It's all me, me, me...

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Vivre Sa Vie
London, United Kingdom
Well hello there. My name is Viv (well, it's not really), and, like a lot of people, I'm ever so slightly neurotic... I have panic attacks and anxiety (ranging from mild to pretty intense), on and off. I also have an amazing and quite high-profile job, so I'm choosing to remain anonymous on here. Not because I'm ashamed of the aforementioned neuroses, but because I don't want to be googled and for my colleagues to read bizarre posts about me breathing into a paper bag and popping lorazepam. I've worked for bookshops, mixed arts festivals and charities, and have met (and still meet!) a lot of famous, fetching and fantabulous people for my job. (See, anxiety doesn't need to stop you being AWESOME and doing what you want to do) Here's hoping you'll find some helpful hints and tips on here which will help you tackle the evil panic heebiejeebs... PS. I'm an Australian, but I live in the UK, and have adopted tea-drinking, pubs, Wodehouse, and a Welsh man.
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Friday, 24 February 2012

Books for your anxious monkey mind...

Panicked bibliophiles rejoice, for today I have literary suggestions to soothe your fevered brow...

Self-help for your nerves

An absolutely fantastic book - if you can look past the slightly worrying 70's references. There's a lot of vaguely condescending asides about bored, pill-popping housewives, and you have to replace the word 'nerves' with 'anxiety' so you feel less like a hysterical stepford wife in a floral bedcoat breathing into a paper bag. But it's incredibly comforting, soothing and reassuring - especially in the early stages when you have absolutely no idea what is happening to you, and are wondering when you will be taken away and bundled into a loony bin. 

 The author suffered with panic attacks herself, and knows only too well that the 'snap yourself out of it' or 'be patient' prescriptions don't necessarily work when you are crippled by fear. So she takes you by the hand and offers very wise, calm advice in the 'float past it and accept' kind of vein. Like having your anxiety-expert gran wrap you up in her tufted chenille bedspread and whisper soothing words of wisdom. 

Anxiety and phobia workbook

An indispensable reference book. Definitely a must-have for anyone with GAD, panic disorder, or OCD. Has an absolutely huge but navigable amount of information about everything to do with anxiety - from nutrition and existing health complaints that can trigger anxiety, to visualisation techniques, self-talk recommendations, and exposure therapy etc. If you're lost in the horrifying vortex of the Amazon self-help section, let this be your anchor. Buy it.

The Compassionate Mind

If you're a bit of a self-flagellator, then this is the book for you. Stern words, bullying , and screeching at yourself to pull it together won't work - it will only make you freak out even more. 
Being compassionate towards youself is one of the best things you can do for your anxiety - but it's a pretty hard habit to learn. Especially if, like me, you have a red-faced, throbbing-veined, vicious headmaster inside you who jumps up and down and demands perfection and snaps a cane over the desk and says 'sort it OUT you crazy woman! It's just a plane - what is wrong with you??!! Look at all the nice, normal people enjoying their bloody Mary's and not imagining fireballs and emergency water landings in shark-infested waters!!'. 

Definitely a good move to replace that guy with a nice Buddhist monk who smiles and says 'it's okay - you're doing amazingly, incredibly well, and everything is going to be ALRIGHT. And you are the coolest person I have ever met, by the way...'


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