all stories

"Love isn't everything — it's the only thing."

What can we do to prosper when facing pain and suffering in our lives?

Pschologist Steven Hayes describes psychological flexibility in relation to his own harrowing panic disorder

"I'm grateful for the experience of my panic, because it taught me that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to panic and anxiety."

Rita Zoey ChinThere was a time when basic things—like driving, climbing a flight of stairs, taking a shower, or going through the checkout line at the grocery store—landed me somewhere between mortal unease and full-throttle terror. It all began with a single…

"No matter how bad things seem, you were meant to win."

Wills MurrayMy earliest childhood memories are of constant fear. A skinny kid with crooked teeth, somewhat shy and reserved with social anxiety, I was an easy target for bullies, which made my issues even more difficult to handle. I never spoke to anyone…

"If I can do it, so can you. I believe in you. I believe in recovery."

If anyoneHanne Arts had told me several years ago that everything would get better, I would have nodded while screaming disbelief inside my head. I thought things simply could not get better, that I'd be forever feel imprisoned in a dark room.…

"Giving up cannot be an option. Be grateful. Be happy. "

Alexandra LewickeNothing could have been worse for me than being a teenager in high school — until I became a teenager in high school with depression.

I was constantly bullied, my heart was in the midst of being broken, and my grades were dropping…

"I know from personal experience...getting anxious kids help early can be crucial in heading off more serious problems later in life."

Scott StosselChildhood anxiety, even severe and chronic, doesn’t necessarily stand in the way of success and achievement. But caring parents will do…

"I?m trying to get off medication so I can have a baby. It's been tough and I've experienced many setbacks, but I haven't given up."

It started at the onset of puberty, when I was 11 years old. I was at school, watching my older sister load the school bus to be taken away to 6th-grade camp. Suddenly a wave of panic overcame me. I don't recall my physical symptoms other than a racing heart and nausea.

From that day forward I have continued to struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. It went from that initial wave of…

"Shortly after beginning CBT, I was able to discontinue medication and stop seeing a therapist."

Michael Timmermann, personal storyAn excellent student, a talented singer and musician, a competitive athlete. That’s how I appeared on the outside as a young child, but I felt as though I were trapped in a nightmare that…

"Sometimes I felt as if all my thoughts were leaves in a pile on a lawn, and a huge gust of wind would blow them all around."

As a child, I was gregarious, outgoing, and happy-go-lucky. Then something went horribly askew at about age 12. I did not know why I was unable to focus when I had been the best reader in school. I had been talkative, but I kept to myself, remained silent, and let bullies pick on me. I hadn't the slightest idea what was going on with my body and mind. Eighth-grade was probably my worst year…

"I'm Jack. I have social anxiety disorder. But I also have hope."

“Hi! I'm Jack. And I have an anxiety disorder.”

Merely talking to other people makes me anxious. I often experience "phone fear." I avoid social gatherings (particularly parties), which I find excruciating. Crowded settings, especially without a perceptible escape route, cause me uneasiness, sometimes panic.

Anxiety-producing scrutiny affects me physically. My heart sledgehammers…

"I was afraid that if someone became sick, I would have another bad anxiety attack. "

I had all the typical life stressors of a married working mom. One spring I had a birth control device implanted that apparently threw my hormones and mental well-being out of whack. I switched to part-time work that summer because it allowed for a bit more rest and less stress. But when I returned to work full-time in the fall, I began having odd flashes of fear. And when people around me…

"Social situations, including school, were torture. I bulldozed my way through life, including dabbling in alcohol and substance abuse for relief of my anxiety and depression. "

I have suffered from social anxiety disorder since I was about 10 years old, or about 34 years. I was a very intelligent child, but when teachers noticed a difference in me, I started trying to be invisible. Social situations, including school, were torture. I bulldozed my way through life, including dabbling in alcohol and substance abuse for relief of my anxiety and depression. I find it…

"I'd like to say I no longer suffer from flashbacks, but even at the time of this writing, I am in the middle of recovering another memory from my childhood."

I am a middle-aged woman, married with two children. I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at age 25. I am grateful to say that I have had tremendous support, terrific professional help, a strong will to recover, and a resolve to do whatever work necessary to overcome all of my trauma. Other miraculous help has been my spiritual beliefs and practices.

As a child I…

"My introduction to college was defined by a series of irrational questions."

Two years ago I wondered if the horrible feeling, the gnawing in my stomach would ever leave. Inside my freshman dorm room, I lived in my own mind, fixated on my thoughts and tormented by irrational messages and faulty fears.

It wasn’t until the summer after that year that I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. Although I’ve experienced some OCD symptoms…

"Most shocking to me was that my anxiety would never fully go away, although I could recover and learn to live with it."

I went through some pretty tough times when I had my first full-blown panic attack.

I was rushed to the hospital, but my blood work and EKGs came back normal. I was released with a diagnosis of panic disorder, which ran in my family. Then I got worse, and I pretty much became afraid of my own shadow. I also had burning sensations in my chest, weakness all over, and I felt so fatigued I…

"The church is not the only judgmental group out there when it comes to understanding mental illness. There are other religions and cultures that look on mental illness as something you should be able to overcome by shear will."

Chonda Pierce, comedianEver wonder what depression feels like? Here’s a hint: Take a pillowcase full of rocks and strap it to the top of your head. Now put on a dark pair of sunglasses — indoors. Leave those things on for about a week. Until…

"Somehow I summon up the courage to compete in front of thousands of people even though I suffer from panic attacks."

I amKristle Lowell a world champion of trampoline gymnastics, and I have suffered from anxiety for many years. Having anxiety is like having diabetes or asthma: They are all illnesses. But in 20 years as a trampolinist, I have yet to see someone…

"I never considered that an underlying condition was hampering my ability to handle the stress. I thought, this is just how life is. "

Marc Kohn“I’m back!” That was the phrase I’d said to myself starting in middle school when my malaise lifted and a cycle of joy came around. I seemed to live in a world moving in slow motion. It was only when “I was back” that I returned to normal life speed. This slow-to-…

"People need help. And asking for it isn?t a weakness. Admitting you need help and asking for it? That is acknowledging fear and gaining strength from it. "

Ashley Ericksen

A lot of things scare me. Right now, those things include my first 20-mile run of marathon training that I have this weekend and sharing this post. That’s the thing with fears, though. Embracing them usually makes you stronger.

"Dude, what?s your problem?"

Josh LewinI have learned that anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand, and there is no shame in having either — although it’s tough for many people to get their arms around that concept. When I struggled with both in my last couple years as the Texas Rangers’ baseball…