. We think we shouldn’t have them (perfectionism and unreasonable expectations)
3. We think too much in general

For those diagnosed with anxiety disorders and a plethora of other mental illnesses, the mind chatter is incessant, overwhelming and really really annoying. And we make the mistake of believing this is all there is.

Because it blinds us if we let it.

Folks who experience a lot of anxiety are incredibly intelligent, usually perfectionists and almost always highly sensitive people. They feel things (everything) down to the core of their being. So it’s easier to stay in a head space because it feels safer.

But it’s a trap.

Self-created.

Sometimes intentionally, usually unconsciously.

There is, however, always a choice.

Even when something better seems unobtainable, exhausting, impossible. You do have options.

You know how to make yourself feel better, but you forget how when you’re trapped in the infinite thought loop of impending doom.

And I’m not kidding. It can get that bad. Very quickly. You know this.

But if you can remember and demonstrate your power of choice the moment you notice what is happening, you can (lovingly) hijack your thought process and start a new one.

For example, start telling yourself, either in your head or out loud, things that bring you even the slightest bit of relief. Nothing is going to get resolved by you freaking out about it. And the longer you hold yourself in that place, the worse it’s going to get. So try saying something like:

“It’s just an illusion. It’s not going to last forever. I’m just freaking out about nothing. I made a mistake. It’s just my mind. Even though my thoughts feel very real, very scary and true, I love myself anyway. They might be true. Even if they were true, I’d be okay. I always land on my feet. I always get through this…”

And keep going until breathing becomes easier and you start to feel lighter.

Always keep a list on you, that has at least ten things you can do instead of freaking out, or being depressed or whatever it is you struggle with the most.

For me it’s anxiety. So much like the list here, you can create one that says:

“My go-to list of things to do when I’m ______________ (insert poison here).”

Here’s mine:

Panic attack help

And here’s a blank one for you to fill out and keep on you:

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Don’t be afraid to question the accuracy of your thoughts and fears. Your fear thinks it knows everything, but there is a part of you that knows better. Listen to that part, no matter how faint it is.

And the more you do, the better you’ll feel.

You deserve that.

You deserve to feel good. For absolutely no reason. Even when you make mistakes. Even when everything seems wrong.

Here are some journaling prompts for you to explore. These are also questions that can stop negative thoughts in their tracks, so keep them nearby.

1. My fear – is it a legitimate fear? If yes, why? If no, why?

2. What can I do to accept myself even if the worry stays?

3. What am a believing about myself? Is it true?

Let me know how it goes in the comments section below.

Hear me roar
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Being bold (affirmation)

You are courageous. Know it. Own it.

And use this affirmation often.

Hear me roar

Looking for more affirmations? Go here.

self-injury awareness day
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Teenage Cutting: Why We Cut

This post is intended not just for young people struggling with self-harm, but for their family members and friends who don’t understand why the person they love is cutting. Here it goes.

The question I get most often is the question I most hated being asked when I was cutting myself.

“Why?”

I would get defensive and build up a wall around me and have an “as if you don’t know” attitude. But really, nobody did know.

No one knew what went on in my head. From what they could tell everything was “normal” (most cutters are so masterful at this they even begin to deceive themselves, convincing themselves everything is okay, when clearly it’s not) but I felt like I was dying inside. I had something to share and something to say, but I didn’t.

I was afraid of what people would say. I was especially afraid of what my parents would say. I felt like I needed to be okay for things to be okay. Like the fate of the entire universe rested upon me being the perfect daughter. They had enough to deal with and I didn’t want to burden them with my problems. I didn’t want to cause another fight. I didn’t want to be in the middle. So I kept quiet.

They never intentionally made me feel this way, but when there isn’t any communication and everyone in the household is shut down, what do you do?

You rush to find a way to make the pain end. You try to distract yourself.

Or, you cut.

We all have ways we anesthetize ourselves. Whether it be with food, drugs, alcohol, sex, you name it.

No one wants to feel horrible, but truly the only way to release or change or shift a feeling, is it to actually feel it rather than try to numb the pain.

But you’re still wondering,

“Is is just for attention?”

Yes and no. For the teenagers who are cutting, they want you, someone, anyone to know how bad they are hurting, but are terrified of confrontation. Terrified they will be made wrong for feeling what they feel. Terrified they will be rejected.

It’s easier to just cut.

This isn’t to blame. It’s to bring light to the situation. There are barriers to break down. Things to be said. And forgiveness that needs to take place.

Whether you are the one cutting or the one watching this happen, you absolutely have to get help. Cutting in itself is very serious, but it is a symptom of lack of self-expression, self-love and the inability to process emotions. You must find someone who can serve as a bridge, who will listen to both sides and help your teen recognize the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that have led her (or him) to this behavior.

As I tell my clients, this won’t last forever and you don’t have to do this alone. There are people out there to support you and your kids, myself included. I know how disheartening it is to try seemingly everything and still be going through this.

But you are going to get through it.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to enter your name and email address in the box to the right (below if you’re on a tablet or other mobile device) of this post to receive the “5 Keys to Help Teens Break the Self-Harm Cycle.”