Panicking in public

I grew up with a panic disorder that went undiagnosed until I was 25. No one knew why I couldn’t leave my mom without fearing she’d die or disappear, why I refused invitations to slumber parties and didn’t believe I’d be returned after a weekend at my father’s. When I had trouble learning to tell time, the adults wondered if I had a learning disability. So began a decade long odyssey of auditory, cognitive, behavioral and intellectual testing. No one told me what they were me testing for, but I knew intuitively my unrelenting fear was the problem—I couldn’t tell time because time meant leaving my mother and I didn’t want to learn more ways to say goodbye. It was dread that held me back, not my brain, but I was too young to have words to explain. Feelings were ruining my life, and testing made me worse.  

Everyone is watching me die in public.
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Is perfectionism anxiety in disguise?

Blogging is not a natural inclination for me. That said, as I travel around and speak to schools and organizations about panic and anxiety, more and more people have requested that I use my existing blog to talk about anxiety and panic. While I have an anxiety resources page on this site, my recommendations are just ways to begin conversations rather than actually HAVING conversations. So, I am going to start blogging as regularly as I can (don’t have high expectations!) about all things related to panic and anxiety–FUN!

I’m going to start easy, and repost a blog post I wrote for my favorite mental health advocacy organization (with whom I work in an advisory capacity) called Bring Change to Mind started by Glenn (SHE WAS ROBBED OF AN OSCAR) Close and her sister, Jessie Close.

This post originally appeared HERE.

I’ve been speaking to audiences about my anxiety and taking questions about theirs while on tour for my memoir LITTLE PANIC. During the Q & A’s there are inevitably one or two people who will state that while their child has anxiety, that’s not their issue. Their issue, they’ll tell me is perfectionism, defensiveness, or some other maladaptive trait. I listen, respond to whatever their question is—most likely one about their child’s anxiety, and then afterward, I race to find these defensive perfectionists to talk to them. Because there are a few things I’ve learned having suffered from a panic disorder since I was a toddler, and it’s that anxiety, more often than not, begins with the parents, and something else—anxiety disguises itself in pretty innovative ways. Some of these ways include perfectionism, defensiveness, self-criticism, and hypochondriasis. This is what I tell them, in the kindest most diplomatic way I know. The only tears shed have been ones of relief–Thank God. Continue reading “Is perfectionism anxiety in disguise?”Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail