Sunday Lowdown #210


Since I haven’t talked about anxiety in a while, let me start there. I’ve been seeing the same therapist since August and working on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Instead of showing up and talking about everything that bothered you the past week, you work through restructuring thoughts, behaviors, and physical tension. Those big three work like a triangle of anxiety, and you can bounce back and forth or all around the triangle, etc. One of the big lessons I’ve learned recently is to “live with it.” My goal in the past would be to feel “happy” or “normal, like everyone else.” Now, I’m learning what it means to feel unhappy, or to feel happy, or to not like something and to live with it. That is a skill I did not have in the past. If it was happy, I questioned both my happiness and if others were happy, too. If I was miserable, I was positive the universe hated me.

I’m really giving you a speedy run-down here, but suffice it to say, I’m living my life differently. I’m setting up boundaries and presenting myself in a professional way, all while working behind the scenes to live with life. The hardest task, which is recent, is exposure therapy. How do I recreate something that would send me over the edge in the past without being in a poor emotional state first in order to separate a physical symptom with emotions? The example I was given makes sense: when little kids run around the playground and their hearts race, they don’t think they’re dying. They’re enjoying themselves. Yet, people with anxiety will get a racing heart and assuming the end is near. How do we separate the thought from the physical?

I did make a joke in class this week that I’m pretty proud of. The linguistics professor kept getting distracted by a weird noise coming from the other side of the wall. He then said that at a different university where he taught the woman in the office next to his kept a lot of food. Then one day he heard a scritching, scrabbling sound in his wall. And it was moving up. And up and up the wall. He looked near the ceiling where he saw a hole. “And do you know what it was?” he said. And me, in my most innocent, awe-stricken voice, quietly said, “Was it the woman?” Only one person heard me, but I have no regrets because she kept laughing and could not stop, even long after the story was over, causing a bit of a disruption herself. I was pleased.


A bizarre little novella that has female empowerment that sells itself as a demon possession that’s really a goddess responding to repressive religion, and oh my, if you don’t like horror, I think you will enjoy The Goddess of Filth by V. Castro. Call it literary to put yourself in a different frame of mind, and you’ll be a-ok.


It’s rare that a publicists offers me an ARC that I actually want to read that fits with Grab the Lapels, but it happened! It’s Always Been Ours by Jessica Wilson is a nonfiction book that enters into a conversation with contemporary works about food and bodies. You’ll be surprised by which philosophies she disagrees with and those that were not the monsters they’re made out to be. Review Wednesday.


Books Bought Since January 2023: 0



  1. It takes courage to embark on therapy so I’m glad to hear that it’s working out for you.
    Love your joke in the classroom – it has shades of the ending of The Yellow Wallpaper doesn’t it?


  2. Omg, your joke. I would have been that girl dying the rest of the class. (And it immediately puts me into the mind of The Boy thank you very much.) Major props to you confronting very difficult things to work through your anxiety. I’m very proud of you. ❤


    • I think I just said it too quietly for more people to hear, so that is my only regret.

      Thank you! Your support means so much to me! For a long time I was sure I would just have to medicate this thing and struggle forth, but there were more options for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kudos on the hard work with CBT. You’re doing great! Sitting with discomfort may be the hardest thing to do ever. Most people avoid it like the plague and at great cost to their health.

    That joke was hilarious!

    I enjoyed JVN’s book. He’s really smart.


  4. I’m glad therapy is working for you! Actually, you’ve made me rethink the value of CBT, which is something I’ve had bad experiences with in the past. In my local area if you want to access talking therapy on the NHS (even if it’s about a specific thing and you don’t have any ongoing mental health issues outside that) you have to do a course of CBT first. As a result, I associate CBT with being quite thoroughly patronised. It sounds like your therapist has a much healthier approach – well done for engaging with therapy, because it can be tough! I’m glad it’s working for you.


    • Oh, if it was something specific and then I had to do a whole course first, I would be mad. On the one hand, how do we determine what is the problem when we are not experts. On the other hand, we feel we are the experts of our own lives, so why would someone tell us what to do? I’ve learned that I didn’t think of myself in certain ways that were actually accurate because I hadn’t realized what I was doing. For instance, I did not consider myself a perfectionist, but I do believe I always have to finish everything I said I would because I am duty bound, which is a form of perfectionism.


  5. I’ve heard so much positive and negative about CBT, it was interesting to hear your perspective. I was interested in your thoughts about feeling “normal, like everyone else.” I think that’s the thing to realise – that there is, in a way, no such thing as ““normal, like everyone else” or, that, “normal, like everyone else” is in fact feeling uncertain about oneself. That was a big lesson I learnt in my 20s to 30s – that what I thought was normal was not at all, that “normal” was how I was feeling – uncertain at times, mean at times, confident at times, a failure at times, successful at times, unhappy at times, etc. I guess you are talking about something more than this but it was quite a big thing for me to realise that most people may look as though they have it all under control but have all sorts of issues, concerns, anxieties. In other words, I realised that I was not alone!

    Sorry I didn’t read your blog post this week. It’s been so busy with kids and grandkids. Normal life has been in a bit of a hiatus. But it will be back to normality next week!


    • I think for me, normal would be “not struggling unless something big happens.” But people have all kinds of struggles, big and small. In a more normal way, they react differently that I did (and sometimes do). So, it’s not that I need to not struggle all the time, it’s that I need to learn to accept life goes every which way and how to react in a fashion that matches that situation instead of ringing the death bell at every turn.

      I’m glad you were having a good time with the family, Sue!


  6. I’m glad you are figuring out things in therapy that work for you. I am totally a person who wants to immediately fix myself but small, reasonable steps to live with it actually works far better in the end.

    Your joke genuinely made me snort out loud. I would have lost it if I heard someone say that in class!


  7. I suspect I’m doing a bit of CBT in my sessions too, in fact, I just had one last time. We talk alot about exposure therapy, and the idea of being comfortable with being uncomfortable, which I’m really trying to embrace, but as you can attest to, it’s very hard! Keep at it though, I have a feeling this work we are doing is the most important work we can be doing 🙂

    Your joke made me laugh! But now I’m curious – what was the sound? Mice?


  8. I never even thought therapy was a thing until half way through my life (and yes, I thought depression, just get over it) but now I’ve done it (and it helped), everyone in my family does it, down to the grandkids (and it really helps).


    • Absolutely. What blows my mind is that we have to study our own brains. Can’t brains just tell us what they need? And even worse, when you’re taking an anatomy class and can’t remember where your liver is, your brain knows where the liver is BUT WON’T TELL YOU.


  9. Oh my gosh, your joke! I wish more than one person had heard it, but still, the one woman, that would have been me uncontrollably giggling for the remainder of the class! Therapy is hard work and you are putting in really great work. Big hugs!


  10. Ooh, a new JVN! Must get a go with that at some point! Well done on your work on the anxiety and thank you for sharing it with us. Just sitting with a feeling is hard to do but liberating. The note about children running in the playground is very salient: as you probably know by now, I help to teach people to run with my running club, and a few years ago I was doing a preliminary session with a good friend so she could try it out before doing so at the club – we started to run a little, she got hot and breathless and informed me she was having a panic attack. Apparently I said bluntly “You’re just hot” (surely I was nicer!) but she realised oh yes, she was. But I have had that in mind every time I’ve started with a new group of new runners!


    • Yes! Your example with the friend is exactly what my therapist was saying! It’s interesting that your friend felt the anxiety attack feeling when she was running, but maybe it happened because she’s nervous about doing a new sport, or has bad associations with exercise (I know I have in the past).

      I started the new JVN today, and I would (again) recommend the audiobook. He reads it with his personality, which is so different from words on a page.


      • She was really keen to run and felt safe with me – it was literally the feelings of being out of breath and sweaty were the same as in her anxiety attacks so she said to me I’m having an anxiety attack and I checked if she was sure, as it was the same physiological symptoms, and she realised she wasn’t at all, it was “just” the feelings from exerting herself. I love how I’ve been teaching people to run for ages but I’m always learning.


Insert 2 Cents Here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s