Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anxiety. Show all posts

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Year of Hope.

Hello my friends and Happy New Year!  I hope you are well and that you had a pleasant holiday. The holidays are way past us now and in the beginning of every new year, as most of us do, I find myself thinking about the future...thinking about what's going to happen this year. For starters I will be turning 35.... ugh. 

When I was younger, I imagined I would be a mother to three beautiful children by now (my perfect number...3).  That's all I ever wanted. I'm not career savvy, I'm not one of those women who do all that they can to climb the ladder and have a wildly successful career...that's just not who I am. Things don't always go as planned so instead of my three children I have a job that I enjoy and am thankful for and two fur babies that mean everything to me. I have a man by my side that loves me like no other man has ever loved me and I have a house that embraces me with a feeling of warmth and comfort every night when I come home from work. I have friends and relatives that I laugh with until my belly hurts...but I am missing something important. 

I know there are many options out there for couples like us but my faith comes from God and only Him. "Unexplained infertility" is what we were told...which is worse in some ways because if we knew what was wrong we might actually be able to fix it but there IS nothing wrong....

Sometimes I get very frustrated and upset because I feel like my prayers are ignored but I continue praying and that small light of hope dims somewhat as time goes by but never burns out. Right before New Years, I was in my car stuck in traffic and the radio station I was listening to aired the final General Audience speech that Pope Francis gave of 2016. 

The Pope focused on the story of Abraham from the Book of Genesis.  Here's a summary:
Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.”  And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
This is a translation of the Pope's speech in regards to this passage: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Our continuing catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these Christmas days to consider the example of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul tells us, “hoped against hope” in God’s promises.  Trusting in the Lord’s word that a son would be born to him, Abraham left his home for a new land.  Although the fulfillment of God’s promise was long delayed and seemed to be impossible, Abraham continued to hope.  Even his discouragement and complaints were a sign of his continuing trust in God.  Abraham, our father in faith, shows us that sure trust in God’s word does not mean that we will not have moments of uncertainty, disappointment and bewilderment.  It was at such a moment that God appeared to Abraham, called him forth from his tent and showed him the night sky shining with countless stars, assuring him that such would be the number of his descendants.  Hope is always directed to the future, to the fulfillment of God’s promises.  May the example of Abraham teach us not be afraid to go out from our own tents, our limited outlooks, and to lift our eyes to the stars.

These words touched my heart and were the words that I NEEDED to hear in that exact moment to nourish that dimming light inside me. 

I wanted to share this with you just because I know how it feels to be frustrated and discouraged. I want this year to be my year of hope. As Pope Francis said...if all we have left is to look up at the stars, it's time to put your trust in God. There is nothing better than gathering up all your worries and putting them in God's arms. Hope never disappoints. 

Speaking of bringing hope to others... did you hear about what Chris Martin the lead singer of Coldplay (band that I absolutely adore) did on Christmas Eve? He showed up at a crisis center in West London on the night of Christmas Eve and surprised a huge crowd of homeless, volunteers and staff by playing all his songs and rocking out with everyone there without any publicity at all.  Someone that worked at the crisis center posted a picture with Chris Martin on Instagram writing "That moment when Coldplay's Chris Martin drops into the Crisis at Christmas shelter, with no fuss, no fanfare and no press, to help make tea and coffee and also play guitar so the guests can have a sing song. Thank you for coming down and getting stuck in."


I loved this story.... This is what we need more of in this world. These are the things that give people Hope. 

Thanks for reading and God Bless. 



Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Contemplations - Commodities or Laziness?

I consider myself old fashioned and a traditionalist.  I very much value the importance of nesting and I love my home. I find great pleasure in decorating, cooking and making my house feel cozy and comfortable for me and for the people I love. I also would rather make something myself than go out and buy custom made from someone else. It's not because of the money, it's because I believe an object is of greater value if it is made with love. I am not a chef, I am not a designer or a seamstress, I am not an interior decorator, but what I do know how to do very well is put passion and love into the things I do. I am Willing to learn and it saddens me when I see others act entitled and lazy and don't have the desire to learn.  People today are just so used to buying, buying, buying everything and once they're done with it just chuck it out and buy a new one. I'll buy it...I'll buy it...they say.

Learn how to make something! Don't be afraid of a drill or a hammer, learn how to use it! You want a piece of pie? Roll up your sleeves and get out a cook book ...  It's not that hard. And if it doesn't turn out right the first time, next time it'll turn out better!

It just frustrates me so.. I feel like everything has just gotten so easy and there is a general lack of contentment with life and the resources we have available to us.  When I think back on what our ancestors used to do...rigorously by hand... I feel like such a spoiled little shit.

My Italian grandmother had 10 children and she made her own mattresses for all 10 children every year (as did most Italian families in the early 20th century). Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make a mattress by hand...with sheep wool...and then beat it with a stick to make it more comfortable? And having to do this for households with 10 or more people?


Or washing mountains of clothes by hand.... and yet I complain about not having a dryer! Yes, you read that correctly.....I do NOT have a dryer... however I am seriously trying to negotiate with my sweetheart on this one...

Or make bread kneaded by hand at the crack of dawn and baked in a wood burning stove EVERY about a work out!

By the way, no bread compares or will ever compare to sourdough bread that is baked in a wood burning stove...

Since then, we have made such tremendous progress and even the average middle class family can have access to every day commodities that these women pictured above could never even fathom possible. But yet they continued on with their every day, strenuous chores and were able to make the most beautiful things by putting so much passion and love in everything they made.  Today when we look at a hand made linen tablecloth, it doesn't have the same value as it did back then. Why? Because most people, especially the younger generation don't realize the effort that was put into that simple hand made tablecloth. They don't realize exactly the quality and value of the fabric and why it is so precious. 

If I have children one day, I want to make sure that they value all that is around them and they put the same passion in all that they do as I do. 

I get so annoyed with spoiled  and arrogant people.  They get under my skin so much that it makes me batty. 

To those people I say: be thankful for what you have, but most of all be proactive, be resourceful and thrifty.  Thrifty doesn't mean cheap either. There are so many resources available today to be able to learn new things it's astonishing. The World Wide Web is packed with anything and everything you could possibly need and more and for that I am so grateful. I Google everything LOL...Surely I exaggerate at times but I feel a sense of security knowing that at the click of a mouse I can find out whatever I want. It's there for me. 

Think for a moment at the immigrants traveling on the boat to America with their families. They left all they had and spent their life savings to jump on a boat and cross the Atlantic Ocean not knowing where they were going, how long it would take them to arrive, how much food to bring, what clothes to wear, what to do if their children got sick in the middle of the Ocean, no one to call, no navigator, no Coast Guard to help them if anything happened, you get the point... Oh the COURAGE to do something like that!  

This photo above is a picture of an Italian immigrant family arriving in Ellis Island, New York.  The mother in the photo looks so old yet she's probably in her early 40's. They had the courage to make that journey for the future of their families. Without our ancestors who made everything by hand, woke up at the ass crack of dawn to prepare for the day, work hard and put food on the table, we wouldn't have all the commodities that we have today. 

For this I am grateful.

Have a great weekend my dear friends...and make something spectacular!



Friday, February 26, 2016

Book Review and a Prayer Request

I just got finished reading a great book yesterday and I wanted to share it with you. It's called Don't Be Afraid written by Daniela Sacerdoti and I read it all in one sitting. It's a wonderful story about a woman who suffers from severe anxiety and depression but eventually overcomes it with the help of a special person that comes into her life.  

The author does a wonderful job in describing what goes on in the mind of the depressed woman and really touches on the seriousness of this illness.

I've talked about my anxiety issues before here and this story allowed me to see that even the most difficult struggles can be overcome. 

It's funny how our minds work and how depression can just creep up on you without even a reason why. In southern Italy there is still an ignorance about depression and that it is not a serious illness.  Psychiatrists and psychologists are not necessary and strong people are never supposed to get depressed... This mentality really bothers me. The younger generation is improving but most elders still think this way.

I think that if someone is depressed they need to get help from a professional but I also think that an effort needs to be made to push the negative thoughts away by forcing yourself to think positively and find activities to keep busy. I think strength and faith is also necessary to pull yourself through the worst situations.  

In this book the main character really puts in everything she has to overcome this ugly monster that was inside of her... and in the end with some help she was able to. 

Today I ask you to please pray for my sister Cathy who was admitted to the hospital this morning. I won't go into detail but please keep her in your prayers if you can. My family and I would be most grateful. 

Thank you and I wish you all a great weekend. 

God Bless. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I suffer from this. Gephyrophobia. It sounds really bad doesn't it? Well you could probably guess that it is some type of fear and you would be right. Hence the phobia part. I discovered this the other day while I was watching a movie. At 33 years old I discovered the name of my fear. During a scene in this movie I was watching (I don't remember the name of it) there was a man that was driving over the Verrazano Bridge in New York.

Verrazano Bridge


I started suddenly feeling light headed and dizzy. Then I got a flash back to when I was a child and my family and I would go to Canada to visit my grandparents. We would drive 8 hours from Pennsylvania to Ontario and once we got to the Canadian border we would have to cross over the Buffalo Bridge...also known as the Peace Bridge. 

Buffalo (Peace) Bridge

Well let me tell you....I have no idea why but I would get so scared of driving over that damn bridge that I would cry hysterically the whole way over. Obviously I wasn't the one driving, my father was, but I was just so scared that either the bridge would fall apart and we would all die or that we would lose control of the car and go crashing into the water. 

I still have this fear today and I get this dizzy panicky feeling whenever my mother picks me up from JFK airport and we have to drive over the George Washington Bridge. I have to close my eyes the whole time and concentrate on my breathing...I'm totally serious...but luckily in Italy we don't have these large water crossing bridges so I have never been put in the position to have to face or treat this phobia. Mine isn't a fear of all bridges, it's a fear of bridges crossing over large bodies of water. 

When I was little I was convinced that in a past life I died in a car crash on a bridge... That was my only explanation to my fear. 

So I had to google fear of bridges after the flashback from watching the scene in this movie and low and behold fear of bridges is called Gephyrophobia. I was relieved to note that I am not the only person that suffers from this phobia. In fact I learned that the New York Thruway Authority will lead gephyrophobiacs over the Tappan Zee Bridge. The driver is able to arrange for someone to drive the car over the bridge for them by calling the authority in advance.

Tappan Zee Bridge

The Maryland Transportation Authority also offers a similar service for crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The Mackinac Bridge Authority which connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas, will drive one's car across its span for any needy gephyrophobiacs. Some thousand drivers take advantage of this free program each year according to Wikipedia. 

Mackinac Bridge

I have never told anyone about my fear just because I thought that it was a weird phobia to have and could never understand why I had it. I also thought that no one would understand this phobia because I have never met anyone with this fear. 

Dr. Liebowitz, founder of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute says “It’s not an isolated phobia, but usually part of a larger constellation, it’s people who get panic attacks. You get light-headed, dizzy; your heart races. You become afraid that you’ll feel trapped.”  

So I guess it is a common fear and something that many people experience. I have the "fortune" of not having to face this fear since I don't live in an area that is exposed to large bridges but for the gephyrophobiacs who live in an area where they have to commute to work over these large bridges or that live say in Staten Island and have to face this fear...I feel for them because I can totally relate to the anxiety that this can cause a person. 

I just wanted to put this out there for anyone that suffers from this same thing and make it known that it is treatable and is a common fear. There is help available out there if necessary. 
"Gephyrophobia is an intense fear of crossing bridges. It is often related to a fear of heights. Sufferers fear losing control of their vehicles or passing out from dizziness.  People coping with Gephyrophobia will drive miles out of their way to avoid crossing a bridge or limit the area in which they travel."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Sweets - Zucchini Coconut Cake

Today I made a Sunday Sweet even though I haven't really been that motivated to make anything since the terrible news we had yesterday. It made me very sad for the entire weekend because I relived the same emotions that 9/11 brought. The same terrifying anguish that only terrorism can bring. 

I took my dog for a walk around the block this afternoon and the thought that came to my mind wasn't that of having a pleasant walk on a Sunday afternoon, but I had a feeling of fear knowing that an act of terrorism can happen at any time, any where without you least expecting it. That is scary thought . Unfortunately it seems as though this freedom that we talk so much about doesn't in fact exist...

I'll just leave it at that and simply say, from my little corner of the Internet, that my prayers are with the families of all who lost their lives in Paris, France on the evening of November 13, 2015. <3

Zucchini Coconut Cake


 - 250 gr of grated zucchini (one large zucchini)
 - 100 gr of vegetable oil
 - 100 gr of white sugar
 - 150 gr all purpose flour
 - 50 gr of coconut flakes
 - 2 eggs
 - 1 teaspoon of baking powder
 - 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
 - 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
 - 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

Mix ingredients and bake in a buttered and floured baking pan at 200°celcius for 45 minutes. 

God Bless.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Contemplations - Mother Teresa's Humility

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is one of the most amazing women to have ever walked the face of this earth. The things she was able to accomplish with what little she had is something that not even the most powerful of entrepreneurs or political leaders have done. 

Mother Teresa at Prayer - source
Some background if you don't know much about her: She was only 18 years old when she joined a community of nuns and was sent to India to work as a teacher in Calcutta. She was from Macedonia (15 hour flight from Calcutta). 
Mother Teresa young - source
She taught in a private High School in Calcutta but she was never able to get over the profound poverty and suffering that she saw outside the convent. She gained permission from her superiors to leave the convent and work with the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. 

From that point on she depended on "Divine Providence" because she had no funds and was able to create an open-air school for the poor children and many volunteers joined in helping her. She then received financial support from the community that she used in starting her own order "The Missionaries of Charity" and from then on the Society has spread all over the world. It is active in 256 countries and consists of over 4,500 religious sisters.  Mother Teresa died when she was 87 years old on September 5, 1997.  

*Information found on Wikipedia and*

She was an example of love, humility and generosity. She never put her needs in front of the needs of others.  I think that there are far too few people like her today unfortunately. Some people are so far from humble it's frightening. Many people I see (especially the ones higher up on the food chain) think they are the best at everything, everyone wants to be in charge, the end result is always about earning more money and hardly ever only about the good of the people. 

Last Sunday's Gospel really opened my eyes and made me think. It was just beautiful and I would like to share it with you because I think it really touches on what I'm trying to say in this post. 

MK 12:38 - 44

 In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues, 
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers. 
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. 
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury. 
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."

The last phrase was the one that touched me. Basically what this means is that the rich people gave their surplus, what extra money they had, but the poor widow only gave two cents. In God's eyes the widow gave more than the rich, even if of lower value -- because she gave all that she had to live. 

I thought this reading was beautiful because it expresses the true meaning of love and humility. Mother Teresa, like the poor widow, gave ALL that she had. I'm not talking in terms of money but in terms of her love and passion that God put in her heart to help those in need. 


I wish I could be more like her. To be like Mother Teresa takes takes balls!! 

I'll conclude this post with some of her most inspiring quotes that I found in a USAToday article.  I have highlighted my favorites.  Number 9 to me is the best quote that is very current to this day...

1. "I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper's wounds I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?" - From a 1974 interview.

2. "We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful," she told her official biographer Navin Chawla.

3. "The poor give us much more than we give them. They're such strong people, living day to day with no food. And they never curse, never complain. We don't have to give them pity or sympathy. We have so much to learn from them." - From a 1977 interview.

4. "I choose the poverty of our poor people. But I am grateful to receive it (the Nobel) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." - She said when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

5. "If luxury creeps in, we lose the spirit of the order," she said. "To be able to love the poor and know the poor we must be poor ourselves."

6. "I have never been in a war before, but I have seen famine and death. I was asking (myself) what do they feel when they do this? I don't understand it. They are all children of God. Why do they do it. I don't understand." - Beirut, 1982, during fighting between the Israeli army and Palestinian guerrillas.

7. "God will find another person, more humble, more devoted, more obedient to him, and the society will go on." - She said in Calcutta in 1989, after announcing her intention to retire.

8. "I was expecting to be free, but God has his own plans." - She said in Calcutta in 1990, when the sisters of her order persuaded her to withdraw her resignation.

9. "Please choose the way of peace... In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread. But that never can, nor never will justify the suffering, pain and loss of life your weapons will cause." - Letter to George Bush and Saddam Hussein in January 1991.

10. "The other day I dreamed that I was at the gates of heaven. And St. Peter said, 'Go back to Earth, there are no slums up here.'" - Mother Teresa was quoted as telling Prince Michael of Greece in 1996.

Mother Teresa with an armless baby

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Nosy People

I guess this is my Friday contemplation post but I felt like publishing it today. The thing that gets on my nerves more than anything is nosy people. The people who don't mind their own business and want to know everything about you without having any type of right in knowing. Those nosy questions get on my nerves so much because I am a very private person and if I don't say something in the first place that means I don't want you to know... simple.

Some people are just over the top nosy and it is really annoying and rude to me. In Italy especially in the south this nosiness is quite customary. Don't get me wrong everyone is very kind and generous but sometimes they just want to know about all the little details of your life and I find it strange because I couldn't care less about the details of their life so I don't understand what the big deal is with my life... you know? I mean it's not that I don't care, I just respect their privacy.

Everyone has a story and everyone makes the choices they make for their own personal reasons. Unless I'm paying you for therapy I really don't care for your opinion on my life choices thank you very much... I'm 33 years old I think I'm capable of living my own life.

So I don't want this post to be just about me venting about rude people who don't mind their own business but to all those people who feel the same as me, here are some helpful tips to avoid nosy questions.

  • Let the person know that you feel uncomfortable answering certain questions. Some people may not realize that an innocent question is too personal so just graciously let them know that you feel invaded. Most people will appreciate your honesty and respect your privacy.

  • Shift the focus. If you find people starting a conversation that you see going in the direction that you don't want it to go, start talking about something else and change the subject. They'll get the hint...

  • Don't feel like you have to cave in just to be polite. They're not being very polite by asking you personal questions so don't feel "bullied" into answering them. Simply say you're in a rush and leave it at that.

  • Give vague responses. Beat around the bush or give "politician responses". Answer the question indirectly, for example when someone asks how much money you make. Answer something like, "money is not very important to me" or talk about the economy or job market or be funny and answer "enough to pay my taxes!".

  • If someone asks you about your relationship status and you don't feel like talking about it ... "it's complicated" and leave it at that.

  • Another tip is not to lie to the person asking questions just simply answer in a way that makes them understand that you don't feel like talking about certain things, or respond saying "I'll let you know" or "I'm not sure", etc.
People love to gossip. Magazines and paparazzi make loads of money off the lives of other people and if you think about it, it is rather pathetic and depressing. I even enjoy reading a gossip magazine from time to time when I'm waiting to get my hair done at the hairdresser but I'm never one to pry in the lives of people that I meet or work colleagues because a) it really doesn't interest me and b) I don't think it's polite.

I think that if someone wants to share personal information with me, they will tell me directly without me prying into their lives. If I trust someone I will open up to them eventually but the more I see someone wanting to know about my business, the more I turn the other way.

I found this article very interesting from the MannersMentor website:

"The word because is powerful. It can act as its own complete explanation. No one is quite sure why, but social experiments have proven it true. It probably goes back to the days of our childhood when mom or dad’s answer to our question “Why?” was simply “Because.”

There was a study that involved having a young lady ask the person waiting in line to use the copier at a large public library if she could please go ahead of him or her in line. When she asked if she could cut in front and gave no explanation, only 60% of the people let her go before them.

When she added a reason to her request (“My class starts in ten minutes and I have to have these papers to complete my assignment”), more than 90% said, “Sure, go ahead.”

Here’s where it gets interesting. When she asked to go ahead of others and gave this reason: “May I please step in front of you because I need to make some copies?”, more than 90% of the people also said, “Yes.” Her only reason was “because,” which really isn’t a reason at all. This tidbit is useful to remember anytime we’re pressed by someone for additional information. Take for instance a coworker asking, “No really, why are you taking next Thursday off?” You could answer, “I’m taking a personal day, because I need the day off.” Or, when asked why you’re not going to a party, you could say, “Because I’m not able to attend.” Again, just keep in mind your tone of voice. It’s also OK to simply say, “I’d rather not say” or, “That’s private,” especially if you believe the person is trying to intimidate you with his or her question. "

What do you guys think about this topic?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dealing with Anxiety

I have always suffered from anxiety. I think that it’s just a part of who I am. My mother tells me that when I was born I came into this world crying hysterically with a big red spot between my eyes. She was worried and thought that it might be a red birth mark smack dab in the middle of my forehead. The doctor who delivered me assured her that it would go away and that it was just “nerves”. Sure enough it went away but the “nervousness” stayed with me and is a part of me to this day.

Growing up I used to get so nervous when the first day of school came around. I wouldn’t sleep the whole night before and get sick to my stomach the following morning. I was nervous... About what you ask? About making friends, about being accepted, about getting good grades, about seeing the boy I liked in school, if the back pack I had was cool enough, etc. etc. I guess these are normal things that a girl worries about but I took it to the next level making myself sick over it.

College came around and things got a bit better. I was able to relax a bit and began smoking. I didn’t smoke a lot, maybe 10 cigarettes a day. In my mind that helped me cope with my anxiety. Today I know that wasn’t true at all. After college I moved to Italy and that’s when it all came to a head. I began working and took out a loan for my first car. I was so proud of myself because I was making my own money, I accomplished my goal of living in Italy. The job wasn’t the best one ever but then again I had never worked before so it was my first experience. One evening I got into a huge fight with my ex boyfriend and we ended it. I moved to Italy with the intent of marrying him but things didn’t go as planned. After moving here I found out he had someone else… Needless to say, I was heartbroken. I felt betrayed, I felt made a fool of.
The morning after the fight I felt like I needed to get a hold of myself. I’m not one to fall into depression. I’m a fighter, I’ve always been a fighter. I pick myself up and keep walking with my head up high! I went to work and sat at my desk like every other day. I noticed that I was yawning more than usual. "I don’t feel tired, why am I yawning so much?", I said to myself.  My hands were freezing cold even though it was a warm September day and the AC in the office wasn’t working. I look down at them and I see my nails turning blue. I gasp for air and find that I am not able to breathe. I start shaking and a colleague of mine notices that my chest is covered in red blotches.  I run outside to get some air and I continue to panic feeling as thought I was about to boss calls a relative of mine to pick me up from the office. My mom was in Italy at the time fortunately and as soon as I get home I start crying uncontrollably and I just couldn’t stop. My mom, who also suffers from anxiety, gave me a klonopin she had in her purse and I fell asleep on the bed.
The next morning I went to my family doctor who prescribed Xanax. He told me that I had experienced an anxiety attack. I took Xanax three times a day in the beginning then twice a day, then once a day, then half a dose a day, then a fourth a dose and so on for months and months. I carried it in my purse for over a year. I was so afraid to have another panic attack and not have it with me.  For me that was the worse feeling in the world. I could feel it coming. My hands would start to shake, my breath would get short, my chest would get blotchy and I couldn’t think of anything more terrible. And it wasn’t for any apparent reason either. There was really nothing that would trigger it.
This was about 10 years ago. I have never had another panic attack since. I don’t smoke anymore and I don’t carry Xanax in my purse anymore. I still experience anxiety though every once in a while. Since then I have changed jobs and have met an amazing man that has helped me so much.  I have never been to a therapist. I’m not against therapy and I think that it can help many people. Maybe I will go someday, but I think it’s important to get to know yourself better and to understand how your body and mind works.
I have discovered that for me an anxiety attack is like a wave. When it comes, acknowledge it and let it do its thing. It will go away, you won’t die. The wave just has to pass. If you fight it, it gets worse and you lose control. Something else that helps me is breathing with my stomach and not with my chest. Lay down and put your hand on your stomach. Breathe so that your hand rises and falls as you breathe. If you notice, that's how babies breathe when they're sleeping... By concentrating on this type of breathing, my body immediately relaxes and I feel every muscle in my body ease up. When I breathe through my chest during an anxiety attack, it feels as though the air doesn’t reach my lungs and I get short of breath. I know it’s all in my head and that’s another thing that relieves my anxiety a bit, knowing that my mind controls it all.
My brother got married this past April. He married in the States so I flew over for the wedding. I was the Best Lady at his wedding and I was honored that he chose me. I’m not going to lie…. I was very stressed out prior to this trip. I was going to see my family that I hadn't seen in years, I had to take time off work, and seeing my baby brother all grown up made me realize how time flies and how much people and circumstances change as the years go by.
Before leaving I bought Bach’s Rescue Remedy drops and had those in my purse for the whole trip. I was scared to have another panic attack. They are homeopathic and not prescription medication at all and it was probably just a placebo effect but I needed to have something with me in case “the wave” was coming to get me. The wedding came and went. It was a very emotional trip for me but in the end I had a wonderful time and I got to spend time with the people I love the most and don’t get to see very often.  
I know that anxiety will always be a part of my life because it is a part of who I am.  The things that help me deal with anxiety:
1)      Prayer – praying is the number one thing that calms my nerves. I know God listens to me and He’s there holding my hand during all my hardships.
2)      Positivity - Surrounding myself with positive people that don’t bring me down but that are there to love me, listen to me and comfort me during difficult times.  No negative people in my life are allowed!!
3)      Pets – My pets are the love of my life (all the heart eye emojis). They are the best klonopin and xanax and psychologist all rolled into one crazy puppy and one goofy kitten (my two goldfish help too :-)). They have helped me sooooo much words cannot even express how important they are to me!
4)      Belly breathing – when I feel anxiety coming I make sure to breathe with my stomach and that immediately releases my tension.
5)      Knowledge – knowing what an anxiety attack is and studying how it works and what you can do to stop it (or at least diminish it) is very important. Seeing it as a wave that has to pass really helps put it in perspective and makes me realize that I won’t die from a panic attack….it will eventually pass.
6)      Cooking – For me cooking is a hobby that I enjoy very much. I never really used to like cooking until recently and have been experimenting a lot in the kitchen. Find something that keeps you busy. I am also a bit obsessed with DIY and I love painting, refurbishing and decorating my home. It keeps my mind occupied and helps distract me from moments in which I could be suffering anxiety. This blog is also something I started doing as a hobby to help me cope with anxiety.
7)      Wine. :-) No need to elaborate!
       During the course of my life I have encountered so many people that suffer anxiety attacks. I never realized how common of a thing it was. I always felt like I was the only one that had it and was different because of it. I know today that is not the case. I've met people that seem so pulled together. Important business men and woman who seem like they have it all...they have confided in me that they too at one point or another in their lives suffered from anxiety attacks.
My mother used to tell me when I was a little girl,
"Worrying is like a rocking chair, it keeps you occupied but it doesn't take you anywhere."
My brother and I at his wedding this past April. I love him so...