Category: Anxiety and Depression

This is what it feels like to have a panic attack

I am in Florida with friends right now. They are friends who are “chosen family.” Being here feels safe and warm and nurturing. I’m helping my friend’s daughter learn to sew. I am not an ideal choice for the role, but I’d throw myself in front of a bus for this kid, so I’m doing my... Read more »

Those who grieve can also smile

I’ve been thinking a lot about grief lately. From bombings and school shootings to the relentless beat of people around me dying, it is a season of loss. If grief were a color—somewhere between black and white—then I would be seeing the world in grayscale. We tend to be gapers at other people’s tragedies. We... Read more »

Showing up is everything, but not the only thing

Showing up is everything, but not the only thing
Sometimes when I’m behind on my work and feeling bad about myself, I hide under the covers. Literally. Sometimes I read. On really bad days I watch Netflix for hours. In other words, I don’t show up. Not showing up means I get further behind on my work and feel even worse about myself. Yesterday... Read more »
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Make room in your heart for yourself: lessons in self-compassion

Make room in your heart for yourself: lessons in self-compassion
It’s been a crappy day, which I will not detail for you. (You’re welcome!) I’ll be the first to admit that I’m prone to pity parties. Woe is me. Life’s a bitch and then you die. Fill in your own favorite cliché As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I stop. I’m... Read more »

Learning slowly: what writing teaches me about life

Learning slowly: what writing teaches me about life
A student came to my office today to talk about her literacy autobiography, in which she celebrates a teacher who helped her learn that becoming a writer takes lots of time. It struck me as one of those insights that everyone knows, but we need someone to put it into words for us. One of... Read more »

Perspective is everything: taking a bad day and making it better

Perspective is everything: taking a bad day and making it better
Traveling is among my least favorite things to do. I would almost always prefer to be home. But I’m traveling for work today, stuck in Denver for another three hours until I catch my next flight. I have to tell you, though, I’m content at the moment because I am surviving a terrible, no good,... Read more »
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Earthquakes, hurricanes and backyard weeds: getting life in perspective

Mexico was hit with a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday and with a 6.1 earthquake today. It turned buildings to rubble, including a school where 19 children died. One hundred percent of Puerto Rico is without electricity after Hurricane Maria, which is causing a dam to fail, threatening the lives of 70,000 people. And, my... Read more »

Writing to remember the good

I facilitate an expressive writing workshop for Gilda’s Club, and a few weeks ago, in response to a prompt, one of the writers said, “I didn’t have much to say.”  Because he is prolific, I was surprised. “Why is that?”  “Because I’m so happy,” he said. That has stayed with me, and I get it.... Read more »

Between the devil and the deep blue sea: when the predator becomes the savior

Between the devil and the deep blue sea: when the predator becomes the savior
You’ve probably seen the video that’s gone viral this week of a dog saving a fawn that was drowning in the Long Island Sound. It’s a classic case of being between the devil and the deep blue sea. Do you give in to your predator’s grasp on your neck (in order to tow you to... Read more »
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Anxious dreams remind me to breathe

Anxious dreams remind me to breathe
Anxiety takes up residence in my body sometimes before my brain knows about it. And before I can put into words what I’m fretting over, I sometimes have dreams that stand in for them. My anxiety dreams take several forms. When I was much younger I periodically dreamed that my teeth were crumbling. I would... Read more »