anxiety management

Wider Mental Health Perspective on Eating Disorders, Depression & Anxiety

Check out this fantastic article from Beyond Blue on the National Eating Disorders Collaboration website.

It has links to a great factsheet and also a new beyondblue ‘how to have a conversation’ webpage.  The link is below.

PACE is a recommended organisation to contact for help on the factsheet

Click here to check out the article.

An excellent resource on resilience and sharing the struggle….

Image_Useful_WebsitesEd Miller of Honi Soit has produced this excellent article on resilience and sharing the struggle of Eating Disorder recovery.

‘For eight years, Kate’s eating disorder has been a daily feature of her life. In the last three months, however, following a period of determined treatment, I can count the number of days that have gone badly on just my fingers.’

Hear more about the journey…

Online videos for eating disorder recovery

The National Eating Disorder Association, based in the US, have a range of short video interviews available on their website. In these short video clips, individuals who are in recovery get a minute to share some key insight and advice from their experiences and their recovery journey. Check out some of the videos and find out more about the challenges of living day to day with an eating disorder.

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/NEDANETWORK/videos

 

 

Resources for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Are you looking to broaden your understanding of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? You may be facing the challenges of recovery, or be looking to improve your own knowledge in order to help a loved one with their own recovery.

We already have some useful fact sheets available on our resources pages, but you may also want to check out the following links for more information and guidance:

The International OCD Foundation has an excellent fact sheet on all things OCD. The organization is based in the US and so some of the statistics relate to American studies only. However, for an overview of the major issues relating to OCD and recovery it is a great resource.

You can check it out here: http://www.ocfoundation.org/uploadedFiles/WhatYouNeed_09.pdf

Please note – this fact sheet also includes information about medication. Any questions you may have about medication should be first discussed with your GP or a qualified psychiatrist.

The team over at the Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria (ADAVIC) also have an excellent fact sheet full of information on OCD.

You can access their resources here: http://www.adavic.org.au/PG-fact-sheets-obsessive-compulsive-disorder.aspx

Please note – ADAVIC is based in Victoria, Australia. The specific support groups and treatment centres recommended by ADAVIC are not available in South Australia. To find a support group in SA, contact us directly on 1800 809 304 or email us at pace@centacare.org.au

Learning to Face and Float

Managing a panic attack is daunting for anyone – even those of us with years of experience and recovery practice under our belts. But throughout my own recovery from panic disorder I have returned again and again to one particular technique that has always offered great power and flexibility – helping me continue to live life to the fullest even when the challenge of anxiety has loomed large.

I first discovered the technique of ‘facing and floating’ whilst reading the world famous books of Dr Claire Weekes. Weekes was a pioneer in the treatment of panic disorder and agoraphobia, and the cognitive and behavioural techniques she developed throughout her career were so radically successful that she was even nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their development.

Her approach to managing panic was to instruct her patients to face towards their panic instead of shrinking from it, and to learn to relax and let the anxiety wash over them until it had run out of steam. For those facing panic attacks for the first time, this approach can seem a little counter-intuitive. But I promise you, it works!

To get your head around the specifics of the ‘face and float’ technique start by thinking about how a person swims versus how a person floats. To swim you have to have all your limbs coordinated and then you have to learn to breath and paddle in time with the water. This is fine when the water is calm, but when the waters are choppy it’s much harder to swim with confidence and keep your head above the waves.

Now floating on the other hand – well you don’t really have to learn how to float! Even a block of wood can float successfully on a choppy sea. All you need to do to float successfully is relax and not get in your own way. You just lie there and let the water take you.

So lets apply this analogy to panic: When panic strikes, do you furrow your brow  and desperately try to paddle against your fears, or do you relax and trust your own body’s ability to float? Next time panic is upon you, why not try doing nothing and letting time pass. Don’t try to fight the panic, don’t grit your teeth and try to ‘tough it out’ – just do nothing. Let the panic come to you. Look at it for what it is – a shift of brain chemicals and a shot of adrenalin. It cannot hurt you! Acknowledge that it’s there and then float on through. Get on with the ordinary things you need to do without worrying about the anxiety for a while.

Dr Claire Weekes often described floating as ‘Masterly Inactivity’, that is:

to stop holding tensely onto yourself,  trying to control your fear, trying ‘to  do something about it’ while subjecting  yourself to constant self-analysis.

When I first heard of this technique, I thought that it sounded like a pretty hard thing to attempt. I mean the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling anxious is embrace your anxiety and invite it in… On the contrary, you want to get rid of it as fast as you can. But it’s this fear of panic, and determination to avoid it at all costs that pushes a panic sufferer to start feeling more and more anxious.

As Dr Weekes explains it,

The average person, tense with battling,  has an innate aversion to …letting go.  He vaguely thinks that were he to do this,  he would lose control over the last vestige of his will power and his house of cards would tumble.

But believe me when I tell you, this will never happen!

In reality, learning to face and float through panic is a key stepping stone to learning to let go of the ‘fear of fear’ – and for a panic disorder sufferer it is most often the fear of fear that causes the most distress.

These days the technique has been recognized as being so successful that it now forms a major component of what psychologists and psychiatrists refer to as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

If you want to build a life without panic, you can always start by learning to accept that your panic is here to stay (for a little while at least). Maybe at the moment it still has the power to frighten you, but it certainly can’t hurt you. So stop struggling and battling against it – let it be and simply float.

Many of Dr Claire Weekes books on anxiety are still in print, and you can order them through your local bookshop, or check out her website at www.claireweekes.com.au

PACEtv Goes Live

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Image_RecoveryThe PACE team have recently launched the first two episodes of their brand new multimedia program PACEtv.

The new online documentary series aims to help South Australians with Panic Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive and Eating Disorders.

“PACEtv will provide individuals, families and communities real life guidance, insight and hope from individuals and families who have made the journey to recovery,” says PACE Manager Chris Chalubek.

“We have interviewed individuals, families and professionals to create video resources that offer experiences of hope and recovery in their own words and highlight the power of lived experience.”

Heather Nowak, featured in the first documentary, talks of her OCD that emerged in her early teens and went away in her late teens. It then returned when she was in her mid 20s after the birth of her first daughter.

“I would have a list of things by my bed of what I had to clean the next day which included 20-30 showers,” she says.

Her list included washing doorframes, floors and beds. If she had to go out the cleaning would take her 7-8 hours. With the help of an understanding GP and mental health nurse she began her road to recovery.

“While everyone has a way of helping, it is about finding the person who connects to you,” Heather says.

The first two episodes focus on panic anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, with later episodes to focus on eating disorder recovery and the experience of friends and relatives.

 

Watch the videos here.